Thursday, July 14, 2016

#21 Nigeria - Life in Pictures (Month 6)

TWO MORE DAYS! These past 6 months have gone by quickly in hindsight, as these rotations always do. This was not my favorite place we've lived, but I truly do appreciate all the experiences we've had. We learned a lot about the culture (both interesting, good, and annoying :D) and met such a great group of people here on the compound. That's been the best part of all of these 6 month rotations - all the wonderful friends we've made! Here are pictures from our last month in Africa!

Out on a walk with some super-stylish girls! 

Harley: the first dog the girls have ever liked!  

Another wonderful girls' lunch without kids! That's one of the biggest luxuries I'll miss about being here.  

Russ is able to walk to work (it's connected to the compound), so we meet him sometimes on his way home. 

<3 nbsp="" p="">

Our best friends in Nigeria. We are going to miss them! Sophia learned their phone number, and the other girls learned ours, so when they're not actually together, they're usually calling each other multiple times a day to plan their next playdate. 

The whole dinner party for the evening! Everyone we've met here is so nice! 

We had another CRAB ENCOUNTER! The first one happened to Grace and I, and this one happened to Sophia. It's so creepy the way they both hung out right at our door! Luckily, this time the gardner was nearby and bravely fought him off for us :D

 MONEY EXCHANGING DAY! It has been weird to deal completely in cash (or, more accurately, Naira) these past 6 months. I can't say it's helped me budget any better than I already did, but I have had anxious moments at the grocery store, worrying I hadn't brought enough money with me. I'll be glad to use my credit cards again.

The helicopter pad is RIGHT across the street from our house. We've probably only seen about 10, but it's pretty exciting every time - especially for the girls.  

Russ cleaning/repairing the church and grounds with the elders quorum. Our car is in the background. It was probably the only car at that activity - only about 6 families in the ward have their own cars to bring to church. The rest walk or take public transportation, but they're still there every week: in rain, flooded roads, or oppressive heat! 

Almost every single person we ever even exchanged small talk with at church asked us for jobs or financial assistance at some point (and always asked for $200 or more...from people they didn't even know!). It definitely got uncomfortable sometimes, but we paid a generous fast offering each month and the bishop also counseled us early on to send people who ask for money to him. In addition to that, Russ spent DOZENS of hours on the weekend and in the evenings helping members work on college applications or write resumes since most needed money because work is hard to come by. He has a more kind and giving heart than I do, and although sometimes was frustrating for me, I am happy to have such a generous husband.

Russ's work group gave him a beautiful send-off dinner at a restaurant in town. Several of his co-workers gave very complimentary speeches about him. Everyone especially mentioned how kind, friendly, helpful, and calm Russ is (I thought it was particularly interesting they noticed that specifically because Nigerians are not calm people. They get very fired up!). Several of the ladies told me I am very lucky to have him, one noting that he is not like "an African man" because he always called me before doing something. :) I also thought that was funny since I never realized that was atypical behavior. They gifted Russ and I with matching, custom-made Nigerian outfits (he's wearing his shirt in the picture), gave wood statues to the girls, and... us another enormous cake!!

 Look at those happy girls! I love this picture! Russ's boss joined us for this one, and can we take a minute to notice how HUGE my tummy looks!? Sheesh!

25 weeks pregnant last week. I'm not sick, tired, or sensitive to smells anymore (THANK GOODNESS), but my stomach feels really stretched uncomfortable, my ribs are uncomfortable, bending down is an awful lot of work, and I still have 3 months to go!! :'( Grace finally understands there's a baby on the way, and Sophia likes to hug and kiss my tummy after family prayers each night.

Sophia asked me to make newspaper hat, mittens, and scarf for "Buildy". I was pretty proud of my work (I had to google how to make the hat, and I was reminded of Tyler, who surely would've known how to do it WITHOUT google).

Grace finally decided she likes the pool....on our last week here. Hopefully we find a pool she likes in Bakersfield, too!

I'll take a better picture later, but look what showed up at our house this week!? THE LEAVING LION, all dressed up to represent California. :) The girls love having it in our yard. Grace roars and says, "Hi Rwar" every time we go outside.


Steven and Brittany said...

Love reading your posts!! So happy you're back in the US again. We need to catch up soon!

Carson said...

Now that I'm home I'm going back and reading the blogposts I've missed. The picture of Grace playing with the Benjamins is awesome--maybe you could make it her two-year-old portrait! The girls watching the helicopter land with their arms wrapped around each other is so cute. I'll bet Sophia and Grace will really miss Tennelly and Anniston once all the excitement of trips to Disneyland and visiting your friends in SF dies down. I'm glad Dad and I got the chance to visit you in Nigeria but am even happier that you're back in the USA safe and sound!!