I’ve only been in Kampala, Uganda, for a week and I’m already head over heels. I like it so much that when people ask me, “How are you liking Kampala so far?” I have to hold back from gushing about all the reasons I’m so enamored.

For those who don’t know, I moved to Uganda because I got a job as a marketing manager for a local company in Kampala. Funny enough, I have a lot of family here – I’m living with my aunt and uncle, and my cousins and their kids live across the street.

I’ll be sharing a lot about my life in Africa in the coming months. But first, I wanted to tell you about my first impressions of Uganda.

The pace of life is relaxed

I was surprised by how relaxed the pace of life is in Kampala. But it makes sense – it’s cheap, the weather’s balmy, and it’s relatively safe. Plus, most expats employ housekeepers so they don’t have to worry about cooking or cleaning.

The only un-relaxing thing is the traffic, which isn’t even that bad.

There’s a huge tech and startup scene

Thanks to the internet and the (relatively) newfound ability to work from anywhere, there are lots of tech companies and startups in Kampala.

My cousin works at a startup with a similar culture to my last job; they have an open-air office, ping pong tables, and a young staff that socializes with one another a ton.

It’s especially cool because the office is very international – they have a mix of Ugandans, Americans, Brits, Australians, and lots of other nationalities. (Much like the expat scene here!)

Ugandans are quiet but super nice

So far, every Ugandan I’ve met has been super nice. (About 90% of my coworkers are Ugandan, so I’m getting to know a lot of locals!)

The Ugandans I’ve met are laid-back, down-to-earth, and quick to laugh and smile. The only problem is that most Ugandans are very soft-spoken – I often can’t hear them because my hearing isn’t the best at this point. Way to go, earbuds.

Kampala is so colorful

While Kampala isn’t the most beautiful city, the colors here are so vibrant. From the red dirt to the green palms to the shocks of violet jacarandas and magenta bougainvilleas lining the road, I feel like I’m living in a Pantone palette.

. . . . . . . . . . .

I keep wondering – is this just the honeymoon phase? Do I really like it here this much?

But truthfully, it feels good. After a few years of questioning everything in Colorado (is Boulder right for me, would I be happier if I lived abroad, is hiking even that great, etc.), it feels so refreshing to really, truly, love where I live.

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Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley is a travel and lifestyle blogger who lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Since college she has au paired in Paris, backpacked the world solo, and lived in Uganda. Her work has been featured by Buzzfeed, Forbes, TripAdvisor, and Glamour Magazine.
Ashley Fleckenstein