It has been such a surreal experience to immerse myself in a foreign country and its culture. What I didn’t expect though was that eventually living and being in Ghana would feel like the norm, not longing for the United States like when I first arrived. I was surprised every time it felt more natural to spark up a conversation with the person next to me in a shared taxi than it would to receive a text from a friend back home.
Since coming home, everything has felt familiar and so unfamiliar all in the same breathe. My family means the world to me but it’s been hard for me to connect with them now because they know so little about my experience that has shaped and changed me so greatly. Explaining my time in Ghana has become exhausting because even if I describe every little detail that I can, someone who has never been there, can never understand everything this country has had to offer me.
Everyone from home who has been missing you and only you since you left always exclaims ‘Oh, you must be so glad to be home!’
Yes, I am glad to be home but I’m also equally hurting by being home. Now, everyone I love is not in the United States. Now, I will forever be missing people who mean the world to me. When I’m home, I will be missing my students in Ghana, my friends made there, my host family, people that I love whole heartedly. When I return to Ghana in the future, I will be missing home. No matter where I am in the world, all of the people I love will never be in the same place.
It is truly a remarkable experience having lived and worked in a developing country for the amount of time that I did, learning so much about myself and the world in the process. But it hasn’t been an easy transition home like I thought it would be. I had gotten so used to being independent and being a single unit all the time that I forgot that sometimes you have to make the effort to let the ones who love you be a part of your everyday life. It has been overwhelming to me at times to have access to an excessive amount of luxury items. Even going to a place like a gas station with an abundant choices of things like pop, candy, snacks, can sometimes feel surreal to me.
While the transition home has been certainly interesting and I whole heartedly miss Ghana and everyone in it, I would hands down do an experience like this again in a different country. I want to fall in love with a new place all over again and ache when I leave it all over again because at least then I was lucky enough to experience it.