That Somali perfume joke….

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While my first year abroad has been a bit harsh in some ways, I have picked up some lessons that I think I should share with you guys. Some of these lessons will leave some of you thinking I’m blunt and boring while others may understand me. This is also an opportunity for me to apologise if I had wronged them in any way below……

Don’t imitate accents…

I’m very ashamed and embarrassed for all those times I have called my Nigerian friends and tried to imitate their accents. My God! I hope they will find it in their hearts to forgive me. My karma has caught up with me. I meant no harm but I should have been smarter. That said, we live to learn.

Let West Africans be

It’s not cute to be known as a con man, drug pedlar or whatever other Kosokoso just because your fellow country man did it. It’s the same Nigeria we curse that has put Africa in the map musically. Living abroad has enabled me to look at things in a different perspective.

The Somali perfume joke is not funny

Why I don’t tell the African story

This one almost got me into trouble. I shared one of those memes we like joking about and a friend actually called up to warn me. About the Somali perfume. I don’t need to describe it further. I know you guys know what am talking about. At first I thought they were too sensitive but after sobering up I realised how insensitive it is.

So what if I shrub

Imagine I can’t laugh at Kikuyu accents ever again. I know it’s tempting but I will pass!

Apology letter to Swedish mosquitoes

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Dear Viking Mozzies,

How are you? Hope you are not too tired from the late night rounds from door to door trying to find a human to suck blood from.

My neighbour’s cat is using me

I understand that your job is not only physically but emotionally draining especially after some of us mercilessly murder your relatives in cold blood. I can’t even begin to picture how painful it is to walk into a room and see your relative stuck on a wall. That’s not something anyone should ever have to live through. I did it. Ok, I do it all the time.

But recently my sins caught up with me. A day after killing one of your own by crushing them between my hands and mercilessly turning them into a piece of art on my wall, I developed a rush. Yaani, I woke up the next day with pimples all over my body. Even on my scalp. And then I began scratching and then I concluded that some of you had attacked me in revenge for what I had done to one of you.

Swedish Mosquitoes tried to murder me

And so I ranted, cursed and told everyone about you. How, you, unlike your cousins in Africa bite and leave marks. Can you believe what I did to your reputation? I know you probably hate me so much. I can imagine how much pain and distress I caused you and ruined your otherwise…eer good..eer …whatever name.

I’m sorry because it turns out that this had nothing to do with you. That this was a virus. The second bout of chicken pox. I suffered chicken pox and blamed you and for that, I totally apologize. However, I would like to ask you for a favor. Can you please attach some weird doctor who could not differentiate between your bites and chicken pox? I will share details of his address once you accept this apology and get back to me.

Swedes are sad, I imported flu!

You don’t need to come to my house. Just write, use smoke signals, horns or any other form of communication you find appropriate. I will appreciate.

Yours truly,

Self-confessed serial killer of your relatives.

Mistakes we make as immigrants

Moving to a new country means that you sacrifice your status as a respectable member of the society and start over as a random human being elsewhere.

You are a nobody, at least that’s how I felt. I think it was even worse for me as a former journalist at the peak of her career.

No one cared and the few people I told probably thought I wrote newspapers in my native language. People out here don’t know what language we speak in Kenya.

And these things can break you and mess yourself esteem but you must always stay strong and remember who you are. Otherwise, you will find yourself behaving as below:-

1. Become needy and expect a lot

When I first joined Swedish classes I felt like I had traveled back to my childhood. There were people sucking up to the teachers and if the attention was not reciprocated they actually became cold and withdrawn. In a different class, there was a lot of attention seeking to a point the teacher asked the students to stop asking questions. I suspect if the sucking up had gone on one of the students, who was like 35 years old, would have brought apples for the teacher. Just like in Kindergarten. Some things require common sense so don’t always ask everything or expect to be spoonfed. And the hosts in your new country doesn’t owe you any sort of special treatment.

I want the world to know…..

2. Look for your countrymen.

This is something I learned the hard way. When I arrived in Sweden, naturally I just wanted some familiarity. I met a few good people but sadly through my connections, I bumped into some hostile individuals. I even changed gyms after bumping into a Kenyan who felt that I had blogged about her. She also misunderstood my goofiness for something else and suddenly became hostile mid-workout session. It was ugly. I stopped my work out and decided to go home. I quit that gym, disconnected any previous links with any Kenyan I knew (sad that I cut off everyone but I just wasn’t prepared for a second incidence). Since then, I’m a loner taking her time to make new friends. Just because we come from the same country doesn’t mean we are compatible.

3. Compare yourself with others.

This is directly linked to the above statement. The other reason I avoid Kenyans who have been here for so long is that they have already written their stories and while am happy for them I may easily get discouraged by their strides. Let’s be sincere. We are only human. Write your own story, find your crowd and you will be fine!

4. Sell yourself short

Just because you are starting over does not mean you are any less good.

Give yourself time, blow your own trumpet occasionally and showcase your skills. Be ambitious!

5. Stop old habits

This is the worst mistake you could make and it will destroy you. Keep doing what you used to do in your old country as long as it’s legal in the new country. The sudden change of habits can be very dangerous for your psychological behavior. Be yourself as everyone else is taken!

6. Misbehave

Most immigrants also tend to forget that they are a representation of their country and race. As a die-hard pan African I have found myself in situations where I have to bite my tongue because I cannot defend my people. Be a good brand ambassador!

Ambushed by a gypsy!

A week ago ,a gypsy  ambushed me outside a shopping mall here in Gothenburg, Sweden.

I shared a brief version of this story on my Facebook page as I psyched up myself to finish working on this website’s design. Yeah…Yeah! Roll your eyes all you want about my webdesign skills (ok fine I did a bad job). Now where were we.

Gothenburg, a city without secrets!

Yes, my romantic encounter with a gypsy.  First of all for those who don’t know, gypsy, is a name for the Romani people, an ethnic group of South Asian origin. They are a nomadic group that are mostly involved in begging and other strange crimes in Europe. They are a combination of a Nigerian (for their con skills) and Maasai (their nomadic nature).

A group of gypsys trying to make a living in the streets…

A typical gypsy female dresses up in a pink headscarf brown jacket on top of thirty other pieces of clothes and croaks while the men love their faded hand me down faded Adidas pants. They live outside shopping malls or any other public areas where they hops to beg their lives away. During the night most of them sleep under brigdes or abandoned caravans.

So on this particular day, I was just walking around wearing my African uniform. What is that? You ask. That takes me back to a party I attended recently and someone told me all Africans have a similar permanent grin. He even demonstrated it. To tell you the truth he looked like a goat!

Is this how Africans laugh? Really?

Ok, let’s stick to my unwanted brief love life with a gypsy. The man ran towards me and hugged me and before I could react he had pulled my hand and attached his thin lips on it. I stood there shocked. Everyone staring at us. My whole life flashed in front of me. Then I saw my my future. The gypsy had kidnapped me and taken me to Romani or wherever  in a ship.

His mother asked me:”Hjjjbfgrt mnaqeebgesd jbdu” and I just stared at her. Then they fed me tea with stale cheese and burnt lasagne. They wanted me to grow fat for some reason. If it weren’t for a Nigerian brother who pulled me away from that scenario I’d probably be a nun in Romania. Or whatever. That means I’d never see our family cat again. You guys, it’s no longer safe out here. Pray for me!