Sunday, December 8, 2013

one year here!

Dear Abdoulaye,

We (or is it I?) stopped counting the days you have been in the US a long time ago.  For awhile there, time was marked in the passing days, then weeks, then months and now, it's been a year that you've been here.  You said today that when you stop counting time, it moves faster.  I don't think the passing of time is different but this year has certainly been one on the move.

Early in the morning on December 8th, 2012 we got on a plane in Dakar, Senegal - your freshly minted fiancé visa in hand - and prepared for touch down in Washington, DC.  I, of course, slept the whole way while you watched movies and tried to get some sleep here and there.  That morning was a blur of family and snacks and moving into our apartment with Cassie and taking lots of pictures.  I couldn't wait to share this part of me with you.  I was nervous and excited and curious to see - what would our relationship be like 3,000 miles from where we first started?  How do you prepare for something that you don't need to prepare for?

I love looking through the pictures on my blog - our outfits haven't changed much throughout the year but we sure do have some big ol' smiles.  I know that if all of our moments were captured on camera, they wouldn't all be smiles.   The harder times are just as important to remember as the good but they don't always photograph as well :)

When we have friends and family over for dinner or meet someone at a restaurant, I love watching you talk and tell stories and laugh - you have adapted to life here so well though it doesn't seem like you have to try; you just are.  I sometimes try to think back and remember what your conversations with others were like before you spoke English so well but I'm drawing a blank; I can't remember.

It's late at night, or early in the morning, and the rain outside is washing away the first snow from our front yard of our first home together as I write.  I remember when you first got here, from my memory and my blog, and how I would ask you so frequently "What do you think??" and how eager I was to hear your impressions of America - like when you saw your first snow.  I can't remember the last time I asked you that, do you?  Now when you share your experiences, they come as stories from work or the grocery store or the metro.  They're just stories of your life - of our life - and I love hearing them.

Last night we shared the love seat in the tv room - you were watching videos of babies laughing hysterically at dogs and old Jimmy Kimmel episodes while I put the finishing touches on the final draft of my capstone thesis.  I'm so looking forward to when I can snuggle up with you and watch goofy videos without feeling guilty that I should be working on school assignments.

This whole weekend I felt like your first year in the US needed to be marked with toasts at dinner or frequent mention of the date - but it's hard to celebrate an obscure date like this and I felt a little like I was grasping at straws.

I can hear the space heater going in our bedroom from where I'm sitting and I can picture you snuggled in bed, likely wearing one of your winter coats to add another protective layer from our sometimes drafty room.  You'll wake up earlier than me to get to work - my words aren't enough to express how proud I am of you for working so hard for our family.  You tackle situations on a daily basis that I wouldn't want to handle and I'm so thankful you do it all with such grace and a positive attitude.

When I remind friends, co-workers and family that it's been a year since you've been here, they tilt their head back, mentally counting the months or thinking about the passing time and then, inevitably, shake their heads and say - the time really flies, huh?  8,766 hours, 365 days, 12 months.  I'm no longer counting all of those - but I will count the years.  And with you, sweet Abdoulaye, the years really count.

All my love,
Jennifer

7 comments:

  1. made me cry...congratulations to you both!

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  2. Sweetest love letter I've ever read. Love you both dearly. xoxo mom

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  3. I love both you guys and happy to be part of your lives! Thanks for this blog!
    Sean.

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  4. Very touching Jennifer, may God bless both of you! You deserve true happiness

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  5. Dear Abdoulaye & Jennifer, I've been following your blog Jennifer, since your time as a PCV in Mali.
    I too am shaking my head in disbelief that it's a year since Abdoulaye has been in the US! Really??
    I'm a lover of both Mali and Guinea and will be taking a trip to Guinea about mid-January. I know you don't
    know me but I thought I'd offer my services if you had any small thing you'd like delivered to the family in
    Conakry. In the spirit of Christmas, I'd be most happy to act as delivery person. You can reach me here:
    ediemw007@gmail.com In any case, I wish you both a Merry Christmas and a blessed 2014.

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  6. Thank you friends and family! Edie, thank you so much for your sweet offer! I'll email you separately but Abdoulaye is also headed to Guinea for a month in mid-January!

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  7. Gotta' tell ya': I get teary-eyed every time I (re)read this entry! xoxo mom

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