It’s been almost a month since my last post. For those who followed the story, you’ll be happy to hear that Miss B. made it back to Nairobi safely. At JKIA, she was processed and sent to a quarantine facility, where she spent two weeks in isolation. She was tested after the two weeks, found negative and was given a letter saying she could travel to Kisumu, even though there was a total lockdown of Nairobi county. She was finally reunited with her family in Kisumu. What remains now is for me to ship her the books she left behind. Looking back, we certainly made the right decision to get her out of Japan. The pandemic might last several more months. We don’t know when we will be able to affordably fly again.
In the past month, even when time seems to be standing still, a lot has happened.
Jeremy is now 7.
Jeremy turned 7 years old on March 30th. He is still in Kenya with my parents and they had traveled upcountry. Nairobi’s lockdown means they are enjoying an extended time in the countryside, where Jeremy is enjoying the fresh air, running around the wide fields, playing with the cows and spending time with my cousins. I can’t imagine a better place for him to be during this period. It would have been tough for both of us, being stuck indoors in our tiny apartment in Tokyo, while I worked from home and kept him engaged at the same time. I miss him very much. This pandemic means that I can’t even plan a visit, and my plan for our reunification might be delayed. Anyway, Jeremy now speaks a bit of Swahili and Kisii, in addition to English. He tells me he still remembers Japanese.
My brother’s daughter, Arianna, was born on April 10th.
I am so excited to be an aunt and so happy for my brother and his wife who welcomed their first baby. It’s challenging to be new parents in these times and I wish them the best. I can’t wait to meet her. Once this pandemic is over, the first thing I will do is book a ticket to Kenya to see my family.
I’ve been jogging for 44 days now.
I set a fitness goal to jog for 200 days this year. I started this fitness journey in February and at first I was only doing about 2.5 Kms. Gradually, I’ve been able to do 6Kms regularly and I even did a 10K the other day. Working from home means I get more time to exercise. I usually jog from around 5 to 6, time I would be commuting home. I love jogging outside. I don’t like going to the gym and besides, gyms are now closed. I found a beautiful route which has both pedestrian and cycling paths, so I don’t have to worry about cyclists.
So what are the gains? I look and feel great. My skin, which has always been smooth, is now even smoother and more supple. I haven’t actually lost any weight, at least on the scale. However, I am much leaner as muscle replaces fat. I’m maintaining a sort of running diary via a twitter thread.
I turned 32!
A couple of days ago, I turned 32 years old. I should have been in Bali for my friend Bern’s wedding. I would have celebrated my birthday on a beach in Bali, catching up with many long time friends whom I hadn’t seen for years.
For my birthday, I ordered a cake from a shop nearby and celebrated with my housemate, Frashia. She took the photos above. How I got a housemate is a story for another day but I am so glad she is here. It’s so nice to have someone to talk to, take turns cooking with and watch Citizen Live on YouTube with. Together, we have baked banana bread, cooked chapos, mandazis, ugali with omena or pork, ndengu with rice, pilau and many other Kenyan dishes.
Working from home has been challenging for sure. Online meetings are hard. Concentration is low. However, we are all trying our best. I wrote a paper on design patterns for real life AI systems that was conditionally accepted for a conference, so I will be busy revising it.
Oh, one more thing. I renewed my Japanese driving license the other day and got a GOLD-en level license! It means I have been safely driving in Japan for 5 years and can get insurance discounts. If you knew how hard it was to get a Japanese driving license in the first place, you would be in awe of me right now. You would understand my urge to add this piece of information to my CV, linkedIn and even Tinder profiles.
Anyway, let’s hope for a better May.