I’d like to dedicate this story to all of my Nairobi friends who I have vaguely told about the “Coldstone crying incident” but not given any real background information to.
Back in 2014, shortly before my visit to Kenya to see if I wanted to move here, my sister Emily and I went to a party.
First a few pieces of background information:
- At this point I was living the life of a recent college grad that moved back home with her parents and had approximately 2.5 friends in her hometown. Also, these friends lived half an hour away from me. This meant that my introvert batteries were fully recharged, and that I was in desperate need for some social interaction.
- Emily and I make a great tag team for humor. She brings out my silly side. I can poke fun at her blonde, cheerleaderyness and she doesn’t mind. It’s great. We laugh a ton when we are together. When Emily came to visit Nairobi I’m pretty sure I never stopped laughing. Also, one of my friends here said that he likes our “sibling vibe.” Emily and I consider this to be one of the best compliments ever.
- There were a few other people at the party that I knew that bring out my sassy, quick witted, sort of sarcastic side.
- There were far more guys than girls at this party. This led to Emily and I getting a lot of attention. (Even if there were more girls there I’m pretty sure Emily’s thick, bright blonde hair serves as some sort of homing device for boys. My sister is just really pretty okay!)
All of these things added up to a great night. I was in a super bubbly mood and making tons of jokes. We were meeting new people in a large group (something that normally makes me nervous) but since I had my life-long sidekick* with me and had been away from social events for so long I was comfortable and excited. The guys we met that night laughed at my jokes, were kind, respectful, had good job prospects post graduation (the party was mostly college students and made me feel both young and relevant again and slightly old), and some were really cute, like whisper about how cute they are when they go to get more food cute. There was one guy in particular that we thought was definitely TCBATP (The Cutest Boy At The Party – I just made up this acronym). He chatted with us in groups and seemed really nice but that was all.
This would probably be a good point to say that leaving soon to go on a trip to Kenya to see if you want to move there is a weird place to be in life. People ask lots of questions. Ebola was a big concern in 2014. (Side note: I was actually a little bit nervous that I was going to be “the white girl that brought Ebola to Kenya” because I stopped in New York City on my way and I rode the same train as one of the people who had it. I was not concerned about getting Ebola in Kenya because it was really far away from Kenya.) Anyway, being a person who might move to Africa soon at a party full of mostly college students makes you automatically really interesting. Also, did I mention that I was on fire with the jokes that night? Seriously—probably the best I’ve ever done at a party.
As I said, the party was great. To my surprise, TCBATP friended me on Facebook the next day. I was on my way to brunch with a friend and totally freaked out a little bit from excitement. But then I left for Kenya and didn’t hear from him. Boys are understandably cautious when they find out you want to move to Africa.
A little bit into my stay in Kenya though Emily messaged me saying that she had heard that TCBATP thought I was “cute and funny.” What? Me? Cute AND funny! Wow. This seemed too good to be true. It seemed too good to be true because my “love life” if you can even call it that has consisted of three primary components: creepy men shouting at me, me being desperately in love with older boys who don’t really know that I exist, and really nice boys that I’m not into being really into me (and me literally crying while turning them down because I’m low key the worst). The concept of someone who I thought was cute thinking that I’m cute was completely foreign. To my knowledge, it hadn’t happened since I was fifteen.
So here I was in Kenya, trying to decide if I wanted to move here when I found out that TCBATP was kinda into me. It took me completely off-guard. I suddenly had a lot to process. My mind was filled with so many “what ifs.” I was journaling one day and felt God asking me why I was surprised. I was surprised because I had counted someone who I was genuinely attracted to being interested in me to be impossible. It felt like it would never happen. If this sounds dramatic that’s because I have dramatic feelings a lot of the time.
Through this situation God showed me areas of my heart that I wasn’t trusting him in. I realized that I wasn’t as confident in who God made me to be as I should be. One day my now-teammate Julianna and I decided to do a debrief meeting at Coldstone in Westlands. During this meeting I told her about TCBATP and how the whole situation made me feel. I burst into tears. Sometimes I say that I was crying and it’s like two tears or just tearing up. This was not one of those times. I was full-on crying. It was super awkward because they had just recently opened, were really overstaffed because of training people and all of the employees were loudly singing all of the Coldstone songs. And there I was weeping in a booth in an ice cream shop in Kenya with someone who I had just met a couple of weeks before about not believing that I was beautiful or that someone that I liked would like me back. If I remember correctly we were also the only customers in the store at the time. My life is basically a long string of one awkward/cringe-worthy event after another.
Nothing ever happened with TCBATP but God still used the situation powerfully to heal my heart and remind me of my beauty.
Now you know why I cried in Coldstone.