29 January 2010

Community life

Living on a plantation the way we do means you have to do with the few people around you. Now you have a few options:
You can either exclude yourself totally from community life, and while that may work when you are yourself the expat, and in fact have a job, when you're the wife and you're unable to get a job for whatever the reason, that might become lonely, and eventually very boring.
You can search friends outside the community, but that is not always possible, some countries are very poor security wise and then it's not advised to search outside the plantation for anything, really.
Or you can go with what you have and try to make the best of it. Which ultimately means you'll be befriending people you would probably never meet in normal life (in that I mean, non-plantation, non-expat life). People who differ from you in age, beliefs, way of life, etc... The only point you have in common is that for one reason or another you and they chose to live abroad. And this is where the trouble lies. Now you may be of good faith and try to be the social glue, try to make everybody happy etc... there's always going to be one or more people who do want to join in on the fun, but only on their terms, and who have such poor social skills, they end up sewing disparity wherever they go.

Now obviously, I chose the last option. Learning from my first plantation experince in Cameroon, I swore to myself, if I could help it, nobody would be on a plantation with me and feel lonely, except by choice. And so I try to find out what people like, try to organise social gatherings etc... And yet each and every time I end up with one person not speaking to me.
So I wonder? Is it that hard for other people to make the effort to just to get along with each other? I don't mean everybody has to be best friends, but it doesn't hurt to try not to insult the other people in the community, now does it.
And another thing I'm asking myself: why do so few people realize that when there's something plaging you, it's better to talk it through than to sit on it... Nobody's going to come solve your problems for you.

Until next time

25 January 2010

Aan Mamie en Dede

Mamie en Dede,

Ik heb hier mama mistess haar blog gekaapt om jullie te laten weten dat alles goed gaat. Het is hier nog altijd lekker warm, dus als ik buiten ga om te spelen dan hebben mijn pootjes geen kou en vriest mijn pipi niet vast zoals bij jullie, toen ik daar op vakantie was.
Ik speel nog altijd heel graag met die grote ballen die van de bomen vallen hier, maar ik denk dat het mama mistesske dat niet zo goed verstaat. Elke keer ik er zo een kan pakken, komt ze die afpakken en gooit ze die weg. En ik mag die nog zo vaak terugbrengen om te tonen dat ik daar mee wil spelen, elke keer gooit ze dat weer weg.
Het is wel heel jammer dat ik nu niemand meer heb om op de kop bij te gaan zitten. Maar ik heb het gevonden! 's Nachts kruip ik heel stilletjes in de grote mand waar mama mistess, klein mistesske en baasje in slapen. Dan ga ik op een plaatsje liggen waar ze me niet opmerken. En dan kan ik daar blijven liggen tot 's morgens het licht aangaat en ik iedereen veel likjes kan geven.
Klein mistesske geeft mij altijd de helft van wat zij eet; maar dan is mama misstess weer boos. Ik vind vooral papaya en watermeloen heel lekker, maar brood en gedroogde abrikozen gaan er ook wel in. Mama mistess verstaat niet waarom ik die droge koekjes die ze mij geeft niet meer wil, maar als je eenmaal papaya hebt geproefd, weet je wel beter.
Soms bijt klein mistesske mij, en dan mag ik niet terugbijten. Dat vind ik ook niet leuk, vooral nu ik geen oren meer heb waar ik op mag bijten.
Mama mistess gaat dikwijls met mij wandelen, dan wil ik haar allemaal toffe dingen tonen, maar dan blijft ze staan en moet ik haar weer gaan halen. Echt vreemd, ze doet dat nu s elke keer dat ik ergens naartoe wil.

Nu ga ik stoppen, want anders gaat mistess zien dat ik op de computer geweest ben.
Ik mis jullie heel erg,

Dikke lik

22 January 2010

Life as usual

So we've taken up our life again the way it was... Or should I say a better version of how it was. With the new expat couple and their kids, a lot more things seem to get organized. So much so that I hardly have time to get on the internet. I brought the Sims3 from Belgium, because before leaving I had some spare time and I thought I would use that to play. But spare time is becoming almost non-existing. We've been going to the beach, to San Pedro, doing some shopping, aquagym, making social calls and what not. Yet still when people in Belgium ask me what the hell I do all day long, I manage to come up with no answer whatsoever.
So people, stop asking me what I do all day long. Do I ask you what you do at work all day long? No. I assume you work and that's that, no questions needed. Well, I'm a stay at home expatriate mom. Is it that hard to imagine that I have things to do?
Oops, this started off as a post to say that we're doing fine and life is going it's pace, but I think this is slowly turning into a rant, so I'm going to leave it at this.
Bye for now!

