Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 12:29AM
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!