While the Hubs was still at FSI, I remember going to some spouse orientation thing and hearing an experienced spouse say that when their family’s tours were shorter, they made a point to get as much out of their time at those posts as they could: travelling, sight-seeing, enjoying, absorbing everything. When you’ve got 3-4 years in a country it doesn’t seem as urgent. This was certainly true of our time in DC. Despite the decade we spent there, with our travel orders in-hand, we scrambled to cram all of the things on our bucket list into the span of a few weeks. We didn’t quite cross everything off. So in a way, since we got here, the clock’s been ticking. Only 583 days left to experience as much as we can.
Every once in a while I’ll find myself talking to someone and they’ll say that we’ve done more in our almost-five months here than they have in their entire tour. Maybe it’s the excitement of being somewhere new on a short timeline. Maybe it’s a good distraction from any FOMO we might be experiencing. We have done a lot in our short time here in West Africa – from exploring greater-Accra to spur-of-the-moment trips like São Tomé. Over the holiday we had our first friend from home visit. It seemed like a great excuse to visit Mole National Park in the north. And in my new capacity as a working woman, I’ve already had the opportunity to travel north again to two villages in the Volta region.
While my job will definitely open me up to all sorts of national travel that I likely wouldn’t do for kicks, it’s also restricting my lady of leisure lifestyle: taking batik classes, touring fun things around town, meeting friends for lunch. Now I feel the pinch to pack the weekends. This was especially evident this past weekend when me and the Hubs found ourselves with nasty colds that our Little Petri Dish passed on from last week. We were out for the count all weekend. But I had photo exhibits and people to go see! Cabin fever has set in and I’ve found myself googling adventures outside of West Africa: Cape Town, Maasai Mara, Zanzibar, Lalibela…
The more I experience the more I am realizing how much I love Africa. Even the power outages, Harmattan and public urination can’t get in the way. And as we hear people who’ve served in places like Ethiopia/Kenya/Tanzania/Angola/South Africa/Uganda say Ghana is just ok by comparison – I feel this need to experience everything this continent has to offer. I’m sure that Mole pales in comparison to the Serengeti, but there’s no rush like slamming the hotel room door on a peeping Baboon and little that compares to seeing an African elephant in the wild. It’s just left me wanting more.