Nadine Murphy, Nairobi

Who are you?

Nadine Murphy

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

I moved to Cape Town, South Africa, seven years ago with my husband’s job and our three-month-old baby.During our six years in Cape Town I had our twins and last year made another move to Nairobi, Kenya.

What challenges did you face during the move?

The challenges from South Africa to Kenya were definitely less significant than the move from the UK to Africa. In fact Cape Town was a great halfway house… we often say it’s Africa lite. So by the time we moved to Kenya we were fully prepared for late shipments, broken furniture, living without electricity… these had already become the norm.

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How did you find somewhere to live?

We Googled local estate agents and came out here for a few days before we arrived. We made appointments to view houses. We didn’t find a house during that visit but through a contact we had made at a local estate agency a house became available and we moved in without ever viewing it.

Are there many other expats in your area?

Loads. In Nairobi the expats tend to stick to specific areas… with more Americans in the north as the UN and American school is there, and more Brits/South Africans in the south where a lot of British schools are.

What is your relationship like with the locals?

Kenyan people are unfailingly friendly and helpful. I feel safer here than I ever did in South Africa and much more immersed into the culture.

What do you like about life where you are?

The relaxed outdoorsy lifestyle. You can BBQ all year round, go on safari every weekend. It’s also a very close knit community which can be a good thing and a bad thing.

What do you dislike about your expat life?

I’ve been away so long that the homesickness for friends and family is very much in the background. I most miss my career. Gong to work, office banter, that uniquely English sense of humor. And the shops. I miss shopping terribly.

What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?

I’m still shocked at the extreme poverty and the way they treat animals. Plus the driving is a life and death experience.

What do you think of the food and drink in your new country?

My kids eat Kenyan food at school and like it. I’m happy to eat Nyama Choma (essentially burnt meat or BBQ) but will pass on the ugali.

What are your particular likes or dislikes?

I love the weather, the people, the animals and the lifestyle. I don’t like the poverty and wish I could do more to help.

What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?

Read my blog or email me for a chat. And choose a school close to home as the traffic can be dreadful.

What are your plans for the future?

I’d like to start a career as a writer / blogger.

You can keep up to date with Nadine's adventures on her blog, The Expat Mummy.

Would you like to share your experience of life abroad with other readers? Answer the questions here to be featured in an interview!


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