Expat life means many things to Pauline. It’s an adventure. It’s a path to new professional opportunities. It’s a way to fix her strained marriage. She put all these hopes into moving to Nairobi. Things did not go as expected.
Now she’s trying to establish a life in Nairobi. She’s figuring out what to do about her marriage. She’s working as hard as she can to get her career back on track. But one thing after another keeps going wrong.
Pauline is struggling.
Expat life doesn’t always go as planned and isn’t always what you think it’ll be.
Tilly and her family have been expats for ages. Nairobi was meant to be a two-year post, just the next stop in their many adventures abroad. Somehow, two years turned into nine without her even noticing it. She loves Nairobi, as do her husband and their three sons.
She stopped thinking of Kenya as a new, exotic location years ago. It’s just where she lives. She has practically become a local and her life is fully enmeshed in Nairobi. She hasn’t even thought about the next move, until now.
She’s ready for a new career, but is it worth exploring if they have to move in a year or two? Part of expat life is knowing that you have to leave at some point. But what if she doesn’t want to say goodbye? Could she stay?
Zara loves her job in child protection services. She believes in the work and is passionate about helping and protecting children. But, after many years in the field, she has grown tired of going from assignment to assignment every year or two. She hopes she’ll be able to find something solid in Nairobi, where she was supposed to be instead of shuttling back and forth to Mogadishu.
She’s ready to settle down. She wants to stay in one place long enough to make a real difference. That’s her ndoto, her dream.
A while back, I shared a post about some of the inspiration behind Nairobi Ndoto. I also shared a post about my writing process. The two come together in this post. Here’s a peek at the Pinterest Vision Board I had for Nairobi Ndoto.
Nairobi Ndoto is by no means a memoir. But aspects of my life in Kenya definitely inspired parts of the story. The fantastic weather, the abundant nature, the crazy weather, and the matatus are all real. Here’s a little taste of the elements of my Nairobi life that pop up in the novel:
The novel is about three expatriate women who find their ndoto—the Swahili word for dreams—have become a nightmare when their world is thrown into turmoil by murder. Tilly, Pauline, and Zara each dreamed of a life abroad in Kenya filled with adventure, opportunities, and new beginnings. Reality didn’t match the dream.
If you’re interested in the story and want to check out the book, you can get it in ebook and paperback formats through Apple Books, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Thalia, and more. You can also order it through your local bookstore.
The release date is September 15th, but the book is already available for pre-sale in ebook format.
Nairobi Ndoto is about three expatriate women who find their ndoto—the Swahili word for dreams—have become a nightmare when their world is thrown into turmoil by murder.
Tilly, Pauline, and Zara each dreamed of a life abroad in Kenya filled with adventure, opportunities, and new beginnings. Reality didn’t match the dream. Tilly thought her move to Kenya would be temporary, but nearly ten years and three kids later, she no longer knows what home is. Dealing with an increasingly strained marriage, Pauline struggles to establish herself as more than a trailing spouse. Zara, tired of shuttling between Nairobi and Mogadishu and sleeping in borrowed shipping containers, longs for stability. When one of their husbands engages in illicit activity, the women become entangled in a murder. Lines are crossed and friendships tested as they sift through the shock and tragedy.