Popular belief would seem to think that I didn’t write any blog posts after February. False. I wrote. I just didn’t post. Reasons vary from I couldn’t finish the idea, or Internet would give out. Or I’d simply say, tomorrow Ill do that. Below is a post from April 29th I’d love to share now. 6 months later.
Seems like it has been awhile since I sat down and collected my thoughts long enough to write a blog post. This post won’t focus so much on what I’ve been doing but more on how being gone in Ghana is going. Here goes nothing.
Three months ago I embarked on what I expected to be one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Little did I know the true impact it would make on certain aspects of my life, yet how little it would affect others. Funny how life goes.
I knew I would experience culture shock. But wait, did I ever truly experience it? I know I did to some extent. But yet, I didn’t. I arrived in Ghana with a very open mind. I tried not to let everything I had read hold me back, yet still tried to be careful. I had read blogs of past study abroad participants and also read expat postings. I made friends in Ghana before arriving through Facebook pages and even followed Ghanaians on Instagram. With this combination, I feel that I had a good grasp of what Ghana would hold for me.
Nevertheless, looking back on my first month in Ghana, visiting the same places I did the first week and reviewing photos from trips: I’m flustered. As I had never traveled abroad before I took each day one at a time, each experience with a new outlook and each struggle as a sign of future triumph. Then one day, I was no longer just studying abroad. One day I stopped feeling like a tourist. One day, I even forgot I was an Obroni(until the faithful Obibini called it out). One day, I fell in love with Ghana. The only problem with this, I don’t know when this “one day” occurred. Somehow, I morphed into the person I am today. One day, I realized I had began to actually live in Ghana.
So how does one simply live in another culture that many would consider opposite of that found in The States? Truth is, I’m not sure. It seems to me that nothing has changed, yet I realize that I’m not quite the same person I was 3 months ago. I no longer go to bed a 2 a.m. after frantically working on a project that is due at 8 the next morning. Instead, I’m falling asleep naturally by 11 p.m. and rise between 5 and 7 a.m. to embark on my new day. Strangest feeling to realize that this idea of sleeping like a normal person has become normal. I no longer eat when society says I need to eat. Some days I eat 3 meals. Some days 4, and sometimes, I only have 1 meal. I eat like many Ghanaians, when I’m hungry.
I’ve quit walking everywhere like a foreigner, instead I hop on a shuttle to take me around campus, and if the shuttle is running late, then guess what: I walk in late to class with half of my other classmates. This has also ended the many times of arriving to my point of destination looking like I just got out of the pool. Speaking of sweat, I sometimes don’t notice my sweat anymore. I’ve even quit getting the many heat rashes I had gotten earlier on in the semester. This in itself has me confused; I always get heat rashes back in The States. I suppose my body has just grown to accept the never ending heat.
I love cold showers, and have even adventured on my first bucket shower. I have even shaved my legs and washed my hair while I bucket showered, all while only using 1 bucket of water(about 5 gallons of water). I’ve quit using many prepositions, such as ‘I will pick you up’, instead I only say ‘I’ll pick you.’ Silly waste of words.
Speaking of words: I talk to Taxi drivers in Twi, no need for English. This is how a simple conversation with a Taxi driver would go:
Me: (hand flip) Drɔva, Maadwo: Driver, Good Evening
Taxi: (smile and a head nod)
Me: Me kɔ Osu: I’m going to Osu
Taxi: Okay, sit down
Me: Sзn?: how much?
Me: Aye! Te so: Reduce it
Me: Me osuani enti me sika sua. Mepaakyew te so: I am a student so my money is small. Please Reduce it.
Taxi: Wobegyesзn?: you will give how much?
Taxi: (Something about traffic being much and having to come back as it’s late)
Me: Thank you, Ill get someone else.
Taxi: Sit down, sit down.
Taxi: Yen kɔ- Lets go
Taxi drivers can always be persuaded to reduce their price, and if they won’t, there is always another driver that will.
Until next time. Have fun, wherever life may lead.