Life in Yaoundé

I have been living in Cameroon Yaoundé since August 2015 – about 8 months now.

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Discovered a passion for clouds lately 🙂

I wrote several posts about our life and experiences here but decided not to publish them…

WHY, well, my goal is to portray the GOOD about life in Central Africa; A lot is already said about, poverty, corruption, lack of infrastructures, Medical services, the WEIGHT of the African family etc… In my opinion, not enough is written about the positive side…

Until now, the only people I directly interacted with were my family in law and my employees; I have not been able yet to really meet enough new people and make friends; so, I feel like my opinion might be bias and would not fully reflect how it is to live here as all I do at moment is work/home.

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View of my plantation

I am having a hard time adjusting to life here, and this has nothing to do with the country itself, I “like” the city of Yaoundé; I am talking about the people, the mentality. You might think but you are originally  from Central Africa; yes but I left as a child and lived over 30 years abroad, the transition back to my roots is really hard. I have lived in different places and even continents like the Middle East where the culture is completely different; but living here is a whole new dimension that takes time and a LOT OF PATIENCE to adapt to.

I would like to say I like living here; it is not true yet, but I am working at it. I found a Zumba Class I love already; so that’s a + (plus); I met a group of ladies I had the pleasure to spend some time with and hope this will grow into some friendship… I also joined a gym I quite enjoy; so slowly, life is taking place…. and I am sure it will just get easier and better once I start having a social life.

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I love watching a “fire”, so beautiful…

The things I don’t miss about the western world are: receiving all kinds of letters through the mail box, life at 100 miles/h…

What I miss here in Cameroon are the infinite options you have when you leave your home… Malls, parks, cinemas, libraries, real supermarket (Tesco/Carrefour), ordering Domino’s Pizza :), etc…

You have to be very creative to have fun in Yaoundé, as I am not at all into night life; my options are very limited.

I am discovering the city little by little. I am sure there is a lot more I still don’t know about the place.

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Food: organic fruits and vegetables are available at all seasons and the variety is just amazing.

What else, the weather! I guess, 20+ degrees all year around can’t be bad :).

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Day 1 – Bangkok/Thailand…

For our first day visit in Bnagkok, we took it easy:

Simple day to ease up into Bangkok, we visited the MBK centre and the art and culture centre.

MBK centre is a shopping centre/mall, it is has eight stories floors and about 2,000 shops, restaurants and service outlets. The difference compared to the malls in Europe/US or Middle East is that inside the mall it is actually more like a very well organised market, each vendors have small to meduim street stall style shops.

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We took the metro on our way back and we were amazed to see people queuing to enter the metro with one centre line for people to come out. No pushing…

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The Art and Culture centre was a great escape from the heat outside, more quiet and relaxing.

I was pleased to see my teens daughters so interested and into it.

Out of the 3 galleries which were on different flours, we were allowed to take photos of 2 of them.

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On our way back, we couldn’t find our hotel out of the metro so took a “tuktuk”: an experience…

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Did not dare street food yet.

See you tomorrow 🙂

By Jasenomade - The New Generation of Africans

First impression of Bangkok…

Before I start talking about my impression of Bangkok; lets rewind a little and lets talk about the packing list.

Since I shared my packing list on the previous post, I changed a lot of things. To start with, I travelled with the small luggage rather than the backpack… The main reason was that it was more convenient and I could pack more things in this (i.e some Food). The 2nd and certainly true reason was that travelling with a backpack was more an old dream I could not part with… the dream of when I was 18 and wanted to travel the world with a backpack like a true traveler 🙂 – that dream never left me, now in my VERY early 40 (notice the stress on early, part of me still wanted  to be a backpacker for some strange reasons; not that you cannot be a backpacker at any age… now that I wrote the previous post, packed all my items in the backpack, I feel accomplished, I feel like I can now let go of the backpacker dream. It does not mean that I will never travel with a backpack but at least, it won’t be for the wrong reasons…

1432989603307(1)Back to the beautiful city of Bangkok. First impression was WOW… never been to that part of the world, I had no expectations about this city, I always heard how it is a poor country…

I was pleasantly surprised by how this city is beautifully made, the airport alone is a monument.

The people are so respectful, friendly and so nice.

Their taxi system from the airport is excellent, there is a queue, everyone gets a ticket with the driver’s name and the lane number. Never seen anything so organised elsewhere.

