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Thursday, 31 May 2012

Scotland vs Ghana

Well as most people are now aware, I ended up back in the UK for a month during April/May. This was an unexpected but very beneficial trip, and eye-opening to an extent. Some of the highlights over the last few weeks include:
  • stepping off the plane in Amsterdam and thinking, I can see my breath and I'm wearing flip flops – what's going on?!!?
  • everybody's white!!
  • the pilot announcing as we come into Edinburgh that it's a glorious 6 degrees (or something around that number, can't quite remember) and me thinking, I left at 10pm last night and it was 27 degrees.
  • Getting into Dad's car at the airport thinking, this car is legal, what luxury!!
  • My brain being unable to compute how to clean my teeth using the tap and not a bottle of filtered water. It really is safe to put the toothbrush under the tap, honest!
  • Having a meltdown in Asda at one point over the amount of choice in one aisle of a particular product, one which is very difficult to find in Ghana. In fairness I hadn't slept in around 2 days and it was just too much for my poor wee head to take in.
  • Having to sleep with 2 duvets, a hot water bottle and fleecy pjs for the first few nights due to the fact I was frozen.
  • The choice of restaurants – I wanted everything!!! No wonder I've put weight back on.
  • The lack of attention as I walk down the street – it annoys me here, but I missed it when it wasn't there!!
  • Forgetting how to use my debit card in the card reader when shopping. Mortifying.
  • Costa's hot chocolate – nuff said!
  • That sweet taste of irn bru..... and the evil people at Amsterdam airport confiscated my collection on the way back to Ghana as it hadn't been purchased in their airport. Gutted!
It was so nice to catch up with people back at home (sorry to those I didn't see this time round – will do my best in October!) As the trip was unexpected, there were only a couple of people who knew I was coming back so being able to surprise people was hilarious!!!

Some of the things I discovered I really do miss in Ghana:
  • family/friends (obviously)
  • driving! The feeling I got when I sat behind that rental car was one of pure pleasure. I miss that level of independence (not that it's worth driving in Accra, for a start you wouldn't get anywhere as you'd be stuck in traffic most of the time!)
  • my washing machine – seriously, this is the one thing I absolutely would take back to Ghana with me if I could.
  • My bed!!! Honestly, I love my bed and it pained me to give it up again. Oh and the luxury of not sleeping with a mozzie net and a fan, and the fact that it really is silent during the night – my head worked at a hundred miles an hour the first few nights because I just wasn't used to silence. You genuinely don't get silence in Ghana.
  • Scottish pubs. I miss the music, the laughs and the fact you can hear each other talk. Oh and a cheeky pizza on the way home.
  • Straight hair and not sweating!!!!!!
In saying that, there are a number of things I missed about Ghana.
  • the new friends I have made
  • the fun and laughter that is generally everywhere. There's always music playing, people have a smile for you and are always ready to greet you and assist you.
  • The heat! Apparently I lost my colour while I was away and am too white again.
  • The food. Even though I tried to recreate some dishes back home, it just wasn't the same.
  • The work. After a couple of days with no plans, I ended up working! There's something really strange about being a visitor at home and not having a job to do.
So it was an interesting experience to go home, and then to come back out to Ghana and to be familiar with everything, to have people meet me at the airport, pick up a pizza and then head home for a catch up. Home will always be home, but as of right now I live in Ghana. Bizarre but exciting.

In terms of what has happened since I've been back – well it's nice to know that 'random' still sums it up!! Key highlights:
  • Really bad storm during the first weekend resulting in no electricity. Thankfully because it's rainy season the temperature is cooler and so it wasn't pure torture.
  • Leaving night for a couple of volunteers who had finished their placements – always sad, but good opportunity to catch up with people.
  • For some reason, every taxi I took for the first few days had a story associated with it. The drivers were mad! Thankfully I wasn't on my own for any of these trips.
  • I was thrown right back in the deep end at work and had to prepare for what I lovingly called 'the workshop of doom'. I had done some work at home, and again on the plane, as I had actually left Ghana at the worst time work wise. However, I managed to catch up and organise the 2 day workshop relatively well. It was a tough couple of days, but we had a very positive outcome. The highlight of that trip though has to have been when a drunk man wandered into the conference room, sat down at a table and started causing trouble. The next thing I know, a security guard bursts through the door brandishing a tree branch and starts hitting the guy, shooing him from the room and then chasing him round the fields!!! Bizarre...
So what happens next? Well, I am swamped at work and am due to run another workshop at the end of June so no rest for the wicked. The flat is still in the midst of being painted: think we're on our 6th week now so who knows when that'll be finished. And I've jumped right back into my role as Director of Communications by organising a party this weekend, as well as a trip to Scottish Dancing next week – should be entertaining as always! Busy busy, but enjoyable!!

I also heard that I've been leaving traces of Ghana behind in Scotland – ranging from water problems, to electricity shortages to beautiful weather! Hopefully the last one of those continues, and nobody is too badly affected by the first two!!!

Take care
Rachel x

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