Well, this trip has finally come to an end. After an amazing overnight excursion to the eastern coast of Ghana, I’m back at our house in Accra counting down my final hours in Africa. With all but Elise, Caroline, and me still at the coast, back in the US or on to other travels, our once bustling home seems eerily quiet. I have spent a good amount of time alone in this house throughout the trip, but sitting here in our dining room knowing that all thirteen of my housemates won’t be arriving home to tell me about their day makes the silence feel very different.
Saying goodbye to everyone was hard. I truly believe that this experience would not have been anywhere near as incredible without the presence of my housemates. MTV would lead you to believe that throwing a bunch of strangers in a house together is a recipe for disaster ala The Real World, but our group disproves this theory. I never would have thought that fourteen relative strangers living together in another country could get along as well as we did. I’ve written before about how much the flexibility and sense of humor within our group has positively affected this trip for me, and I’d like to once again emphasize the importance of this factor. Sharing this experience with people whom I can laugh with (a lot) and talk to about pretty much anything that is on my mind made all the difference for me. Sitting here now with most of the group absent, I wonder if I could have done something like this on my own.
So, now that I am left alone with my thoughts, I have the day to process the idea of going back to the United States after six weeks on another continent. The thought of going home is bittersweet for me. There is a very long list of things that I miss from home: family, friends, an internet connection which works at a speed that doesn’t infuriate me, my favorite foods, my car, hot showers, laundry machines, etc. Also, my parents just picked up a new kitten who I am excited to meet! I have spent more time than I would like to admit over the last two or three weeks thinking about all of these things, and there is definitely a large part of me that is ready to return home.
On the other hand, there are a lot of things that I will miss about Ghana. As I’ve already made clear, I’ll miss living with the rest of the group and getting to interact with them on a daily basis. I will also miss the people of Ghana. Not only Sonny, my boss Dan, and the other Ghanaians whom I have gotten to know, but the people in general. Almost everyone I have interacted with on the streets has been friendly, welcoming, and very helpful. There is definitely a different vibe on the streets here than at home, where most people are too busy to give a damn about anyone but themselves. I’ll miss watching Ghanaians dance – in the streets, clubs, everywhere – to the reggae and hi-life that they love. Come to think of it, I’m really going to miss hearing that music almost everywhere. I’ll also miss being surrounded by palm trees, the most delicious mangoes and pineapples I’ve ever had, and all the other little things that I love about Ghana.
But hey, all good things must eventually come to an end, right? I can say one thing for sure – this will not be my last trip to Africa. I would love to return to Ghana, and there are many other countries that I would like to see too. For now, I’ll just have to manage with the many memories that I have made here and look forward to my next trip.
Time for me to take my LAST cold shower and get ready for my flight!