I’m seated in this room, my swivel chair positioned right where the A/C fan blows its good stuff. I’m listening to this insurance guy. A new friend. Maybe friend is too big a word. Acquaintance. That’s it. He is telling me about life insurance. The first person in a while to convince me that I need that incomprehensible thing.

I won’t lie to you. I have never been sure about insurance and every other thing adulthood has been throwing my way. Anyway, he weaves a neat story about it. And I am almost sold. But not in between thoughts about how I ended up here in the first place.

I’m in Mombasa.

I am full. I am tired. I am chatting a million people. Lol. Lie. I am chatting five people. One is hormonal. The other is still at work. The other is from shovelling snow. The other one is complaining of too much work. The other one is lamenting over unpaid work. Millennials. We have problems. I want to sleep. But I won’t until I do this.

The past few weeks have been pretty intense. I moved jobs thus I had to change my commute. I miss the glorious Waiyaki Way, full of splendour and roadworthy public service vehicles. I had never taken it for granted — the fact that the Waiyaki Way commute was awesome. But now I think I should have appreciated the matter a bit more. If you know me well enough, you know I was the girl who said she would rather not work away from Westlands. I would leave the house anywhere after 8 am and arrive right on time. Well, the universe has a funny way of making a point. I was thrown smack in the middle of Karen.

Right where it would be hardest to commute. But then again it was not the universe. I would have chosen to stick to Westlands just as simply but I made a choice. A choice to get out of my comfort zone. Here are eight things that January commuting has brought my way.

By Dickson Otieno

I have written this for the longest time possible. In my mind. I didn’t know I was doing it. The pieces just came together. Slowly. One day at a time. Bringing together memories and thoughts from the past and from the present. Building up dreams of the future too. My brain has been full of activity. This story and that story. This thought and that thought. This memory and that memory. Fragments here and there. Piecing up together. Joining each other like Lego. Coming to birth.

There are exactly 14 days to the end of this year. This will be the first time I will be truly reflecting on the happenings of the year. The last 351 days have taken me through paths and thickets I have never trodden before. I thought it would be good to share some of them with you. Even though some of the may seem too trivial for life, they have undoubtedly reshaped my life, thoughts and the direction that my life has taken.

What do you want to be when you grow up?” I ask my kids in my Sunday school class the other day.

Their little hands are wiggling up in the air, the mostly six-year-olds eager to share their dreams with me.

“A doctor,” one girl says, and another and another.

“A pilot,” a boy shouts, and of course there are several more.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, a start-up is “a newly established business”. Okay. But why is it that we don’t call all new businesses start-ups? Or do we? Is it even a startup or start-up? Microsoft Word 2013 thinks it’s the latter and so I agree. What I am trying to say is, the term start-up applies to more than just the tech companies by young individuals you read about every day. However, this post applies to such start-ups but in the developing world. You know you are working at a Kenyan start-up when:

The most traumatic transition I have gone through in the recent past is moving from campus life to working. That is folly to a normal adult who is used to working to earn a living but it is the truth. I landed a job this past holiday which was quite a task. I was supposed to work from eight to six with no real break in between. Half the time was spent on my feet attending to all kinds of people. The first day on the job I was so beat, I could not stand up for about an hour once I got home.