Two Kenyans; A Brit and An American fall in love

How we met

Telling this story is a way to remind myself of how much my life changed the day I met LJ. The adventures we’ve had are slowly starting to see the light of this blog! And the best adventure to date – our love story!

a  mixed race couple

Our first and last (or so we thought) conversation

LJ and I had our first conversation somewhere around 2015. A mutual friend introduced us by adding us to the same WhatsApp group. We quickly bonded particularly because we were both mixed race and I was so excited to make a mixed friend. Lj is the Kenyan|American and I am the Kenyan|Brit. We made friends and we planned on meeting the following year in April for my birthday. Now I am sorry to disappoint but we never actually met and our conversation stopped thereafter.

How we met-take two…

The month was September, the year 2017 and the place – Nairobi for me. I had just returned home from a summer in Canada and I was eager to meet my friends. I reached out to Josh, our mutual friend, and asked to hang out. During the conversation I recalled his friend Jeremy! I quickly came to learn that the J did not stand for Jeremy. I asked Josh for his contact and proceeded to send him a message. The conversation flowed so effortlessly, it was like no time had passed since we last spoke. Days turned to nights and weeks of endless laughter and phone calls.

Our feelings for each other started to develop quite early on but we both held back for two reasons;

  • LJ was living in America
  • We both had come from long distance relationships that did not work out.

On the 25th September 2017, he finally asked me to be his girlfriend. Years later he would tease me as to how I do not actually remember what happened on that day. The truth is; he was asking me out in the middle of the night. It was daytime for him and way later for me. According to him, we started dating on the 24th of September, we’ll leave that for you to decide. Now because of having an ocean between us, our physical meeting was going to have to wait another long 8 months.

Meeting LJ’s parents

Now, if someone told me that I’d be meeting my boyfriend’s parents before meeting my boyfriend – I would call them crazy. If that person went ahead to say that I would be spending a few nights at his house before meeting him – I’d burst out in laughter. Well, that is exactly what happened!

two people standing on a rock in samburu kenya
Meeting LJ’s mum

LJ’s mum needed help with a few computer related issues and LJ recommended that I should help her. When the day came I was absolutely discombobulated! I would later come to learn that LJ’s mum is the most affectionate person in the world. There I was, a city girl, headed to the other side of Kenya to spend a week with LJ’s parents! Not just any week I must add – Christmas and New Years as well. That Christmas was one of the best. On the down side, it meant not being able to communicate with LJ as his home was located far far away from any cellphone service.

a girl talking on phone
Finding a network spot to wish LJ a happy new year [2018]

A random week in the village and its resulting summer…

a couple feeding a giraffe
Why is the giraffe slow to apologise? It takes a while to swallow their pride

We meet on 1st June of 2018 in Nairobi. We met at a cinema and went to Karura forest for a walk right after. When I first saw LJ, I was stunned! He was way better than the pictures and way taller than I had originally pictured. I am 5’2 at best and LJ is 6 ft[read: 5’11]. I was having all the jitters and butterflies! It was fair to say that I was in love. We spent a week at his parents house and the following week, we left for Canada together.

Read Also: The Girl with the Cat Tattoo

Canada, the start of everything beautiful…

Summer in Canada flew by, we went from working together to riding a tandem bike along the beach. We had so much gelato, visited the most beautiful sights British Columbia had to offer and even climbed a mountain, oh! if time could have stopped then, I would not complain. LJ moved back to America and I, to Nairobi. The Atlantic was not done with us. We knew we had to go back to Canada, and we did in 2019 for longer!

locking love at queen Elizabeth park
Locking our love at Queen Elizabeth park

A road trip like no other

As this was going to be our first trip together and out alone in the middle of nowhere on some nights, we had to think long and hard whether or not we wanted to risk such a holiday together considering we had not had much time to plan. As the trip planning was underway, I realised how different our thought processes were. I was a meticulous planner while LJ was spontaneous. Deep down we knew that this trip would show us how good of a team we were. Over the course of the weeks on wheels, I was in awe of him, how he handled the technical bits of the trip was amazing and he drove more than I did as I had no experience driving in the snow at the time.

boy standing next to a red dodge caravan
Hawi – our home on wheels. (LJ was questioning why he had to take this photo)

We worked together in Canada for Summer and parts of fall of 2019, after – we bought hawi, our reliable road trip car. (I say reliable because we drove over 10,000 kilometers with no spare tire, sleeping in icy cold temperatures and hawi never broke down even once). We drove from Sunshine Coast to Victoria then Vancouver, all the way past Banff, -into Jasper – around to Calgary and back round past Vancouver all the way to Whistler before making our heading for Nairobi.

girl jumping on the myra canyon bridge
Many many retakes later…

Our road trip presented challenges and multiple rewards, for one – at the end of our trip with only 3 days left we had exhausted our financial budget. Two we did not realise that finding a place to park and sleep was going to be tedious. We eventually got the hang of it. We watched so many Netflix movies at the back of Hawi when it was icy cold and rainy outside. Whenever I did not want to get outside, LJ would dress up and cook a warm meal for the both of us, we loved hash browns and pasta!

winter road
The Icefield parkway – one of the most scenic roads of the world

Oh Canada! All the memories, we wish we could make a time capsule and relive our memories over and over. At the end of the road trip it was pretty clear that we wanted to spend as much time together as we could! That being said, LJ had already made the decision to move back to Nairobi, to pursue his flying license as well as to spend more time with me. The thought that we were no longer flying back to different countries made my heart melt. This was definitely one of the singular most romantic things LJ had ever done for me.

a couple by the Kelowna sign
Soaking in all the sun before the winter drive of our road trip

Read Also: A Traveller’s Tale

Life in the 254…

We planned to travel some more but sadly the Covid-19 pandemic struck the world and we had to stay at home. Our urge for traveling has only ever been growing since and we decided to explore all the myriads of things our country had to offer. We have been living in Nairobi since and we just got our vaccines as we wait to see where our next adventure will take us…

We are growing closer everyday and loving each other in new ways! Relationships take effort and work even when the odds seem to be piled against you. Saying Yes! and taking the leap of faith was one of the best things we ever did! Yes to that long distance relationship! Yes to moving to Canada! Yes to that road trip! Yes to moving back to Kenya together and Yes to a life full of laughter and adventures with LJ!

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