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Meet Rukundo Kambarami
Rukundo initially moved to Ithaca in 2010 to pursue a graduate degree before moving to Hector and then to the Washington DC area.
Then Covid hit, making life in a small, big city condo a tad too tight.
She and her husband moved back officially, this time to Watkins Glen, in May of 2021. “I have family in the area so it was a no-brainer, and I had my experience of having lived here previously for several years,” she said.
A slower pace surrounded by family seems like a perfect fit for this self-proclaimed extrovert who loves to bring people together. “I have a rich family history with family all over the world, Rukundo said, “and keeping those ties is something that is important to me.”
Being familiar with the area helped to keep her expectations reasonable, she said. She added, “I love the fact that you can travel a short distance and be in the wilderness with few people around or walk to the park and be on the lake. There is little to no traffic and a great community. Also, it’s more affordable.”
In moving out of the big city, she realized there would be some things she would miss. “Coming back to the area, I knew that I was going to be one of the very few people of color and was dreading where I was going to get my hair done! I also miss the fact that there is no major international airport close by and that your grocery store options are limited. Oh, and brunch–I was spoiled with so many great options in DC. There are a few places here though, my go-to, if I have visitors, is Ryan Willams.”
But there are some welcomed changes happening which she is also excited about. “There are few new exciting businesses that have opened in town and I have made several new friends.” And while some people might have concerns about the change of pace and options compared to big-city living, Rukundo understands, but says, “There is a surprising amount of things to do in this town, you just have to get involved in the community! Also don’t be afraid to stick out, because you will. It’s a great conversation starter and everyone is super friendly.”
She found the move to the area easy since she has family here and was already familiar with Watkins Glen, though finding the right house for her and her husband took a bit longer than she expected, though, in the end, they did find the right home. She shared, “Housing is more affordable and I’m closer to nature and family. I have also been able to get more involved in the community.”
Currently, Rukundo works as a consultant for a large consulting firm. on a normal weekday, she will start her day with a cup of hot water and coffee, before logging on for an 8-hour work day. She’ll take a lunch break and maybe go for a walk, or so treat herself to a fancy coffee from the local coffee roaster. At the end of her work day, she’ll either go for a long walk around town or head to the gym.
“We make dinner at home most nights, but will go out and play trivia and have dinner sometimes.” On the weekend she will often do something outdoors, spend time with friends and family, and maybe visit a brewery or winery.
Her favorite activities, all of which she has access to right near her home, are hiking, boating, and playing trivia. In the summer, she wants to be outdoors as much time as possible and in the winter she’ll frequent local establishments. Some of the places Rukundo spends time in include Maria’s, El Rancho, Seneca Cheese Co., Lucky Hare Brewing Company, and Solera.
We asked Rukundo what other highlights she can share about living in the area are for her, and she said, “The internet speed is great! And there are more diverse towns only 30 mins away that also have more diverse types of food and grocery stores.”
Thank you Rukundo for sharing your story with us!
Learn more about life, work, and play in the Southern Finger Lakes and the resources available for those looking for something new.