No Longer Firinji

Well, the reason I haven’t written in a while is because we haven’t stayed in one place long enough over the past couple of weeks. We took a team retreat to a nearby lake, then took Kim to the capital to catch her flight back to Canada, and now Heather and I are in Kenya for visa renewals.

Kenya. It is a beautiful word on my lips. I came here a year ago not really knowing what to expect and was pleasantly surprised. I am no less pleased this go-round. It is like a little piece of America. There are malls and clean roads and restaurants that you actually want to eat at….it’s a miracle!

We just got in last night but we made our way straight to the nearest mall for dinner and groceries and an unexpectedly large dose of culture shock. Kenya has a significant number of white people in it so that means no one turned and stared when we walked in. (Remember we are the only people of our skin color living in our town. The novelty of our skin never wears off for the locals.) No one seemed surprised to see us and we were okay with that. We walked straight in that mall unnoticed and went and ate at a delicious restaurant called ArtCaffe that had all sorts of food that we haven’t seen for quite a while. It was like we had been transported through time as we sat up above the restaurant and watched things work quickly, efficiently, and in order down below us. Haven’t seen that for a while! The menu had things on it like spinach, blue cheese, cheesecake, turkey, ham, chocolate….really everything you could imagine and it all looked delicious. I’m still trying to figure this one out, but for my first Kenyan meal I ordered a salad. A salad! What have I become?! That Kim Swaisland’s eating habits have ruined me. It had spinach, and blue cheese, and apples on it – all things we can’t get in our country – and it came with an apple vinaigrette dressing. And it was delicious. Of course, I wasn’t even close to being full after I devoured it, so we decided to split a dessert…a dessert that came with ice cream. What?!

After dinner we went to get some groceries at the supermarket – we can’t be eating out every meal for the next couple of weeks! I went to the supermarket last time I was here, but I didn’t have to actually buy anything to eat. I can not explain to you how overwhelming it was. For yogurt alone there were about 50 different choices of flavors and brands. There were 4 small aisles of bread varieties. About 10 different brands of milk in all different forms. Add in trying to do the math and convert our money to figure out how many American dollars we were about to blow (i.e. bacon was $10 a pack) and we had to just get out of there. We’ve heard stories about this from others who have lived overseas, but this was my first time having to make grocery decisions in a supermarket and it was just as overwhelming as they say it is.

Oh, and did I mention that we are staying in a place that has a kitchen in it? That kitchen has an electric coffee maker, a toaster, and a microwave! Not sure I can even remember how to use a microwave. My clothes are also currently drying in a clothes dryer as I attempt to shrink them back down to a wearable size after stretching them out on the line for a year and a half. The reception area alone has more American food available to purchase than all the grocery stores combined in our capital city. Candy bars, cereal, Ritz crackers, Oreos. I am going to have to try and contain myself. What am I ever going to do when I set foot back in America?!

I will keep you posted of our Kenyan adventures and any other delicious foods we come across!

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