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4 years ago…..

Am I over-reacting?? Is my life slowly crumbling down around me and have I no control over the speed at which this happens?? It’s like I closed my eyes one minute and everything was fine with me being in first year, naïve, loveable and now on opening them I am confronted by everything being in chaos. I have no idea how I’m supposed to get things together. Things WOULD HAVE been together if my friends, those I call my friends, would have helped me out kiasi (a bit). I won’t entirely blame it on my friends but this one rant will be entirely dedicated to them and it begins with…..

…SHAMELESS! What’s the definition of a friend? One who sticks by you through thick or thin?? There have been all these quotes flying about online over the definition of a friend. My favourite one is that quote going round on facebook: a true friend won’t be the one bailing you out of jail but the one seated right beside you. Cracks me up every time. Is my friend seated right beside me?? Well, unfortunately not. Let me begin my story by laying the foundation of my situation during this my final year of undergrad on UoN campus. You see, in this final year I did not manage to get a room on campus and as such have been bunking with my sis and her family who stay about 4km away (very convenient). The only problem is campus is where EVERYTHING happens-if you’re not on campus you won’t know what’s going down – what assignment is due, what CAT is coming up and more recently who won the SONU Student Body elections. So what does one do if they don’t stay on campus? -you ensure you have an eyes and ears on your speed dial. Texts to these eyes and ears read like –

“Hey yo dude, how you been?? So when’s the CAT?”

But on this day mine took a different tune.

“I can’t believe you guys dint tell me thez a CAT AND an assignment due tomorrow?!”

My eyes and ears had failed me. I don’t get it-whenever I have info I feel they’d need to know I spread the word. Can’t I be thought of as well?? Do I not even register in their daily thought processes? Does that mean I value them more than they value me??…. Then the harder questions: am I wasting my time relating with my friends?

This last question is particularly hard to answer….today as I sat and had lunch with a very good friend, Makau-the slightly older and wiser sage, he stated that in 5 years’ time the circle of people around me will have changed drastically. His statement was made in reply to my telling him I wouldn’t want to live abroad because whenever diaspora people come back they never really fit in: their friends don’t know how to relate with them anymore. I don’t want that! I thrive on my relationships! But his message got through – I will lose my friends before 5 years are up. Obviously I adamantly countered saying I’ve known my closest friends since I cleared high school…. but that’s only 5 years and in his books 5 years is a sip from the glass of life.

4 years later…..

Same script, different cast? No.

Sitting in my apartment in Freiberg I can say I learnt my lesson. Having uprooted myself from the comforts of Nairobi and moved across the globe I bet Makau would want to say he told me so. What I did not understand then has finally sunk in. The people around me changing does not mean I lose friendships…entirely. Thinking of it as a Guest house – ‘Gloria’s bed and breakfast’, occupancy changes – some leave, people switch rooms, some move from short to long term leases and some are hermits till they suddenly resurface.

I’m moving off of campus, not by force but by choice this time and I am thankful for the friends I have around me who are making this process of searching for an apartment and moving much easier.

Friendships; I approached it all wrong. They are necessary but they change as we change over time. 4 years down the road I see my faults. Friendships take work to maintain and I realize I am the laziest person in that department. “Am I an introvert?” I have asked myself on multiple occasions when faced with the in vs outdoors decision. Most often than not, a night crashed in bed with a hot cocoa tends to win the bet but yet, other times exist, when I push myself to reach out and end up having the most fruitful and refreshing time I could have wished for. So am I just using the term introvert to hide my indolence? Yes.

3 years down the road I’m learning who I am and these are traits I must accept and then move to change. Is it too late to mould myself into something better? No.

My circle of friends may or may not have shrunk but occupancy has changed; a fact of life.

My being out of the loop back in my undergrad days was totally my fault. Learning how to cultivate meaningful friendships is a valuable trait in life. I am blessed to have people at this current time that I can count on. People I can break down to one night then be tearing up the town with the next day.

What’s my game plan? Giving. It falls down to that. Not of physical possessions ( isn’t that easy), of the intangible – time, empathy, wisdom,….love. Give and it shall be returned – shaken down, pressed together and running over. I am grateful to have family – the God given support system that has never failed me. They are the most amazing people I know. Knowing peoples’ different stories as well, I thank God for the blessings of those I have been honored, and am still honored, to call friends.