Welcome to America

So, I am here, in this foreign land. And not surprising that this is my first time to leave the beautiful land that I call home. Not that I am homesick or anything yet. But it has been beautiful. Beautiful in the sense that when you get to see new places for yourself, your visual spectrum is magnified into a larger picture, and your mind just opens up to more. Like you know the way you felt when your parents didn’t come for you that one time, and you had to follow your friends all the way to the bus stop, and after they left, you suddenly realised that when you looked up and all around you everything looked so huge, and so confusing and so daunting. This feeling, is one that I will always remember. Unfortunately, I did not have this feeling this time around coz obviously, in my hand I had my mother(Google Maps) But I call her my mother because what would I freaking do without her. How would I survive without her. She is just awesome. She takes me everywhere. Whenever I wanna do some shopping or eat some ice cream or watch a movie, she is always willing to help. What a lovely mother. Unlike the one who I left in Kenya, who told me,”You’ll be fine,” as I walked into the airport, by myself, for the first time, alone. Well I do love her, because she worried too much that I would get lost. And it was her worry that challenged me to not get lost.

cab driver

Well, for starters, I had a taxi cab driver wait for me at the airport and for the first time, (I believe this only happens in the US) he opened the door for me. Oh my God. I almost felt sorry for him. Why did I feel sorry for him? I don’t know. Maybe its coz in Kenya, I would have just stood there outside the door for hours and the driver would have given me the eyes. I know that you know those eyes: They look at you like “Do you want to get in or what??”


I cant bear to stress how dirty I felt once I came to New York. In Nairobi, you don’t ever feel dirty, in fact, you take a shower every day to freshen up on the dust that stuck on your legs as you ran errands in Nairobi the previous day. But here, I looked at these streets, and bent down at them, dragged my fingers on the pavement like a silly boy, and looked at them fingers. Clean as fuck. I looked at the strip of dust that lay on my shoes from Nairobi and felt sick, sick at how this could happen in a city. Well, its New York.

bathroom (2)

As I grabbed the towel at the hostel and headed to the shower, I switched on the water and was struck. Struck not by lightning or by light from above, but struck at the number of shower gels and soap that the hotel staff had provided. As a Kenyan, I am used to that tiny little travel soap that I would see wrapped and useful only for one use. So, I took them, one by one and they were all full. Maybe this is ushamba, but I tried them all, applying a little of one brand followed by a different brand, as the water wiped off one I applied that area with another. Maybe this is what they mean by the American dream. Or not. But well, I am here.

Welcome to America



  1. I always love reading stories of people coming to the U.S. for the first time. It’s always an interesting perspective!

    I guarantee not many Americans would ever describe New York as “clean” haha.

    Looking forward to reading more!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great piece Laurence. I was equally, or just slightly less amazed when i first went to Japan. But a foreign land is a prism through which you learn new cultures, values and systems. All the best at NYC, but in whatever you do, never loose touch of ypur African motherland, because that is where you belong.
    All the best with the culture shock!

    Liked by 1 person

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