6 MOVES IN 6 MONTHS - FINALLY FINDING HOME
Long before arriving in Abidjan, I assumed I would end up moving around a bit before finally finding the place I wanted to stay. Pricing, host family dynamics, distances from school, and a myriad of other factors play into deciding where to live. I did not, however, expect to move 6 TIMES IN 6 MONTHS! Though the moving certainly gave me a greater sense of Abidjan and how to get around, I'm happy to say that I've finally found home sweet home. Here are the various places I've stayed on along the way:
SEPTEMBER - NOVEMBER
Immediately upon arrival in Abidjan, Nathalie, Debbie, and I moved into our first house with our first host family: the Koffis. Intent on living an immersive lifestyle, we thought it best to be with a family who could tells us where to shop, what are fair prices, expose us to Ivoirian customs, speak French with us, etc. In this house, we lived with 2 host brothers: Ilan (19) and Yoan (13); the host father: Serge Koffi; and the housekeeper: Marie Louise.
Though the Koffi's home was a wonderful landing pad and Angré had a lot of wonderful maquis (we still go back to our favorites), we gradually came to suspect that we were getting a bad deal on housing. A very bad deal. This suspicion grew week by week as fewer and fewer services were provided but rent stayed the same. Things like meals and even toilet paper suddenly became personal costs. After negotiating prices, trying to work things out, and speaking to other friends who confirmed that the rent was exorbitant, we ultimately decided it would be best to start looking for a different place.
BILL & SUE'S HOME
DECEMBER - 2 WEEKS
Turns out, finding housing for three ETAs with a host family isn't as easy as we'd hoped! Sure, it's easy enough to find a place for one person, or maybe even two, but finding one family that would take in three people proved difficult. Thankfully, December is a big month for travel at the embassy, and multiple families were looking for house-sitters. Insert the homeless ETAs! For the first two weeks of December, Nathalie, Debbie, and I house sat / dog sat for Bill and Sue, a lovely couple from the embassy with a gorgeous home in Valon and adorably rotund dog named Otis. After the drama at our last house, house sitting at Bill and Sue's house honestly felt like a vacation for us too!
DECEMBER - 1 NIGHT
Alright this hardly constitutes a full move, but that was a location where we lived out of a suitcase for a night and was still part of the saga of ensuring we had a place to sleep. After Bill and Sue's we were lined up to house sit again, but there was a one day gap in between the two gigs. Shaina, a Fulbright Clinton Fellow and good friend, had already left for the US for Christmas and graciously let us crash in her apartment for a night. Admittedly, not the best sleep - I got the rock hard couch - but we once again had secured housing as needed.
BECKY & FORREST'S HOME
DECEMBER - 2 WEEKS
Once again, we were lucky enough to find a house/animal-sitting opportunity. This time, instead of dog sitting, we hamster and cat sat. The cat hated me, scratched me, and would hiss at me even when I was making its dinner, and the hamster tried to escape its workout ball at least once a night. All things considered, a very small price to pay for a spacious, comfortable, and *decorated* home. (Before leaving, Becky and her family decorated the house for Christmas, which means we were lucky enough to have everything from a tree to toy snowmen come Christmas day!).
HOME SWEET HOME: THE KUADIO'S
FEBRUARY - JUNE
My main takeaways from the past six months are as follows:
- I don't like living out of a suitcase. (To all my consulting friends - what is wrong with you????)
- Finally finding the right home-base is a huge and really rewarding milestone when living abroad!
- Host families are 100% my preferred way of immersing myself in a new city.
Though its taken sometime, I can finally say that I am home, sweet home :)
Disclaimer: This website chronicles my time an English Teaching Assistant in Côte d'Ivoire. It reflects my own experiences and does not represent the views or opinions of the Fulbright Program or the US Department of State.