The first couple of weeks in any country can be stressful as you set up once again a new apartment, buying things that you need, often settling for second best when you can’t find what you need. I struggled with whether to write this post because I was feeling overwhelmed and worn down and wondering when it would get better because it was harder than I expected. My last two countries were easier to live in due to the many conveniences and while there were challenges the settling in period was shorter. This past week marked a month since I moved to Abidjan and I am finally feeling a bit better about my apartment and my new life here in Cote d’Ivoire.
I am so grateful for the good things: I like the school where I work, my co-workers are helpful and kind, I’m enjoying the work and getting to know the students and my office has a window. The campus is open so there’s lots of outside spaces to sit. The lunch at school is good on most days and my apartment is relatively close to school so I can walk or take a taxi and be home in about 5 minutes. A colleague at work took me to a natural hair salon where I can get my hair done and it’s really inexpensive. There is a massage salon that sends a masseuse to your apartment and while it is a bit more expensive than what I have paid in the last three countries it is very convenient. I can get alcohol in the supermarket and I found Malibu. Plantains which is one of my favorite things to eat is everywhere. There’s a cute little cafe across the street from the school that sells juices and cakes. I haven’t been out socially very much but I went to dinner with a couple of colleagues to a place called the Garden Lounge, the music and ambiance was on point and the drinks and the food was good so there are options to socialize. The closest beach is about an hour away so it can be done in a day trip and I have been told that there are other beaches that are close enough for a day trip. The bonus is that I am already registered to attend a conference in Spain in November💃🏾and I’m hoping I will be able to carve out some time to do some sightseeing.
The bad is that I have had trouble sleeping because my bed is so hard and it’s difficult to find an affordable memory mattress topper 😭 I found one for almost $600 which is insane so in the meantime I bought some foam from a local place and that has helped some but I will eventually have to invest in a mattress. My apartment needed multiple repairs and because they are handled by the school it took some time to get them done. The neighborhood where I live is okay, the street we live on is not paved so it is a challenge walking and there are a few stray dogs which I don’t care for. The bathroom is a source of frustration for this bougie black woman because it is just a wash room with no separation between the toilet and the shower area. When I moved in there was no shower curtain rod 🤦🏾♀️in either bathroom. SO every time I shower I have to clean up the water that has spread beyond the shower curtain. It’s a pain and truthfully it makes the bougie black woman in me want to run away because I have never had to deal with this before. Most household items and healthy foods are expensive so saving here will be more difficult and there are not many food places that deliver so I have to cook some days.
The ugly is that it’s the rainy season and because my apartment is on the first floor and I don’t get a lot of direct sunlight there is a problem with dampness and mold. The hallway bathroom had mold due to a leak from the upstairs apartment which has now been cleaned and repaired but it took some time. The smell in the apartment as a result has been a challenge for me since I am sensitive and it has affected my congestion. At one point there was mold on my earrings, clothes, purses and even the paintings. So I have to leave the fan on and the closet doors open so that mold doesn’t develop on my clothes and sheets and towels. Currently my apartment has been recently cleaned and I’m hoping that by leaving the windows open sometimes, getting the fan fixed in the guest bedroom, and buying a $330 dehumidifier will alleviate the mold issue and allow me to breathe better. Hopefully the fans will be repaired this week but in the meantime I will leave the AC on during the day in that room.
Because of the challenges in the apartment and my exhaustion I haven’t taken many pictures which is unusual for me. I know it will get better as I am finally feeling settled and the mildew smell is finally gone from the apartment. If it doesn’t improve I will move to another apartment🤷🏾♀️.
As it relates to having a social life which is a personal goal for me this year I am happy to know there is a reggae scene here in Abidjan and I look forward to exploring it in the near future.
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