Hello from Albertville!
Our season here in language school is about to come to a close!
Our plane tickets to Gabon
are booked for October 29th!
As is true for each of you, COVID-19 has had an impact on our plans as we’ve waited for the all clear to move on from language school to Gabon.
At the end of July, we had what we thought would be our last day of classes and exams here in Albertville. However later that day, we found out that the number of cases in Gabon were on the rise even amongst those directly connected with Bongolo Hospital. After meeting with our team leadership to discuss our options given the changing variables, it became clear that it would be best to hold off on our departure and continue language learning here in Albertville until the COVID situation in Gabon had improved.
And so the day of graduation, we re-enrolled for the first half of the fall trimester here at the language school : )
Christopher has completed another language level and Amanda has been working one on one with a professor to review medical French and to do a general French review.
And of course having to wear a mask in class adds an interesting twist to learning a language.
Christopher has been enjoying the Fall soccer season on his local club soccer team, “Les Tamalous”. They have matches every Friday night with a meal afterwards where he’s able to have a lot of French conversation practice.
Once you’ve been in France for a year, you’re required to apply for a residence card to continue living in France. In September the French government assigned us a group appointment along with 100 or so other foreigners (including a few friends from school : ) ) to come pick up our residence cards in a nearby city, officially approving us to be French residents.
Matthias and Cora went back to the language school nursery full time in September and are having fun playing with their friends and learning French that is geared for their level. This is a helpful step for them as we transition to Gabon in just a couple of weeks.
Cora has recently become old enough to legally wear a helmet, which means we are now able to bike for transportation as a family again. We have been doing all of our day-to-day family life/errands on foot since she was born, so we are enjoying getting to be on the go a little further and faster these days.
As our departure date for Gabon fast approaches, we’ve been checking off our essential to do list in order to leave. That of course includes final physicals, vaccines and malaria prophylaxis.
For context, in order to get to the special travel clinic, we had to take a bus, a train and walk two miles in the rain for Matthias and Cora to get their travel vaccines.
(This was about how Cora and Matthias felt about getting the vaccines- but they were very brave.)
We are looking forward to moving to Gabon in just 2 1/2 weeks!
Language classes are officially finished for us as of today. We are in the midst of packing, cleaning and wrapping up all the necessary administrative tasks before moving to Gabon.
We could not have completed language school without your incredible sacrificial giving and your prayers that have surrounded us and carried us through each trimester.
Thank you for walking with us on this journey!
With Love from Albertville,
Christopher, Amanda, Matthias & Cora
P.S. – In cross-cultural training, the transition period when you move to another country is often paralleled to crossing a rope bridge. As you try to move your family from one country to another, you at some point are suspended between both places- having to start being in the mindset of your new country while still having to take care of things in the country in which you’ve been living. You’re sort of suspended between both worlds, nothing seems stable, much of what symbolizes stability is packed up or already gone. And you’re trying to keep all your family “safe” on the rope bridge without anyone falling off as you cross it. You need the prayers of those who are surrounding you on this journey -in order to get across.
This is pretty accurate for us a family right now. Transition has definitely started, we’ve stepped out onto the bridge as a family, and are feeling the impacts as our context becomes less familiar, less stable and less known as we uproot from this place we’ve called home the past 18 months and move to a new home in the jungle.
As a family, that means giving grace to each other as each of us process through all the excitement and apprehension at our own pace, and at our own level.
For Matthias, we’ve found a little Playmobil family that sort of resembles the four of us a little bit. We’ve started playing with it together this week having “our family” move from one cardboard box home to another, and talk about our family moving soon.
Our hope is that it will help him process as a two year old, what it means to say goodbye to his home and his little friends here in France, and say hello to a new home and new friends in the jungle.
Thank you for praying for us as we transition.