Amy: Expat Diaries Africa and Abroad
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Kenya, etc.
Hi, I’m Amy. British on paper, Kenyan by heart — or at least that’s how I tend to describe myself. Originally British, I have lived in Kenya all my life with family who settled out there after their wedding.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
After university I went back to Kenya to start working. All of my friends from around the world kept asking me for updates, and then it dawned on me — why not write a blog and answer everyone’s questions at the same time? I haven’t looked back since.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
I am obviously quite biased about my blogs as I love them all. But I think my favorite ones are the ones which remind me about what it’s like to live there. Here are my top three:
Tell us about the ways your new life in Kenya differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
I constantly have culture shocks when moving from the UK to Kenya; the countries could not be more different! I think one of the biggest ones has to be driving — it’s terrifying! It’s definitely a country which takes a while to get used to but once you do you won’t ever want to leave.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Kenya? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
Personally I was okay as I moved when I was little, but I currently see people worry about cars and making sure you can get one as cheaply as possible. So looking into that before heading out there is good idea.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
I think the one that keeps coming back is — do not be friends with monkeys! There are a group of monkeys who live next to our house and they have become very good at distracting our guests while they steal from you. Usually this is done while they bring into view a little baby a few weeks old and everyone oohs and ahhs at it; in the meantime of course the bigger ones are already sneaking around the back and into your kitchen to steal everything they can get their hands on.
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Kenya?
- Do some research on where to live before you go.
- Make sure that you have had a look into work visas. They are not easy to get and can be a complete hassle if you don’t have company sponsorship.
- Don’t bother taking malaria tablets, if you start you will never stop and they are more detrimental to your health in the long run.
How is the expat community in Kenya? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
Not at all, everyone is really friendly and welcoming. Most people are in the same boat and dealing with the cultural differences that the country has and laughing about the situations you find yourselves in. I would suggest joining a country club (either Muthaiga or Karen) as it’s the easiest way to meet people.
How would you summarize your expat life in Kenya in a single, catchy sentence?
Whether you are being mugged by monkeys or burgled by baboons, there is never a dull moment in Kenya.