Down Memory Lane

Monday 13 May 2013

I get a lot of emails from people inquiring about Gabon.  Most of the time, they're potential expats who are wondering about life in that little, equatorial nation.  You see, there isn't much about Gabon on the internet.  No one goes there and out of the couple thousand expats who call it home every year, very few of us blog.  When we found out we were moving to Port Gentil, I literally scoured the internet for information.  It turned up practically nothing (especially in terms of real life in the country.)  However, there was one blog by an American woman, her French husband and their 3 children and I read it from post #1 multiple times just to try and get a sense of what my life might be like there.  While the majority of the posts were about her children, it helped me realize that I could make a life in Port Gentil.  (Side note: Less than a year into my stay, I met her and felt so weird that I knew all of her children's names.  I never told her that I read her blog out of embarrassment but in hindsight, I should have let her know how helpful it was to me.)

Last week, a young, American teenager reached out to me via my first blog.  He had been assigned a project on Gabon and had also been scouring the internet for information.  He wrote that he was looking for pictures to match certain topics in his project and in his words, "Google images surprisingly doesn't have these things (that was sarcasm), I'm wondering if you could help?"

The teacher in me LOVED this.  First of all, here's a kid actually doing his homework.  Secondly, he took the time to write me to ask for help and third, he didn't just steal everything off my page and call it a day.

I spent an hour the next morning sorting through some photos trying to find a few that would help him which led me to think about our time there.  It's funny - I feel like our time in Gabon was ages ago yet I remember it so vividly.  I remember that wall of humidity that hit me every time I stepped out the door.  I remember the taxis incessantly honking outside my window.  I remember the smells so clearly that my nose recoils mid-thought.  I can drive myself down the streets to certain stores and picture my friend's guards from memory.  The nostalgia surprises me.
The tiny village of Omboué
An Easter walk to the Catholic Church behind our house
Offshore Platforms stacked off the coast of Port Gentil

While I know that time will fade these memories, I hope I don't forget the little things.

{And for those of you who stumble across this blog while scouring for information on Gabon, I'm happy to help.  I've been there and I know that your search has turned up practically nothing and all you want to know is if you'll be able to live there.}


  1. Such an interesting place that you got to experience and a place I really never knew even existed until your blog... so thank you for expanding my knowledge :)

  2. I also had never heard of it until I stumbled on your blog! Glad you were able to help :)

  3. I thought of you last week as a teacher friend of mine recently applied for a job at a new international school there!

  4. so cute that he emailed you!! if only my students would become that interested in their projects haha

  5. We're moving to Angola in a couple of weeks and I've had the same difficulty in finding much up to date information about the place. I've reached out to a couple of people, but sadly have had no joy. We'll have to do our own exploring! It's really lovely that the young boy got in touch with you, but also that you took the time to reply.

    Norway looks amazing, by the way. My husband would love to live there one day. I'll keep following your posts!

  6. That is really great that he took the time to reach out and I hope he gets a good grade on his project. :)
    Bonnie Rose | A Compass Rose

  7. The beauty of the internet and blogging, when it works it works and truly connect people. I found you via A Mum in London's expat feature. I've enjoyed reading your posts.

  8. That's exactly what I'm doing! :)

  9. Thanks a lot for sharing this with the rest of the world. Is there an International School in Port Gentil?

  10. Thanks a lot for sharing this with the rest of the world. Is there an International School in Port Gentil?


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