Marisa Comeau-Keregesenegal 2013

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Adjustments Published on November 14, 2012

I originally began writing this post about expectations, because let’s be real, who packs up their life for a year and moves to Africa without some sort of expectation as to what they are getting themselves into?  Fall Training made everything seem so fun and happy all the time.  Having spent the 10 days at Stanford living in the dorms with the 90 other people that quickly became my friends, I realized how easy it would have been to go to college this year.  But this year isn’t about easy.  It’s about immersion and no one ever said that was easy. When I got off the plane, things got real.  I was no longer in that tourist state of mind, no longer in the honeymoon stage of culture shock.  I was here.  Upon arrival in Dakar, I think I cried my self to sleep for a week. I didn’t know what I had gotten myself into or how to handle it.

Everything is so different here.  In our “right” society, in this utopia we have built up around us in the U.S. we have learned many things.  From a very young age, we are taught not to litter, that people shouldn’t eat with their hands, people shouldn’t wipe themselves with their hands, that everyone needs some alone time.  But we aren’t “right” anymore.  This isn’t our “perfect” little world anymore.  This isn’t our culture.  This isn’t what I expected.  I realized quickly that I really hadn’t prepared myself for this year at all.

Towards the end of that month in Dakar, I found myself in a daily routine.  I balanced family time with my host family and escaping with my friends to the ice cream shop or just to wander aimlessly through the streets.  I found myself accepting where I was and what I was doing.  Although I can’t say I was happy per say, I was content.  And, quite frankly, for this being the first time I was really leaving the nest, in a place so completely different from anything I have ever known, in a place where I don’t know the customs, the language, or what I was eating half the time, content was ok.

Now I realize it was not productive at all to my transition to sit and reflect on my expectations.  So here is me, accepting where I am and adjusting to my new life.

There are 4 comments by other visitors:

  • Love you girlie! This phenomenal! I’m glad you finally feel like you are in the right place at the right time. If you ever need more pep talks, I got you! Miss you lots and love you more! – your sister, PIC, and friend

    Kate

    Response shared by Kate — November 14, 2012 @ 8:47 pm

  • Hi Marissa! What a powerful entry you write, above. I can feel your emotions from the days at Stanford to the cutlure shock of Africa and Dakar to your growing sense of what it means to truly be content. That is a tough life lesson that we all struggle with every day – what is happy? what is content? what is enough to be grafteful for simply being present, in the moment…you make me happy and your writing is wonderful. Thank you for sharing this. Love, Ann

    Response shared by Ann Mayberry-French — November 14, 2012 @ 11:24 pm

  • Marisa,
    How profound that you’re learning and accepting contentment. It really is the small joys in life that are important. You will discover a whole new meaning to happiness, something that many never realize.

    You truly amaze me. You had no idea how strong you were and how much you had to give before you began your journey. Finding and believing in yourself while discovering your inner strength is truly a gift.

    Please keep posting your personal discoveries. I want to learn more about and from you.
    Love, Kisses and Hugs,
    Mom

    Response shared by Juanita Comeau — November 15, 2012 @ 8:47 pm

  • Delia Ross

    This is awesomely written and I feel like I can relate so much. I hope you are continuing to self explore and getting plenty of rewards out of it. I look forward to seeing you in April!!

    Response shared by Delia Ross — November 17, 2012 @ 10:18 pm

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