Last time, we were treated to an interview with Richelle Gamlam, who is currently in Beijing, China, and working as a college admissions consultant.
This time, however, and the focus is rather different.
Introducing to you Adri Mendez, who originally hails from Costa Rica, then relocated with her family to Cyprus at the tender age of six years, where Adri and her family remained for four years.
Then, back for a stint to the homeland of Costa Rica; and more recently, Adri has relocated once more, with her family, to Nairobi, in Kenya.
All of this, and yet she’s still only 17.
Adri Mendez’s Blog: Out of Costa Rica
So, let’s find out more about Adri and her fascinating exploits in Cyprus (what she remembers of them) and in Kenya:
- You resided in Cyprus when you first left Costa Rica and remained there for four years. What do you remember about life in Cyprus, given that you were very young when you were there?
Well, I remember crying every day for the first few months because I didn’t speak the language and I missed my friends back home.
Here is a blog post I wrote about that:
However, Cyprus is a really amazing country and it easily became my second home, I remember trying Cinnabon for the first time because Costa Rica didn’t have one at the time and going to IKEA every week was a must for my family!
The best part of living in Cyprus for me was all the traveling we got to do, the island is so close to so many amazing countries and we got to visit a few, like Egypt, Israel, Greece, Italy and a few more.
Please enjoy this picture of my 9-year-old self overlooking the city of Jericho, if I’m not mistaken 😀
Adri Mendez at Jericho
- Now, at the more mature age of 17 years, you are living with your family in Nairobi, Kenya. What made your parents decide to “up sticks” from Costa Rica once more and travel half way around the globe to settle in Kenya?
The main reason is because my dad wanted a change from his job, he had been working at the same organization for 15 years and when they recruited him for his current job he didn’t resist.
And the secondary reason is because my family and I are missionaries and we wanted to share the love of God in this side of the world too! It’s been my family’s dream to come live in Africa and it finally came true. We’ve been working as volunteers at an orphanage and serving at a local church also.
And personally, travelling is something I love to do and back in Costa Rica we didn’t get the chance to get out much. But now we have some plans to make awesome travels to different countries soon and that was enough motivation for me to travel half way around the globe and live in a totally new environment!
- You’ve discussed a variety of your experiences and emotions on your blog whilst you’ve been in Kenya. Please feel free to share some of those experiences and emotions with the readers here, Adri.
Oh gosh, where do I start! This change has been even harder than moving to Cyprus believe it or not. I had my life planned out back in Costa Rica and having to reinvent myself has been pretty hard.
Leaving my friends back home has been a great issue for me, I miss them all the time but it’s something common for “Third Culture Kids”. Making new friends here has made the change a lot easier, because a lot of them are also international students and have gone through what I have and more.
My blog post on Long Distance Friendship is here:
But apart from the normal homesickness you get when you leave your beloved country I have loved every single moment I’ve had in Kenya, it’s been an amazing time because the people are so friendly and exciting.
If you’re ever planning a trip around Africa, come to Kenya! Living here has made me mature and be more open to new things! Like starting my blog… that is something I wouldn’t have done back home because I didn’t have anything to write about, but here I’ve found the purpose to my writing and that is sharing my experiences as a teen expat!
- Tell us about the food. What is a typical diet in Kenya? What is your own favorite?
There is only one thing I like from Kenyan food which is Chapati, it’s like an Indian tortilla that sometimes it’s made with cinnamon and carrot in the dough. It’s my favorite thing to eat here and I can eat so many of them in one sitting! But in general I don’t like Kenyan food (sorry my Kenyan friends). Things like Ugali, Sukuma and Pilau are not something I’d eat everyday.
Either way, if you come to Kenya you HAVE to try these things or it’s like you didn’t even come to Kenya, haha!
Here are some picture of what I’m talking about.
(Chapati, Ugali, Sukuma and Pilau)
Ugali (made from millet flour (or sorghum flour), maize flour (cornmeal), cooked in boiling milk or water, to provide for a dough- or porridge-like consistency)
Sukuma (a type of collared green vegetable, somewhat similar to kale)
Pilau rice prepared in the Kenyan way
- You’re in Nairobi, which is a big city. Many people who have possibly never been to Africa have concerns for safety. Are those same concerns shared by you and your family?
Safety is a concern for everybody in the world right now don’t you think?
Here, three years ago there was an attack on a shopping mall called Westgate were 71 people were killed and 175 were injured, since then a lot of Kenyans don’t go to Westgate and a lot of Internationals don’t go to shopping malls on the weekends.
Last year there was an attack at Garissa University were 147 people died and 79 where injured. All of this is shocking and it might make you feel unsafe living here, but again, where in the world are we safe?
When we arrived we were very picky on where we went and when, and avoided being in crowded places, but with time we’ve gotten to trust Nairobi a little more.
Every house here has a guard, you can’t enter a shopping mall without going through security first, there are a lot of police on the streets and so we aren’t as concerned as we were at the beginning. And we know that God is with us and he won’t let anything happen to us that is not in his plans.
Of course you have to have safety procedures and be very careful to not go out late at night, but these are things that protect us from any harm and thankfully nothing has happened to my family and I since we’ve been here.
- I read from your blog that you would like to become a professional architect at a future time. Given your history for residency abroad, do you intend to partake in solo travel for some time, and perhaps by so doing, take your own blog to ever-ascending heights of success?
Right now I am a student of the International Baccalaureate program and it will take me 2 years to finish it, then I hope I’ll get into a good university and do my architectural degree somewhere in Europe.
Travelling has always been a part of my life and it’s something I hope I get to do while living in Europe because it gives you so much insight of whats going on in the world and it gives you a better understanding of other cultures outside of your own. It opens your mind and your views on things and I love that!
So I cant say when right now but I do hope I get to travel and share my experiences on my blog, because blogging is something I’ve found to be very liberating. If I manage to make my architectural work unite with my travelling and blogging dreams, my life would be perfect!