One of the realities of being an expat, is that relationships, as good and intense as they are, are limited in time, by our own departure or the others'. We knew each other for a long time : 5 months ! And Friend No 1 left last night. In Québec, 5 months represents nothing, you barely get to know the person. In Dakar, 5 months is an eternity.
This temporal distortion probably exists because as foreigners, we are isolated from family and friends. So instead, the friends abroad become our temporary family, and if we don't live together, there almost a daily contact, be it in person, by phone, by email or by SMS. When we don't see each other for a week, it's been ages since we saw each other.
As if it were a health hazard, the first victim of the Acute Return Home Syndrome epidemic has fallen yesterday and the symptoms are been simmering with Friend No. 2 for already a long time. Her days are numbered. So are mine. Others will fall after me.
What's so sad about all of this is that this era is definitely over, since chances are slim that all the people that have constituted the background of the story would be again reunited. I will miss going out of town with friends, lazy movie nights and spontaneous lunches, outings organized through email.
Thank God, Senegal has a more permanent characteristic ! In the order and disorder, I will miss :
- The Corniche in the morning, with view of the ocean, the huge waves, the salty smell of sea, the baby palm trees ;
- The street peddlers, those who know and greet me, my shoemaker, fruit seller, phone card dude, cigarette, coffee, donut retailers ;
- The young men who suffer from poliomélyte on Place de l'Indépendance, always smiling, never begging. They taught me courage ;
- Senegalese tea, with my friends in Liberté VI and Yoff, conversations about all and nothing ;
- Walking home and saying hi to everyone on the way, the Good-Rade personnel, the fruit seller, the pharmacy guy, the watchmen ;
- Buying food in Woloff at the corner store ;
- Messing around with my work colleagues, espescially B and A !!! ;
- My favorite attorney's raving rampages about anythings, always worth a good laught ;
- My officemate's funny stories ;
- The Senegalese's wonderful and extravagant fashion ;
- My friends at the cyber café !
Even if I am happy to go home, today, I want to pay hommage to Senegal and the Senegalese. I love this country !