Monday, November 21, 2011

thanksgiving goodness


i never realized how much i loved thanksgiving until i didnt have it.  funny, how people don't realize how good they have things until they dont have it anymore.  like the season of fall, and running water, and time with family with lots of good food.
i can give thanks though for the fact that we were able to pull together a thanksgiving meal for our group last week.  we got turkey, mashed potatoes (a tad spicy but hey its ghana and it was the cooks first time ever making thanksgiving - he did a fantastic job!), stuffing, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and bread.  i dont even like half of that and i ate it all.  i have really learned to appreciate a good meal when it is given to me. (dont know how much i will ever appreciate vegetables though)
i also am really thankful for the time i have been able to spend here.  i can say i lived in ghana for four months. that is pretty incredible.  it has had its fair share of challenges and been very trying at times but i did it.  and i am so glad i did.  i have some amazing experiences that i can share with people back home and memories that will stay with me forever.  the challenges have really pushed me to focus on my relationship with God and that is worth it.  God is pretty amazing, you really can do anything with Him.
that being said, as thankful as i am for this experience... i will be through the roof excited to go home. it will come quickly because we are really close to the end and busy busy busy.
here is a little update:

we have the week off for thanksgiving break! i am leaving EARLY tomorrow morning to make our way down to the coast to lay on the beach for a week and get all tan and happy :).  i will be back on friday and then i have the weekend to hang around Accra and finish up schoolwork.  i will probably head to the markets again :)  markets here are very dangerous.  not really. but they are when you become a shopoholic -- i have contributed a lot of money to ghana's economy.  packing is going to be a challenge... not thinking about that yet.

then we have one more dancing and drumming class on wednesday.  pretty easy school week here in ghana!
next thursday we head back up to akropong for a little reflection time together.  (ps. akropong is where we went in the very beginning and also for the odwira festival).  so we are there thursday and friday and then are stopping at adenkrebi on that saturday to say goodbye.   i dont want to say goodbye to adenkrebi.
then that monday we have our final good bye party with everyone we know in ghana... not joking. its a big deal. and then i leave to rejoin you all in the freezing tundra of the midwest on december 7, arriving in chicago december 8, and heading to grand rapids december 12.

so clearly, my time at the end here is going to fly by!!

i hope you all have a wonderful thanksgiving! appreciate everything you have.
i cant wait to see you all.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

one month left.

in 28 days i will be leaving ghana. today is november 8.  december 8 i will be arriving in chicago at 9 am and spending the rest of the day with my family.  words can not describe how excited i am to see everyone.  december 12 i will be heading back up to gr.  i cant wait to see everyone there either.
many of you have been messaging me letting me know of your support and that you are reading my blogs and i want to take the opportunity to thank you again.  i truly appreciate it.
one month left and many things are coming to a close.  so its time to reflect a little bit :) stick with me this is pretty informal.
the director for the ghana program next year is currently here and has been asking us what we like, what we would change, and advice for next years group.  it allowed us to really reflect on our time here as everything is coming to a close. just in case you are curious, here are my answers:

what i like: adenkrebi.  the past week i was able to return to adenkrebi, where we did homestays, and i realized how much i missed that place.  everyone remembers who you are and the relationships built were amazing.  the little girls came running up to me and jumped in my arms with many hugs and kisses.  accra is a very busy city and very chaotic.  adenkrebi is more calm and allows relationships to build and strengthen.  i love those people so much and i will really miss them.
what i would change: as most of you noticed, i was not here in october. and the week i was here, many of our final projects were due.  october was busy.  it was stressful.  all of it was wonderful and the best experiences but my oh my does the scheduling need some work.
advice for next years group:  you are really going to figure out how to be independent and that is great.  but you are also with the same 17 other students every minute of every day.  we have become a family and as great as it is to be independent - its rough at times over here and you need to learn how to rely on these strangers as they become your family.

i could probably think of a few things for each of those questions but thats what originally came to mind.
here are a few little snippets of reflections of things i will and will not miss about ghana:
1. i will not miss the water shutting off for an unknown amount of days. its not pleasant.
2. i will miss all the fresh fruit. its delicious.
3. i will not miss having rice at every meal. do not serve me rice when i get back home.
4. i will miss being with the wonderful people of this group.  it will be very strange to not be with them every moment of every day.  we have determined that we kinda feel homeschooled.  we are always together, we even eat in our classroom.
5. i will not miss tro-tros, taxis, and traffic
6. i will miss africa.  i love living in a developing country.  (not accra) but everywhere else is slower and calm and relaxing and beautiful.  from the forests to the savannah, it is gorgeous. (trust me we hiked all over this country)
7. i will not miss being cheated in the market places because i am white and blonde. i will also not miss being called obruni. i like my name and i like when people use it.
8. i will miss the sun.  yes, it is hot and i sweat ALOT on our forever long walk to class but i prefer this to those blizzards back home.
9. i will not miss missing my boy, my family, and my friends.
10. i will miss finding bootleg dvd's of anything i want for a very cheap price and all the shopping in the markets. i have become a bit of a shopoholic.
11. i will not miss worrying about finding clean water to drink or worrying about the food i eat.
12. i will miss the beautiful art that is everywhere
13. i will not miss breaking every pair of shoe that i have brought to ghana and the shoes i have been buying here.
14. i will miss the children.  i would come home with ten of them if that were even remotely acceptable. they are all adorable and loving children.
i could keep going on and on but that is all for now in terms of that.

here is a little school update.
politics: DONE.
peoples and cultures: i finished my presentation on national parks turned in all my assignments.  now i just have to finish the take-home final and then DONE.
twi: one more test next week and then DONE.
ethnography: i finished half of my presentation (its complicated) and i have to finish the rest next week.  then i have to write a little reflection paper and then DONE.
drumming and dance:  i think 2 more classes and then a performance at our final party right before we go.  then DONE.

basically almost done with everything.  after next week of classes.

then the week of thanksgiving we have off.  a majority of us are going to spend 4 days relaxing on the beach. heaven.
then we go back to have a reflection trip in akropong.
then final party.
then home to you all.
you can be really excited now.

thanks for sticking with this random, informal post. i hope you enjoyed.  not too many left!
miss you all and i cant wait to see you!