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windy backs and sunny faces

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Port-Gentil

The good part of farewell… the parties!!

We originally found out about a possible transfer in February of this year… and chose to keep the news a little quiet until we had some definite plans pinned down.  Just like when we waited for an official offer to move TO Port Gentil, it seemed like our offer to relocate OUT of Port Gentil was never going to come.  We waited during the height of a stressful round of layoffs at my husbands company which added to the tension.  Finally by the end of April we received some good news and the word was out…. we were officially moving to Scotland!

As soon as I broke the news to my girlfriends, it seemed like every week was another reason to celebrate- last coffee, last lunch, last cocktail at lido.  My last day at Mission Nissi was full of dancing, snapping pictures, and shooting videos- even a few secret video messages from the kids that I later found.  To tie it all together, Seth’s company graciously put together an incredible celebration at the beach with his team and our friends.  Yall know how terrible Seth’s work schedule was in PoG, but this beach was our little smidge of respite on Sundays.  Before lunch started, Seth’s managers and a couple of his team members shared some very special words about their time working together.  I know Seth is pretty rad, but its nice to hear coming from other people too!  We left that afternoon with so many special goodies and memories from Gabon.  That night, the party continued for one last get together with our friends.  We feasted on the famous “H-Burgers” and tequila shots and eventually made our way to a local nightclub for some dancing.  Our final farewell was with our good friend Habiba at the airport… it is so fitting that hers was the last smiling face we saw as we departed Gabon!  We got to leave our home for the past 2 years with so many happy memories shared with some awesome people!

 

 

I’m baaaaaaack

Wow, 7 months later and here we are!  Blame it on terrible internet, forgetfulness and maybe a smidge of laziness I have completely neglected this blog.  Through a lot of encouragement from some very sweet family members and friends, I am back to continue sharing our adventures as an expat family.  There have been a few big life changes since my last post… which I will get to! As I sat down to reacquaint myself with windybacks I came across a post I had written but never published.  When I originally wrote this, I felt that being left behind by friends moving to a new assignment was one of the hardest parts of this lifestyle.  It seemed so much easier for the family leaving who was heading to a new and exciting adventure!

Whenever people ask us what its like to live in Central Africa, our responses completely depend on what the current situation is.  Be it water shortages, customs strikes, or torrential downpours, there is no doubt that Port-Gentil can create some trying times and difficult situations.  And if you’ve asked this question during the height of any of these situations,  you’ve probably gotten an earful (sorry!).  Something that always reels us back in though is talking about the relationships we’ve created throughout this adventure.  I’ve mentioned before how quickly and tightly friendships are formed here and its something that we are SO blessed to get to experience!  We have made friends from all over the world and have learned so much from each of them.  The only problem with this scenario is that the expat lifestyle is transient.  You form wonderful relationships with people and before you know it, their contract is up and they are on to the next location.  My very logical husband views this as an opportunity to go visit people in their NEW home, but I can’t help but be a little selfishly heartbroken when our friends leave PoG.  I’ve experienced this heartache a couple times in the short 15 months that we’ve lived here, and I get a little choked up when I think about our friends who have moved on.  Someday it will be our turn to move on and begin a new adventure… but until then I am going to cherish my time surrounded by these special people

Reading through this old post tugged at my heartstrings and I could feel that little lump forming in the back of my throat as I relived the goodbyes.  I still remember the sting of saying farewell to one family at a time, but it does not compare to saying goodbye to a whole community of friends at once.  A very smart Winnie the Pooh once said, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard”.  We have moved on to a new location and are very very very (did I say VERY) thankful for that… I just wish we could have brought everyone with us! I don’t think we will ever live in another situation quite like Port Gentil, but I can’t wait to see whats to come in our new home… bring it on Aberdeen, Scotland!

Back from vacay!

SO… as a lot of our family and friends know, we have been stressed out working on a way to get our cats to PoG, pretty much since we got confirmation that we would be transferred.  (By we, I mean I have been stressed out…my husband is much more level headed about these kinds of things!)  After a crazy string of events and a little bit of chaos… they made it! Louie and Nola are officially living in Port-Gentil!

Image They were stuck in these crates for the entire 24 hours it took for us to get back… poor guys!  Overall, the gate agents and flight attendants were extremely helpful; one of the flight attendants even asked me what temperature I would like the animal’s cabin to be maintained at!

A couple of friends and family members have been asking what it looks like outside of our compound.  Here are a couple of pics from my walk with Jersey today.

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The road leading in to Abela. Our gate is in the very back.
Neighborhood side street behind Abela
Neighborhood side street behind Abela
Main road outside of Abela
Main road outside of Abela
Main road outside of Abela
Main road outside of Abela
With rainy season comes some beautiful blooms!
With rainy season comes some beautiful blooms!

Keep in mind this is just the very close area around our compound.  As you work your way towards town center, there are more tall buildings, restaurants, and shops.  I hope to add more pictures of the town soon!

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