Sunday, September 10, 2006

Living it up in Brazzaville

On Friday my teammates and I staggered back to the SIL center in Brazzaville after 4 long weeks in Ouesso, northern Congo. Within minutes of arriving, I was sitting at my dining room table under a fan, drinking a cold glass of water and petting my cat while downloading my emails. I live a life of contrasts.

I'm really disappointed that my photos are refusing to upload for some reason today, but hopefully over the next couple weeks I'll be able to pictorally describe for you our continuing adventures in Congo.

I've been in Africa for 8 months now and while we were in Ouesso I seemed to have reached a critical point where I've rubbed up against this culture for long enough to get irritated with it. It didn't help that my sister had her baby (hooray!), leading to serious pangs of homesickness. I wondered for months as I was just coasting along when this phase would come. I'm actually glad that it's arrived because now I can push through it and move on to another stage of adjustment.

Despite the struggles, there were highlights on our trip and good progress in our work. Going back to Ouesso after being gone for just 3 weeks was cool. It felt like cries of joy were erupting all around town upon our arrival. It was so fun to have people squeal with delight at the sight of us. Astride’s mom came running up the steps to hug me crying “Jessica! Oh Jessica’s back! Astride is going to be beside herself!” We were able to build on previous friendships and ended up with several meaningful relationships.

3 comments:

johne nomad said...

An 8-month honeymoon phase?!? That has GOT to be a record! Congrats! :)

Looking forward to hearing & seeing more of your Ouesso adventures.

Linguistica said...

Thanks John! I refrained from calling it a "honeymoon phase" because I don't think that really is accurate. I wasn't in love with this place or thinking that it was paradise. I was just doing fine. Enjoying myself. Liking the people around me. I think it was so long because I'd already gone thru the crap phase in Switzerland where I mourned the loss of my family and got used to the harsh realities of cross-cultural communication.

Anywho, that's all. Later!

Jessica

johne nomad said...

The "crap phase"... hmmm... don't remember that one from my missions courses ;-). But it's a fitting term. Personally, I think that most new cultural transitions require such a phase. Personally, I'm neck-deep in one right now.