The Good

31 10 2011

Awhile back, another blogger that I follow did a series of posts on “The Good, the Bad & the Ugly” of living in India and it inspired me to start putting together my own list for living in Port Gentil.

So we’ll start with the GOOD.

  • The Beach – We have really nice beaches here, probably some of the nicest beaches we’ve ever seen.  Gabon isn’t developed for a tourism industry and I like that the beach is relatively untouched.  You can literally sit on the beach and feel like you have the entire place to yourselves, your very own little paradise, and it’s really the only place where one can forget about ‘The Bad” and “The Ugly” (coming later.)
  • Friends – Port Gentil is small, there isn’t a lot to do, life can be hard and all of that results in becoming quite close with people quite quickly.  I’ve mentioned before that your friends become your family here and that is completely true.  Plus, especially with the housewives, we don’t have anything better to do so we don’t have lists of excuses as to why we can’t get together or why we can’t help each other out.
  • Our Apartment – Seriously, we would never have this place in Canada and while it does have it’s issues, we have a pool and we are one block from the ocean and we don’t have to pay a dime for it!
  • The Weather – Aside from some torrential downpours here and there, we have great weather.  It’s always hot and it’s usually always sunny.  You don’t get seasonal affective disorder here because we don’t really have bad seasons.  It’s always summer and going to the beach on a January afternoon will never get old.

And there it is, ‘The Good.’

 

Stay tuned for “The Bad” and later on, “The Ugly.”





Time Flies

30 10 2011

One year ago today Joe & I were at the Port Gentil city hall getting married!  (You can read all about it here!)

It seems funny thinking back on it as we were certain it wasn’t a ‘real’ wedding when in actuality, it turned out to be legal!  It was quite different from our Canadian wedding, certainly not as beautiful, but memorable nonetheless!

So today I’m wishing my husband a very happy first anniversary!  (Unfortunately, he had to go offshore early this morning so the champagne will have to wait!)  We’ve had a year full of changes, some good and others, not so good, but thankfully we are doing it all together!





Hello World!

27 10 2011

Joe & I are FINALLY back online!

We had internet at our last house provided by a new company called WiFly as the main internet company, Gabon Telecom, didn’t service our area.  We left that house months ago and when we did we recommended they take the satellite and hold it for our new house.  Of course, no one at Joe’s office followed up on this.

We moved into our new home and immediately asked to get our internet reconnected.  The people in Joe’s office gave us the “maybe next week” response a few times before it came to light that they had NEVER paid WiFly for the service at our last house and now WiFly was refusing to transfer our service until they were paid (of course!)  Joe went to see the finance department and they told him they’d pay the bill tomorrow.  We heard that story for 2 months.

Tempers flared, frustrations bubbled over and in the end, they decided to use Gabon Telecom instead.  (I didn’t think it was that hard to pay a darn bill but apparently it is!)  Gabon Telecom gave us the “maybe next week” answer several times until yesterday when Joe & the internet guy from the office followed the technician around from job to job ensuring that they stopped at our house along the way.  The connection was finished in a matter of seconds but it didn’t work.  Apparently when they told us they couldn’t provide internet at the last house, Halliburton paid to secure a telephone number and continued paying on a monthly basis to hold it.  Even though we were paying to reserve the number, Gabon Telecom decided to give it away because we weren’t using it &%&^$%^!!!!!  Things got a little ugly and a threat to take them to court was made but by the end of the day, we were online!

Internet is a necessity when you live thousands of miles and several time zones away from your family and friends and I’m baffled at the thought of what people did before it was invented.  I felt so disconnected from the rest of the world and unfortunately the world goes on even when I can’t follow it!  I’m so excited for the skype dates to commence to see what everyone has been up to the last 3 months!

I am back!





New Friends?

26 10 2011

Since we returned to Gabon, I’ve been walking with a group of ladies.  I know it doesn’t sound like much but in Port Gentil it is.  We walk a long the ocean as it’s really the only place in town where there is a semi-sidewalk and the road is fully paved so we aren’t dodging cars.  In 30+ degree heat, at the end of our 45 minutes, we’re drenched.

We often walk first thing in the morning in hopes to avoid the more intense heat later on in the day.  A few weeks in, 3 stray dogs joined us on our walks.  They were quite nice and didn’t bother us at all.  They’d tag a long and when we reached the beach area they’d take off running and swimming and catch up to us again later.  Then they disappeared.  We walked for a week with no sign of them so we figured they’d moved to a different area of town.

One morning we walked our normal route and half way down the beach there pops up one of the dogs that used to walk with us.  He ran over to join us and we laughed as we realized that that particular morning, he was in a pack of 9.  All 9 came followed him.

So there we are, walking down the street with 9 dogs taking up half the road trying to walk alongside us.  We passed a police checkstop and they started by congratulating us on our exercise (not normal to see a group of white women walking) and then laughed as they commented on our ‘friends.’  Taxis honked and other expat friends who happened to drive by killed themselves laughing at the site of us.

I sure hope that if they join us again in the future it’s back to the group of 3 as 9 is just way too many dogs!





What do you do?

20 10 2011

When you meet someone new one of the first things you ask is, “What do you do?”  It’s an easy conversation starter and in our culture, our career is so much of our life.  I defined myself as a teacher before anything else, especially in the first couple of years of teaching, because my profession consumed the majority of my life.

In the expat community, the wives are defined by their husband, their home country, their language and the company they are with.  When you meet a newcomer the first questions you ask are, “What company are you with,” or “Where are you from,” and even, “What does your husband do?”  Here, we’re all housewives.  If we asked one another “What do you do,” I think the response would be “Nothing really.”

Today, after our morning walk, we stopped for a coffee.  A girl I’ve known for quite some time now asked me, “What did you do at home?”  I explained that I was a teacher and she told me that she was a petroleum engineer.  I found it so odd that we’ve been acquaintances for so long now and neither of us knew what each other did, or I suppose, used to do.  Then I started thinking, I don’t know what the majority of my friends used to do.  Even the ones I’m quite close with.  Do all of us have these past lives that we hardly ever talk about?





Style Me Pretty Canada – Featuring Joe & I

13 10 2011

Not long after our wedding, our wedding planner and photographer asked if they could submit our wedding to Style Me Pretty.  For those who don’t follow wedding blogs, this is THE blog of all wedding blogs.  They get thousands upon thousands of submissions each week but only pick the top.  I, of course, loved every minute of our wedding and it was by far the best day of my life but it was so nice to hear that others found it beautiful as well!

Our wedding went up on the blog today – check it out here!

 





Home

3 10 2011

On a much happier note, we are no longer homeless!  Before I left for Canada this past summer, we finally secured a new place to live.  After all of our troubles last year we were very particular and we are so happy with our choice.

This time we are right in the centre of things, the complete opposite of our more isolated house we had last year.  We are now downtown occupying half of the second floor of a building, a store below us and an office beside us.  We are one block from the ocean and just about everything one might need; grocery stores, banks, hardware stores, restaurants, etc.

Our apartment has 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and an open dining, living, office area.  The ‘piece de resistance’ is the garden.  We have a pool and an outdoor kitchen, not an easy thing to find in Gabon, and a bit of grassy space with papaya and banana trees.

The living room and Joe's office in the background.

Eventually we'll have a dining table and it will go here.

The kitchen

Our room

Main bathroom

Our pool

The apartment, yard and my pool boy.

We’ll get a guest room ready as soon as you tell us you are coming to visit 😉