Thursday, June 9, 2011

Journey to Kenya

June 8th 2011
Detroit to Amsterdam

I am flying through foreign air with foreign strangers bound for a foreign place.

I sit next to an elderly German man who has a very polite style and an accent so thick I sometimes find myself just nodding and smiling at what he says (even if I’ve asked him to repeat it twice).

We left Detroit a few minutes behind schedule because the crew tried to cool off the cabin before we boarded. It worked a bit, I suppose, but the warmth still slid into my neck and stomach, churning my insides and squeezing my stomach.

I pointed the air right on my face, letting the coolness calm me as we took off. A few minutes later, I saw something else on the mini TV in front of me that would calm me as well. My favorite show: Law and Order SVU.

As darkness fell over the wings and windows, a voice came over the speaker asking all passengers to close their shades. I found this an odd request since it was already dark outside and the light wouldn’t bother anyone. Three hours later I understood, as we crossed time zones and the sun rose again.

I’m in a part of the sky where the sun rises right after it sets, switching time zones like a set of clothes, trying on something so new (but old), hoping it fits.

Amsterdam to Nairobi

An empty seat between me and this sweet Canadian lady is a blessing for us both as we pile up our luggage and stretch our feet out in front of us.

Two meals later, my stomach tightens as I anticipate seeing my mom and dad.

June 9th 2011

I waited in line for my Visa, hoping I didn’t need proof of my vaccinations (as I forgot them in Phoenix). He stamped my passport, took my money, and pointed me to baggage claim downstairs.

I watched for my two green suitcases. I saw the first 50 pound bag and hauled it off the belt onto a cart I had found. I grabbed the second 52 pound bag and did the same. Two Kenyan security men stood behind me and watched. I swear they were laughing at the white girl lift her heavy baggage.

I walked outside to a huge crowd of Kenyans all shoved up against one another. I kept scanning until I saw a pair of very big white arms wave at me.

I rounded the corner and could already see my mom tearing up. We took turns hugging each other and letting our eyes get watery.

I was introduced to Willy, a friend of my parents, who drove us home through dark bumpy streets, past shanty towns and locals out for walks.

A kitty named Patches greeted us at the door, licking my heels and chasing shadows as I sat to write this entry.

Mom gave me a tour and showed me how to use certain things- like don’t try making coffee if someone is taking a shower, unless you want them to have a cold shower… then I watched a spider crawl up the wall… hm.

“It just feels so right to have you here,” my mom says with a hug.

I couldn’t agree more.

I’m home.


  1. Love the picture in my head of you & your mom greeting each other . . .

  2. We are so happy for you. Enjoy your time with Mom and Dad. Take care and God Bless all of you.
    Pappa and Grandma

  3. Wow girl! What a blessing to read about your experience. I am so looking forward to Kenya and I am learning so much from you about what to expect and how to enjoy it :-)
    Love ya,

  4. I loved reading this, Tarrin. It is so true that home is whereever we are loved unconditionally. Enjoy being home with your mom and dad. Love, Aunt Alma

  5. you are a tremendous writer. you moved me. you made me laugh, cry, and smile with familiarity. What a exceptional experience you have been given. live it up. breathe in every single second. and give my sister a huge hug! :-)

  6. i know Ms Teacher, it's "an exceptional". type. :-)