Sad to be leaving, but happy to go

I have to say that while being in San Francisco for a week and a half, I’m quite happy to be leaving. I went for a walk up to North Beach two days ago to buy salami and I thought, “Hey, I won’t see this place for awhile, let’s have a stroll.” That was a rather tremendous mistake as shop upon shop is closed. It was just sad. This city is a husk of what it was and it goes to show how intangibly debt-driven the economy is here. Although, it did make me anxious to leave.
So, that’s it. A total month and a half back in the US and now I’m off again. Why am I off again? Because economically, things are really still quite down. I knew that this would be the case though as January-March in any year are a hard time to find work. Of course, I had a sunnier disposition about things this time last year, which ended up burning me. But, given the fact that my rent wasn’t increased for the first time in five years and a quick perusal of Craigslist shows that yes, things are not turning around, I am tossing in the towel and leaving the country.
Heading off to Europe again? No, not this time. As much as my in-laws would probably like to have me grilling meat and watching the puppy, I’m going a bit more adventurous this time; I’m heading to Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) for five months. Yes that is in Africa (West, not South) and yes, they do speak French there. And yes, it is quite hot there. So, why on earth am I doing this?
First off, I’ve wanted to actually live outside the US for an extended period of time. I’ve only really traveled outside for a maximum of maybe three months through a variety of countries. The closest I’ve come to living was staying in Figueres with my in-laws and that didn’t really count as I wasn’t paying rent, mom-in-law did the shopping, and I was there on the three moth tourist visa which I damn near went over on. Really need to use the other passport more…
So, this will be not only the longest time outside the US, but also the first actual living in another country. It just took until I was 33 to actually pull this off (I’m a late bloomer.) This is all being made possible by #1 Fan having a temporary contract there that was will take care of basic living expenses. Seeing how the economy was heading, she did something very smart last Fall and found this position which will not only allow us to hopefully weather this economic storm, but also work on that other project that I spend so much time on, Maneno. Also, I am hoping to come back speaking decent, as opposed to chicken-scratch, French by the end of this as well. Even though it’s not my favorite language in the world (the multiple ‘u’ sounds and the numbers kill me) it is an incredibly useful one.
Most people who read this blog probably don’t read Subsaharska that much as it’s about Africa and African technology primarily. This one is a bit more fun, dealing with such things as food, tea, airport frustration, and of course, toilets. Speaking of which, there should be an article forthcoming about that last item. Otherwise, if you want to see some of the more cool things I’ll be doing and the people I’ll be working with, take a look at that blog.
If I didn’t get a chance to meet up, I’ll make sure to do so in July and will be happy to see a lot of folks again after so much time away, although I will be online just as much as here in the US and I have a SkypeIn number for those wishing to call as well. Au revoir!