The Good Fight

My husband and I had our first fight this past week.  

No, it wasn’t based on the merging of “stuff” like Carrie and Aiden’s fight in the clip above from Season 4 of SATC, but it was related to the merging of our lives.  

Like many fights that happen in marriage, it was caused by one partner needing more of something from the other partner to feed a particular love language.  As newlyweds, we are still trying to find our rhythm with each other and trying to learn each other’s ways.  And since we are similar in so many ways, being with each other has been pretty easy for the most part.  Yes, we have our individual “off” times when nothing in the world seems to help our mood; but after the past year of navigating a handful of life’s biggest challenges and biggest moments together relatively smoothly and successfully, we were wondering when that first fight would finally happen.  To be honest, I feared it.

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I arrived in Liberia one month ago.  For the first three weeks that I was here, the sun shone almost constantly with partly-cloudy skies offering their benevolent form of relief from the heat and intensity of direct sunlight.  

In fact, I noticed that there are days when I would come home from my daily afternoon walk around town when my shoulders would be a little more golden brown than they were that morning, and the freckles on the bridge of my nose were slightly more prominent.

For the past week, however, the days stay mostly overcast and the nights have been scored by the percussion of rain storms that move quickly and resemble sounds produced by a music class of toddlers who are discovering instruments for the first time.

“sshhhhhhhhh, ssssshhhhhh. SSSSSHHHhhh,” the raindrops splatter against the tin roof.

“Bang! Bang! Whomp! Bang!” the wind makes a loose corner of the tin roof bang.

“SSSSSHHH! SSSSSHHH! SSSSSHHH!” the rush and roar of the storm blows heavy against the windows and pounds on the roof.  The sound — like my husband described to me before I moved here, but I didn’t quite believe — is sometimes so loud that we have to almost shout to hear each other speak. Continue reading “Adapting.”

Ass Prints on the Couch: Too Much Sit Time at Post

Liberia can be a difficult post for some.  

As a new acquaintance recently explained to me: there are about five things to do here, and you just keep redoing those things, which gets old very fast.  Beaches, restaurants, embassy events, browsing in local shops, and whatever hobbies you might have and can practice here about sum it up.  My husband, especially, has had a difficult time as an athlete with the lack of access to adequate access to places where he can cycle or run for miles and miles like he’d prefer.  Being in a place where physical activity is limited — particularly outdoors — can take a toll on physical, mental, and emotional health.
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Fishermen, Footballers, and Faith

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

Every morning, artisanal fishing canoes depart from the slums of West Point and cut across my view of the Atlantic Ocean a couple of miles from the shores of Monrovia.  The boats slice through the water, parallel to the coast, and the fishermen — usually 3 or 4 in the stern of the boat — row together in time to push their vessel through the chaos of waves and against the unforgiving current, always with the ocean winds cutting across their bow.  

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For centuries, the West African fishermen have made this daily trek, returning at the end of the day with their haul.  I have watched them for at least a few minutes every day since my arrival to Liberia, wondering about the individual fishermen and their stories.  Then recently, Andrew pointed out something that  — for whatever reason — I had not previously considered.  We were standing on the balcony that morning, watching the boats go out.  He turned to me and said, “You know, most of those guys don’t know how to swim.”

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First Impressions: Hello, Liberia!

We arrived as the sun was setting — sinking quickly below the line where the sky meets the sea.  Flying parallel to the coast, we approached Roberts International Airport, about an hour’s drive from Monrovia, Liberia where we would be living.

“See that point down there on the right of the opening at the mouth of the river?” Andrew’s hand moved in front of my face to direct my gaze out the small, oval airplane window.  “That’s where our house is.”

I turned my head to look into his eyes, and my smile beamed at him.  We had made it.  I had made it.  Africa!
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The Honeymoon (Part 2)

Since Part 1 of this post was written as a narrative, Part 2 will be more of a list.  Even though there were some challenges created by the mefloquine (see previous post), Andrew and I did have quite a few adventures and made the most of our two-week-long honeymoon.  This was also Andrew’s annual R&R from Liberia, so we knew that doing activities that we both enjoy and that he couldn’t necessarily do in Liberia would be priority.  So, here are some highlights!

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The Honeymoon (Part 1)

My heart was beating so fast that I could feel my blood pulsing in my fingertips.  Tiny beads of sweat formed on my brow, and I couldn’t catch my breath.  When I felt a freezing-hot, tingling sensation from the surface of my skin down to my core, my eyelids flew open and I stared up at the ceiling.  

This feeling was big, and it was probably going to overwhelm me.  I could tell.  I breathed deeply and slowly, trying to calm and brace myself at the same time.  “Just slow down,” I thought.  

The swiftness transferred from my heart to my head as dozens of thoughts raced through my mind.  And while they first flew together as one flock, they quickly became a flutter of swallows: diving, rolling, and chasing seemingly invisible targets — each one focused on its own singular objective.

My thoughts became creations of their own imaginations, it seemed.  Every fear, anxiety, or worry I had about anything flooded all of the spaces in my head, but I couldn’t grasp a single one of them.

I was losing control, and I could feel it.

Continue reading “The Honeymoon (Part 1)”