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.
Ok folks, this is it, I am off on a flight in about three or four hours (do planes operate on, “Kenya Time?”), and may be silent for a bit while I figure out the Internet situation during my European adventures. I am still debating what the focus of my writing will be, whether purely whimsical, focused more on development-related activities, or descriptive of my adventures with my brother Chris as we tear up Prague, Zurich and Turino. Who knows?
Though I will be taking a bit of a holiday from regular blogging (for which you have been prepped for a few weeks now), I will most certainly continue in the New Year when I return home to Mtongwe and continue with my work as Peace Corps volunteer. Because I know you were all worried I would shut up. People, not even the gods can shut me up 😉
Until then, I wish all of my readers a Happy Holiday Season, whatever that may mean for you! I know for me it means time spent with family, enjoying hot chocolate by the fire with the dogs and enjoying the snow, and while I may not have all of these things this year, sometimes all it takes is a memory 🙂
P.S. Don’t worry about the title. It was a brief Kiswahili-related thought I had. Free association, ya know?
Most all education institutes in Kenya follow a three on, one off, schedule for their school year. This simply means we have three months of teaching, followed by one month of holiday. Of course, NYSTC is slightly different from every other institution in that though we follow the 3/1 pattern, our year starts in May, not January, but that’s just trivia, and not really a major impact on my life. For this past year in Kenya, there has always been some work to get done during my month, “off,” from teaching, which has prevented me from actually going on a single holiday. Believe it or not, despite all my adventures around Kenya, which I am lucky to have, none of them have been true vacations, they have always been, “work related.” That’s about to change 🙂 Continue reading