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We Made It


Bonjour!  I've been meaning to write since I touched down here but things have been pretty emotional for me for the past few days.  I am still trying to find my way.  I feel like I am blindly reaching out for some semblance of normal.  I definitely underestimated the effect the culture shock would have on me.  I never realized all the little mundane things we take for granted in the US, things that make life feel normal to us, like paved roads, working cell phones, garbage trucks.  It seems like the side of the road is an acceptable place to throw garbage here.  That was the first thing I noticed after getting off the exhausting 7 hour flight, was that the airport with its poorly lit rooms and no air conditioning that I was not in Kansas anymore.  We were ushered through customs which was wonderful.  I nice Senegalese woman helped us through and our transportation was waiting outside.  It was dark, ridiculously humid, and filthy when we stepped out of the airport.  I'm having a hard time recollecting the exact scene, but there were tons of people wanting to help us for money.  Trash all over the street... I remember clutching my little baby close to me as we maneuvered the crowd.  My husband completely aware of my terror.  My fears subsided a bit as we approached the resort... 



I've been here on the resort until this afternoon, when we got out to go to a place where a guy in a very small store took us in the back to get a passport photo for our ID cards.  This was not a Walgreens :)  He took our photo with a digital camera and uploaded it to a Kodak machine and voila that was it.  It was 4,000 cfa, or about $8, about as much as my bottle of Perrier at the pool today.  The resort is ridiculously expensive like Vegas where even a glass of apple juice is $5.  I snapped as many photos as I could during our drive.  So interesting to get out and see part of the city.  There are some enormous and beautiful houses and condos right next to dirt, goats, trash, street vendors, huts.. it's pretty crazy.  The people we've met since we arrived have been really accommodating and I'm anxious to get moved into our home so I can start feeling like this is home.  It's been an emotional roller coaster since we arrived.  Having to troubleshoot for the best possible way to make a call to the US was very frustrating.  We are so accustomed to our phones working everywhere.  The internet being fast and reliable.  We get here and nothing works like it once did.  I am having to rethink everything I do.  I said this before, I am not one to get out of my comfort zone, and here I am totally out of my comfort zone and at times hating every minute of it and ready to pack up and come home. 



I know I will love Africa, I just need to get over this hurdle.  Thank you so much for all the support you have given me.  It means more than you could ever imagine.  Just when I am feeling awful, I get online and see something sweet or encouraging that someone has posted or emailed me and it really is making the difference.  I am feeling so vulnerable right now and I absolutely hate it :)  For someone who is fairly strong, well-adjusted, and independent these feelings are hard to deal with but everyday gets easier than the one before.  I have decided that everyday I am going to share with you at least one thing I love about the country.  It's a way to make myself see the good and not see what I am missing.
Day #1:  The weather: I love that in January I went to the pool and it was hot, and that I don't have to wear a coat anymore, or socks.. I am not a sock person!



Reader Comments (8)

I honestly have so much respect for you. I imagine it is hard enough to be there alone dealing with your own struggles but to have a little one to worry about too seems overwhelming. This reminds me of our honeymoon in Jamaica. The resort was a gorgeous facade of what the country really was-- poor, dirty and a bit scary. I'm not sure that any of this will get easier (in terms of adjusting to lack of internet?!) but I am sure that you will find many more things to love and you'll have a whole new appreciation for life back in the US. We're all thinking about you!

Despite it being a tropical destination, Tahiti was very much the same. The main island was filthy and tiny apartments with tin roofs were stacked among the shopping. There was no ac at the airport either...100 degrees with insane humidity. And Mexico was a lot like the house you saw. There would be beautiful homes surrounded by shacks with tin roofs. We're very jaded in the first world. I'm glad that the resort is nice. It looks beautiful. It's summer there, right? I'm thinking of you & the family. I hope the jet lag gets better soon. It's hard to fight. I say rest as much as possible. :) I'm not a sock person either! Dig those toes in some sand and let the warmth revive you. xo can't wait to see & hear more!

January 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnna Elder

I am completely in awe of your courage. Most people never move from their home city, much less their country. I hope it feels like home soon! xoxo

January 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKelly @ Fabulous K

I love you so much Ash and am right there by your side every step of this journey! I am so inspired by you and your courage and cannot wait to Skype next. Hang in there girl! You can do this :) xoxo

January 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRhiannon

You are so courageous I am so inspired by you. You will get through this time and look back and realize how much stronger and wiser you have become. Your resort does look beautiful and I must say that I am looking forward to seeing how you decorate your workspace in your new home. You are so good at accesorizing! Hang in there!

January 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTiffany @ Savor Home

So much to say, but I don't know where to start! Big hugs being sent your way! I think of you often and wonder how you are adapting, thank you for taking the time to update us! You're so right, you will get there, so keep reminding yourself of that. Before you know it, all of the unfamiliar will be familiar and the new norm. Moving from one province to another was hard for me, so I can only imagine what this is like for are SO strong!

January 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

Ashley you have such amazing courage to not only move yourself but your young family! My heart hurts for you that you are feeling this, because I know how that feels- but I also know that it will get better, time will pass, and you will wonder how you got to the place where you are feeling like its home. Hang in there! Youre in my thoughts and prayers and I know this journey will be amazing to follow!

January 12, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkeely @ luxe + lillies

Welcome to Africa Ashley. My husband and I moved to Gabon (just a bit further South from you) a year and a half ago. We have had some of the hardest times of our lives and the best in this short time. Do know it gets easier and easier as time goes on and while the frustrations will persist, you'll soon be laughing about it.
(Where we are, the Senegalese are known as the hardest working and nicest people to have around. Hope you find a similar outcome.)

January 14, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterintowestafrica

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