The American Dream: Is America really the land of milk and honey?

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Mother’s day 2015

Having lived in the U.S. for almost 16 years now has been an enlightening experience. The expectations vs reality phenomenon is really real. To break it down for you, I’ll list 5 things my family expected when we were coming to America and the actual reality that we faced.

  1. We all expected to have a better life in the U.S. In fact, the reason my parents made the decision to move was so that my brothers and I could have more opportunities. However, I can undeniably say that my first year in the U.S. was one of the worst years of my life. I would cry myself to sleep every night because I wanted to go back to Kenya. The home that we lived in while in Kenya was far bigger than the house we ended up in while living most of our years in the U.S. (It’s about the same now expect we had a huge backyard in Kenya due to building our house above our family farm). I can’t say that life in the U.S. is better (maybe a little easier because of a lot more technology).
  2. Many people outside of America think that it’s so easy to make money in the U.S. This perception is especially true in so called “third world countries” (I never liked this label but it sounds much better as compared to what Trump said about the S*** countries.” The truth is the unemployment rate in these countries, including Kenya, is very high and therefore, it’s not as easy to get a job. So yes there are more opportunities to make money but what they don’t tell is that the cost of living in the U.S. is high as well. Therefore, my parents who had great careers in Kenya, my dad as the principal of a high school and my mom as a teacher had to work 2 jobs when they came to America just to make ends meet.
  3. One of the opportunities my parents really wanted for my brothers and I is better education. I wouldn’t say that the education system in the U.S. is better because you get a better education based on your income and where you live (this rings true in Kenya as well). However, I will say there are way more scholarships and financial aid opportunities in the U.S. so it’s much easier for someone to get higher education here than in other countries. My parents were able to get both a bachelors and masters within 10 years of living here which greatly improved their job opportunities. In Kenya, more education doesn’t necessary guarantee more jobs due to corruption and few jobs.
  4. My parent’s greatest fear was that my brothers and I would lose our culture. I can’t say that this happened but we did lose some language skills in term of the tribal languages that we used to speak. We all still speak some Swahili so at least we have that. In terms of culture, we all still love Kenyan food, music, and keep up with the news. We also go back at least every 3 to 4 years so Kenya will always be a part of our lives.
  5. The last expectation is something that I’ll have to wait some years to find out. We all expect to retire in Kenya someday but it seems with every passing year we’re even more rooted in the U.S. In fact, we’ve become so used to the way of life in the U.S. that we sometimes get frustrated about how some things are run in Kenya. However, east or west, home is best (and in our hearts, Kenya will always be home).

I hope this breakdown helps those who want to come to America and are not sure what to expect or the Americans who wonder how others perceive their country. 🙂 ❤

Job application, interview, and working tips

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Bachelors Graduation 2016

The biggest months for hiring in the U.S.A are January and February (according to Google and general knowledge). I personally just started a new job in January and I can attest to this. After going through many interviews and receiving a handful of offers, I feel as though I can provide a bit of insight on this process. So I will breakup this post into three parts: resume, interview and job training tips.


  • Use more active than passive verbs in describing your experiences i.e. “coordinated” sounds better than “assisted”
  • Don’t make it too long. A good way to fine tune it is to remove experiences that don’t relate to the job. For example my first job was as a waitress at a smoothie café but I never include that in my resumes now cause I have way more relevant experience for my field.
  • Include some cool stuff that differentiates you like scholarships or awards you may have won. If you do any volunteering, it can be nice to include that so the interviewer or hiring manager can get to know you better.
  • Most important: get someone else to read it for grammatical errors because typos are a no-no. If you don’t have someone, you can use online platforms like Ziprecruiter, which not only helps you find jobs but also give you resume tips that are specific to you.


  • Make sure to read the job description!!!!! If you know exactly what the job expects and is looking for then you’ll be able to come up with very good questions to ask at the interview. You’ll also seem very aware of what the job is asking for and interviewers get very excited about that.
  • Get some Intel from someone who already works there or at a similar job. You’ll be able to learn some of the lingo from them and also learn about the work culture of the place so you can make a more informed decision about whether you want the job or not.
  • Try to remember the names of everyone who interviews you so you can send a thank you email for the interview that mentions the names of those who interviewed you.
  • Know your resume very well so if they ask you a question about your experience, you can expound on the points you put on your resume.
  • Also, don’t assume the interviewers will print copies of your resume so plan to bring at least 3 copies of your resume with you to the interview.

