Friday, June 20, 2008

Nairobi the Chilly

Once upon a time, there was a girl who wore a kilt to school that was so short it was nicknamed “the tennis kilt.” The girl wore her kilt to school everyday regardless of how hot or cold it was outside. During the summer, she wore her knee high blue socks pushed down and bunched up at her ankles, while in the winter she wore stockings or tights to keep her otherwise bare legs warm. Rumors of snow, wind chill, or or thermometers frozen at -10° Celsius weren’t enough to scare her into wearing pants – she could brave the cold. She was Canadian.

Many years later, this little girl grew up and moved to countries that didn’t have snow, black ice, or wind chill issues. She learned to embrace life at 28°C, and put away her sweaters, socks, and scarves in favour of tank tops, sandals, and sunscreen. Over time, the girl forgot about her childhood and her memories of the cold faded into the past.

Then winter arrived in Nairobi and the temperature plummeted to a freezing 12°C. Shaken by this change in the normally stable pattern of perfect weather, the girl at first did nothing. But slowly she noticed that the people around her were wearing jackets and that her toes were becoming blue. “It will pass,” she told herself through chattering teeth.

Slowly the girl began to face reality and took her socks out of storage. With the feeling inching back into her frostbitten feet, she sighed and pulled a warm cotton cardigan on over her fashionable sundress. As if by magic, the cold seemed to recede and the girl even contemplated closing the windows.

Days turned into weeks and the girl began to remember how great she looked in sweaters and how cute toe socks were. Snuggled under her Irish wool blankets, she nodded in a superior fashion at the forethought that had her pack such un-Kenyan clothes all those years ago. Nairobi was still cold but the girl’s heart was growing warmer with thoughts of her upcoming visit to a country that understood that June meant warm weather.

The moral of this story is that life at one degree south of the equator doesn’t mean that you left winter behind you. It just means that you should have left for home leave two weeks ago!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hah! Cold is cold anywhere you live--but it is relative:)