What I am missing

I miss the accent

British English. I have managed to tune in to the BBC World Service at last. The signal is weak so I have had to attach a piece of wire (the power cable from my walkman with the power plug cut off, in fact, but more of that later) to the antenna to get good reception. Then the buggers switch into Kiswahili every other our in the evenings. But it has made me fell better. I’m following the news more closely now than ever before.
I miss flirting

It’s something I am now programmed to do. I do it with guys as well as girls. Its part of normal life for me back home. But I think its culturally dependent. I don’t feel comfortable doing it here. The country is very conservative and very christian influenced. But more than that, there is something I can hardly put into words. Something subliminal that is warning me off. Body language. Other signals. The foundations of a protocol that leads to flirting are missing.

One of the othe volunteers who arrived with me has started calling me lovely boy in her texts and I am replying in kind, because I suspect she has noticed the same thing and feels the same desire to play a bit (we weren’t really flirting together during the week in Nairobi) and has read me as someone with whom it is safe.

I miss Lindy Hop

OK, it has to be said. This was the weekend of the London Lindy Exchange, an event with which I was closely involved last year (and sick during the weekend so not really able to take part fully) and have missed all together this year. I was with you in sprirt, guys! Please leave a comment below and let me know how it went. Got a great text from Ollie who mentioned Bomb The Bank. And I thought . o O (Hey, I thought up that name).

I did listen to some Swing at the weekend. It’s the first time I have been able to do so without feeling intensely homesick. In fact Swing mushc has been the only realy cause of homesickness for me so far. But on sunday, after the water supply was reconnected and I had done my laundry and washing up, I put on Frank Sinatra and sang along loudly and tunelessly. I even danced about the room a bit, doing odd charlestons and grapevine steps… Its just not the same.

So to all of you — and especially Swingdemon — who have said, over the last fortnight, that you’re missing me

I miss you too

Having said all this, I should explain that I am not really spending all my waking hours missing home and dreaming of Lindy Hop. On the way to work this morning (I have at least a minute’s walk from my house to the college) I asked myself “What would you be doing if you were still in the UK?”. The answer seemed to be working in some college, or doing some IT job, and stressed and complaining. And here I am working in a college, doing an IT job (I spent most of saturday fixing a problem with the Samba server here on the college network) and certainly there are things that stress me, but so far they are to do with the fact that I am adjusting to a new life. It means I am doing my best to live my life to the full. And so far, that is sustaining me very well through the rough patches.

Special thanks also to Mr Mungbean for a fantastic non-swing music collection to explore while I’m out here.


  1. paula Says:

    wow…what a weekend we had with llx – you were in our hearts and our feet 🙂
    Kicked off with Friday night at j’bugs – never seen the place so full – blue harlem were in fine form and the visitors were jumping.
    Saturday I missed the london walk but everyone who went loved it – leave them to tell you about it.
    RFH on saturday afternoon was fantastic. The whole place was packed with dancers and the band were great…followed by BtB – god it was cold but we danced til we couldn’t feel our extremities 🙂
    Saturday night – OMG – some of the best dancing I have had for the longest time. Such a great vibe, everyone smiling and dancing and being very silly (OK so that might have just been me 🙂
    Sunday I skipped the day events cos of work but crawled out to rhythm lounge for another great night. The whole event was typified by lots of great vibe, great dancing and happy, happy people. WE MISSED YOU!!!

  2. Old Natty Says:

    I understand exactly what you mean about the accent. I didn’t have to adjust quite so dramatically when I moved to London, since there were Americans on my floor and London had at least some similarity to America, but I felt really out of place and the surroundings just felt alien to me for about two weeks.

    Then, a few months later when I went home for the first time for Christmas, I heard an American accent over the intercom at the Baltimore airport, and that felt completely wrong to me after months of hearing nothing but British accents in train depots and airports and such. Coming home after months or years abroad can be even more of a culture shock. I thought that was very interesting, and like telling that story to kids who are about to go over to study.

    But yeah, hon, I know what you mean. Hang in there, you’ll adjust.

  3. claudine Says:

    i used to put on my earphones, and while the power was struggling to stay on in my little concrete enclave in Delhi I would do a little rock step and spin…Mark I hope you’re having an amazing time in Kenya. I’m thinking of you, and I’ll be checking in on your blog (all the way from America). much love

  4. Cyka Says:


    we shall do lots and lots of that while we’re dancing the night away under the stars at black cotton.


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