Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Ah, the things traveling will do to you! It's a different environment, a different way of life... sometimes a different language and in this case, a different continent and a different worldview!

Coming home from Africa was quite an eye-opener, and I don't mean all the time I spent in the plane or waiting in airports!

The trip as a whole didn't impact me too much while I was there. It was when I came back and compared the reality I was just in with my everyday reality that I realized how fortunate we really are. Then again, there is also poverty here in North America... it's just not as painstakingly obvious.

Here are some of the flashbacks that I noted during my first two days back from Kenya. These are things that happened exactly like in the movies... Someone said something or I saw something that brought me back to my Kenyan experience.

* First and foremost, how weird is it to wake up in your own room, in your own bed, and not knowing where you are? It's very confusing, trust me. It took a good while to remember that I was home... and this didn't happen to me in any of the hotels I stayed in, or ever before!

* When I first brushed my teeth, I felt like something was missing... Water. Or more specifically, a water bottle. In Kenya, as per the travel clinic's orders, I used a water bottle to wet my toothbrush as well as to rinse my mouth after cleaning my teeth.

* More water woes... I'm so used to taking a sip or two of water when I was my face or in the shower. It was very hard for me to remember NOT to do that while I was in Kenya. Again, the travel clinic instilled fears of getting sick from the tap water deep down into my core. Good job!

* What about water pressure? There are places here where your water pressure isn't that great... namely cheap hotels or apartments. Luckily, the hotel was pretty good about strong shower streams, though there were times when the water would randomly stop, and sometimes you had to turn the tap completely to get a decent flow. Some places, even that didn't solve the problem. It made me wonder how people feel clean, especially when you have to wash that red Nairobi soil off the soles of your feet.

* Hey, guess what! I can plug my laptop directly into the wall! Yes, after 2 weeks of using adapters "African-style", as someone put it, it came as a bit of a surprise to me to be able to just plug it in. The "African-style" comment came after the porter helped us with my so-called universal adapter. Unfortunately, all the plugs at the hotel were UK, and my adapter was stuck on Europe. Cheap plastic! After trying to find us a spare adapter somewhere in the hotel, he took one look at mine, grabbed a pen cap, and pressed down the trigger in the top hole before inserting my European adapter into the UK plug. Fantastic! Only in Africa...

* My mom and I were lounging in the backyard when she said something about one of her plant attracting bees. I flashed back to the bee-keeping project we visited in rural Mombasa... I promise to tell you all about it later.

* I went for a drive a couple of days after I got back, or possibly even the day after I got back. I was at a stop sign and trying to figure out what the car opposite to me was going to do: go straight or turn. You know Montreal drivers. They rarely signal, especially on suburban streets! I tried to make eye contact with the driver and it took a few seconds before I understood why I wasn't reading any signals... I was staring at the passenger! Note to self: Drivers sit on the right in North America, not on the left.

I'm sure there were other moments that reminded me of life in Africa, but these are the fun that I noted. Spending time away from your reality also makes you realize what's important to you and what's not. Sorry, Perez. You didn't make the cut!

No comments:

Post a Comment