A few weeks ago I returned home from what I call an “academic world tour” that lasted about three months. Well, it was really just a trip that took me to South Australia for two months and South Africa for about a month, through Dubai International airport. It was fun, stressful (the academic part), and well, educative. I got to chill with kangaroos, hike the cliffs of the Cape of Good Hope, and return home with two certificates. I’d say it wasn’t bad. 🙂
The highlight of my trip however has to be the people who contributed to make the trip amazing: from the 20 other Africans (from 10 different countries) I spent the three months with, to the academic staff, and the Burundians I met in the different cities I visited. If you are one of these people and you are reading this, I just want you to know that you are awesome! I am happy to call you friend. 🙂
And I’m not even mentioning how awesome the people of Australia are. I’ve seriously never met nicer ‘white people’ (generally speaking) in any of the places I’ve been (white South Africans are actually quite snob). I used to hear people complain about Australians being racist, but I guess I only went to the places with the good people? Seriously.
You know what? I had serious second and third thoughts about writing and posting #UmurundiInAmerica because, you know, “kariko karatwishimako!”.
When I wrote Part I, it felt okay because I mostly talked about the bad stuff that happened, so it really didn’t feel like bragging… But then a friend told me, “You can’t be ashamed to talk about the good in your life. Good things happen sometimes too!” Hama rero it’s not like I wasn’t bragging all along the trip with my posts on Instagram… Therefore, please allow me to put the bragging in writing… People who are sensitive to such behaviour are advised to read this post with a bucket nearby so that they may throw up without making a mess, when the bragging becomes too much :-p
Hahaha, Nah! Don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you about all the amazing places I visited or about the awesome things I did – when my cousin wasn’t getting arrested, or I wasn’t getting robbed (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, read Part I). This second part is really just about some of the things I noticed about America and Americans, and about how I felt being ‘Umurundi in America’.
About a month ago I offered myself a little trip to the United States of America. Okay, I didn’t just wake up one day and decide to go – my life isn’t that fabulous. I had been planning the trip for almost two years after I promised my buddy Henoc I would be at his graduation from the Oklahoma Christian University. But I wasn’t just going to fly across the Atlantic (for the first time), stay in one place and go back home either… I had to make the most of my trip #GuhombozaTicket.
I called family and friends in the North, South, East and West to tell them I was coming, and that’s how, in the span of a month I got to visit New York City and Albany (New York), Portland and Bangor (Maine), Victor and Hamilton (Montana), Edmond and Oklahoma City (Oklahoma), San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco (California). #GoodTimes which included seeing people I hadn’t seen in a long time, making new friends, sightseeing, boat and limo rides, driving tractors and convertibles, fishing, shooting, getting stranded, wandering aroud NYC like I owned the place, chilling in Hollywood, eating too good, sometimes too much, watching my favourite series as they were being aired for the first time on TV, and many other fun things I got to do. The White House was on my list of places to visit, but something not so fun happened on the way there… And here is story number one.
5:46 AM Moi International Airport, Mombasa, Kenya: we just drove through the gate and I’m supposed to be on a flight to Nairobi that leaves at 6:45. I overslept (I barely slept for more than 3 hours, and no, I wasn’t partying!); I’m kindda late so I’m not at all relaxed. I have 2 huge bags with me (one of them is full of stuff for my cousins in Nai), a carry-on bag and my laptop bag.
I go through security, check-in; everything is fine. They didn’t even charge me for the 2 extra KG. I chill in the transit lounge, browse the net and all that; a lady I’d met at the meeting I was at shows up and we start chatting about stuff – Burundi and other things. Time to board the plane; everything is still fine. We board, I sit comfortable in my aisle seat, I text my uncle who’s supposed to pick me up to tell him what time I’m arriving, and just when they’re about to shut the doors, a stewardess takes out some carry-on luggage that couldn’t fit in the overhead compartment. I look at one bag and I’m like (in my head) “that’s almost the same size as my bag though…” and then “SH*T! MY BAG!” (I think I said it out loud)… I had left it inside the airport, somewhere…
This whole topic was triggered a few weeks ago by my buddy who he accused me of not being a patriot (I thought I’d made it clear I’m not), as I criticised how Burundians tend to get overly emotional when talking about Burundi as a touristic destination; not showing much originality referring to things like “White Sand Beaches” (which aren’t actually white, but yellow-ish – white sand beaches may be found on the Coasts of Tanzania and Kenya); the Mwishanga waterfalls (which are nothing compared to the Victoria Falls of Zimbabwe); the Musée Vivant (one moment of silence *wipes a tear*); the park of the Rusizi (merely a forest next to a river in which hippos can be spotted playing, occasionally); the source of the Nile (really? *wipes another tear* and please fine whoever decided to build a pyramid on top of the…