So this is how we kickstart a typical day in Angola: Up at 5:45 am to prepare my 7 and 4 year old’s school lunches, they are out and about to school by 6:15 to be able to reach by the time the bell rings at 7:30. We do not live near the school which is in the city , we chose to live in the suburbs of Luanda, Angola. We compromised. A few more minutes in the car for a more comfortable living environment in a country where you are reminded everyday how expensive the very basic comfort is. What characterizes Angola? It is the second most expensive city in the world, but with nice beaches! From an expat point of view who has been here for 8 years now, it is definitely evolving but it is still expensive!
So here it is I am Youmna, Lebanese born and raised before taking the life changing decision to move to Angola to be with her husband . Then we had two kids.
I moved to Angola 8 years ago after working for more than 4 years as an editor and anchor of the English news on a local tv channel. Why the move? I met my husband who worked there , and is still is obviously, and I thought hey let the adventure begin. The first year , just the two of us , it surely was interesting and exciting living in Africa. But then a year later when my first born joined along, the so called adventure of living in Angola became challenging. My village were not there for support( my mom, and my close family). It was just the three of us and I had to make it work. And 8 years later I believe I did. Am still here right?!
It was all about adaptation in a country where my first obsession was proper medical care. The hardest part till now has been when my kids get sick! Only then I curse the day I landed in Luanda’s Quatro de Fevreiro airport! Once I had to google different cough sounds at 10 in the evening only to discover that my 1 year old was having a croup attack and there were no emergency rooms or doctors at that time to see him so I had to DIY! Yes google is my friend around here.
Another thing that helped me move along, was having some mommy time. It was practically non-existent, until both kids started school and nursery. I got involved with other expat women groups in organizing events for the international expat community in the city, and recently joined amazing mamas who actually were able to build a basic school for underprivileged kids in a poor neighborhood. And of course then there are the very few friends ,very very few selection that make your stay bearable in a country where new challenges arise everyday. I like to call them my Angola support group.
What keeps me in Angola, is that it is home now (with a couple of trip through the year to Lebanon of course!) And we are lucky enough to have what I call a breather from stressful Luanda, as we get to explore the rest of the continent at any chance we get. We started with Mauritius, which is an absolutely beautiful island with the most down to earth friendly locals. Then we headed to my favorite city in the world Cape Town, where options of things to do are endless all within a breathtaking scenery whichever direction you look! But mind you, the first thing I do when I arrive at any destination is check their supermarkets and fill up a whole bag to take back with me to Angola. As much as I love Nutella I will never buy the small jar for 20$ !
Yes it’s difficult at times, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. My kids are growing up in an international community amongst friends from different countries, religion and race and they don’t even realize they are different. So if you are ever find yourself in Angola feel free to contact me for some tips and tricks on the city that surprises us every single day , for 8 years now!