The American Calgarian

Tales of a Midwesterner transplanted in Western Canada

Running White Girl Speaks Swahili!

My midday run has become a time when I release some stress, get a nice workout and recharge to face whatever comes my way.  It’s a time of reflection, relaxation and quiet (minus my heavy breathing, of course).

This day my run was a little later than the previous runs and the neighborhood had a different vibe.  There were school buses coming and going, transporting children to and from half-day Kindergarten.  Smaller children and their mothers lined the streets in anticipation of another’s arrival.  Adults chatted, kids giggled and played around in the midday sun.

Every couple of blocks I would get in a web of 4-5 year olds and would need to slow down.  I came upon a particular group just as they were exiting the bus.

When preparing to move to Calgary, I had read about the international diversity of the city.  It’s no joke.  As I noted in a previous post, I have met very few people who are actually born and raised here.  On any given day, in fact, you may hear four different languages being spoken.  The crowd of children I was approaching was no different. They were chatting wildly, obviously excited about their morning.  As I got closer, I thought I picked up a bit of something I had not heard in a long time… Swahili. 

I passed the group and one of the boys dropped his backpack and started jogging alongside me.  He had many cheers from his little groupies, (at least I think they were cheers, I did not understand much of what they were saying).  After a few steps, our eyes met.  He smiled at me with adorable, laughing eyes.   You know, the kind of bright eyes that can only come from an innocent, energetic child.  I could not resist.  I returned his smile and said, “Jambo, habari gani?”

He stopped.  His clear, big, brown eyes popped out of his head, similar to a cartoon and his chin dropped to the ground.

It was priceless.  He ran back to his group, laughing and screaming something the running girl.  What did I say to him, you ask?  “Hello, how are you?”  (That is about all the Swahili I remember from my college trip to Kenya.)  I continued on and completed the run, giggling to myself every now and then.  I may need to pull out the Swahili and brush up in the event I encounter that boy again.  Hopefully he’ll be courageous enough to run with me.

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3 thoughts on “Running White Girl Speaks Swahili!

  1. Aw, so sweet! While I often find non-runners as “in my way,” it seems this little boy sure made your run something special! I smile at dogs…but…that’s about all we’ve got here. Keep up the running!

  2. Heather on said:

    That is awesome!

  3. Show off! That’s still pretty awesome.

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