Sunday, September 29, 2013

I Believe In You.

When you stop - when you take a moment to admire the view, to feel the texture of the city, to smell the air and the history and the life teeming around you, to hear the buzz, the heartbeat, the electricity within you - you'll suddenly find, once you've grown used to the silence, once you've allowed yourself to slow your pace, to put your phone down and disconnect, to look up at the picture you're so keen to take, that the world is big. The world is so very big.

I think our generation suffers from a peculiar affliction, the affliction of too many options; too many things to see, too many places to visit, too many social websites to share on (with too many friends to share with). It makes us indecisive, it makes us nervous. Maybe it makes us think we aren't doing enough, cannot possibly ever catch up or succeed or feel satisfied.We consume, we want more, we move at a pace that won't allow us to feel disappointment or regret, nervousness or failure, sadness, fear, listlessness ...

Rome was the most beautiful place in the world, I loved it. And then I loved Greece, and Santorini became the most beautiful place in the world. Both of these things are true - believing one doesn't negate the other - and even if I must remind myself to be mindful, to be present, to watch the sunset I see in front of me, to taste the food I'm eating, to love the people around me no matter who they are, I am determined to live my life, to love my life. I suppose losing people does that to you - reminds you every day of your luck, of your chance to do something wonderful, something unique, something meaningful in the world.

So what will you do? How will you make today count? What beauty will you see? Because the biggest leap is making the choice to jump; it's the hardest part of the day, the only thing that keeps most of us from living our dreams, from taking risks and being proud to fail, from closing our eyes and trusting the judgment, the instinct, of our own two feet.

Just try it; stop and take a moment too see the beauty around you (because I see it in you).


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Things I'll Miss in Ghana

      1. African exclamations:
The common exclamations of surprise (EY!), dismay (Ohh! Ohohoh!), happiness (Heh heh HEYYYYY!), disappointment (insert clicking noise here), understanding (insert clicking noise here), or agreement (eh-HEH!) are identical everywhere. Which means that I always know the crowd’s mood no matter where I am (or what language I don’t understand).

      2. Eating with my hands. No explanation necessary ...

      3. Random strangers greeting me and immediately asking me to marry them:
Call me crazy, but I’m probably going to miss being immediately popular without any effort. It’s not every day I roll up covered in dirt and find at least three men willing to court me, buy me cattle and marry me immediately …

      4. The love – absolute and enduring love – of taglines.
People in Ghana use them in conversation (Hey, O’broni! It’s nice to be nice!), deck out their cars (No Food for the lazy man), name their stores (God’s time is the best time), name their children (Alex Born-Great), and even tag their taglines (Be Your Best: A Man’s Beer … Be the Best Man). I love it.

      6. Goats.
Particularly grungy city goats that are a little off their hoofed rockers. I love them. I love goat.

      7. Baby Back:
And I’m not talking about junk in the trunk, though having some of that is convenient when you’re trying to attach a nugget to your back with two yards of fabric. Best accessory ever.

       8. F*ck it: Babies.
And the ability to hold, steal and play with them without being on some neighborhood watch list.

      7. Cheap travel:
As inconvenient as a transport system with no schedule can be, it’s a cheap life experience. And what’s not to love about a beat up, rusty old van with no windows and a rope holding its doors together? Exactly: you’re in Africa. Shut up and enjoy the scenery.

      10. Drive-by shopping:
I cannot get over being able to buy whatever I want, anywhere I am, off of someone’s head. It’s ingenious.

      11. Dancing everywhere.  If you know me at all, you know this also needs no explanation.

      12. Being a celebrity.
Sure it can get tiresome being constantly visible, but I’m never lost or alone.

      13. Being able to crash any meeting, party or celebration.
Stumble across a wedding? Here’s a front row seat! Elder’s meeting? Sounds like you guys were looking to hear about family planning! Are you lost? No problem! I'll take you to lunch, first, then we'll find your destination! It's awesome.

      14. Hand washing everything:
I’m not kidding. It’s a great excuse for nice arms and a strong back when there’s no gym in sight.

      15. Carrying things on my head:
It is amazing what some people can carry on their heads. Seriously. I once saw a lady carrying five different sized bowls, filled with charcoal, and stacked into a tower on her head. She just casually walked by. No big deal.

n    16. Clothes piles.
It’s like thrift shopping, but your sifting through piles on the ground. Did I mention I love shopping?

      21. British chocolate everywhere. (British everything everywhere.) 

      22. The amazing sense of fashion:
Ghanaians are impeccable. They know how to keep whites white and clean up like it’s nobody’s business. While I’m stumbling around looking like Raggedy Anne, they constantly look fabulous. 

      23. Making things from other things:
I wish I had a photo album of the amazing recycled toys that children make. Everything is reusable. Ignore the fact that there’s a terrible amount of plastic everywhere and think about the fact that a few old tin cans, a small box and a few nails can make a perfectly sufficient toy car. 

      24. The stars.
The stars in the village were so beautiful they were distracting. I'm definitely going to miss the stars ...