These words stay in my mind often: “You’ll need coffee shops and sunsets and road trips, airplanes and passports and new songs and old songs, but PEOPLE more than anything else. YOU WILL NEED OTHER PEOPLE and you will need to be that other person to someone else, a living, breathing, screaming invitation to believe better things.” – Jamie Tworkowski
I have needed people my whole life… A doctor when I am sick, a call home to my parents when I’m frustrated, a late night with my best friend when I’m having trouble understanding my circumstances. And that’s great. Relationships can be so enriching! The reality though is that my life in the US allowed me to be wildly independent. If I wanted to go a couple weeks without speaking to another human I probably could have.
Well.. Guess what! I can’t do that here 🙂 I don’t know how to do much of anything for myself. The expat experience has been compared both to going through puberty and being a toddler. My experiences in the US aren’t necessarily helpful. I am, in some ways, starting over. Definitely humbling.
I need the people around me. Before I moved, I began reading a book called “Turning International” that touches on some of the issues expats face when moving abroad. The book mentioned that during your first weeks and months abroad, everything may seem harder than it should. I didn’t understand it then, but I’m starting to now:
- Ordering delivery food for dinner, but not being able to explain to the delivery man where your house is… and of course it doesn’t show up on his GPS. “Hi, can you meet us somewhere?”
- How do I get my phone to work? How do I turn my TV on?
- Why did the water stop running? Am I really using that much water? Is something leaking?
- How much money is that in US dollars?
- How do you say ____ in Luganda? Did I say it right?
- When you say it starts at 7, does it actually start at 7, or is that just when I should start getting ready?
- What is this food?
- Why is the traffic so bad?
It’s been a crazy, hilarious, exhausting beginning to a new adventure! I’m so thankful to have friends in Kampala who have been along for the ride and have been there for me through it all. It is so reassuring to have people texting me to check on me. “Do you need anything?” and “Did you turn on the porch light before you got in bed?” have become my new love language. 🙂 Accepting help is hard for me because it requires vulnerability. One of my friends told me last week that this experience is going to make me stronger because it’s making me weak and building me up again in different areas. It’s an opportunity to grow.
And it’s been super fun!! Although it’s been challenging, it’s been everything I had hoped for and more. Some insights into my new adventure:
Left to right 🙂
- Lunch at work each day
- Spending time with some of my favorite ladies! Trip alum from the Drake-MUBS partnership.
- My new apartment
- Seeing Salvado perform comedy with coworkers
- Enjoying a national holiday by relaxing at the Red Chilli Pool
- Making the most of a weekend by visiting Kikandwa and spending time with the kids!
Until next time!!