Our Last Day in Africa

Our last day in Africa, we weren’t leaving our apartment till 11/11:30am that Monday in March.  We woke early–I with not much sleep–ate, washed dishes, re-weighed bags, and saw a couple more friends for our final goodbyes.

Last Day in Africa
Right before leaving our apartment.

Our transport came and we loaded bags into the car.  My Love walked through the apartment making a video of it for memories. 🙂 Then we said goodbye to our house helper, and began walking down the three flights of stairs. And that’s when it hit for Honey-Bear.  Saying goodbye to a most familiar face (our house helper) and to a most familiar place (the apartment she learned to walk in, talk in, had her first birthday in) she began throwing a fit, saying, “No, no, no,” very aggressively. I had to pick her up and carry her down the rest of the flights as she was shouting, “No, no, no!”

As we drove out of our beloved Work City, we asked the driver to pass by some of our favorite spots so we (mostly the kids) could wave a final goodbye.  We passed the walking pier and said goodbye.  We waved goodbye at the distant mountains fully in view.  We passed the slides where we most frequently walked to play.  And that’s when in hit for Bub.  He bursted into tears crying, “My slides! My slides!  No, no goodbye! I want my slides!”  And that’s when in hit for me.  Not only was I saying goodbye to this new place; my children were having to say goodbye to their home!!

Work City…Africa…had become their home.  Honey-Bear was two months old when we came.  Bub was 20 months old.  And here they were at 21 months and 3 years saying goodbye to what they now knew as home–Africa!  My heart broke for their loss.  And I wondered, “What am I doing taking my kids away from their home?”

After that initial leaving day, we spent two days in Spain before making the final fights home.  We were exhausted from goodbyes!  Our emotional tanks were pretty empty, and the rest of…honestly doing a whole lot of nothing was refilling.  We spent some time with friends, time at parks, and time eating good food. It was a transitional time to leave Africa behind and starting thinking towards what was coming the next couple days.  As Wednesday came around, we felt ready to leave the transition spot in Spain and return…home?

Transition Stage—Entering Africa

This was my first journal in Africa entry:


We’ve been here for 3 full days (gone 4 days total). Goodbyes went well on Monday. It was sad, but good. I was ‘teared-out.”

-tired. We are starting to have friction between us!

The flights were smooth and went well, except the end of the transatlantic flight. Our newborn, Honey-Bear, slept and traveled splendidly the whole time! But Bub, our 1½ year old, did not sleep the entire 8+ hour over-night flight!!! And the last three hours, he cried and cried…and cried! He was ‘that kid’ on the airplane. We felt terrible, but people were great.  The flight attendants were great. We were relieved to get off that flight. And maybe five minutes afterwards, Bub feel asleep in the stroller waiting for the connecting flight—ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!?!  We were so happy, but kind of annoyed!



We flew into our Work city and stayed for a week to get adjusted from jet lag and time zone changes before jumping into full-time language classes. Transitions are key to starting with success in any field, but especially moving to Africa—there is a lot that we needed to transition from and into.

We had to mentally and emotionally ‘leave’ our home and loved ones behind us. Which was sad, but surprisingly quick in light of the excitement of the adventure we had started.  The newness of Africa spiked our energy, which soon led to an energy crash because we were so tired.

My Love and I were tired and emotionally stretched, so feelings got hurt easily. But after apologies and “What I meant to say was…”, we were quick to forgive.  We needed each other to get through that transition, so holding on to hurt feelings and being opponents wasn’t an option.

We stayed in a furnished apartment. That was nice for us to have alone/family time to process the change. It was also nice to not bother anyone while the babies cried and woke up for a couple hours in the nights.  Just like having a newborn, which we had, interrupted sleep is never easy. Thankfully, it only

took the kids around four days before they were almost back to sleeping through the night. What a great night that was!

The next week our friends drove us down to our Lang City, and we walked straight into our language class orientation. After that, we met Mia, a national, who was going to be the kids’ babysitter while we were in class two hours a day. Later we got to meet the national family we would be living with the next three-months.

Transition, Part 1:  √