Friday was both my last work day and day in Cote d’Ivoire. And although I was ready to leave, the good byes were still bittersweet. As I reflect on my experience over the past 2 years, I have learned a lot personally and professionally about boundaries, expectations and the need for rest. Living here has not been without challenges but there has been some good experiences and things I will miss now that I have left. We were lucky to have school in person this year so I got to see my students every day. This group of students are very special to me, they took the time to write notes thanking me for all I did for them.
I will miss my students; the ones who graduated and will return at Christmas to visit. As a School Counselor it is great to hear stories of success after that first semester in university. I will miss the students who will be seniors next year that I won’t get to see graduate. I will miss the colleagues who became friends especially the ones who made my work life easier and sometimes fun. I will miss the middle school counselor and the office assistant who I laughed with multiple times a day and talked about everything including politics and the state of the world. And I pray that in my next work placement I will have colleagues who I enjoy working with like them.
I will definitely miss the food, the restaurants I liked to eat at, drinking coconut water weekly and the low cost of getting a pedicure or a massage. While there are plenty things I will not miss including the housing issues and the horrible traffic. I am grateful that my last couple of days were filled with joy caused by visits from students, gifts, cards, chocolate and thoughtful words of appreciation from colleagues. It was a nice end to a year filled with bumps and bruises. But like I tell my students, we preserved and we made it all the while learning valuable lessons. Now I will move onto a new beginning and I’m looking forward to what’s next. But before that I will spend time with family and friends and most of all I will rest. Because rest is at the top of my to do list this summer. I need to rest in many different ways so that I can feel rejuvenated not exhausted. Summer vacation has begun and I’m ready to enjoy it to the fullest. #BlackExpat #thelittlethingsinlife #welldeservedbreak #SchoolCounselorlife