One year ago today we arrived at our new home in Congo. What a year it has been! The time has flown by, actually. I remember how exciting it was when we first arrived… everything so new, so different. And gratefully, the “magic” is still there for me now. On walks around town or trips to the city or local market, I still pinch myself all the time. So many incredible sights to observe.
Business has been good, Sébastien has enjoyed his job, everything is going smoothly on the work front. As for me, I’ve taken on a few projects during the year that I’ve really enjoyed. Tennis, bridge, lots of socializing, a volunteer job here or there, learning some French, starting the blog, etc. I’ve discovered that I really enjoy cooking — and thank goodness for that, it would be a long year otherwise! I’m also teaching English twice a week and just adore my students. They are so eager, so interested in learning, so friendly and respectful — to me and to each other. I love this photo of us. I can see in their eyes and their posture how proud they are. I didn’t realize until I saw this photo how seriously they take it, which made me take it more seriously myself.
I think my proudest moment this year was the day Seb came home for lunch and told me he ran into Viviane, our housemaid, while she was waiting outside to start her afternoon shift. She said Bonjour to him, looking him in the eye with a big smile on her face. He suddenly realized that she was a completely different girl from the one we had met about nine months earlier. Back then, she couldn’t make eye contact with either one of us. She looked down at the floor when spoken to, and never said much. Eventually she became accustomed to me saying hello every day, teaching her things, asking her for help with French, laughing at my own mistakes and smiling a lot. One day I realized that she had changed. She was coming in the door every afternoon with purpose, with a smile on her face; when she said hello she would look me in the eye. She seemed truly happy. She still acted very timidly around Seb, but that eventually changed too, and we’re all happier for it.
So here’s to another great year ahead! We hope to stay here for awhile longer, a year or two more if they’ll have us, enjoying the expat life and experiencing even more adventures in Congo.