Knowing myself, it’s weird, but lately I feel almost physically ill when I stay indoors for more than a couple of days at a time. Given the choice between a late night out- even with friends I know I’d have fun with-, and a quiet night by myself, watching a comedy series or anime, I usually chose the latter without question.
That’s not the case nowadays.
After the rerun of TEFB Mboya, some of the cast and crew decided to go out for drinks, and even though I knew I’d have to be up early the next morning to transport our set items, costumes and props, I was excited to celebrate the end of a successful show.
I dragged along my best friend, at who’s place I was to sleep over, promising we’d stay for only an hour of dancing and drinking.
And I enjoyed myself so much that when it was time to leave, I begged my bestie to stay a half or so more- which we did; and I would’ve pushed for even more if only both of us didn’t have early heavy mornings waiting for us.
I still do love the familiar, but lately, it feels more like a parachute to merely land back on and not a destination to get to again and again. I am game to trying out more and more things that feel out of the norm for me if I’m even just a tad curious about them.
Part of this was triggered by something someone said during a project called 36.5- A Durational Performance with the Sea. As part of location scouting, not only did I discover amazing places I had no idea existed (some further than I could have possibly known and some so close, I was disappointed I hadn’t ventured towards them before), I also became deeply aware of how much of the world I am yet to see!
In one of the conversations we kept having about water and our relation to it, someone said something about the world being 70% water and only about 30% land. It’s a fact I know and watching Blue Planet, it amazes me with how little humanity has explored the earth still, even with centuries of travel and exploration. Something about hearing that fact at the time hit me profoundly, and I pictured my tiny tiny location, against the much larger map of what was really only 30%; and I felt a sudden overwhelming sadness! That I give so much power to my worries, and that they keep me doubting and procrastinating so many things, as if I have all the time in the world. I know that no matter how long I live, I will see only a fraction of what I want, but surely, there’s no reason the fraction cannot be larger!
This urgency is what made me so much more excited than afraid of taking a night swim with Zoe, one of the chics on the team. It’s what got me up for an early morning swim with both her and Sarah even though my body wholly wanted to stay in bed; and that morning swim was well worth it!
This whole shift also partly led into my moving to Ngong Town: a place I had been to only once and that is by all means very far from Nairobi town. I have timed all my commutes thus far and none has ever been less than an hour. Ngong Road is brutal and I know for sure I couldn’t handle it if it was a daily thing.
When I’d first written this, I had weighed the option of having moved to a place like Gachie or Ruiru instead; and Ngong, though far, had still ranked highly mainly because among other great things, it was truly the most exciting. The view of Ngong Hills and the wind turbines when driving into the town is quite something too!
One and a half months later however, I am getting doubtful whether the lush green, clean air and general good vibes of this place truly make up for how far it is. Part of me is considering moving sometime in February or March to a place much nearer to town yet the other part feels like I could still find a way to make it work from here.
The distance is definitely tolerable because I’m not doing a daily commute but more than that, I haven’t explored this place enough to be sure I would actually like to live somewhere else. And it feels like a mighty shame to have moved here, excited at the delicious strangeness of it all, only to leave without having known more about this place.
I have yet to go up Ngong Hills to see the towering turbines up close or even try hiking the length of the hills even though they’re so close by. I have yet to get myself a bicycle and ride along the picturesque southern bypass; something I badly want to do and will brave that highway for goddammit!
I have yet to go inside the Murumbi Art Gallery on Kenyatta Avenue even though I feel such a deep sense of gratitude towards him and the art collection he left behind; some of which I managed to have a look at on a visit to Nairobi Archives (a visit which had already been long overdue).
There is so much of the world to see even close by and it suddenly feels so wasteful to not experience as much as possible, in favor of the familiar. Leaving the house almost always makes me anxious but of late, I am always somewhat happier being back after an exploration.
I say and maintain that I do not like Nairobi. I might even come close to saying I hate it, but I cannot deny that there are many equally beautiful and exciting things to explore within. And I look forward to discovering so much more of that hereafter.
Featured image by : Mae