Walking around the Christmas market right next to our hostel in Zurich today, my brother and I come upon a booth selling African-style curios: wooden animal figures, necklaces, bracelets and the like. “Reminds me of home,” I say, at which the shop owner gives me a bit of an incredulous look and asks where I come from, to which my response of late has been, “Kenya.” Next thing I hear is, “Karibu chai,” and I am immediately thrust back into my life in Kenya while a cup of hot chai is thrust into my hand. Here I am, standing in freezing temperatures in Zurich, Switzerland, and I am having a conversation with a Kenyan in Kiswahili.
Lydia’s been living here for 18 years now, but her family comes from Nakuru and she is a Kikuyu. She seemed to get a kick out of the white boy in Zurich speaking Kiswahili with her, but it was a nice time. Actually, she even gave Chris a discount on what he was buying, which was really nice of her. The chai was delicious, spiced with cinnamon. We wished each other a merry Christmas and went our separate ways, myself still move convinced of our shrinking world (hurry, contact the geologists!), as well as the generally magical nature of Christmas markets.