*Originally posted on facebook *
It was a Friday 8th April and I remember everything that happened.
Major throwbacks were created for moments like these.
It was the day I was finally going to Amelika 😂
I was experiencing a bit of an internal conflict, to be excited for real for real or to stay modest.
I chose modesty.
I woke up earlier than usual.
I had to pick my passport from the embassy at 10:30 and even though I knew the Visa was assured, part of me felt like it wasn’t happening.
Flight was at 3:50pm.
Air ticket advised that I am at the airport at least 3 hours earlier.
After heavy katogo breakfast that came highly recommended by my sister Luckie Kirungi and as she left to go to work (Who knew, going to America doesn’t make the world stop?), I planned my route.
I had a jacket to pick from the dry cleaners.
I was advised to carry warm clothes.
Still not sure why I hadn’t picked it up earlier.
Procrastination and I really have such a solid relationship.
Anyways it had rained and because traffic jam and rain are siblings in Kampala.
We agreed with my sister Akiiki D that instead of having my brother pick us from home we would take bodas instead and meet him in town.
I had tried successfully to pack light for the first time in my life.
I had just a small suitcase and a handbag.
I got a boda to the dry cleaners, handed the jacket to my sister on her other boda and proceeded to the embassy in Nsambya.
I made several prayers on that long ride from Bugolobi to Nsambya.
They all started and ended with safety.
I struck up a conversation with the boda guy.
He was very interested in knowing why I was going to the American embassy.
I told him I am going to Amelika and he didn’t believe me..
He said people going to America don’t ride on bodas.
I agreed with him because I thought it was safer not to disagree with my boda guy.
I got to the embassy a few minutes to 10:30,
The process this time was easier than when I went to do the interview.
And all the staff this time were Ugandans with accents I could relate to.
They handed me my passport with the visa and the guy who held the heavy door for me to get out said,
“Congratulations, you are going to America.”
Maybe this was a sign, I thought, the point where I should do my victory dance.
But I was like what if I miss the flight.
I called my sister to be sure we were ready to rock and roll to the airport, but mother dearest was still in the salon.
She understands that slaying is very important.
With every extra minute she spent in the salon, I experienced a new level of anxiety.
Finally she got out, all looking fabulous and I couldn’t be mad at her.
The drive to the airport was longer than usual but luckily there was no traffic.
Mother Dearest kept telling me how proud she was of me.
She also kept asking me to check if I had everything.
About six times she asked if I had my passport, ticket, yellow fever card, phone (even though we were using it to take pictures with my sister in the back), charger, hankie, sweater, shawl, if my clothes were comfortable enough or my shoes warm enough.
When we got to the airport, it was 1’o’clock.
I was hungry.
Mother dearest told me I could eat in one of the restaurants and I joked that I didn’t have the Uganda Shillings to pay for the meal.
She handed me 50 dollars and 5 thousand shillings.
Time to say goodbye.
My sister launched a tear fest (she would have cried even though I was going to another district so no surprise there)
My brother hugged me for what felt like eternity, as though he would never see me again.
Mother Dearest, patted my head and said, “Ruhanga akulinde mwana wange”. ( May God protect you my child)
And she advised me to chew gum during take off, because my ears or something like that.
I refused to cry.
I disappeared to start checking in.
Someone tried to skip the queue and I politely asked them to stop being rude, everyone wanted to go through the machine.
When I reached the immigration people, I was asked a whole bunch of questions and I started thinking, there is room to still be sent back home.
Finally the lady at the counter also said her hearty congratulations and sent me through.
First things first I needed to eat.
I went to Good African Coffee (it’s the first place I laid my eyes on.)
As I waited for my order, they announced that my flight would start boarding in a few.
I asked the nice guy waiting on me, if I could cancel my order.
He asked me to keep calm, because I had time.
I stayed but my nervous “villagism” couldn’t let me prosper and eat..
When I finally made it to the plane.
I was grateful for two things.
1. That I had the window seat
2. That I was sitting on it.
I got my phone and started making calls to say my goodbyes or gloat.
At this point we had left modesty town.
I was at peace but I still couldn’t find that excitement.
I felt like this trip was going to change my life.
I didn’t know how until 6 hours later.