Jean Akinyi shares her thoughts preparing to leave Kenya for the first time for the Kenyatta University/University of Cincinnati Exchange.

It is six o’clock in the morning, American time. Christine and I lost our sleep at five. We sat staring at each other at odds with the time and the sleeplessness. Is it the excitement or is it our bodies rejecting the idea of being asleep at this time? In Kenya it is around the afternoon.

(The Hampton Inn by Hilton on Vine Street in Cincinnati, OH
– photo credit: Eric Mwangi)

We hear Austin and David in their room adjacent to ours. Christine tries to call them to know whether they are awake; they don’t respond. I decide to do the connection physically. I get out of our room and knock at their door. David opens the door with a grin on his face. We are so excited at seeing each other it’s like we haven’t seen each other in days. I think we are excited that we are all awake at this time; at the same time. I call on Christine and we both go into David and Austin’s room.

We jump onto their beds and talk about our previous evening with Richard Hess. We try to explain to each other in heated arguments at how we can be awake at this time, having been so tired the previous evening. David is eating! Austin is browsing. We have our phones and laptops on the bed. I am happy to be awake at this time anyway. I don’t want to waste a minute asleep.

We chat with friends on social media and listen to international music. At this moment, since we are in America, international music is Kenyan music! Yes a little home makes it all the better. David makes a call to Eric…and they are wide awake. Madam Zippy storms into the room all loud and asking why we woke her up. She gets into the excitement and we all begin talking loudly.

Waking up in America is an experience. It is different. It is new…waking up to Christine. Her face being the first to see. The first person to talk to. It is Sunday. I start my life in America.

(Christine Njeri in the hotel lobby ready to greet the day.)

– Guest contributor: JEAN AKINYI, Kenyatta University, Class of 2016

This entry was published on November 1, 2015 at 2:44 pm. It’s filed under Culture, Food, People, Places and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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