Au Revoir Gabon!

Manic post ahead:

After a series of moves, I know the deal.  Start prepping a few weeks ahead, make lists of things to be done, lose said lists, and start from scratch. Navigate around the many piles that start appearing all over the house.  Start saying goodbye without actually saying it by spending as much time as possible with friends and family.  Invite people over to raid your pantry and fridge.  Start taking things too personally a few days before the pack out, then commence melt down (or two) within 24 hours of movers arrival.  I know it ain’t flattering people, but that’s how I do!  haha. For the most part, this demob has ticked all the boxes, and even added a few.  i.e. Partaking in a community yard sale and making under the table deals all over town to get the best exchange rate for what’s left of our Gabonese currency (Thanks B).

I’m sitting in our now very naked living room as the night time security guards and Abdoulay take their picks of what we’re leaving behind.  A bizarre assortment if I do say so myself, bath products, food, adapters, sunglasses, you name it, it’s in there! Trust me they’re having a good time!  Who doesn’t love free stuff?

Yes friends, we’ve reached our final day in Gabon. The movers have come and gone and tonight we say ‘Au Revoir’ to this crazy, unforgettable place.  I didn’t realize just how sad I was to leave until I found myself crying as our stuff was being packed up yesterday morning.  Granted, the tears may have been kickstarted by the lack of care being taken with our stuff, but it was more than the thought of all our breakables arriving in shards back in the US.  This is a unique place, and for me – it’s been a very special year that I’m sad to see come to a close.

It feels like just yesterday I was the new guy…. clueless, nervous, and faking a smile that I can now spot a mile a way. Then somehow, 12 months later, we’re closing down good bye parties then running off to brunch the next morning then making freezer meals for one the new single guys.  A lot changed this year.

The last 2 weeks have been jam packed and full of festivity!  ‘Last’ Brunches’, ‘Last’ Pool Days, ‘Last’ Dinners out… and in the same way you feel nostalgic and forget about the all nighters when you graduate high school, or college – it’s been great fun to soak in Libreville. When it’s coming to end, it’s easy to look past the funk and go ‘man, I’m gonna miss this.’  And I will miss it.

I’ll miss the gnarly thunderstorms that start and stop on a dime – so loud you can feel it in your chest.  The fleeting taxi rides with the wind in my face. I will miss Abdoulay, our gate guard and Senegalese Papa, who always asks where I’m going and when I’m coming back.  The maniacal flapping of bats in the evening, and when the good mozzerella is on sale at the store! Score!  I’ll miss the time I had here.  The time to spend with friends exploring the city or trying a new recipe, or planning a party. I may even miss the proposals you get while buying eggs (sold individually) at the corner Épicerie.  It goes without saying that I won’t miss les cafards (roaches) or les piqûres de moustiques (mosquite bites).  But that’s all ancient history now.  Thankfully though, we’re leaving with friendships that aren’t ancient history.

It was a humbling thing to be thrown into a whole new world literally be “caught” by strangers. Strangers that fed us, invited us places, shared with us, and even spoke for us when we couldn’t find the French.  It’s been a sweeter thing realizing that somewhere along the way, those strangers became great friends. Two of which just pulled out of the driveway, after a leisurely evening talking, laughing and eating a sad, but oddly satisfying array of apps and leftovers.  We said brave, quick goodbyes – the kind we’ve gotten good at after so many people have come and gone from this project, only to go in and find a card that said all the stuff we couldn’t actually say out loud without losing it.  Good people I tell you.

Sitting here, thinking about this experience… I am overwhelmed by all the kindness I was shown here.  I feel absurdly lucky to have met a great group of women (and men), from all around that world that hosted me, opened my eyes, and kept me fed and laughing for a year!  I intend to pay the love forward because people are where it’s at, no matter where you’re at and I’m so grateful for relationships Gabon made possible.  {Sappy tangent over}

We’re down to the nitty gritty now… all the bags are zipped up and we head to the airport in a a half hour.  I’ve double and triple checked all the rooms in the house to make sure it’s emptied, and I’m having a good chuckle about the RANDOM odds and ends that I’ve collected.  Contents of grocery bag: Umbrella, Two of Diego’s kong toys, a metal bowl, a rogue earring, and a box of Rice Pilaf.  There you have it folks, the anatomy of a move out.

Hope to see you soon in the good ‘ol U.S. of A. where I plan to continue conquering all sorts of things.



5 Comments on “Au Revoir Gabon!

  1. Wonderful Lindsey! I love you and hold you in my heart. Safe travels to you both!!

  2. Thinking of you Lindz as your journey continues….on to more amazing things. Safe travels to you and B.

  3. Dear Linz and Brandon, Lindsey you are a great writer. I hope to read the book you will write someday. It is so sweet to feel every emotion you are feeling to be leaving your beautiful and enriching past year. I am so proud of all you have accomplished in this year abroad. You have as amassed a great many memories an grown into an amazing woman. I am looking forward to your experiences to come. All my love to you both. Have an enjoyable trip home to the “Good old U S A” xoxo gram T.


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