Home…it means different things to different people. For some it may be their current place of stay, or a destination they have felt so drawn to that they would love to call it home. For some its where their family is and for me that is exactly what I think of when I think of home. Except my home is in a different continent – in Africa.
I grew up in Kenya, in Mombasa until I was 16 and then in Nairobi, where my parents still live. For me, when I miss home, or talk about going home it is always to Kenya. I love London but for me home is most definitely Kenya. I do get the off confused look when I tell people I am from Kenya or my home is in Kenya as I look (heritage is) Indian.
It is because my ancestors set up home in Kenya many generations ago so for me home is Kenya and not India. I have only been to India a handful of times and even though the traditions and culture is familiar, it doesn’t feel like home as I have never lived there and cannot relate to it as our way of life is completely different.
After I got married 6 years ago, home became 2 homes. My parent’s home and my in laws home. Trips back home are always split equally (as fairly as we can make it) between the two. What is special is that they both live in different parts of Kenya (my in laws live in Mombasa) so our ritual has now been to spend our time between the two.
First my parents home. Located in Muthaiga, in Nairobi Kenya right opposite and next to a golf course, the house is pictured below and is where I have lived in since I was 16.
I still have my own room and it is exactly how it has always been, complete with random posters and dodgy fashion mistakes in my wardrobe which I can’t bring myself to throw away. It is also full of memories of sleep overs, nights in, studying for exams, happy times and sad times and just is and always will be my room.
I have lots of pets. Current status is 7 tortoises, 2 parrots, 5 cats, fish and 4 dogs. Here are some of them pictured below.
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We are crazy about animals in our home and any stray or rescue animal ends up a permanent resident in our home. We have in the past also had budgies, love birds, an owl, a duckling, hamsters and rabbits.
Sometimes you get the occasional monkey visiting too!
My favourite part of going home is spending time with my parents (pictured below), family and especially my nana and nani. My parents will always be my number one loves and the support they give me is incredible. They are always so proud of me and have been my best friends forever. There is nothing my parents don’t know about me and they can always second guess my emotions, even from a different continent.
Every lunch time is reserved for lunch at my nana and nani’s house as much as I can make it. It is my favourite part of my trip as their home is also somewhere which is filled with childhood memories. When we lived in Mombasa, every school holiday we would visit Nairobi and stay with them and spend time with them and all my cousins.
I have a special spot in my heart for my nana and he has been my role model every since I was young. He has accomplished so much in his life, in terms of business, philanthropy, social responsibility and leadership and he even has a PhD!
My second home is where mum and dad number 2 live aka my in laws. Part of our routine is flying from Nairobi to Mombasa, which is a short flight, and arriving at the airport always brings with it a different feeling. A warm feeling that I have now arrived at my other home.
Mum and dad 2, (pictured below), live in Kizingo, Mombasa, right opposite the famous Lighthouse area of Mombasa.
Just like my parents, they also live opposite a golf course and have the additional bonus of amazing sea views too! This is where my husband grew up all his life.
Having visited their home every year for over 6 years, this has become and feels like home to me too. So many occasions have been celebrated together here and I know where everything is in the house and we also have our own room which feels like our room too.
I love the familiar breeze and the views of the Indian Ocean from their balcony, the smell of the tea being brewed, the food mum 2 makes for us and how comfortable I feel in their, but also now our home. They have made me feel so at home and every year I really look forward to being there.
It feels really nice to have 2 homes to go to whenever we travel back to Kenya and whenever I am homesick it is for both homes.
From the terrace of their home you can also see the actual Lighthouse and sunsets are spectacular from this viewpoint. It is so serene and peaceful up here too.
A short distance away from their home along the promenade at Lighthouse, are the famous street food vendors, selling mouthwatering dishes such as Mogo, coconuts, barbecued corn on the cob and grilled sweet potato. I never miss out on eating this and if you are visiting Kenya, this is a must eat!
So there you have it. Home is Nairobi and Mombasa for me and will always be.
Have you visited anywhere and it’s sparked off such a strong feeling in you that considered moving there? Are you an expat, when and why did your new city start to feel like home? Have you ever moved somewhere completely new on a whim? What makes somewhere feel like home? People, places, food?
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