leaving Liberia…

Not sure where to start, but after a year and a half I am leaving Liberia! It’s been pretty crazy for sure – it feels like my last month here has gone by in a flash. I have had so many things that I wanted to get done at work before I left – I am feeling really terrible for leaving my great staff. I wanted to stay for at least 2 years, since the program and the staff suffer each time there is a turnover in senior management (which happens all too frequently). I won’t go into the details, suffice it to say that it is time. Liberia isn’t the easiest place to live and work for sure, but I am surprisingly sad to be leaving…Nick and I have made this our home, met awesome people, and finally in our last few months here have really established an amazing group of friends (why does it always happen that way?).

But I am ecstatically happy at the same time! I’m not exactly sure what’s next – but it looks like it will be a good few months off, visiting our families in SA in MN, going on an extended road trip, who knows.

Our last day in Liberia was great. Some colleagues felt that they should give me a going away party over lunch, whcih was actually incredibly awkward – everyone felt like they had to stand up and say a few words, including my boss (with whom it is no secret there is no love lost between us), but the thought was nice. But it was a great chance to say goodbye to the many staff I will truly miss. After dealing with a few last minute issues (surprise, surprise), I left early to go have a mimosa at home and kill one last bottle of champagne we had in the fridge.

A group of us then shuttled out to Marlin’s Corner, one of my favorite places in Liberia. It’s about a 45 minute drive with all the traffic, but it is well worth it. It’s probably the most relaxing place in the city, right on the water, a great place to watch the sunset. With Club beer (the local Liberian brew) on tap and 75 cent beers during happy hour and the BEST fish ever, it was the perfect place to say farewell to Monrovia. After dinner we headed to the Red Lion for a few more beers and a rousing game of darts. It was a great night!

Now we are on our way. The house is packed up, the bags and Squeekers are (almost) all checked in, and we are off to SA. I didn’t know that I would be this sad to be leaving – as I said, the last few months have been hard, but there are a lot of good memories here! Who knows, maybe I’ll be back someday!

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