My first chance to blog since arriving at post:
Landing in Togo.
We’re here! The flight was long and tiring but thankfully uneventful. About sixteen hours in total. Dulles gave us a bit of grief about Winston’s weight but after some passionate discussions with managers and powers that be, we were allowed on the plane with our beloved furbaby. I was pretty upset and quite sick from the idea that he might not be able to get on the plane with us and cargo wasn’t an option since we did not have a hard carrier with us. I think half of what changed their minds was the fact that I looked as if I was going to retch on their luggage scale. The seats were tight and leg room was scarce but the flight attendants were kind and attentive, they fed us what seemed like a billion times and the food was quite good for the most part.
The landing in Charles de Gaulle airport was smooth and we had just enough time to grab some water and look around a bit before our flight to Lome began boarding. While in CDG I saw a woman wearing skinny jean overalls (Sorry Alex, I think our business plan is a bust, the Europeans beat us to the market punch. I bet the Williamsburgers are already ordering skinny’alls© in every imaginable colour and pairing them with a straw hat, drawn on freckles and clove flavored piece of ‘hay’ to chew on.)
By the time we boarded the flight to Lome, I was so exhausted I actually managed to sleep most of the flight. I am usually much too keyed up to sleep but I was glad for the three to four hours I caught. Once we arrived in Lome at the Gnassingbe International airport of Lome, we were met by a co-worker who came to pick us up and the handler who took care of getting our visas processed and grabbed our baggage. D and I were so thankful for the help of our co-worker and the handler. Entering the country was definitely a completely different process than any other time I had traveled abroad. There was no waiting in line as passports were stamped and paperwork perused. Instead we were put in a room with others entering the country and waited as the handler did all the talking and passport showing.
Once we were done with the airport, we were loaded into the waiting vehicle and taken to our new home (which is beautiful) and then out to dinner at a local Indian restaurant with some of D’s other co-workers. Although we were exhausted from the travel, it was great to meet people we will be working and living closely with for the next two years. It was important to push ourselves to stay up as long as possible and help our adjustment to Togo time.
Saturday we were invited to a co-worker’s home for a cookout and good company. He also showed us around the neighborhood a bit and gave us tips on great places to shop and dine out. Later that night we had (surprisingly delicious) pizza at a local restaurant with other co-workers. By the time we headed home that night we slept soundly but also very happy with how welcoming our new home was proving itself to be. We were able to walk home through our neighborhood for the first time that day and it really helped to make the move seem real.
Sunday morning we roused ourselves and managed our first trip to the grocery store. We were both very surprised at how many familiar items and brands were available and all the new items that we wanted to try. That afternoon we had another get together with co-workers and it was lovely to spend time with co-worker’s children and animals. The weather here is beyond lovely, especially in the afternoon. This is considered the cold season in Lome, so it is possible to sit outside without sweating miserably as we had in DC. It will definitely get hotter later in the year but I have been assured it never goes above 98°. Considering DC has lingered between 95 and up for most of the Spring and Summer, I think we can handle that.