I will soon be returning to the land of the free and home of the brave.
Honestly, I’m not too sure how I feel about that. I’m feeling the obvious emotions: happy, sad, anxious, excited, nervous, stressed (at the thought of feeling stressed). But not in the same way I was before when I was leaving America and coming to Ghana. Before everything was one big adventure, I never knew what was coming next–everything was new and exotic and now…now I return to a life I’ve lived for 16 years. I’ll recognize the faces and the smells, the language, the music, the food, the stress, oh the unforgettable, unbearable stress of America. I’m returning back to familiarity. Familiarity that I was starved for just months ago. Familiarity that I thought would take a life time to get back to. Now here I am nine months later with just a mere few weeks left.
I know I’ve mentioned before how time truly does fly by as you get older but it’s absolutely crazy to think that it has been nine months. It’s like as you get older all of the clocks around you are in fast forward when all you want them to do is slow down. Now I know you’re probably like whatever you couldn’t wait to leave Ghana a few months ago. And yeah I couldn’t wait to leave but now the thought of leaving makes my stomach hurt and yes, my eyes might fill with water a bit.
I read something somewhere from someone (yes, that was detailed) about a woman who came to Ghana a few years ago and a quote she wrote has stuck with me and as I read it I thought This, is a load of crap. But now I understand, the quote said, “Be prepared to leave your heart in Ghana”. I don’t know who that person was, but wow. Dead on. I don’t think I could ever explain how this experience has changed me -for better or for worse- but I do know that, no matter how cheesy it sounds I’m saying it, I will definitely be leaving part of my heart in Ghana (strictly metaphorically).
I have learned more than I would have ever imagined, some of the small things have left the biggest impact and it truly is the small things that count. When my friend asked me why I stayed when I was having such a miserable first few months I said because I had to much pride to leave and there would be way to much disappointment not only from myself, but from my organization that gave me a full ride scholarship. Now that I looked back on it, yes those things did help me to stay but mostly the things that helped me to stay were the little things. The friendly conversation with the person sitting next to me on the tro-tro, the laughs shared with my sister as we’re cooking, the children singing happily as they watch the Oburni walk down the street, my neighbor attempting to teach me French, talking to my mom about anything and everything, the lame inside jokes with friends I’ve made from literally all over the world, buying bread from my favorite bread seller down the street, getting lost in a market so filled with people and so huge I couldn’t find my way out, splashing around in the rain as I watched everyone flee the streets to cover from the rain, watching my sister dance Azonto, children teaching me how to play ampe, practicing Twi with the sellers on the street. The list could go on forever.
It’s the small things.
It probably doesn’t sound like much but it was those small things that kept me here, and it’s those things, among others, that have made me love Ghana and dread the thought of leaving.
But I am leaving. I’ve accepted it. So for the next two weeks I plan on savoring every last moment.
I will be going back to my favorite place in Ghana: Takoradi in the Central Region. I personally think it’s home to the world’s friendliest people and amazing beaches. I will spend time with the friends I have made over these short months and I will relax with my family and savor the moment that my biggest stress at the time will be deciding whether I want coffee or tea.