So perhaps it is not appropriate that my first post of the new year is on my most hated holiday of the year. However, the fact is, that this weekend I made a pact to revive my blog again, because due to a sharp increase in work, I have been a bit quiet over the past few weeks. However, as soon as I sat down yesterday to write my blog posting about Nairobi’s preachers, the electricity went out – murphy’s law. Although the blog entry about preachers is still coming, I really feel that I need to share my observations about Nairobi’s ridiculous embracing of Valentine’s Day. And I thought it was bad when I was living in the U.S….
For the past few days, the flowers sellers that usually adorn the streets of Nairobi, multiplied about 20 fold. This bit is kind of nice, as there are some absolutely beautiful flowers (Kenya is one of the largest flower exporters so many of the flowers we get in Europe come from Kenya). The next sign was the increasing numbers of dating shows you get subjected too (at obnoxiously loud volumes), over Kenyan radio in the matatus. Then there is the roll out of really enormous, kitschy card with lots of pink and red hearts (on this aspect, I actually miss hallmark, because at least sometimes their cards can be tasteful). Oh and of course, there are the large plusch teddy bears (or lions for the slightly more Kenyan version).
And on the day itself, you get your colleagues asking you where your flowers are (and then astounded/sympathetic “ohhhss” when you tell them that you have never actually received flowers on valentines day, nor do you wish to receive flowers). By which the same colleagues suggest that they could find you a lovely Kenyan (or Kikuyu/Luo husband) if need be. Then you get clothes and shoe shops only hanging red attire in their window. Why, you may wonder, does Valentine’s day mean you have to have a pare of red pumps or tennis shoes? Ahhh well apparently there is a dress code that goes together with valentines day. Never have I seen so many ladies in red tops/skirts/shoes and men with red ties. All to ensure that you don’t forget its Valentines Day. Thank you Nairobi, it nearly slipped my mind.
Oh and to the young man with the red hearts patched onto his baggy jeans: not even valentines day makes that ok.