15 January 2010

Bye Bye Mamie and Dede

I'm sitting in the shade overlooking the pool where mamie and the baby are enjoying a swim, behind me the ocean makes that incomparable sound I love so much.
My parent's holiday is coming to an end and their last day will be well spent at La Canelle. They take the Sophia plane to Abidjan at four in the afternoon and continue their journey to Belgium tonight.
We don't get a lot of visitors here, so we've cherished every moment and are very sad their stay is over.
The two and a half weeks they were here have gone by in a blink of an eye and I think I will be very lost the next couple of days. Luckily the plantation is coming to life little by little with three families with young children already living there. Yesterday's drink at our place was a huge success. To make all of you readers drool a little; we had: caviar d'aubergine with pizza sticks, marinated fish, margarita pizza, crab-filled tomatoes, avocado and chicken verrines, toast au foi gras for the salty zakouski's and for the sweet mango biscuit, fruit salad and caramellised pineapple.

Last wednesday I lended my shopping skills again to Cee and I am very proud to say e found all the fabrics we set out to find. She's moving into her new house somewhere in the following weeks, so she was looking for curtain fabrics and had a spent an entire day in Abidjan looking for them, only to end up with nothing because the couldn't make her an invoice. But now with just a few hours on San Pedro's Grand Marché, she's got all curtains, lining, bed throws and even a set of table cloths for a mere 75 euro.

I'm cutting this post short, as I much prefer to float in the pool... Until next time!

Mamie and Dede in CI pics III

Mamie and dede's last visit to La Baie des Sirènes

Left to right, top to bottom: Maryam, mamie, baby, Dede, Koame (the driver), Jean-Pierre (our cleaner/ironer/gardener), Hyppolite (gardener) and Ion (dog)

13 January 2010

Mamie and Dede in CI pics II

Doggy found some camouflage... and got to hide away in the shade while at it.
our super secluded beach. We spent the day without anyone passing

Mamie and Dede in CI pics

This weekend we had a flat tire in the middle of the road to Dawa... And David didn't have the right key to take off the flat. Luckily we did get help.
We took Maryam to San Pedro last week so she could do some shopping with me and show me some of the places I haden't discovered yet. Since we've been back, Aini refuses to stay with Maryam... We're hoping it's just because my parents are here and she thinks it's more fun to be with them...
At Jardin d'Ivoire, Aini enjoying my fruit cocktail, which she emptied... I had to get another
My parents really loved La Baie des Sirènes. We've been there a couple of times during their stay. Probably we will be going one more time tomorrow. Both Aini and Ion are starting to like swimming in the ocean (Ion a little less then Aini).
At La baie des Sirènes
We visited the plantation farm with Aini, Ion and my parents. Ion met another dog and had a fun time playing around.
Luckily Mom and dad got to swin in the pool one day. After this, the filter broke down and we haven't been able to use the pool ever since. We're still hoping it will be fixed soon. As the locals say: "Decouragement n'est pas Ivoirien".
This pic was taken at San Pedro International airport at our arrival. Sweet Ion had been in his cage on the plane for twelve hours the day before and then got to have another hours worth of plane. All the while staying his fun and happy self.
At Wafou in Abidjan.
Dad and Aini in Zaventem Airport.

Found a good internet connexion!

Happy New Year and best wishes to all of you. For this new year I will once again try to be more fruitful on this blog, if you guys in return post some more comments!

So we've been back in Ivory Coast for two and a half weeks now. Internet at home had to be reestablished first and then turned out to be just as crappy as before. But now I have discovered a wifi connexion in San Pedro, so I think this will be my spot from now on and maybe I will be able to get a weekly update on here now.
My parents have joined us on our return and have so far had a splendid holiday. Frankly, I'm wondering if we'll be able to get them on the plane on friday (I think my father is looking for a hiding place). It's going to be very hard having them leave, because we have gotten quite used to having them around. Bare in mind that I had already passed almost two months in Belgium before we came back. I fear it might turn out very lonely again.
As I mentioned, we've been having a great time so far. Going to the beach, having super dinners and lunches... Sadly the plantation's pool is out of order, but sweet hubby has rented us a car (a very crappy one, we already had a lot of car trouble: the back door won't open, windows won't close and we've spent one hour on the road waiting for another car to pick us up because the breaks didn't let go). So we've been getting around visiting beaches, going to San Pedro. If possible a more detailed report will follow later on.
Next post I'll get some pictures up.