I have officially been here in Ghana for one week, and I am already feeling a little homesick. I started to notice it a little bit on Sunday just after Amanda and I walked a half hour to Bonjour for dinner. I was really missing my family and being at home in a place that felt familiar to me. I know I still have 20 days left here (which really isn't that much!), but I thought if I wrote about it a little bit, then I might feel a little beter.
It's been nice having Amanda here to talk with because we both seem to miss the same things. One of the things we miss the most (besides our family and friends) is the food in the United States. Particularly, red meat. The only meat we have had here has been chicken, which is fine, but once in a while all you need is a hamburger or a steak. The places where we have gone to eat have advertised beef, but each time we ask for it, we are told "no" or "we don't have it." We have been told no so many times that we are starting to wonder if there will ever be beef on during our time here.
While there is a pizza place here, we miss the great variety in types of food in the United States. We realize now that that we have taken that for granted. With the exception of the banku we have tried the other night at Chez Afrique, we have mostly eaten chicken and rice (the chicken here isn't boneless, which we aren't particularly used to as we tend to eat and buy chicken breasts in the U.S.), a few fried plantains, and a few cookies that we have bought from the various stores here. We were able to find Oreos here and some Lays potato chips, so that is pretty cool. It's kind of funny, but every night Amanda and I talk about all the food we are going to eat as soon as we land in the U.S. airports. I think McDonalds is high up on that list. Birthday cake has been talked about a lot too. We miss birthday cake and soft serve ice cream.
It's a bit challenging for us to find food to eat here (more so on campus than anywhere else) because the buildings aren't labeled as they are say at Calvin or at U of M. We aren't sure what door to use and if the building is even the building we think it is, and so it can be a bit unnerving, but luckily people here are nice and we can ask them for help and most of them will help you.
Another thing I really miss about the U.S. are the road rules. No so much the driving rules, but the pedestrian right-of-way rules. There is one particular road we have to cross within campus that isn't particularly wide, but there is a lot of traffic that moves through it. We always fear for our lives as we cross, because as I mentioned before, the cars here won't stop. They will hit you. It's terrifying. Another aspect of the road we miss is in the U.S., when you use a taxi, there is a certain rate per mile that you pay, regardless of where you go. We miss that aspect of traveling so much. As obrunis, we always feel like we pay more than we should, even after we try our hand at bartering. I definitely did not budget enough transportation money when I planned for this trip. Yikes!
I like to travel and see new things and try new things, but I feel a little lonely at times and am excited to come back to the U.S. and see everyone again. And sleep in my own bed! There are definitely parts of Ghana that I will miss when I return home such as the friendliness of the people (the American girls we see on campus are not so friendly....they actually pretend not to see us, which is a bit odd and doesn't make us Americans look all that great).
For now, things are definitely more than okay. Neither of us have yet to get sick from the food or the mosquitos, so we have that to be extremely grateful for.