Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I am with you kid. Let's go.

what's not to love about this eastern market brunch shot?
On the train back from Charlottesville this past weekend, Abdoulaye turned to me and asked if I was ready to hear his first impressions of America.  I smiled and nodded - since arriving in the US on December 8th, I've asked Abdoulaye about every five minutes what he thinks of all that's going on around him - after two weeks, he had a little more to reflect on.

Since his arrival, Abdoulaye has visited four cities - Washington, DC, Roanoke, Charlottesville and Virginia Beach.  He's been more impressed with the landscape of Virginia than the buildings of the city though we haven't gone monument visiting yet (he did a bit on his own on the Mall).  He's found folks to be friendly - many smiling or nodding and mumbling a 'how you doin'?' even when they don't have time to stop and properly greet and has found many to be patient with his English (granted, he's spent most of his time around our family and friends who of course would be patient with him. :)  He finds the city clean and organized and he's puzzled by the homeless people he sees in this land of plenty.  Abdoulaye posits that many Americans are overweight because there are so many options for things to eat - how could you stop??  

Interestingly, he noted that he's so used to the disorder of West African capital cities that the order of DC has been a little disorienting.  While he misses everything from back home, he also feels at home here thanks to our network of loved ones and his ability to be in touch with folks at home and abroad via Skype and phone.  He's also thankful he can read so he can use his little black book to get around since there are so many streets to get lost on.

Walking to the grocery store I'll notice a string of crooked Christmas lights on a balcony or a woman walking her dog in a stroller - what do you think, Abdoulaye?  I'll eagerly ask him.  He smiles and half chuckles, it's good! he'll say.  When we see other people and they learn how short of a time he's been here they'll similarly ask for his impressions of the US and, like him, have this underlying tone of - isn't America incredible?  Aren't all of these things around you wonderful?

While Abdoulaye's adjustment and integration to the US is something I think about, I'm not worried about him adapting to life or people here because it's something he does so well.  I admire so much his ability to make people feel at ease and the way he devotes his attention to others in that special way that makes you feel so important.

I know we're just at the beginning of our American adventure and I'm excited to see where it takes us and all the other impressions and observations we'll share together.  I love this quote by Maya Angelou that sums up how I'm feeling these days: "Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told: 'I am with you kid.  Let's go.'"
some of my favorite feet
eastern market meets west africa

Isn't this song just achingly beautiful?


  1. :) Love this, love your happiness.

  2. Quelle classe Abdoulaye !

  3. J'adore ce recit; Abdoulaye aux USA...
    Ah!Jennifer merci surtout de nous avoir faire part des belles choses qui se passent de l'autre cote,j'ai bien aime la facon dont ta raconte ca.


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