This whole postdating things I wrote without internet is going to be difficult. Hopefully now with my internet stick I won’t have to. But this is from like day three or something.
So I’m in Ghana, have been for a few days. Before I say anything else, MY LIFE HAS NOT CHANGED MY MIND IS NOT BLOWN AND DON’T BUG ME ABOUT IT BECAUSE I’M SENSITIVE OKAY?
We got here late on Friday night, which is about Friday afternoon America time. The customs line was a hundred hours long, and when we got to the front it was very confusing because I could not understand anything the customs man was saying (this will become a pattern,) I gave him the wrong form, and then they FINGERPRINTED US and I was just beyond confused. Another pattern that will develop, my constant confusion. Then we got our baggage. I found my bag quickly and had to dart between people with like five bags on carts to snag it. We went through ACTUAL customs after this (the first thing was just like…not customs. I don’t know. Everything is confusing.) This line was not as long, but I had this whole dilemma about whether to check that I was ‘bringing in goods’ or whatever they call it or not, so I checked ‘yes’ first because of my money and laptop, but then everyone else said they were checking no regardless, so I switched my answer. I thought this would be confusing and they would ask me lots of questions, but instead the lady just took my sheet without looking at it and waved me through. I guess that the small girl with the large bags who looks constantly lost is not very threatening.
We found the people picking us up right after that. Once everyone got in from their flights, we were ushered outside and took our things to this parking lot, where we got into a giant van with doors that didn’t really close and no seatbelts and weird jump seats. Oh wait, that was about to become our lives. We took off through the parking lot, going really fast and almost hitting a lot of things. Oh wait, also my life. About two blocks into the drive, one of my group members said “What’s funny is we all got into this van and we’re driving and none of us have any idea where we’re going.” Well played. We all laughed. So yeah we drove for a while then got to the hotel we’re staying at for orientation.
The hotel is really nice and it is kind of disconcerting to realize how this nice place is not going to help the transition into homestays and such at all. We are in double rooms that are air conditioned (never happens,) have private bathrooms with pretty nice showers (well the shower head won’t stick to the wall so you just have to hold it but nice, all things considered,) fully functional toilets, and um, no mosquitos. All things that I will probably not have soon. They make us quite nice meals every day, but I have this sneaking suspicion that the food is all really Americanized. I said this to someone else in the group and they didn’t believe me…but I mean we ate spaghetti last night, Vienna sausages this morning, and had French fries with dinner. I don’t for a hot second believe that this is how we’re going to be eating every day in Ghana.
So, Ghana. We haven’t been outside the hotel a TON because it’s only been two days, but I’ll share some of what I’ve seen so far. There are no road signs, no traffic lights, actually no real rules of traffic whatsoever. I don’t really know how there aren’t more accidents. We seem to be about two inches away from one every ten minutes. We haven’t done that much walking except to the market to get cell phones. That was quite the adventure. We went to this ‘cell phone store’ that was actually just some guys wearing Tigo (our provider-ish-maybe-thing) t shirts standing next to a table outside of a storefront. The twenty of us all have completely different cell phones that are definitely used and quite possibly procured through illegal means. The cell phone debacle took approximately 97.5 hours because there was a long arguing period (no complaining about that one, the arguing was to get them cheaper) that showed us how much of a badass one of our female leaders is, then the programming of cell phones and switching of phones that didn’t work and getting more phones because there were too many of us. Oh, there was also that awkward moment when a drunk guy came up and grabbed one of the girls phones and put it in his pocket then stumbled around. Our badass female leader got it back from him,
OH WAIT. I JUST HAVE TO MAKE AN OBSERVATION. The two girls I’m sitting with just said ‘I don’t miss the internet’ Well wanna know what world? I DO miss the internet! I don’t miss it like I would miss a missing leg, but you know what? I wanna check my email! I want to write emails! I want to POST THIS ON MY BLOG INSTEAD OF TYPING IT IN WORD ! I’m not like, dying, but yeah, I would like to be able to have a little bit of contact with the outside world.
Ugh, sometimes I just feel like everyone is way more excited about all this than I am. I mean I have really liked everything here and some things have been super cool and yada yada, but I just don’t feel this constant excitement that so many people seem to express. In addition, I see all these new things and I observe how different everything is, but I’m never like WHOA OH MY GOD! I guess that could be a good thing, because it might mean that I, I don’t know, get the world or something, but it just stresses me out that I’m not like OMG MIND BLOWN FREAK OUT every two seconds. I don’t know, I’m still me, just in a different country. I really have no conception of distance. I know that I’m far away from home and Redlands…but I’m here. I’ve never really been out of America before, but now I am. And I feel like I should feel different…but nope. I just feel like me. Overwhelmed, awkward, tired.
Blah, the world needs to stop telling us what kind of things we’re ‘supposed’ to feel because it really just stresses me out. I don’t know.
Ah, anyway. Then yesterday after the cell phone debacle we came back to the hotel, had dinner, and then just hung out for the rest of the night. It’s fun getting to know the people in my group…but honestly I’m just sick of meeting people. Not right now, just in life. I feel like I’m not really myself around new people even though I’m friendly supposedly and yada yada, and I just hate that over the past few years it feels like every two seconds I have to be meeting whole new groups of people. There’s always the pleasantries and all these questions and I never know when its okay to really act like people are your friends, blah, blah, blah.
I guess I’m just pretty exhausted. We learned some African dance today. And some Twi. I suck hardcore at both of them. I really like to dance but I do suck. I ACTUALLY suck at Twi. I don’t think I’m going to be able to do it. I already seem like a fool to everyone I meet, so I’m hoping that I will get by on being small and stupid, therefore endearing. It worked today at the Ghanaian funeral we went to, I basically made a complete idiot of myself anytime anyone tried to talk to me, but then at the end when we were saying goodbye this guy was shaking everyone’s hands and then when he got to me, he shook my hand, kissed me on the cheek, and did this weird cool handshake thing that he was trying to teach me. I don’t know how a deer in the headlights look and stupidity makes me endearing, but everyone is probably just taking pity on me.
Anyway, the funeral. In Ghana, funerals are really different. Best explanatory sentence ever. They see funerals as a way to celebrate a passage of life that everyone must go through, so they are full of drumming and dancing and singing and nice things. We were welcomed into this funeral with open arms, which is also interesting in comparison with American culture. Everyone just seemed so comfortable and interesting. I wish that I was an old Ghanaian man instead of a stupid young white American girl. I’m not going to lie, for a bunch of the funeral I was just thinking “I have myself, I hate being awkward, I hate America, I hate being awkward.” A lot of that came from this discussion we had this morning about how America is a country that is rich in technology, but Ghana is a country that is rich in culture. Very true. I honestly can’t think of any real American culture compared to what they have here. I feel like everything we get culturally is either a copy of another country, or something gross and embarrassing, like Texas Roadhouse.