So having catapulted into 2016 with bags of optimism and energy, how is it really going 3 weeks in?
Well….my parents have been staying, which has been fantastic but the Nairobi weather has slightly let us down. Having promised sunshine my mum packed all of her summer dresses – however the reality is that she’s been wearing jeans and a fleece. Is this unseasonable rain down to El Nino? For the past few days it has felt more like April and the ‘rainy morning‘ traffic has been epic for the past week. We’ve had some lovely chats over coffee and January for me has begun in a fabulously laid back fashion.
So how about those new year goals? I’m ashamed to admit that the detox has not happened. I joined a Whatsapp group of people who were all detoxing for 9 days, but then realised that my parents might not appreciate a green gloop smoothly twice a day so ‘postponed’ my own participation. Fine. The only problem was that I never left the Whatsapp group and frankly, the daily updates made me think twice about doing this detox thing at all.
‘Feeling ill, shaky, not myself, headaches, dreaming of food, starving, short tempered, in a bad mood…’
‘Went to the shops and left all my shopping behind today, not feeling quite all there; in fact I tried opening my front door with my car key’,
… and so it went on. The green juice looked disgusting and so did the snaps of the ‘under 500 calorie’ meals. Honestly, the past 9 days of ‘virtual’ detoxing have felt like a lifetime. And worse, when I saw some of the detoxers, especially after they had done the first 3 days without food, they looked terrible! Bags under their eyes, faces drawn and exhausted, walking dead.
At one point I ordered the detox kit then cancelled my order half an hour later in a fit of nerves. Why? Because I simply can’t see a time when drinking 2 juices a day instead of eating will ever make sense. I mean ever…. AND NO COFFEE! – Oh my goodness – it just sounds so hard! Props to the guys who did 9 days and long may they feel skinny and rejuvenated. Will I be jumping on the bandwagon? Jury is still out.
On the plus side, the two tennis lessons I’ve done have been a LOT of fun. Finding other beginners to play alongside is a real breakthrough so we can all feel better and the best part – my new tennis partner happens to be FRENCH – so that’s the ‘learning French’ goal covered too! First conversational french session takes place next week. What’s the betting that I sit there mute, throat muscles constricted? It’s guaranteed, but at least I’ll be amongst friends.
Going back to the tennis, only in Kenya can you book an hour with a sweet natured coach, who will gently tap balls over the net so that you can practice your inadequate fore and backhand to your hearts desire, saying ‘well done’ when, by some miracle, you don’t bungle your shot. I’m even getting slightly better at not saying ‘sorry’ all the time. Childhood memories of playing tennis are all about saying sorry repeatedly and blushing every 30 seconds. This is probably why I dropped the sport for over 3o years.
Now when I find myself beginning to say sorry, I try to stop myself. Saying sorry every time you hit the ball really takes the joy out of learning to play tennis. We haven’t attempted to play a match yet, but the fact that I got a couple of my practice serves inside the right box yesterday was a big boost for me.
There was a passing low point when the coach was trying to explain the different grips.
‘You should use the hammer head grip’ he said. ‘That is for beginners. When you get a bit better, you can shift your grip around a little in order to put some spin on the ball to challenge your opponent.’ He demonstrated a ball spinning over the net as us beginners gasped in appreciation of his fine skills, before casually adding while looking at me, ‘like your daughter does’.
Dammit, note to self. Find a new coach who does not know my daughter!
Developing the blog
Well I’ve more or less almost managed to migrate the content from my blogspot site to here. That was quite a task I can tell you and I have yet to add images etc. to the old posts. Exporting the content from Blogger was easy, importing it here using the simple ‘Blog importer’ plugin was something else. The main problem is that I am trying to transfer x10 years of content, so over 700 posts and the importer tool only likes 2mb of information at a time (unless you are clever enough to upgrade) – so it has been a little time consuming with many false starts, but I am nearly there.
I also joined Twitter and was only 10 minutes into half hour the Youtube tutorial ‘Twitter for beginners‘ before wandering off to find something more pressing to do. I’ve also got a bit of a handle on Pinterest. Now my gmail inbox is choc full of Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram notifications. Fantastic. I feel so popular! (And totally bemused and seriously wondering if this is all worth it).
It turns out that social media is not particularly addictive after all and your Facebook feed tends to be full of news from people you don’t know. Joining ‘Nairobi Expat Social (NES)‘ Facebook group has pretty much kept my timeline busy 24/7. I started out trying to leave a comment in answer to all of the questions that are posted up there by the minute, but soon gave up as it’s a lot like trying to paint the Forth bridge. Yes, I’ve lived here for 13 years – but ‘no‘, I have to tell myself, I don’t have all the answers. In fact far from it.
There is still also quite a bit more tweaking to do to this site, much of which is far beyond the realms of my understanding of ‘back end’ programming etc. To be honest, I’ve been on a steep learning curve for the past few months with very little to show for it – but I’ll keep plugging away nonetheless.
The year has begun with some fun stuff interspersed with rain, traffic and frequent power cuts. Plus ca change. I’m definitely not complaining. And the travel? A couple of trips are coming up soon so I am feeling excited.