If you even half know me, you know how much I love travelling, but can you really blame me when my traditional maiden name is ‘Nyagothie’?? lightly translates to ‘wakwenda’ in English ‘she that’s on the move’. And come to think of it, I’ve been on the move since my birth; living in about 4 cities during my childhood. But this name came to life when I turned 19; and boarded the flight to Paris. See, am a middle-class Naivashan girl, and boarding planes to different places every now and then is not something that us average Naivasha girls do, so you’ll understand why I was excited for my first flight at 19.
August 24, 2017 was the day. I was so excited that once I hugged my family goodbye at the Terminal 1A entrance, I didn’t look back like they do in the movies. I just dragged my suitcases along and moved to check-in. If only I knew! Once the plane took off, I cried y’all. Like you see that action where streams of a watery substance flows from your eyes, yes, actual crying. Thank heavens am not an ugly crier otherwise it would have been so messy. I cried as I felt uprooted; uprooted from all I had known all my life, uprooted from all my friends, all my family, all my support system. That was the first time I really felt alone. Here I was, staring at the dark skies in a huge ass plane headed to a land I knew not; hell, I didn’t even have the full mastery of the language they spoke there.
How was I supposed to survive this? I knew not.
Looking back in retrospect, if someone had told me that I would love it being that far away from home, I wouldn’t have believed them. If someone would have told me I’d be a solo traveler moving and financing my travels alone; I’d have called them off as crazy. But here I am. A broke school girl from a middle-class Kenyan family mingling with kids of the high and mighty from all over the world. Then you tell me dreams don’t come true?
I remember that young girl with the blue and white checked Milimani uniform; carrying that heavy bag full of Golden Tips series texts books. How relentless she was. She had such a future in mind for herself. She was a dreamer, nothing could bring her down. She knew what she wanted in this life and she was gonna get it. This was her plan; she would sit for he KCPE, be among the best students in the country, head to a reputed national school (Alliance/Starehe Girls), sit for her KCSE, get a strong straight A grade, head to Harvard/Oxford, do an undergrad, finish it up, do a law degree, excel in both, and end up being a judge in the ICC. Yeeeeeaaaahhhh…. you can tell just what a great fan of lists I am.
I had all these lined up. Step by step. Up to the Starehe Girls’ part, everything seemed to be going as planned; and to be following the schedule.
Until the KCSE results came out…then the list crambled. Then life taught me that it went as it wished and there was little I could do about it. Remember I was to be a great justice of the International Criminal Court, JAB decided otherwise and placed me in a Chemical Engineering course at JKUAT. I was devastated y’all. I was literally watching my dreams go to the bin.
Then, while debating with my parents on why spending twice my precedented tuition money on a parallel law degree was a great option (they were not having any of it btw) Equity Bank came through. My light at the end of the tunnel.
And just like that, I got a way out. I was gonna study abroad. And since I had not learnt my lesson about over-planning and putting all my eggs in one frail basket; I went ahead and refocused allllll my energy in my college applications. I can literally count the number of times I attended my JKUAT classes; they don’t exceed 10. I had almost dropped out of the course, just sitting for the CATs and exams and drifting by.
Then, the college applications replies came through; and guess what, your once overly intelligent smart index 1 girl had gotten 0 admissions and 3 waitlists and 1 deferral. My heart sunk. On the other hand, I was having about 5/9 supps in my JKUAT courses. I was done for. How was I to tell my parents that I had been washing their tuition money down the drain and that in addition to this; I needed more money to resit my failed classes; oh… and that the money they put into my applications had evaporated as I had no admission to a single school?? Hoooow now…just how? Do you see how people say between a rock and a hard place, well for me, it was a rock and nothing. Darkness.
As if all this was not enough, my non-academic life was up in flames; break-ups over break-ups. I had just but a single human I could call a friend at this point. And that’s when I was like, you know what, when everything fails, go back to the source; and for me my source is my mom. So I ran back to my mother and moved back in with her for a couple of weeks. This woman eh, she’s just an angel. Even without explaining, she seemed to understand my sorrows. I remember one day she was praying for me and she goes ‘God, I have no idea what’s ailing my daughter’s heart, but Lord, just heal her for me’ and I just broke down. Am telling you guys, crying is a soul cleanser (highly recommend it; for both genders. Men, don’t let the stereotypical gendered notions keep you from cleansing your soul of the ache and pain; cry it out). I cried so hard; and when I was done, I felt so light. It was as though all the burden and disappointment and discouragement had just been washed down stream by the river of tears.
I decided to go back to JKUAT, to study and not just study but study harrd; if I was going to be a chemical engineer, I would be the best there ever was. I changed everything, even my apartment and furniture (story for another day) and then I studied.
My people, if something is meant to be, it will be. I remember this day. I was busy studying Organic chemistry and trying to understand the different bond structures. My phone beeped, and when I checked it, I just went silent. For like 5 minutes, staring at the phone; reading and rereading the email. I had just been accepted to MasterCard Scholarship Program at Sciences Po; one of the most prestigious scholarship programs on the continent. I rubbed my eyes so hard; just in case I was reading everything wrong; then reread it.
I remember I decided to sleep on it first, and not tell anyone, just in case it was an error of sorts. Lol!!
Then, the next day when I was 100% sure it was no spam, I shared the news. And at that point, I felt it; that feeling that you will be just fine; even if things didn’t go as planned, you’ll do just fine, I felt that.
If you wondering what this over-sharing girl wants you to grasp from all this; this is it; life never goes as planned. And the fact that it never does, doesn’t mean you’ve failed at it. No! life has different variables and derivatives; different formulas to try and solve it, and no matter what method/ formula you use, you’ll still get the answer, and if you don’t you’ll have learnt some interesting concepts in the process. Don’t force things. My dad and I have this saying; ‘tugeeka maria meekeka, maria marema tugatigana namo’ translates to; ‘we do what we have the ability to, and what we are unable to, we leave’. Do your best! That’s all that matters. As long as you gave it your all, all is good. And you know, the mistake we all do is to assume we’ll live forever. My friend, we are mortal. And life is just so short. And its never that serious. Even if we did live forever, would you be happy to have to spend eternity living the way you’re living now?