BYU Studies Quarterly

BYU Studies Quarterly

Article Title

The Time It Takes to Age


Rebecca Smylie


Mormon studies, personal essay, Africa


We moved to Africa for my husband’s job, and those first months in Dakar, Senegal, were hard. We had a newborn and were sleep deprived. The antimalarials gave me bad dreams. We were living out of suitcases, we found dead birds in the back bedroom, and our three-year-old couldn’t seem to stop crying. Increasingly, we heard her fighting with a row of new imaginary friends, who were more often than not consigned to time out in the “bird room.” How would I survive two years?