It is quite scary to think that my first year here in Ghana is coming to a screeching halt in two weeks. I am not even sure where to begin honestly with this post. Ok well honestly I should be grading senior final exams, packing for the senior trip I am chaperoning, or getting ready for prom that is in a few hours (No I am not going as a participant for all you folks who thought I was pulling a cougar move, however I am chaperoning that as well)…Hello my name is Ms. O’Hara and I will chaperone any event involuntarily!
I am really good at lists and not so good at writing really big long articles, chapters, papers, etc. (Just ask my sister the journalist of the family who was an indentured servant to me for a life time of proof-reading papers from pre-school to college), so to save us all the time of scrolling and scrolling and secretly wondering when this crazy white girl will be done ranting, I will simply share some lists with you.
Things I Have Learned Over The Past Year In Ghana (In no order):
1. Live simply
2. Laugh a lot (This really helps in bad or inconvenient situations)
3. You cannot rely on the electricity, internet, or water systems here but you can rely on your friends, church, and fellow school community for just about anything and everything, and if they don’t have what you want or need, they will help you ever so selflessly.
4. Stay humble and reliant on the Lord….If you are not an ever so not convenient situation most likely will occur to kindly remind you that you are not the boss nor are you in charge of this world 🙂
5. There is always room for growth and improvement, whether this is in friendships, teaching, as a counselor, a coach, you name it, simply be willing to grow as a person.
6. If you see something at the grocery store in Ghana and you want it or need it…BUY IT! Because chances are it will NOT be there the next time you go back. Also if you think your friends would want that item or need it….BUY SOME FOR THEM TOO because chances are it will not be there by the time they get the chance to go.
7. When you see other westerners who are in your neighborhood, who you know are not a “regular,” try not to stare at them like they are a zoo exhibit.
8. Love does! – Small plug here but definitely read Bob Goff’s book “Love Does” and you will know what I am talking about. Despite not feeling like it sometimes, or the heat, or things be inconvenient, or you know you are going with your best friend on a day trip to some crazy far away location from the city because this local guy likes her but she claims he does not, but you want her to come home alive and not abducted to some remote african village, and so you agree to leave early in the morning, travel hours away into the mountains, take some riverboat during a rainstorm, go the market, and come back late at night so you can ensure all is well, yeah that is love (But of course good stories always come from those moments).
9. Ghana is HOT 24/7 and that is not changing any time soon, I don’t care what these special people say about global warming. I hope for Ghana’s sake that those folks are right and something is shifting and maybe one day Ghanaians will experience cold weather or snow, then just maybe then we would get an inclement weather day for school! Woohoo!
10. I can coach soccer….who knew?! Having been one of the only organized sports I never played because I was a basketball, volleyball and baseball player, I was pretty much told by my director that I did not have a choice on coaching because they knew I was the person for the job. Turns out if you just shot a few key terms and encourage the heck out of those girls, the results are amazing! Our season was like watching Mighty Ducks – Soccer edition.
Honestly this list could go on and on. The Lord has torn some major scales off my eyes and made me aware of things that I did not even know existed in my heart, my personality, and my walk with Him. It has been all for the better, for growth, and for refinement.
I am excited to take a short break and visit the States this Summer. Here is a list of what I am looking forward to (trust me this list is much longer than the 10 things I will put here):
1. Spending time with my family! Whoop Whoop…I will get to see my parents first in Ohio as well as my grandparents and relatives, then I fly to visit my brother in Colorado and then on to see my sister in Washington state.
2. Reliable utilities
3. FOOD FOOD and more FOOD!
4. I cannot wait to go to one store and get everything that I need. Not 5 trips to 5 separate stores just for simple things like milk, vegetables, toilet paper, meat, or other products you should be able to get at one store, under one roof.
5. Visiting friends – I cannot wait to see Howard County folks, Pop in to see my friends Lauren & Bobby and their sweet girl and baby bump #2, then to go down to Lynchburg for a wedding and to visit my friends there, eat monkey joe’s with the Foster family, get hugs from the Wiebe’s and drink coffee with the Bingham’s on the porch of the farm. Laugh with the Smith clan, go for boat rides with Abbey & Stephen, eat pizza hut with Lauren and Brent, have dinner with the newlyweds Cody & Carylynne, and see my BRCC family and guest service family. Trust me there are many more people but not enough room to list them all.
6. Visit the new REI built in Columbus while I was gone this past year 🙂
7. Road Trip with my friend Kate out west! Trust me there will be many more blog posts, pictures, and stories to come from this adventure.
8. Meeting new Ghana team members when I stop by Pre-Field Orientation. I cannot wait to meet and encourage our new staff members and put names with faces.
9. Pete & Emily’s wedding – Some friends who I work with here in Ghana are getting married in PA this summer and it is going to be quite the shindig. “Amish food” that is all that needed to be said, some will argue “I do” is important on that day, but shoot when I heard some Amish grub was going down at the reception, I said DONE!
10. Being back at New Life and Blue Ridge Community Church. I cannot tell you how much I have missed these two churches and the family at each one.
Well I have procrastinated in grading long enough. I should get going with that whole getting ready for prom thing that is in a few hours. My roomie just turned the generator on so we could actually submit grades (and so I could post this), so I supposed it is my cue to keep moving with the day.
Love you guys and hopefully see most of you in a couple weeks. I cannot believe it, seriously this year has flown by.
America lookout…ready or not here I come!