It’s amazing how just 3 months in another country can make you appreciate so many of the little things the U.S. has to offer. There’s of course the fact that everyone speaks English and people can be so friendly here. I checked into a hotel because after almost 22 hours of sitting in airports or on planes, 2 hours of sleep and catching the virus my kids had, I did not feel like driving 1-2 hours to BWI from Dulles (will be staying with family friends) and I just needed to lie down and decompress. Anyhow, the young lady at the hotel desk was just so nice and friendly. I walked to the convenience store to get some water bottles and loved the smell of fresh cut grass, sidewalks that weren’t blocked by large boulders or cars parked on it, clean surroundings (e.g., no trash), and pretty landscaping everywhere.
Of course, I can’t write this without mentioning driving. Our car is still sitting with the Senegalese government and driving the rental car out today was the first time I had driven since I left here. It was intoxicating having such a feeling of independence from just driving again.
When I got into my room, I turned on the air conditioners and thought how nice it will be to have continuously running air conditioning. We have frequent power outages in Dakar and there are air conditioning units in each room and you have to hit the green button on each one to start them up again after a power outage. It makes for a disjointed night of sleeping when you have to get up 1-5 times a night to start your air conditioner and the kids’. Not to mention, continuous electricity will be a plus! I’m sure over the next 8 days, I’ll encounter more “little things” to appreciate.