ArchiveBlogBlog 2011

In Denial

The title pretty much says it all. I am in complete denial that I am leaving Ghana, a place that I feel like I’ve only just started getting to know, but am in love with. Six weeks ago, when I was packing up and preparing to leave home, I couldn’t believe I was finally leaving for Ghana. Now I’m experiencing a similar series of disbelief, though the feelings of excitement have been replaced with sadness.

There are plenty of things I’ll miss about Ghana, but the people I’ve met are what made this experience worthwhile. During the first few weeks here, I had to rely on the kindness of multiple strangers to point me in the right direction, or in some cases, lead me by hand through markets and tro tro stations. Today I’m flying to Paris to travel with my sister, and I doubt we will experience the same kind of helpfulness from Parisians.

I have gotten to know several vendors in our neighborhood, like the family who works at a small store where I buy eggs. The exchange of goods and cedis are often accompanied by a valuable cultural exchange. I wave at them on my way to work, and every time I make a purchase at the store, I ask them Ete sen and they respond with eye. Then they teach me a word or phrase in Twi and laugh at my atrocious pronunciation. The lady who sold us mangos for the first half of the trip, and who many times gave us extra fruit, has disappeared. Her old stand is abandoned and looks desolate. I still wonder where she went.

The other important people in my daily life have been, of course, my co-workers and all of my lovely friends/housemates/fellow journalism nerds. My boss, John, is so kind and flexible. He always wanted Annie and I to be comfortable at work, and I think he achieved that goal. Veronique and Akosua, our other co-workers, were always welcoming and provided us with ideas of where to go in Accra. Thanks to Veronique, we experienced Champs, a bar/restaurant heavily populated with expats, at a time when we were all a little homesick and desperately craving burgers, karaoke, and trivia (Team FuFu Fighters forever!).

The most important people have definitely been the people that I came home to everyday, vented with, and basically did everything with. Whenever I was bored and wanted to go buy a meat pie or a mango, there was always someone who also wanted to go. Of course, there were times when I wanted some peace and quiet, but now I find the emptiness of the house very disturbing.

Now I’m going to be really cheesy and say a little something about each of my thirteen comrades, because you guys are awesome and all had a positive influence on my life.

Annie: It was so great having you as a work buddy, and I can’t imagine my internship experience without you. You taught me a lot on this trip, especially about deafness and disabilities, so thank you. I really value all the conversation we had!

Ariane, You are one of the sweetest people I have ever met, and I loved all of our late night conversations. Now that you’re in the 21 club, we need to go out!

Catherine, You are such a kind person and a really good listener, which is part of why you’re such good journalist. Thank you for your wisdom and advice throughout the trip!

Caroline, Your bluntness and humor never ceases to make me laugh and/or shock me, and I appreciate that. I dig your spontaneity, girl, and I’m looking forward to more trivia.

Monica, Never have I met someone who loves capers as much as you. I don’t know why, but it always makes me laugh. You’re awesome to kick it with, and we need to grab drinks in Eugene.

Shawna, There have been so many times when you’ve brightened my day, just by being your silly self. Every time I hear “the children” your voice will pop into my head. I hope that isn’t creepy.

Jake, I love your almost child-like curiosity and your sense of adventure. You kick ass at what you do, and I’m excited to see where you end up!

Michael, You are so dedicated and work hard at what you do, and it is very inspiring to see. I’ll know you’ll have an amazing time in Namibia, and I look forward to seeing you around Eugene!

Patrick, It was awesome getting to know you on this trip. You are so genuine and hilarious. Mac n’cheese, coffee, and Club forever!

Megan, I will miss your sweet laughter in the middle of the night, and also the late night talks. You were always such a positive person to be around on the trip, so thank you! I look forward to future Gemini shenanigans.

Neethu, You are such an amazing, strong person, and I’m so glad I got to know you during this trip. I loved all of our conversations and slightly creepy exchanges. I can’t wait for our dates!

Michelle, I think I already told you this, but you have some of the best one-liners ever, and your subtle humor always makes me laugh. Thank you for your kindness and support throughout the trip.

Jolene, Thank you for being Mama Bear/stand-in Leslie for the end of the trip. You are always so helpful and remain calm in all kinds of situations, which I really appreciate.

Thanks for the great times, and see you all in the Eug!


  1. Dear Elise,

    I’m so glad that you had such wonderful experiences in Ghana. What an amazing adventure for all of you. It’s marvelous the way all of your housemates bonded during this summer in Africa. I hope that you will always stay in touch with each other. I’m very glad that Jolene was able to be there for you when you needed a Mama Bear.

    Peace, Love & Joy,


  2. To all 14 of you and your adventurous spirits –

    Thanks so much for sharing your summer with us through your amazing stories and photos. We feel so lucky to have been able to virtually ride along with you throughout your travels and so appreciate that you’ve made us feel so much closer than half a world away! You’re all so incredibly talented and we know, just from reading your thoughts and seeing your view of the bigger world, that you’ll all go far and accomplish amazing things in the future!

    Carol and Tom Ciaglo

  3. I can hardly wait to see ALL of your pictures when you get home. A great adventure. Have fun with Molly.

  4. Aww Elise I just got around to reading this (I’m putting off finishing my assignments of course) and it’s so sweet! Made me miss everybody even more I’m excited to hopefully see everyone tomorrow night.

    P.S. I’m eating capers right now…

  5. u have left your radiant smile and sparkle for the new friends u have made happy~all the world is your looking glass~hugs and love u~

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