27 May 2009

Parlez-vous Ivoirien?

Some tips on how to speak Ivorian French:
1. As was custom in Cameroon, when you want to emphasize a word, you say it twice.
Example: ‘Ce piment là; il est long long et jaune jaune?’
2. ‘Le, la, un, une’ are useless words, and we can express ourselves without these.
Example: ‘On va changer porte là.’
3. Place the word 'there' (‘là’) after every noun (see previous examples).

evil baby

date of arrival

We have pushed our holiday a week, which means we’ll be leaving here on the 26th of June to arrive the 27th in Belgium. Our departure is planned for the 29th of July. It will be a very charged holiday, since we’re joining my parents in Cluny for ten days and towards the end of our stay, we’ll spend some time with David’s family in the south of France. This doesn’t leave a lot of time for shopping, packing, unpacking and seeing everybody we want to see; so we’re already getting out our calendars!
So, that leaves us less than a month to go… I’m already looking forward to it.

Decorating again

Even though I had promised not to invest myself too much in redecorating the house, this being a short-term thing; I find myself up to my knees into the wonderful arts of ‘homemaking’. Is it the fact that I’m Belgian (even though we try so hard to deny and erase that); or is it something genetic (because I might say my mom and brother have the same urges)? Ah… the old nature versus nurture!
Moreover, it seems to only get worse with time. Whereas I contented myself in Cameroon with painting half the house; this time, I’m having doors removed; ceiling tiles changed and off course… a lot of stuff repainted.
I do have an excuse, this time (don’t I always), being the termites, which has forced us to have half of our woodwork replaced. And the traces the termites left on the walls have to be painted over, of course. So while we’re at it, why not change the color? (all the walls here are white, while the woodwork is a nasty cream color). So all doors have to be repainted; not only because otherwise the colors wouldn’t match, also because they’re peeling off and our little monster likes to tear off paint and eat it.
So far, I’ve changed the curtains in our bedroom, because they let in a lot of light, and I had some prefab ones in our trunk anyway; which is leaving us with a black and white room. This weekend, we hung up some picture frames. It’s funny how much homelier it already is with a mere two pictures up on the wall.
I threw some plaids over our sofa’s (who were of an ugly, ugly fabric). I hung a batik I’ve bought in Abidjan the first time we went there. And I also made two wall hangings out of a batik skirt that tore a while ago.
But it seems as though every time I’ve done something, I find something else that could be better.


26 May 2009

A walk in the plantation

Aini was very happy about the cooling rain that finally fell Sunday afternoon
We went to pick some flowers, sadly, they didn't last very long

The Indiana Jones-bridge over the Dodo river

trip to Abidjan

San Pedro International airport

When we got back to San Pedro, we found that the UN were leaving. Should we be reassured or yet more scared???

Some light reading to pass the time
travel in style

eating a banana in the waiting room upon our return to San Pedro
the Sophia Airlines plane (this is NOT the plane David had to repair on the previous trip to Abidjan!)

Find what's wrong

The first to post what's wrong with this add in a comment, will be rewarded upon our return

How to talk in Côte d'Ivoire

The French Ivorians speak is a lot harder to understand than the French they spoke in Cameroon. Who ever thought that was possible?
First of all, most people speak with a serious lisp. And then there are the funny ways of expressing themselves!
A little anecdote:
I was questioning Maryam about the beautician she found me. The girl is living in the ‘cite cadres’, so I asked if she was married to one of the ‘cadres’.Maryams answer was: ‘Elle a fait un enfant pour le fils de madame xx.’

puppy love

Our little daughter already has an admirer. He’s the son of our neighbor and is called Jetty. Apparently, he’s always whining to his mom to come and see Aini, and so every once in a while, their cook takes him over. Every time he comes along, Aini is really excited and cries out to him. She’s starting to walk a little, and when the boy comes, she runs and hardly holds my hand to get there!
The problem is that the little boy is scared of me… so when I’m here, he doesn’t want to stay. Probably, he has never seen a white woman before, or very few, since all of them were evacuated here before the war, and that was before he was born (I was the first to arrive at the plantation ever since the war).
The first time she stood alone was at the beach. I was going for a walk, and suddenly, I heard her cry out to me. I turned around, and there she was, standing on her own, waving at me with her two hands. She’s doing that more and more often lately, so I think she’ll be walking soon. This weekend, she already took two steps by herself.

Burning down the house

About a week ago, I took control of our gardening projects and started terrorizing our gardener. It all started because I wanted to put some plants in my house. I went to a spot where they sell plants. I went back there with Francoise, who is a big plant-lover, and ended up buying a lot of stuff to plant in the garden, as well as some interior plants. Then off course, the plants needed planting!
So I took my gardener by the hand (he had been working for us for over two months, and I think he needed some structuring, because he was always running around in all directions, not doing a great deal!) and took him for a stroll in the garden, all the while pointing at where he had to plant my acquisitions.
I ended up pointing out all the work he had been neglecting: trimming hedges and bougainvillea’s, cleaning up fallen branches and logs of wood… The poor guy didn’t know what hit him.
During that walk, I also pointed out a heap of litter laying behind our house and told him that couldn’t stay that way, because it doesn’t look good and so he had to get rid of it… burn it or something.
Last week, he took action and burnt it where it lay… three meters from the house! As it was quite a big pile of rubble, we were very afraid the house might catch fire. So the gardener had to stand next to the fire and hose down the edges, since it was to big of a plot to put out. Still, in the morning I noticed it was still simmering.
And even though David had a serious talk with him about the danger of lighting a fire so close to the house, a few days later, he had lit it again, because everything hadn’t burnt.
This proves again that you have to be very careful about what you say and always think two steps ahead.

19 May 2009

family pictures

whose toys?

Jade Leatherspank!

garden pics

the 'arrivage' from our garden

16 May 2009

Pictures leftovers

These are some pics Thierry took.

Aini in her private natural seawater pool..

like royalty!!

I love this picture...

No comment

15 May 2009

shopping aftermath

Aini wasn't bothered one bit that we carried her around all of San Pedro!

These I took entering San Pedro, to give you an idea of the city.
I did find the cutest little present for Leïla and managed to pick something up for Tess, too!
I also bought a lot of plants and am terrorizing my gardener ever since. I've got big plans for the garden (my mom would be very proud of me) and am already sad because I won't see it mature.

13 May 2009

I've done it!

I've reached a record number of posts since I first started writing this blog. And it's only May!!! Sometimes New Years resolutions are good for something.
Furthermore, I am really happy that my complaints have woken up some of my readers, it's much more fun to write if you know you are being read and appreciated (and by whom!).

Tomorrow we'll be out for some more San Pedro shopping. I'll be taking my camera, hoping to shoot some dried frogs... This time, we're looking to buy plants and we want to do the 'grand marché'. It's little Leïla's birthday and I want to get her something nice, maybe pick something up for my sister in law... we see. Full report later on!

12 May 2009

This weekend's pictures

the end of the Dodo river

We did some serious 4 wheel drive to get to the Dodo river, as you can see.

Marcel, Thierry, Françoise and David

Aini's private natural pool at the beach where the SOGB paillote used to be

I think my brother would be the happiest person on earth with just his surfboard and a tent on this beach (as long as we come to bring him food every once in a while)