Ticket day: A 24-hour period (or more) during which if someone gave you a ticket outta’ here, you would take it without hesitation.

I believe this expression was coined by our former supervisors, Cal & Patty. They are certainly the ones who shared the definition with us during our orientation to Senegal back in 2003. Fortunately, these days are few and far between.

But between a difficult (and unsuccessful) trip to the lab for bloodwork, the full-force arrival of hot season in all its humid glory, cultural misunderstandings of the ‘inchalla’ variety and a frustrating visit for birth abroad paperwork… It’s a total ticket day.

I read a post by a woman who lives a couple hours away. She talked about people asking her what the hardest part of life here is and ended a paragraph with this statement:

“…life in a third world country is tough.”

It seems obvious, right? The thing is, when I read that line, something in me crumbled. I think I don’t let myself feel how hard it is because I’m afraid that if I acknowledge how frustrating and difficult one aspect is, it will be a slippery slope and the impact of it all will be too much for me. As this woman says, the power cuts, the water cuts, the lack of water pressure when it’s on, the heat, the dust, the driving chaos, the sickness, simple tasks taking longer, not knowing what’s going on…

In any case, here I sit. Wishing I wasn’t. Especially since it feels like everyone else is on a plane heading to somewhere with a Starbucks.

But I’m going to choose to focus on the things I love about life here and use them as rungs on a ladder to help me climb out of this Senefunk. So here it goes…

1. The back and forth greetings, asking about health, family, work…

2. Renting a mat under an umbrella at the beach.


3. Being able to tell Senegalese people that my kids were born here. They love it.

4. My henna feet and orange tie-dye pants.

Filed under ‘Only to be worn in Africa’

5. Seeing the ocean and fishing boats from our balcony.

6. Mangoes, cherry tomatoes and avocados are in season.

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 2.56.33 PM
Cold salad season!


Oh this is not good. Someone help a toubab out here, please.