The other cute thing is the number of bright coloured taxis, we got a pink one, I was so excited until…. the taxi driver came out, very rude, called me names, drove like a mad man almost getting into an accident… did not want to see the name of the hotel I was showing him… did a hand gesture… like I know… we were not sure we will arrive… I had to threaten him to call the police on him if he did not calm down… he was angrily talking and moving all over the place until we reached our hotel, I think he was a bit coucou in the head… we gave him whatever money he asked for… we were all shocked, took our belongings and headed into the hotel.

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We were nicely greeted by the staff, given the key of our room…

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Once in, everything was just right and soothing; in no time, we had forgotten the bad experience with the driver.

It was already 10 pm by the time we arrived; so jumped into the nice shower, PJs and bed.

Overall, a positive first impression… there are bad apples everywhere.

Namaste

Packing for Bangkok/Thailand…. Minimalist Packing

Packing started for our holiday to Thailand next week, as an aspiring minimalist; I started a few years back to travel only with a carry on luggage. It is so freeing and less stressful.

I have 2 options; a backpack or a small carry on luggage. I am debating which one is the best option.

The backpack keep your hands free and you can run with it on your back.

The small in flight luggage is just a more conventional way to travel and does not scream tourist too much as the backpack would. In my eyes, theses are the only differences.

Here my 2 options:

20150524_154956Same size and capacity. Which one to take?

The backpack is more compact than the valise. Although a taxi will collect us from the airport to the hotel and back; from this world where everything is unpredictable and anything can happen, I feel like the backpack would be a better choice. I never been in this part of of world, so I want to take every precautions possible.

Decision taken right now as I write; backpack it is.

Now down to what to take, what to wear. Thailand being a hot climate country; we need summer clothes only with one or two long sleeves to protect ourselves from the bugs/mosquitoes etc and the sun.

I took a picture previously, the list has change a little bit since as I altered 2 dresses I am now going to include in my bag and removed 2 t-shirts to balance the list. You can check out the post about the 2 dresses refashioned here.

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For 10 days (2 days traveling), here the list:

  • 1 knee length short
  • 1 3/4 trousers
  • 2 dresses
  • 5 T-shirts 1 long sleeves 1 vest top
  • underwear  x7 (2 bras will be wearing one)
  • 1 kimono
  • 1 lightweight cover up
  • 1 legging (will serve as PJ or for exercise)
  • 1 big scarf
  • I pair of trainers (travelling with them and will be my main shoes)
  • 1 pair of Primark light sandal
  • 1 pair of flip flop
  • medical kit and toiletries

Day back and shopping bag on the go option:

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Oh, I am consideration bringing a hat, I always buy hats but never wear them; I found them great on other people but not on me. But here the one I have: 20150524_155133Nice but… will see, I have a cap as well and more comfortable wearing them.

For the rest, the usual, sun screen, first aid kit, wipes etc…

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In February 2015 I bought a travel pillow with a hood in Primark while I was in England for a short trip. It is very comfortable and the hood covers your eyes too so can double and eye mask. 20150524_193339[1]

Here for the packing list. I will re-check everything the day before our flight is due as always.

I don’t need to keep any space in my pack for souvenirs as I stopped buying them years ago now. Photos from the holiday are enough; I might buy a little convenient thing for everyday use that will remind me my trip; but it is not compulsory.

Until n20150516_195138[1]ext time; “collect memories not things” 🙂

By Jasenomade - The New Generation of Africans

My first hand made D.I.Y

I am so excited and proud of my work that I could not wait to write this post. It is 04:23 am right now, I was so motivated that I had to finish this project.

For my first D.I.Y project I choose something simple.

I have several dresses that are too short and I can only wear them with leggings; but I live in Dubai and right now it is about 40 degree Celsius so you can imagine my frustration. I was about to give them all to charity and buy new dresses but then decided to be creative and save some money. With the help of Pinterest, YouTube tutorial and blogs; I refashion them by adding some length.

I transformed 2 dresses, they are the same but different pattern. I do not own a sewing machine, Yet… so I did them by hands, it took me hours as you can imagine; but it was well worth it.

Before pictures:

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These dresses were about the size of a tunic on me, I only wore them at home.

After pictures

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Both dresses had an underskirt I cut out to lengthen the dresses and make the sleeves longer too.

