Reaching a month into a new expat experience is always a milestone worth writing about regardless of whether it is positive or negative. I like writing about these milestones as they provide me with sort of a ‘happiness timeline’ of an expat experience. If you adopt the habit of doing this for everyone of those expat experiences (like I did for Libya and Mozambique) then you have great way of comparing your experiences and your state of mind at these little milestones.
I came into experience with a lot of hope. I wanted to turn a corner after, what I now consider, a bad expat experience in Mozambique; I wanted to make the most out of my West Africa experience and I really wanted to be positive about it.
Je suis malade d’amour!
What are my thoughts after one month? Well let me start with the biggest negative point about Conakry. It’s the absence of certain miss Raquel! This irresponsible woman who mercilessly decided to steal my heart and refuses to give it back to me! She has clearly put a spell on me because I honestly struggle to function without this woman in my life! I even miss her waking me up at the ungodly hour of 9 am on weekends to go for longs aimless walks. Joking aside now, I miss her so much, especially after having spent four months together again as a normal couple (if normal is the man staying home and doing ironing!) in London, it makes being apart extremely difficult. Here’s to the hope that this will change sooner than we expect!
Je ne parle pas Français
I’m back in a country where I don’t speak the language and this is a little frustrating as you can imagine. Even though I understand some things as they are similar to Portuguese, I cannot string a sentence together, which makes asking for things quite difficult. This is a barrier I must overcome and will make the effort of doing so, even if that means finding a French teacher and learning this language! (I’m never against learning new languages!)
Working up a storm!
Not since February 2011 have I enjoyed my job particularly as I had been in new position and role (In Beira) which I wasn’t familiar with. Couple that with a difficult project, client and at times colleagues which I never really felt at ease with (no fault of their own though) and you have a very poisonous atmosphere.
Here in Guinea it’s the complete opposite. I’m back in a role I know and, in all honesty, enjoy in great team which has brought me excitement for what I do again! It helps that many of the people I’m working with here are people I know from Libya and familiarity always helps when it comes to work. Also the living conditions the company provides us with is not bad at all and personally I find it extremely comfortable.
Add to that I have friends here (including one of the best men of my wedding) and am making new ones as time goes by and I get to know more people here. It’s these friendships which make the difficulties of being in Conakry easier to deal with. Knowing that you have someone to talk to when you feel down about being away from your loved ones helps immensely on these expat assignments and there is no doubt that this has helped my adjustment here in Conakry.
So yes, my greatest challenge here is being away from Raquel again which as before is not easy, but at least here I have a support network of friends and colleagues which have made being away from her easier, which has meant that this experience (a month into it) has been far better than Beira.