Monday, May 2, 2011

Between Tears and Laughter All Day

I realized at some point today that I keep switching between being on the verge of tears and laughing out loud. This back and forth pretty much depicts how I feel in general about leaving.

It’s a holiday here, Kenyan Labor Day. So it’s actually pretty quiet out there. I zipped down to the office at Daystar to get a few things done. It’s the best time since no one is around.

I decided to stop at Yaya Mall on the way home – I just needed one or two items from the store. As I walked in the entrance I heard in a little Kenyan accent, “Hi Auntie Jan!” I looked up to see two “nephews” who were killing time by walking up to the mall and back from home. The greeting came from my friend Marta’s 13 year old adopted son who is absolutely delightful. As I walked away I thought about how I would miss such a greeting when I’m back in the US.

As I was choking back the tears, a few paces later and I saw the former Vice Chancellor from Daystar. We hadn’t seen each other in months as he now works at a different university. We exchanged warm greetings and I let him know I was leaving soon. I told him to greet his wife for me in case I don’t see her before I go. (She still teaches at Daystar.) I walked away nearly laughing at God’s kindness for a “chance” meeting of Prof Nguru when I had not even wished or expected it, yet such a welcomed meeting.

When in the mall I spotted a striking woman with very unique hair. I would bet she was Ethiopian, based on her features, but her hair was something between an elaborate Ethiopian style and dreadlocks. She was beautiful! When she caught me looking at her, I smiled at her and she gave me a genuine smile back. I thought about how people in America will often tell you off for looking at them and would probably never smile. I thought I will miss this. Another small sadness.

I dashed through the shop and headed out the door when someone else called my name. A friend I needed to pick something up from. It was such perfect timing. Another happy blessing.

So it goes for this nostalgic gal. I will spend the rest of my days here going back and forth between happy and sad, pleasure and distain. Then I will get a plane and travel for 24 hours with no sleep and I will be even more emotional upon arrival.

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