I'm Back: Reflection Series Pt. 1
Hi loved ones! I know that I have been gone for what seems like forever, but I'm back and I am here to stay!
In my first post I told you all that I'd be heading to Ghana in October. I'm happy to announce that I did indeed leave the Snakes and I made it safely to Accra on schedule, all those months ago. A lot of time has passed since October 2020 and so much has happened, so I want to fill you all in. Over the next seven posts I will reflect on some of the important lessons and events I've encountered since August. I am overjoyed to kick off this sort of "reflection series" with none other than my birth month, arguably the best month, September!
September was a rocky road. The start of the month brought mixed feelings, because I was just a month and a few weeks shy of my intended departure date. I was beginning to feel a little anxious about the uncertainty, but at this point I'd remained hopeful and excited. As the days passed, though, and the date got closer and closer, my anxious excitement slowly morphed into an unrelenting wave of fear of the unknown, the wave seemingly picking me up and throwing me deep into my thoughts. This welling of emotions internally only added to my external worries. Apartment hunting was proving more stressful than I initially thought, my roommate arrangements fell through, and to top it all off, travel restrictions surrounding COVID were ever-changing, and affecting my intended travel route. As the days went and the news changed, so did my hope. After the airline canceled and rescheduled my flight ticket for the third time, I'd all but given up on my preparations. I had began to feel sad, and disoriented even. Thankfully, though, waves crash, and eventually they bring you back to shore. My return to reality came around the middle of the month, right on the heels of my birthday!
Around the 15th of September I received confirmation that Ghanaian air borders were indeed reopened for travel and would remain open indefinitely. It was around this time that the airline, after at least four ticket changes, had found a flight that allowed U.S. citizens entry into transit countries for travel. Finally, my first breath of fresh air! My month was turning around. This renewed excitement was made even better when learned I'd be spending my birthday weekend in LA with my best friend Betty! My trip down to SoCal was everything I needed and more. Not only was I able to spend time with my favorite person before embarking on my journey to Ghana, but I was also able to connect with some of my closest friends (pictured below) from school for the first time since the onset COVID.
Internally, September was a rough month filled with ups and downs, but I wouldn't change any part of my journey, even if I could.
I learned some very important lessons in the month of September, one being that if you put in hard work, things may not play out the way you envisioned, but everything will work out. This brings me to lesson two: you owe it to yourself to keep pushing, NEVER lose hope. When I reflect on how I felt at the start of the month of September, I cannot help but wonder how much of my stress was brought on by external factors, and how much was brought on by ME. When things are a mess and it feels like all of our work has been in vain, it can be easy to enter into a state of self-pity and despair, but imagine how much easier it might be to deal with whatever needs tending if you can think straight. Imagine if instead of weighing your mind down on top of everything that feels heavy externally, you remain hopeful. It is obviously much easier said than done, but it is not impossible! Since September, when things have felt heavy and life was a little shaky, I've made the conscious decision to take care of my physical and mental spaces and I can honestly say that I've been able to deal with anything that comes my way!
If nothing else feels possible, let's always be kind to ourselves and hopeful for our futures sacred ones.