Anxiety, confusion, excitement and expectations are words I could use to describe my feelings when I first received news on my trip to Norway. I remember that Tuesday afternoon, a few minutes before I could break for lunch, my phone rung. Carefully checked on the number and picked it up. “Hallo” I said. “Hi, is this Patience?” A female voice asked. “Yes.” I replied.
“Patience, my name is Jane Thuo, am calling you from Association of Media Women in Kenya, AMWIK. Following your application for the Norway Exchange Programme, I am pleased to let you know, you were the most successful candidate and therefore you will represent AMWIK in Norway from this August for a year. Congratulations Patience.”
We talked and as I write I can’t even recall on what we talked about. I did not even know how to react following the good news. All I remember saying was ‘Thank you very much, will get in touch with you on Thursday afternoon.
The AMWIK CEO Jane Thuo was full of excitement only to get a blank response from me. Though had prayed about it, I did not anticipate it. One, as I applied, I knew many more were applying so the probability of my being selected was limited. Two, I was still in school and with one semester to go for my masters degree at Nairobi University, it was a hard decision to make. The thought of deferring for a year, the thought of being in a foreign country for a year all downed on me at once.
I stared for a while thinking about it before I could decide on the next move. For the past months, I had gone for several interviews and two lucrative jobs were on my way, I was still making a choice on which one to choose, then here comes a much better opportunity. I said a short prayer, thanked God for such openings and asked Him to guide me as I made a decision on the next move.
I gathered courage and called my three girlfriends, Brenda, Rita and Triza, of which Triza and Rita had earlier on gone for similar exchange programmes in Tanzania. All had one sentence in common, “Congratulations girl, go for it, you will never regret it, it is a lifetime opportunity and be assured you will never be the same,” they assured me. I then called my small brother and my sister who were all supportive of the idea, saying it will enhance my career.
With enough assurance and a little excitement, I called my mum and told her of the news and she politely responded “you are a big girl now, follow your ambitions, all my blessings with you,”. “Thank you mum, do pass the message to dad”. I said and hung up. I was hesitant to talk to dad about it, since my efforts to pursue my masters degree at Malaysia four years back were stopped as dad did not believe I was old enough to settle on my own in a foreign country.
So here I was, headed to Europe for a year. Two days later I headed to AMWIK offices in Westlands where I signed my contract and was assured that will be leaving the country in August. I began reading on Norway, checking out Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation which was going to be my employer for a year. I also read articles written by Diana Etsabo, AMWIK participant who was in Norway then.
With a lot of information about Norway, 31st July, I set for Norway all excited and with an open mind to settle in Europe. I said goodbye to all my family, relatives and friends who were all supportive of the idea. I am not worried any more about my classes as I know I only have one semester which I will complete when I am back.
Landing in Norway has been an experience and a half, will definitely keep you posted as I write on my journey from day one. My expectations are high, am sure it is going to be a rich experience. Have a great day, won´t you?