Here we are in Abidjan…poised to begin another adventure together, this time alongside our son.
I immediately fell in love with the food available here…from delicious pastries to fresh seafood but I felt like a fish out of water and searching for something to make this new place feel like home. I was initially a little uninspired to write about our arrival here because I was struggling a bit to fit in those first days. Lots of new things in my life…new city, being a new mom, new environment, new language, new friends, new routines, etc. Never being one for liking too much change, this is always an adjustment for me but one I end up appreciating and even relish in the end and one I know will get easier with time and practice. New doors are opened to me, new ideas and new experiences abound.
As we unpack our boxes, pulling out mementos from our time in Rwanda or the trips we took in the last two years, I’m reminded that the transition may be hard but the reward is worth it. Thinking back to my flight to Rwanda two years ago, I’m reminded of a conversation I had with the young man in the seat next to me. Originally from Kenya, he had been in the US for several years to study. As we talked about what Africa has to offer, he said to me “If I can give you one piece of advice, it would be to keep an open mind.” He explained that he felt I would have a great time and see a lot as long as I kept an open mind to what is new and different and embrace it. A great piece of advice that I carried with me throughout our tour, (I will admit…) some days more than others. Such simple advice for really everything you encounter in life. And by keeping an open mind, I have experienced things I never imagined I would.
As we begin our two years in Abidjan, intimidation by this new city larger than any I have ever lived in and where French is spoken, I remind myself of the advice of the young man and the opportunities laid out in front of me. So here I am, almost 4 months into our time in Abidjan throwing myself in and keeping an open mind. I’m recharged and ready to explore, learn, and grow with an adorable sidekick in tow. Stay tuned for the adventures to come, recipes to try, and stories to hear!