Friday, August 19, 2011

Things to Know, Pt. 1

1. 'I'm coming' is a legitimate every-day phrase spoken to indicate one's pending arrival into any number of situations. It's also used as a polite refusal to come over at all. (... word's out on whether there are additional signals to tell one from the other.)

2. Don't feed the children; it's kind of like letting a bear into your trash = disaster.

3. Dancing is okay anywhere, any time. Also, everyone's invited - even if it's a group of strangers dancing in a circle around a cell phone ringtone on the street corner.

4. Even if you don't go to church ... you go to church. And you will be there as long as it takes.

5. You (the white person) are hilarious no matter what you're doing. "You try, oh. It's cute."

6. Gimpy is the magically, constantly pregnant cat. It's how we roll in the African wilderness.

7. Looking at certain children will always make them cry. You get extra points for making them scream in terror (because playing tag with a giant white person is kind of like being chased by hockey-mask-weilding Jason ... machete optional??) Also, whoever gets the most points wins Peace Corps.

8. Finding a second-hand shirt from your high school in the dead-obroni pile also wins Peace Corps.

9. Pito is a legitimate breakfast substitute. What?? Beer's a grain, right?!!

10. Texting is neither considered efficient or normal means of communication/information exchange. Yelling the same greeting into a phone seven times (before running out of minutes), however, is.

11. Flashing is not something you can get arrested for, it's something you do after running out of credits when you tried greeting that one dude seven times ... Call me back, yo!!

12. "Urinal? Yeah, it's the third bush to the left - careful, though, there's a kitchen window over there with a perfect view of your comically white ass."

13. "No, seriously: how white is your ass!??!"

14. Just stop. You're white. (This roughly translates to 'surely you can't know how to [insert mundane everyday activity here] and is always followed by 'WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU CAN'T SPEAK [insert Ghanaian language here]?!!! Apparently one standard doesn't apply to the other ...)

15. "Ohhhh. You didn't mean eleven when you said the meeting started at nine? ... Cause I had stuff to do ..."

16. Ghanaians never sleep. They nap. On the upside, discotechs and bars are open until four in the morning.

17. The main highways of Ghana are one continuous drive-through; top-shopping is what you do when you buy food off someone's head, it is not a British fashion boutique.

18. OCD takes on an entire new meaning in Ghana. No you may not alter the items in your dish, mix concoctions together, or rearrange something you see.

19. Speaking of menus: there's no garauntee that the item you want (listed on the menu out front) is actually available today ... or ever.

20. You're gonna have to repeat yourself ... better yet, just make sure everything you say is repeated back to you verbatim. Ghanaians are agreeable. They will nod their heads in a general agreement-fashion just to make you happy (or get you into the damn taxi).

21. Taxis are tricky. Sometimes they're a complete rip-off. Negotiate and settle on a price before you sit down; rinse and repeat.

22. It's amazing how white my neighbor's whites are ... and embarassing that mine definitely aren't. Maybe they were right when they told me to stop because I was white ....

23. Ghanaian films. There's nothing else you need to know. (Besides the fact that you should probably block a seven hour period to watch one - this allows ample time for parts one through seven.)

24. Bugs definitely bite.

25. That guy/girl you just walked down the street with? Yeah, you're going steady now; kind of like in Pleasantville. Now go run off and neck in the woods somewhere ...

26. 'Backing' a baby is much harder to do when your ass doesn't look like that (yes, Gifty, I'm talking to you).

27. Everyone has an opinion; it's especially obvious on a full bus. It's kind of like being in a room full of Italian grandmothers. And you aren't married yet.

28. Oh! You aren't married? No problem. You can have my brother/sister/cousin/son/daughter/friend. Hell, you can have me! I mean, at your age it's amazing you're still fertile! (I'm twenty-four...)

29. Africa is hot (and I don't mean like Paris Hilton).

30. Cheese is necessary for both survival and sanity. Also, strawberries are awesome.