20150523_031023This is were I cut off the underskirt.

I also change the length of the sleeves as I don’t like wearing short sleeves. Here how I modified them:

20150523_03161020150523_031549They are both cut out shoulders and open sleeves; better to keep me cool during the summer 🙂

I am very proud of myself, and without a sewing machine it is really tedious but I am happy I finished them.

I will take them for my trip to Bangkok Thailand next week. With the transformation I made, they are now knee length.

If you are tall like me 5’9 or above; this is an easy way for you to alter your dresses/skirts to fit you.

I requested a sewing machine to my hubby and daughters for my birthday next month; so I hope to be able to share a new D.I.Y soon.

Until my next D.I.Y, happy sewing 🙂

By Jasenomade - The New Generation of Africans

A new turn, next destination ?

From 20150421_184034

Well, Dubai would have been the shortest expatriation we ever experienced; less than a year but eh life happen.

We had plan to have Dubai as our base and just travel around on holidays; but my husband suddenly lost his job in Dubai; which flipped everything around…

We were not too disappointed as living in Dubai was nothing new to us, as we lived previously in the Middle East; it was Déjà vu.

My husband then found a short contract back home in the UK and in the city our house is… funny… I wonder if life is trying to tell us something.

Anyway back to the subject; so we found ourselves faced with a decision to take, stay in Dubai, try to found another job so another sponsor or leave… we waited 3/4 months, no tangible offers arrived, our residency visas/cards being cancelled… we had 2 options; 1. leave Dubai or 2.keep doing visa run every month… Plus the cost of the house we live in is just ridiculously pricey but yeah it is Dubai right! After careful consideration; we decided to leave…

So now the big question was: where to?

England: NO, too much taxes, it is home to us yes definitely, family, friends, all we know for the last 13 years but, we can always go back if nothing else works; but living paycheck to paycheck was not an alternative for us anymore, plus loosing my husband income tax free advantage in Dubai meant that we couldn’t anymore support our business in Cameroon.

SO…. Where to go next?

To Yaounde Kamerun Stadtansicht

One evening, my husband and I were talking, and we were like, what if? how about? maybe we could?…. Return to Source?

Mother Earth… AFRICA… Cameroon, Yaounde exactly… YES but…

My husband is originally from there and has family and his mother living there now; we have been on holidays several times but to live there was a whole new adventure… We lived the last 30 years+ in Europe mainly so going back “home” was frightening… why? we will discuss that in a whole new post.

I was as excited as stressed, overwhelmed at the same time…

I am always up to a new adventure, but this time it was different; it will be the biggest challenge/adventure ever.

I like Yaounde, but it can be so stressful and overpowering. We will be living with my In-Laws… should I say more! Let me explain, any tourists going on holidays in Africa or specifically Cameroon can just enjoy all the wonders that the place has to offer; but us, it is a whole other story, same way as us going to Paris every year has nothing glamorous, it is just going back home to visit family, it is a duty, very tiring, obligations etc… This is how Yaounde feels…

But on a high note, I am already thrilled about all the huge variety of local organic fruits and vegetables I will be able to eat everyday. Vegans heaven 🙂

More in a new post… stay tune 🙂

Namaste

By Jasenomade - The New Generation of Africans

Top 5 tips when moving into a developing/new country…

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Whatever the country; it takes time to settle in. So this is my 5 top tips:

1- Patience is key – Take it easy, breath and remember it is a new culture/mentality, things might (WILL) be done differently to where you come from – things seem to take longer to be done in central Africa in general for instance (Admin, customer service :) )…

2- Accept the reality of the country you are in (keep your expectations at bay)-  it will save you headache trying to understand why and analyse/compare everything (i.E: Internet, Mobile services, power and water cuts)

3- Learn to live like a local – it will save you money and time and you will be less victim of the special pricing for “tourists” which can be 3/5/10 times more… In December I went to a hair dresser and paid 120 000CFA – £131-$193 (central Africa currency) for myself and my 2 daughters to have our hair and nails done (a simple manicure for 1)… this price would be normal in England or even considered cheap for 3 people (Afro hair only) but in Cameroon where that would be someone’ salary, no one would pay that…(common sense) I should have paid about 30 000CFA £32-$48 for the 3 of us… but yeah I learned my lesson.

