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Monthly Archives: September 2014

360 days of autonomy

Me: Mom, I’ll be moving out next month

Mom: Okay

Me: I’m serious mom

Mom: Okay

(I had attempted this several times and it didn’t work out, I could understand her doubts, she probably never thought I had the balls to leave the nest)

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End of the month

Me: Mom, I have found that house I was looking for

Mom: Where is that?

Me: Along Thika Road (Anyone who does not live in Muthaiga or Garden estate uses this standard reply, lol)

Mom:  Is it safe?

Me: Yes it is, plus I live near a police station.

Mom: What about water?

Me: Water is not a problem.

Mom: Have you paid the deposit?

Me: I haven’t but I am paying so that I can move in on Saturday.

Mom: Why the hurry then? I am not throwing you out of here. Why don’t you stay until January and move out then? At least you will have saved something and these Friday outings you need to reduce too to achieve that.

Me: No, I think I am now ready, I have procrastinated on this for too long now.

Mom: Don’t be rash, think through it furthermore January is not far away.

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Me: Cuz, I plan to move out but mom is not too pleased, she would like me to stay until January.

Willy: Do you feel prepared to move?

Me: Yes I am ready.

Willy: Just do it, move!

Me: You know I don’t know how it will be like, starting off from scratch that is, I will only carry with me that suitcase of mine from mom’s.

Willy: Take it like a man, you will survive. But do not suffer in silence we got your back, let us know when you need anything.

Me: Thanks cuz, let me see how this turns out.

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It finally happened after a lot of debating I did finally move out. Over the last 360 days I have come to learn a lot about myself and my friends:

Autonomy

You know how you think, “I will get my place, do what I want, come in whenever I want without answering to anyone?” Well that is a fallacy, I still find myself leaving the bar early, haven’t left when people are cleaning and preparing to close down the place.

You find yourself thinking “what will I eat today, do I cook, should I buy some junk?” Thank God I can make a meal or two.

You know how when given money to go and do shopping you’d just buy things because it is not your money? That changes when you go it on your own, I make this list which I go with for my monthly shopping, I don’t even mind the amused smiles people give when they see me crossing off items. You find yourself thrifty; should I buy one piece Dettol soap or “buy the two get one free” pack, buy which brand of tissue paper. Well the thriftiness will only apply to items which you can be indifferent to the brand, even if Unilever increase the price of Vaseline I still buy it same with Cadbury’s cocoa etc.

You learn how to negotiate with the landlord when you want that extra shelf added. You also learn how to stand up for yourself when someone tries to screw with your stuff or space.

Gradual changes

If you move out like I did, without much of a plan, you need to brace yourself, changes will happen gradually. You will not be able to get everything you want at once, well that is if your budget did not cater for everything.

The things you need to use daily, gas, cooker, hot water kettle, iron box those are to be prioritized. I found that I had a list that ran into over a hundred items. My mother ensured I did not borrow everything; it’s not pinching but borrowing! You never realise how useful something as basic as a salt shaker or sugar bowl is until you want to use one.

My five-year old friend, John was reminding me of the one plastic chair I started off with and how it broke because I was fat hehe. The thing with gradual changes is you do feel the impact of every new addition, I remember dozing off on the couches when I got them…

Friends

The first few months living alone are the hardest. You find yourself in constant communication to kill off boredom; WhatsApp’ing when you make your first meal in your new house, when you do something new. If you are lucky you will have friends who will understand that you are adjusting. When people ask how you are adjusting, you will always say great. Your friends will know that is crap and they will drop in without caring that you don’t have seats and you make the most of the day from sitting on the floor, and that will not deter them from coming again even if it is uncomfortable sitting cross-legged for hours watching a movie from a mono speaker computer… Makena, Wambui, Kash, Kev, Marv, Henry and Tony I salute you.

These are the same people who show up and help you move to that bigger house; free labour no strings attached :-).

Girls

I told my mom how girls hear of where I stay and they pull a Houdini. She visited and told me how even her, if she was a girl and I tried hitting on her she’d never come visiting, not with that amount of dust such that someone from the bunduz would have less dusty feet and you are the one in Nairobi. Well that was in good jest. But yes, your home address does matter to many of the people I meet, someone looks at you and wonders loudly, “why couldn’t you just go to South C or Westlands?” that is the opportunity cost paid right there…

It finally dawned to me “come over for lunch” is not taken at face value but is interpreted in so many ways. So just don’t bother offering, keep that yourself, have one man lunches and drink your beer from the balcony as you watch out for peoples body parts that move when they walk, thank you for that line Chimamanda (Got it from Americanah).

Free food, events and more free food

You find yourself taking up all the events that come up through the weekends, watch a play, visit exhibitions, learn a new skill (I’m finally learning how to play the guitar [not to serenade anyone though]  and make the water my friend, apparently I fight with it too much that is why I cannot stay afloat with grace like Kev, how you make water that is more than a glass “your friend” is still a concept I am finding hard to grasp, but I can now do a back stroke while bear hugging a swimming board) and finally and most importantly free food opportunities that do come your way.

In regard to free real good food there is someone who deserves a special mention. How the universe engineered us knowing each other is absolutely eccentric, but if the end justifies the means, this is already justified (Disclaimer: Do not try this, I cannot guarantee similar results!). Valentines and new underwear or lack of thereof ignited my curiosity enough to want to know who this deviant was. If you are a guy wouldn’t you curious about a lady who doesn’t care about the commercialization of valentines? Dry Red wine for free food? I’m in! Apparently she can cook, things I cannot pronounce without embarrassing myself, so next time someone tells me she can’t cook, I will direct her to someone who has defended a thesis and can put together a pretty decent meal. Alex, your food could not afford to miss out on the highlights of my 360 days.

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All said and done, it is a continuous learning curve. You learn to live with people around you. You get to discover yourself. And the finally get to break loose from your parents’ nest and begin being responsible on your own without need to be told what needs to be done or followed up on.

I hope the next 360 days, will be more of polishing up and fewer trial and error moves/habits. Since I now understand what works and what doesn’t.

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