Yeah, me too.
This is gonna be more of a rant than tea, so buckle up!
It has been one month since I landed in this foreign country. I would say that time flies, but that wouldn’t quite be correct because ten days after getting here, I felt like it had already been a month. Now it has been a month. Right now, I am in the lobby of the residence hall because I cannot stand being in my room, partly because I am PMSing, partly because I hate my roommates.
That is an exaggeration perhaps. Seriously though, I miss having my own space…
The academic aspect of my school is quite challenging, I must say. I was in the middle of studying logic when my brain stopped working and demanded that I start writing this. Each day, I have to study for the next day’s class or I will end up bullshitting and consequently attaining horrible grades because we are graded based on participation in class. Come to Minerva, they said. There are no exams, they said. Well, it is quite interesting to be in exam mode all day every day, innit? Kids here are quite smart by the way. Until everyone raises their hand in class and says the exact same thing. Again, and again. The professors let them because of involvement, participation and shit. That sometimes does not work for me because I detest pointless repetition, and I zone out when it comes to that point of the conversation, or I simply sit out the discussion. How are the courses? What course am I doing? All of them. Which one might I major in? I do not know yet. I do know though that I enjoy arts and humanities, and natural sciences and social sciences are a nightmare. I hate them so much. I wish I could drop them, but I cannot because they are compulsory. All. Year. Long. One of the things that sometimes makes me feel like I should have written the damn common app essay and gone to a traditional school. I am waiting to see how it plays out.
Culture. That is such a broad word in a place where students come from x number of countries (where x is greater than 50 but less than 100). Everyone here has an accent, I am not even kidding, and it is not an American accent. This paragraph, juu ya hio story, is going to discuss language and accents particularly. Sometimes I find it adorable how most people are struggling not having English as their native language. It is interesting to consider. Their languages sound so interesting and mysterious…then I think that they feel the same way whenever we speak in Swahili, and they get confused when we mix it with English because they can’t figure out what language exactly that is. (We really need to learn proper Swahili as Kenyans by the way… can’t go around here speaking pidgin Swahili!) There is, however, one common characteristic of all the people around here trying to speak English…they are adapting (or attempting to adapt) the American accent.
(Digress: Now people are singing happy birthday to an unknown person behind me. Loudly. Screaming. The lobby on a Saturday night was not a well-thought-out idea of an escape room. Will they have cake? Should I turn around? No. But I feel awkward just being here. Should I leave? No. I will just stay here. Not turn, not take off my earphones, not leave. Maybe if I ignore them, they will go away. Sleep, humans!!!)
That annoying intonation that has only commas in the sentences and sounds like one is asking a question instead of saying something. Where are your goddamn full stops, bitch! Why do all your sentences sound like a question!!! Then I catch myself using the same intonation when communicating and I want to die. It disgusts me to the end of the earth, but it is the easiest way to communicate, because worse than that is having someone ask you over and over, “Pardon? What? Could you say that again?” I thrive on minimal interaction with strangers so the best way to end the interaction is what I will take any day…..Oh and the rambling! On and on about how your day was and who you went with to wherever or what you have done and what you have not done in preparation for classes tomorrow. Did I ask you? No. why are you volunteering all this information? I swear, these kids can talk my ears off!
(Bryson Tiller sounds so good this time of the night by the way….Imma play this song till I run him dry….)
I miss having my own room more than anything. More than Kenyan food. That’s how you know it’s bad. I am living with two only children who have no evident sense of personal responsibility or maintenance of shared spaces. I basically go around tiptoeing so that I do not invade their personal space, or annoy them, or make them feel uncomfortable in any way. But these kids keep shedding their damn hair in the bathroom and leaving the floor wet! What part of the pink stickies I put on the mirror is hard to understand? Are you comfortable showering in such a gross space? Why, why, why would you comb your hair and leave it in a ball on the floor? Why won’t you dispose of your trash responsibly and empty the goddamn bin? I do not have OCD, but I just like to have a clean space, especially when nothing else seems to be under control. Except that that is very rare. And why, why would you make your goddamn phone calls at night while I am reading after you are done reading? At midnight? In the room? What the hell is wrong with you??? It sucks. It really sucks.
(Can the guy on the piano not hear the piano loud enough? Does he have to blast it like those Rongai mats? No one in the lobby, or the entire residence hall, is gonna be louder than the piano, ever, so calm the fuck down !!!)
Maybe I need to calm down.
(Ten minutes later)
I am back!
The food is good. For the last week, I have been using a certain app to buy food from local restaurants and I have been disappointed only once. These guys really do a good job with the portions. Occasionally I cook, and it almost always is a dish that reminds me of home. I do not yet know how to cook shrimp and to bake cakes and pies, but I must learn. Admittedly, cooking is more therapeutic than I had anticipated it would be. Before this, I hated cooking. Now, I don’t mind it so much, especially when I am alone in the kitchen. Again, these kids can be very messy and disgusting, piling up dishes and cooking stuff. I like to have my own space, time and music when I am cooking. It also allows me to track what I am eating because I have been slacking off on joining the gym, so I might as well watch this end of the spectrum.
(I thought of our bathroom and just lost my thought train for some time. I need to clean that cave tomorrow. Where were we?)
I heard one time that people do some mad shit when they are lonely. Looking back at all the major wrong decisions I have made in my life, especially to do with romantic relationships, I can attest to that. It is hard to think straight when you need to be with someone specific, but you cannot be with them, not when and how you want to. That shit can drive me crazy, drive me to look for the person in other people and end up with half-cooked, half-baked interactions. It is also hard to maintain friendships because most of my friends are in Kenya, and conversation is almost always limited to empty questions and surface-level inquiries when I want to discuss life in depth, but it does not feel right. Then, there is the assumption that if the relationship does not work, I will be the one who cut it off, because I am, by virtue of leaving, the offending party. It is up to me to keep connections and reach out to people. But how do you reach out to people who do not show the same energy? That’s just sad and I don’t think I have that kind of resilience.
(Perhaps Rihanna’s Take Care is not the best song right now….)
Kenyans have good music. We may have a lot of trashy music that consists of no content, but I think that we do have good music, and we are amazing dancers. Never ever going to a party where I am jumping around to a song. What even? Are we in preschool? Then again, I may be biased because I love dancing, therefore, the beats in a song are essential to my paying attention. (We may need to discuss why I will not listen to deep music…seems like there is some unpacking there to do…)
I love the fact that I can wear anything I want to. I have always been of the idea that ladies or men should wear whatever they want to without worrying about men or fellow ladies trashing them. Obviously, I have not fully adapted to this, because part of me still feels exposed and judged when I wear what I want to. Part of me waits to hear the catcalls and abuses that I have grown accustomed to hearing, ignoring, holding my breath until I am away from that pack of humans. That is an area I am willing to explore.
This was longer than expected, yet I still have more to say. If you have come this far, bless your little heart. This is what it is like. Studying abroad is hard. Studying is hard, and I hate that I must do it, but whatever. I think it will get better.
It needs to get better.
I need to write more often though.