Leaving The Nest: Part One
Mbithe's Moving Out Story
The last few weeks have been a whirlwind. You see, on Saturday February 25th, I moved into my first ever apartment. I thought I had planned, prepared and researched enough, but life has a funny way of undoing the best laid plans. More on that later. For now, I’ll give you a little history of my journey to independence thus far, which has been somewhat unorthodox, if I say so myself.
I’ve never been to boarding school. Primary school in Riara and then high school in Kianda meant I never spent more than a couple of weeks away from home. I blew my last shot at independence when I picked Strathmore for university, which was so close to my parents’ house that I could actually walk to school and arrive in thirty minutes. And so, I spent the first 23 years of my life under my parents’ roof. There’s nothing particularly extraordinary about that. The next part is where it gets interesting.
Approaching the end of university was exciting. With the chance of getting an actual, paying job on the horizon, the question of moving out naturally came up. I wasn’t opposed to the idea; in fact, I was pretty eager to spread my wings and fly out of the nest. There was just one little problem: I’d heard a lot stories of how tough it was out there, and how hard it was to start out. Goodbye to the comforts of home, like a fully-equipped kitchen and a well-furnished living room. Hello to a bedsitter in a less-than-ideal location, sleeping on a mattress, and covering your single window with a stray bedsheet. Nothing against bedsitters, mattresses or stray bedsheets, but it wasn’t that serious. As long as I wasn’t being kicked out, it made more sense to me to stay with my parents until I had enough money to begin my life the way I wanted to.
Plot twist: I ended up leaving home less than two months after I was done with school. I got really lucky with my first (and so far, only) job. As part of the benefits package, new employees in the initial stages of training could choose to get financed accommodation at the company’s Kilimani campus. The rent was subsidized, and included furnishings, water, wi-fi, electricity, entertainment (if you count the company’s game room with its PlayStation 4, TV’s and pool table) as well as a great location and virtually 0 commute time. Combining this with the complimentary breakfast and lunch we got at work, it was a great deal. Of course I took full advantage of it, and moved in.
So I had moved out, but not quite. I wasn’t living with my parents anymore, and I was paying rent, but I was also abstracted from the harsher realities of truly moving out, like sorting out your own water/ electricity/ garbage/ wi-fi bills, because we had a facilities manager who took care of everything. It was like, Moving Out Lite. Water never ran out. Electricity metres never beeped. Heck, we didn’t even do the cleaning (aside from generally cleaning up after yourself, which is just common sense). And if I’m being honest, it kind of spoilt me, just a little. 🙈
A few months later, it was time for me to move out for real. I got promoted, which meant I had an increased pay, but also that I was no longer eligible for the company accommodation. I was over the moon at the prospect of getting my own place! I mean, the accommodation was great and everything, but here was a chance for me to live on my own (introverts unite!), redecorate the way I wanted to, and buy my own furniture and appliances like an actual adult. I even had a countdown to Move Day on my phone! I had saved up enough for my deposit and first month’s rent in the cute one-bedroom apartment I had found, and I’d started buying a few little house things, like a fluffy mat and a shower curtain and a clock. I started spending more time on Pinterest than I did on StackOverflow. I had all kinds of radical ideas about building my own rustic furniture and painting patterns on my walls. I was that excited, people.
But it didn’t go quite the way I’d planned. Life happened, as it tends to do.
(Stay tuned for the next part in this series!)