It doesn’t take long and I start floating. “Remove the surplus matter”, as the guy in Remainder by Tom McCarthy would say. I had just finished reading the book during breakfast, took my bike and cycled to uni. And I floated. It was very cold but sunny and crisp clear. I knew the way, I didn’t have to focus. I know now where in particular before the corners I have to slow down, and when exactly I have passed that point where I’d tip over if I’d pedal. I know where exactly, when rushing down the bridge, I can pedal again without slowing down the pace with the friction of the pedals. I know when to look left, right or back. I know where I can cut corners and where I better keep on the right side. And I know where to go slow until the red light turns green.

I am just floating along the eight kilometers to uni. And I notice changes and unusualnesses, which means things have become usual to me: the bicycle room got messed up or newly sorted or I don’t know. First there was more space because someone had arranged all the flat tired bikes in a new way. But if that mute boy puts his scooter in, then it gets all crowded again. And someone tinkered with the light. It has a sensor and if you don’t move for one second it goes off. So I have a permanently flickering disco light there always while locking or unlocking my bike. Before the light was just on always. Another everchanging place is the construction site at the university hospital. And when crossing the parking lot of the huge supermarket obviously the cars are always parked differently, and less in the morning or at around noon than when I come back in the afternoon.

I like the way, but I need gloves, and I haven’t gone yet when it was raining. Besides I only had to go twice per week so far. But the fourty five minutes I take have not bothered me yet.

Goats versus Sheep

It is hard to believe, but one month ago I was still somewhere else. However, I knew I would leave soon and started to get used to the idea of farewell by making the following list. (In brackets my thoughts on it today.)

What I’ll miss

  • goats (Here I have sheep and impressive black cows that make a good compensation.)
  • buying almost frozen mala at the milk shop round the corner (There is something like mala here, but there’s nothing like a milk shop.)
  • githeri
  • tapping water
  • watching from 4th floor how women dress and how men carry their children (Watching the school yard from 12th floor is not bad either…)
  • the way advice is asked for, taken and given
  • church songs (I might even miss those most of all the other items.)

What I won’t miss

  • welders (Well, we have leave blowers here.)
  • two hours in public transport to reach the office (Just today I replaced the two hours walk to uni with my new bicycle.)
  • Tom Mboya Street
  • the oily kitchen (The kitchen here is an oily mess, too.)
  • dust – five minutes after cleaning
  • running in circles or in pollution (I started running in one circle only, around the cows and sheep mentioned above.)
  • treating water for drinking
  • Mzungu how are you?
  • Afrosinema
  • preachers

It is expectedly easy to get used to this other lifestyle again now. But apart from the first list, what I miss most seem to be people and the general feeling of being in that place. And that’s a sad good thing, isn’t it?