So I thought it would be good to write a post to commemorate my passing the one year mark of living overseas. It’s definitely been a crazy, emotional roller coaster: excitement about living overseas, fear from being in a completely different country, sadness from leaving a way of life and people behind, loneliness from not connecting with many expats here, contentment from settling into a new life, happiness from spending more time with my family and feeling settled into the country, and excitement and anxiousness again from realizing I can forge a new path in life.
In February and March I discovered more of Dakar and began to find things to appreciate about living here. While being thrown into a country where I don’t speak the language was tough, it is also an opportunity to learn a new language, especially a language I’ve wanted to learn since high school. I stepped up my french language learning by doubling my class time for a total of 7 hours of french a week (not including homework time or Fluenz on the computer).
And, of course what’s not to love in seeing the ocean any time I’m out driving? The beach is just a 5 minute walk from our house and I have a variety of beach spots to take the kids and restaurants with ocean views. Goree Island and Ngor Island are two islands just off the coast of Dakar that are beautiful oasis very close by that I intend to visit again.
The first two weeks of April we spent in Paris and that was almost a like a reward for passing the one year mark in a third world country. While we didn’t plan it that way, we went during John Philip’s spring break and vacationed in Paris for 10 nights. The school was on spring break and so it was a perfect time to take our R&R. The one thing that felt like a luxury to me after living in Dakar for a year was the abundance of beautiful looking fruits and vegetables. The first day we discovered a local market with venders down a street and I was almost drooling at all of the fruits and vegetables. I think we spent almost $40 or $50 that evening from my buying strawberries, grapes, mangos, apples and bananas. Forget the haute couture in Paris – give me fruit!
So, here’s to more year in Dakar. Heck, today I just discovered where the light switch is to our bathroom mirror so who knows what other discoveries lay ahead!