I’ve realised that there are just a few things that I need to keep me happy. If you had asked me to make a list a year ago I’m sure it would have been a bit longer and would have included things like Pinkberry or shopping on Melrose. But, things have changed. And I’ve come up with this short list of things that keep me happy whilst living in Kenya:
1. My puppy, Nala: While she does make me mad at certain times (like when she decided to pee on my pillow while I was sleeping on it), she is the best company. Living alone has been a lot easier than I would have imagined now that I have a dog to entertain me. She’s awesome and understands Swahili commands like Kuja (come). She also comes to school with me everyday and is good company on our 45 minute walk each way. However, Kenyans think I am crazy for giving her so much attention and (gasp) walking her on a leash! Here she is…isn’t she cute?
2. Red wine: During college I lived of Trader Joe’s two buck chuck wine and now, seeing as I’m a classy university graduate, I have upgraded to 500 shilling (7 dollars) box wine. After a 12 hour day, a glass of red wine while cooking is necessary and relaxing.
3. A kitchen: In the states, kitchens were always my favourite room of a house. Especially when they smell yummy like fresh baked cookies or thanksgiving. Anywho, while my kitchen here doesn’t quite compare to one back in the states, I still enjoy being in my kitchen. There is something strangely soothing about chopping sukuma wiki (kale) after a long day, sipping wine, and waiting for my house to fill with the smell of roasting garlic. I’m hoping to build a jiko oven soon so that I can start baking again. I miss baking cupcakes and cookies and decorating fondant cakes. Hopefully I’ll be able to soon because kitchens make a home smell like, well, home. This is my friend Emma teaching me to cook traditional Luo food (tilapia and ugali) on a Sunday afternoon.
4. Correspondence from friends and family: I don’t know if you all know just how much I appreciate hearing from you whether its in the form of an email, letter, package, facebook message, or phone call, but I really really really love it! I realize that my place of living makes it quite inconvenient for reliable communication (seriously, could the Kenyan postal system be any slower????!?!?), but when it does happen I am so happy! So thanks to all of you that write/call me…it makes me happy, happy enough to put on my happy list!
So there’s my list. Four things that keep me content in Kenya. And I’m glad to realize that these four things would be relatively easy to have any where in the world. So wherever I live in the next chapter of my life will have to be dog friendly, red wine stocked in the kitchen, and a post office nearby…easy enough, right?