Monday, July 21, 2014

I'm a Stranger Here Myself

For anyone new to this blog:

I started blogging at Nairobi Notes to chronicle the somewhat bizarre life I led as an expat journalist in East and Southern Africa. I stopped blogging and removed old posts when I started law school back in the States in 2009.

I moved back to East Africa for work after years of working and living there before in another context. I was an exchange student through Brown University in Dar es Salaam from 2004-2005 and spent some time doing nonprofit media work on fellowship in 2006 before returning to work for an international media company in DC (and later Liberia). I took a two year assignment in Kenya and got involved in the tech scene while covering tech developments for work. I joined forces with the Bloggers' Association of Kenya: they provided amazing social support, advice, and networking opportunities. I found some longtime friends through that group, and I'm happy to see they (appear to be) thriving.

The "Fake Expatriate" pseudonym probably requires a little explanation. When I returned to East Africa for work I felt intruigued by the expatriate community and yet also outside of it. I spoke Swahili and had gone to school in the region; I already had a network of peers (primarily in Tanzania) who were dear friends, colleagues, and sometime roommates. I didn't need the network offered by the expat community. At the same time, I was interested in the expat culture--particularly around Nairobi. Huge villas, golf and horse racing, racial segregation, gossip and intrigue, school runs, and mommy blogging. It was better than reality TV. I can't pretend I don't enjoy creature comforts and gossip. Anyway, the username, silly as it is, describes how I felt at the time--e.g. "I'm an expat, but I'm just pretending," and, some days, "this is my home, but I'm pretending at that too."

I'm back in my home state of California now (jimbo la CA) in the middle of Second Coming of Tech. Things have changed so much here in the 10 years I've been away. The economy and culture of this place are experiencing dramatic shifts. That old feeling of being a stranger in my own home has returned with fervor. I'm a fake expatriate again, and It's time to write.

I'll be posting a little about that, mixed in with odds and ends and scraps of international news. Comments, discussion, and suggestions welcome.


bunmi said...

Hi : )

Fake Expatriate said...

halloz! you must be in the middle of us-africa summit land right now.