Enjoying the moment

I realized today, as we’re looking towards a likely run-off in the presidential elections, that I’m really looking forward to life getting back to normal. Or maybe I should just say ‘getting to normal’. Between settling then moving, pregnancy then bébé, demonstrations then elections… normal seems to have been out of reach this past year.

In many ways it feels like we’d lived in Senegal for a year, but I’ve either not been able to take full advantage of it, or just been too tired to.

But now we’re happily in our own place, Pape is settling into dare-I-say-a-routine and, fingers crossed, the demonstrations are a thing of the past. (Oh, what the heck… Let’s hope the power cuts stay a thing of the past too, while we’re at it.)

So here are my resolutions for living in Senegal:

Ceebu yapp (rice with lamb)

1. Eat more Senegalese food. When the opportunity to have authentic Senegalese grub comes by, hop on. That includes lunch with the neighbors, beignets at the market, a round of attaya (tea) with the guards… The food is great, but the conversations around it are what I’ve missed the most.

I have mastered the art of common bowl eating + bébé

2. Take more pictures. Bougainvilla flowers. Smiling eyes. Graffiti. Graffiti typos. Working hands. Roundpoints. Palm nut trees. Scarves. Doorways. Sandaled feet.

Frangipane flower

3. Learn some of the unidentifiables. Buy some of the fruit, veggies, grains and such that I am not familiar with, but first ask the vendor how to select the best and also for a recipe or preparation instructions.

Papaya is great. But bring on the über-exotic!

4. Nap more. It’s culturally appropriate and I need it.

5. Have people over more often. We invited some French friends over for apéros a couple weeks ago. As they were leaving, I told them they were our first guests because we (still) haven’t bought chairs for the dining room table. (Apéros are served in the living room, so not a problem.) They looked at each other and smiled, then told us not to wait until we have chairs to invite people over. Apparently it’s been three years since they moved into their place and they still haven’t bought them either!

Who wants to come over for three rounds of attaya?

So we took their advice and have started inviting people over. And yes, that means that sometimes we pull up Cheikh’s osteopathy table and sit on it like a bench along one side. Pape is a big fan of this set-up. He gets to sit right between us on his Bumbo chair.

6. Fill in this blank. What would you add to this list?