Reflection Series pt. 2: Rematriated at Last!
Hey family, I hope we're all feeling healed and hydrated in these summer months! I'm back to let you all know what it was like arriving in Ghana for the second time, nearly eight months ago, and what life has been like thus far. As the time span between my posts might suggest, these past few months have kept me busy paaaa (a lot)!
Much like September, the month of October was full of roadblocks and emotional ups and downs. Much of October felt like one big to-do list with a few goodbyes and celebrations sprinkled here and there. I could go on for hours about the nerves, near misses and unexpected challenges, or, I could talk about the great times I had with family and friends, and the amazing memories made, but I'll save you all the time and insert a picture that truly depicts my feelings that month.
This picture of my older brother and I comes from a mid-October celebration of my grandmother's birthday and my going away :
For some reason, time spent with the ones we love always seems to fly. Before I could blink, it was October 27th and I was in line at SFO, coughing up an unexpected $400 for my luggage (shout out to TAP Air Portugal! I could write a whole separate blog on their horrible service and traveling at the height of COVID).
Finally, the long-awaited return to my heart's home: Ghana. When I stepped off of the plane and the humidity hit my lungs -- it always hits my lungs first -- I knew I was home. The little inconveniences around me no longer felt so bothersome. That annoying COVID test was a little less annoying. The hour I waited inside the airport for my test results felt like mere minutes, and in true African fashion, I made some friends in the waiting area that helped the time pass by more quickly.
Thinking back, I cannot remember much of those initial days back in Accra. I know there were a lot of hugs, a lot of food, and countless mangoes eaten. I remember the stress of cleaning and setting up my apartment, refusing to hang any pictures or tapestries until it felt like home. I also remember what it took to get that mothball smell out of the place -- three weeks and plenty of Dettol -- but I do not remember much else.
Much of November was 3am Zoom calls and work assignments, but much like my experience at the airport, something about being in a place where I felt like I could breathe made each task a little easier. The end of the month brought new joy in the form of my new roommate and former study abroad buddy Bhavyaaaa! I had enjoyed going out and spending time with friends, but finally having someone in the apartment was nice. The rest if the month and much of December was spent exploring Accra, visiting some of my favorite places from 2018-19, and discovering some new ones as well.
October and November were busy months, but they were made great by amazing experiences and even better friends, (shoutout to Abby, Derrick, Bhav, Freddy and Beebs)!
Some lessons I learned in my first month back here in Ghana include:
1. Hard work and preparation truly do pay off, and even if that check looks different than expected, it can be equally as valuable.
2. Living alone is what you make it -- if you're feeling isolated, reach out and spend time with friends (should global health conditions permit).
3. Don't close yourself off to new experiences just because they are unexpected.
Stay tuned for tales of the infamous Ghana December, COVID chronicles and much more in part three of the Reflection Series!