1. Someone told me it would be easy to get on the Internet.
2. you were still the same person no matter where you go.
3. I forgot the name of wordpress.
4. I took a bucket shower and liked it. Every day.
5. Being called ‘white person’ (Obroni) everywhere I go has become a term of endearment.
Wow! So it’s already been almost a week. Sorry I didn’t update, oh wait refer to #1. I literally have not been able to get on the internet since the Amsterdam Airport. University of Ghana Legon , the place where we are stationed now, supposedly has wifi and a bunch of cafes…but it has been down every day we have been there. Internet cafes exist but they are faulty, crowded, and well, faulty. So when our professors mentioned that you could buy a modem chip today, a few of us jumped at the chance. The thing is, I haven’t been craving the internet too intensely until like yesterday, but if it was really going to be this hard all the time (which is probable because we are currently in the most advanced area in Ghana and STILL couldn’t get on for a week) it seemed like a sweet deal. Plus the ability to use our own computers for the internet instead of a PC at an internet cafe is a big plus. Plus, I take showers from cold water in buckets. AKA, my argument for everything ever in the future.
The bucket showers are actually kind of refreshing, and the ice cold that you feel in your body is over in like two seconds anyway. They also waste far less water, obviously! I don’t even know what to say, there are just too many things. I have a few backed up blog entries that I wrote, I’ll try to update them after this one. I love riding tro-tros. They are also way more efficient than any transportation in the US – I still can’t believe that most people ride one person per car on the huge highways in LA, while here 16 people or more sometimes will ride together in a tro-tro – for less than a Cedi, which is less than a dollar, most places! WHAT! Transportation is SO cheap. Most things are actually, hence me not feeling bad for pretty much anything I purchase. Lunch, a cedi! Taxi, three cedis at most! Fabric for the sweet dresses I’m going to get made, depends on where I buy it and how much, but anywhere between 5 and 20 cedis!
I also have a phone here and can call anyone in America free for you guys . So we should all talk. Getting the phones was QUITE the debacle. It feels like it was 80 years ago now, but all 21 of us went to a Tigo (Tigo means the enemy in Twi…no, just kidding. But seriously) stand and spent 4 hours getting phones. How did this take four hours? Well, in Ghana, you don’t get the Verizon store or the Apple Store or the U.S. Cellular store. You get a table with a banner on it and a girl with a ponytail that sticks straight in the air running back and fourth from the market with stolen (pretty sure) phones for you to buy. One of our badass teachers spent quite a long time yelling at the Tigo people to give us free SIM cards, but at least they work. Or…some did work. My phone, luckily, is clearly used really old very slow doesn’t have T9 so sending a text takes ten minutes, but notice that when I said luckily I was being serious. I didn’t have to go back to the market one, two, three, even five times to get it switched. yes, some people in my group had to go back five times. Some didn’t turn on, didn’t charge, would only go on speakerphone, you name it, these phones did it. I think we’re all pretty set now, except for buying credit almost every day and calling a number 5 times before it goes through. But we all won’t die (unless our phones do) so life is good.
Life is good in general. I’m pretty amazed at how even though everything is crazy, takes 10x longer to do, overwhelming, blah blah blah, I’m just so calm and enjoying everything. Nothing here specifically has really stressed me out – well, sometimes I get frustrated in class but that’s another story. Nothing about getting around or all that jazz. I’m trying to learn to bargain, which is intimidating for me since I don’t like to argue and feel guilty since I HAVE the money, but I bargained something down 2 cedis yesterday AND then I paid 3.50 for a taxi instead of 6. Progress.
This is all very scatterbrained but now that I am more organized I will be able to do better and more cohesive updates. Some more things…
I love the food! The spiciness is actually less than I was expecting, so I haven’t been dying. I mean I love spicy food as you all know but I thought it would be way spicier here. Not the case. It all feels just nice and flavourful to me. I also have only had digestive difficutly twice in seven days, which is like PHENOMENAL. Our group has become very comfortable talking about diahrea. Or however you spell it. One of the perks of being in a place like this is the ability to discuss gross shit with people you barely know.
I’m not such a fan of having to make friends again. I know I’m “outgoing” according to many of you, but that just ISN’T true. Outgoing people just are good at talking to people and can come up with things to say and aren’t afriad of what other people think naturally. I have UNNATURALLY adjusted to pretending to be outgoing, but I definitely still am not. I really just like being settled in a group so I can be my golden self, but I’ve found here that I’m really not comfortable being my golden self until I trust the people I’m around. You can say I shouldn’t do this, but I really have a block up about it since every group of friends I had before college ditched me. Yay honesty! Things I don’t care about any more include being embarassed about the past. Anyway, I just get frustrated with the big group sometimes because it’s hard to mobilize. Things are slower here in general, but I really don’t mind when it’s because of the traffic or any of the cultural things, I just mind when things can’t move because of the group. I like most everyone individually but it’s hard to get close to people when we’re in and out so much. Also I just am sick of having to try to make friends. Everything is so easy at school, I don’t want to try here!
But honestly I am not stressed about the group – if I make good friends, great, if I don’t – that isn’t the reason I came here. I don’t really know why I came here sometimes, but I hate sitting around trying to think about life affirming things and realizations, so I’m just doing my best to live in the moment, notice the things that make me happy. The wind when you’re on a tro-tro, the fact that there are hardly any stop lights, the colors of trees and fabric and everything we see. It’s all been very busy so far, and we’ve done a lot of things, but I think I explain some of that in the blog posts on Word that I’ll upload later. Sorry that this has been so disjointed! hopefully I will be able to be online a bit more often to update now that I have my modem friend. I love you all, read my blog, comment, email, write letters!