So the movers have finally arrived today, after a flurry of emails and phone calls to HQ and to the relocation company in the US and the moving company here.
I felt sad walking through our house one last time. It's a lovely little house and there are many good memories there. MoBob and I are such homebodies; we'd spend entire weekends at home, just hanging out or having people over. Last night we sprawled out on the bed. The curtains I'd bought in Accra were replaced with taped up flipchart paper (solid enough for discretion, translucent enough for light) and I'd taken out the bed ruffle for washing, so we could see all the boxes underneath, including the emergency kit I'd never gotten around to updating. We had one last smooch and then decamped to the hotel.
It was especially sad saying goodbye to our housekeeper and our two guards. Partly because they're such good people, and mainly because I worry about their future employment. We gave them all an extra month's salary and recommendation letters, and I'd sent the US embassy newsletter blurbs about their availability. I can't think of anything else we can do.
I thought about all the things I won't see anymore: little kids walking around with their tin can pails for begging, moto riders without helmuts, the plant nurseries near our house. My friends, neighbors, and colleagues both American and not. The heavy rain. The dust storms. Barreling along unpaid roads past little villages. African food. French TV.
I hate saying goodbye. Even after 4 countries in 7 years, I just hate it. I always try to leave without saying goodbye but I suppose that's not fair either. At least with our move to Little Rock, we're staying put - until MoBob gets his US citizenship.
Good luck on the move. I think uprooting and going somewhere new is always hard, but then I tend to form firm attachments to places and not move very frequently!
4 countries in 7 years is a lot of packing. Hope settling in Little Rock gives you a little rest.
Only a smooch. We must be getting old.
I'm not really clear on the whole naturalization process (although I should be!) but from what I understand his immigration visa includes a work permit, then after 3-4 years' residence in the US he'll get a green card, and then after that he can swear fidelity to the US constitution. So at least the timeframe meshes with his amorphous grad school plans.