One Year in Congo!

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.


  1. Great pic! Thank you for sharing the update! Very glad everything is going smoothly! Happy holidays to the both of you! I’m guessing Christmas over your way will be without snow! Let me know which part of January 2012 that I should “pack up” some snow–and ice–and mail it over your way … which address should I use? … just kidding of course … talked to your dad 2 weeks ago … he is staying busy, busy, busy … never a dull moment in his life!


    1. That’s right, Uncle John, no snow over this way, but we did have hail just the other day! Such a surprise. However, we’ll be in Ottawa for Christmas, so will probably see plenty of the white stuff then! Merry Christmas to you, and happy belated birthday as well! 🙂


    1. Euh… je peux lire et écrire ok… je fais du progrès à l’écoute un peu tous les jours… mais c’est encore difficile de parler correctement! Je suis comme une enfant, mais en moins bon!


      1. Haha, bad French! I was trying to say “less good” and didn’t yet know the word “pire”… plus other problems I still don’t know how to correct… thank goodness you’re fluent in English MJ!


  2. Congratulations! I cannot believe you have just completed one year – I look to you as the experienced person. Thank you for your support and enthusiasm. See you in a few weeks.


    1. So nice to have you join me on the blog, Debbie! Hope your holiday season is going well in Seattle and you’ve been able to visit lots of family (and dogs). PS I’m certainly not the most experienced one in camp but am adventurous and happy to share excursions with willing volunteers like yourself! Look forward to rejoining you in a few months.


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