4- Be safe – Study the place you live in, know your surrounded, be aware. Don’t just trust the taxi driver, you should have an idea to where you are going, distance, timing etc…

5- HAVE FUN (Stop complaining…), life is short… enjoy the sunshine 24/7/365.  Go out, meet people, create a network, do a sport, have a favourite cafe… create habits and feel at home.

Happy travelling !

By Jasenomade - The New Generation of Africans

Self language learning or immersion !

My first language is French, I write the blog in English because English is the “common” language now days but I love the Spanish language ever since I can remember, my plans during the RTW trip was to spend at least 1 year in Spanish Speaking countries to pick the language quickly through full immersion…

As our plans have changed, I am writing the blog sitting in my lounge in Dubai, no chance here to immerse myself into the Spanish language instead Arabic would be a good idea but I leave that to my youngest daughter for whom it is compulsory to learn Arabic at school.

So is it possible to learn a language fluently without a full immersion into a country where the language is spoken!

Until now, everything I read and my own believes were that the best way to learn was to live in a country of the language of your chance; but this not being an option right now, I have a find another way to learn it.

Home school working

Today, it is not necessary to attend a language course to learn a language or to learn anything. With internet being a mine of infinite possibilities; anyone can self taught him/herself anything they want to learn.

So my goal this year is to build up significantly my Spanish skills; not because I am planning to visit anytime soon and country speaking Spanish but simply because I love this language and want to be fluent at it.

Being a French speaker; I have an advantage as there are lots of similarities in French and Spanish. Having played with the Spanish language for over 10 years now with several attempt at learning the language through college etc… the Spanish language is not a new project for me…

I can actually understand/guess a lot when listening to Spanish on the television (News), I can introduce myself and my family but really basically. I would like to pass that stage to the next level where I could have a simple conversation with a native Spanish speaker.

So how do I go about doing it:

  1. I set myself a 1 hr minimum Spanish interaction every day through any means available and possible from listening to the news in Spanish or actively doing some exercises through YouTube or an online free learning website.
  2. I learn 5 words a day that I repeat over and over in a sentence to remember it easily
  3. I take it easy and as casual as possible, I do not force myself but let the language and learning flow through me… meaning if I am not into learning, I simply put the news in Spanish or put a YouTube video on the background (passive learning).

Adios 🙂

By Jasenomade - The New Generation of Africans

Happy New Year 2015!

Hello Everyone,

I forgot I had created this blog… too many hats…. so difficult to keep up with everything…. happy I found it again; so I decided to write a little update.

Well the Round the world trip never happen and will not happen for anytime soon; this is what happen when compromises come into place… instead, my daughters and I moved from England to Dubai end of August to join my husband.

Although being an expat is nothing like being a traveler; it is still a consolation prize 🙂

Dubai is a lively place, settling slowly here.

No plan to move anywhere for the next 2 years until my eldest finishes her A Level and off go to university 🙂 (evil smile).

Meanwhile, my 2015 travelling goals are:

Go to Thailand

Go to Bahrain (visit family… Hey Raeda 🙂 )

Go to Gabon (see family and take care of some businesses)

Go to England for a much needed overdose of the best Zumba class in the entire world (trust me), and of course see friends and family there (Hey Eiman, Isa & Manu).

I am also hoping that my husband would have a fabulous idea and organise a trip to remember for our 17 Years wedding anniversary 🙂 – The last time we took a trip for our anniversary was for our 1 year anniversary to Greece… Bora Bora is long overdue – 7 years now… we were suppose to go there for our 10 years… hmmm

I’ve got a friend living in Qatar and I am hoping to invite myself for a week end :).

Well, this is it…

No new resolutions for 2015 but some goals.

Continuing on my spirituality, simplicity and minimalist journey.

I started Yoga a few months ago and I am loving it.

I wish you the very best for 2015.

Namaste!

🙂

By Jasenomade - The New Generation of Africans

“Many of us are in a hurry to get nowhere fast”…

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“Many of us are in a hurry to get nowhere fast”…

We are all rushing, racing, running… where to?

We forget to live here and now…

We sacrifice today for a potential tomorrow that may never come…

We are still slaves of ancient beliefs & traditions that no longer serve us…

We are living our lives to meet other people’s expectations….

It is easy to do like everyone else and follow the crowd…

It takes a strong person to be unique…