Job Training:

  • Bring a small note pad and a pen at all times so that you can write stuff down that you’ll probably not remember otherwise.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s better to ask them during job training than to ask them later and look like you weren’t paying attention when you were being trained.
  • Try to learn everyone’s names. I am so bad at names; I had to write them all down in my notepad during my first week at my job.
  • Dress to impress. Don’t participate in casual Friday until you’ve worked there for a while so you don’t go overboard. Also this is a time you’re getting introduced to a lot of people, so you always want to look professional.

Thank you for reading. I hope all these tips help you in your job search or starting process. Good luck! J ❤


-originally written on June 2, 2011

So on MAY 17, 2011 I graduated from HIGH SCHOOL which means I am officially college bound. Ironically it was also my father’s 50th birthday but that was unfortunately overshadowed by my milestone. On the upside, he never remembers his birthday anyway and he still looks like he’s 40 which means I am destined to age slowly (crossing my fingers for no wrinkles since gray hairs do not run in my family). That’s right forget the crap about embracing age and the nature that comes with it (poor eyesight, aching bones, foggy memory etc), i want to be youthful or semi-youthful forever!

Northeastern University, Boston, MA

Anyway, let’s get back on topic and away from my fear of aging, So in 3 months since school here opens in September, I will be an American campus girl ( allusion to savvy’s Kenyan campus girl which inspired me to start this blog). I am excited to move from Alabama which is not a very vibrant place to Boston which is one of the most lively places in the U.S.  I’ll be attending Northeastern University to study Pharmacy and they have an awesome program that will enable me to become a Doctor of Pharmacy in six years. So can you imagine that, me as a 24 yr old girl ehem woman/lady that will be referred to as Dr.Mercy! I am beyond excited, not so much because of the title “DOCTOR”,  but because of the lifestyle and the flexibility that a pharmacy career offers. I want to first assure you that I am not a GOLD DIGGER but alluding to this phrase that i have recently coined “there’s nothing wrong with being a gold digger if you are digging your OWN gold”.

Either way, like everyone else in this world, I have a dream (MLK voice) where I live without the worry of money. I am not saying I want to be Oprah or Donald Trump rich…I just want to be comfortable. In the U.S. as a single person it is possible to live comfortably on 30K considering you have a normal apartment etc. The starting salary of a pharmacist is between 75-79K and the median salary is 100K which means that this dream will essentially be reality if all goes well. Bring a husband and kids in the picture and a picturesque house and Voila!, that’s the so-called American Dream that you have possibly heard of. Of course kids will come later since by my standard 24 is too young to start a family i am leaning on earliest at 26 and latest at 28. That gives me 2-4 years to settle down, “figure myself out”, and most importantly enjoy my dwindling YOUTH. Also, just so you don’t think I am a self-centered selfish person which isn’t 100% wrong, I plan to come to work with the WHO (World Health Organization) or Doctors Without Borders to facilitate medicine in developing nations. Haven’t worked out how i will do it but I do know that in order to do so, I think I should work in some pharmaceutical development company and somehow guilt them into giving out some of their samples to people in need in developing nations whether it be TYLENOL or some Anti-biotics. Anyway don’t be frightened into thinking that, à la “The Gardener ” (google movie for reference), experimental medicine will be distributed to these poor people as a ploy to use them as guinea pigs. I think the transparency will be the key in making a sustainable impact to the disenfranchised communities that I want to help. I’m all about sustainability in terms of outreach as exemplified by philanthropists such as Bill Gates (who I really look up to, like the rest of the world).

Anyway, this is the most challenging part of my dream because it doesn’t rest solely on my abilities.

the American Dream

After starting a family and raising my kids to the best of my abilities, I plan to retire at the age of 50 or 55 despite the fact that the retirement age in the U.S. is 65. Following my retirement, I plan to return to Kenya and live somewhere nice, maybe Westlands or Nyahururu and maybe try to get a position in the Ministry of Health that actively aims to help people or just start a chain of Pharmacy clinics in Kenya.

Either way something inside me tells me I am destined for greatness and to produce great change…so if Kenya’s government has not gotten its crap together by say 2040 then I with the help of the disillusioned Kenyan masses want to start a revolution where we demand honesty and accountability from the government instead of sitting in front of our TVs and taking whatever they throw at us with our 4 o’clock tea. In essence, I just want to be a part of something that gives back to the country that I owe my entire existence to. I love KENYA and I want nothing but the BEST for it.

So my fellow readers and Kenyans, I apologize for indulging you in 5 paragraphs all about ME although i am guessing that’s what I usually do so in that case Thank You for indulging in 5 paragraphs about my hopes and dreams. I wish you all the best in your dreams and future. And in 50 years I hope to come back and tell you all that everything worked out perfectly despite life’s unending surprises. In the meantime, what are your dreams, and have you achieved them? If not, how do you plan to do so?