(Note: I’m putting these up one a day. These were all written some time ago, when we first got here, but we just finally got internet!)
(This was written the day after we arrived.)
Holy shit, we’re here.
While I had thought plenty about the “We’re moving across the world from almost everyone we know and love” aspect of this job, and specifically this assignment, many times, it wasn’t really brought home to me until we got here and didn’t have internet. (The fact that you are reading this means we do have it now, but this is being written while we still don’t.)
So, here’s a rundown of what happened, from the day we left until we got here. We flew out Thursday, the 9th, from Dulles. Our first hurdle was checking in at the airport. We had been told we were flying Delta to Paris, and then Air France to Lome. When we got there, we found out that we were in fact flying Air France the whole way. We also found out that our globe-trotting kitty was too heavy in his carrier to be in the cabin. We pleaded; we searched for compromise; we almost cried. In the end, they relented, and he got to fly in the cabin with us. I don’t know what we would have done without him!
Otherwise, the flight was pretty uneventful. The seats were tiny and uncomfortable (especially for two heavier Americans), but the food was good. Our flight from Paris to Lome was a little late due to a “technical check”, but even then, we were only ½ an hour late. We were (very fortunately!) met at the airport by a colleague and a “facilitator.” The facilitator took care of all the paperwork and the luggage, making our trip through customs smooth as can be.
After that, we came back to our new home. It’s…gorgeous. And HUGE. We have four bedrooms, each of which has its own bathroom. We have another half-bath in the main area of the house. Our furniture is all new, and there is lots of beautiful wood. Each room has actual doors to separate it from the others, and in the main area those doors are all glass, keeping it feeling open while still allowing us to close things off. (Obviously, the bedrooms and the bathroom have wooden doors!) The floors are all tile, and the dining room is open to the living room. We also have a little reading room (which the Teacher has claimed as her own.) Only the master bedroom has an actual bathtub (the others all have showers), but what a bathtub! I’ve never seen one that large in real life!
Outside, we have a lot of greenery, which is good because it seems greenery in Lome is pretty scarce. We have a line of palm trees in our backyard, some cacti, and even some flowers. We also have 24/7 guards at the entrance to our neighborhood and our … I can only call it a compound. There’s a wall around the house and yard, and the main entrance is through the garage which has steel doors. (Beautiful doors with some interesting art on them, but still steel doors.) There’s also some kind of “domestic’s quarters” which we haven’t even explored yet.
There are some downsides. We have no internet yet, which makes me (at least) feel cut off from the world at large. (Also, apparently you can’t run games you bought from Steam without an internet connection? What the hell?) I’ve also found out that the internet here is so poor that we likely won’t be able to use some of the things were hoping for, such as Skype or Netflix. (I know, we’d need a VPN anyway…but we still hoped.) Also, the only television really available here in AFN, which has VERY limited showings, and only the stuff that would appeal to the majority of service members. Thus, no cooking shows. Also, it’s obvious that the electricity is shaky, but we have an automatic generator which we don’t have to fool with at all.
Mentally, overall, we’re happy, but we’re both pretty anxious about everything as well. I woke up this morning almost unable to get out of bed from exhaustion. I easily could have slept all day, I think! But, we have people coming to see us, and we need to unpack. So, time to do that!