January was awakening in a new life and struggling to survive. On January 2-3, 2016, I went from Chicago to Paris to North Africa, my new home. On January 6, I started both studying Arabic and teaching English. For the first two months, I lived in the old medina, or old city, with another couple in language study.
February was learning to cope primarily as a student, but also as a teacher. Obviously, language was a huge part of my life. The month also included a short homestay as well as making friends in the local and ex-pat communities.
March brought closure to a difficult semester at the English school. The month also included time with friends, both local friends and fellow ex-pats. Of course, there was a lot of language study as I plugged away through the curriculum and began understanding and speaking little by little. But, without a doubt, the highlight of the month was my first visa trip to Spain.
April included a lot of readjusting, studying, and teaching. The highlight was the weekend trip to the Sahara Desert. Another highlight, although I didn’t realize it at the time, was the beginning of a friendship that weathered the thick and thin of my time in North Africa.
May was a month of branching out on my own. I met new friends, fell in love with my English class, started a tutoring job, joined a Bible study, and began learning to listen to people’s hearts instead of relying solely on outward appearance.