Here we go!
When I initially got back, nothing felt real. I had almost forgotten what the developed world was like and how much convenience there was in every part of the day and how many expectations came along with those conveniences. It's funny because so many things that used to be "necessities" just don't even matter anymore. I'm happy about that.
I don't want to go off and say that I'm totally above all the materialism and consumerist lifestyle now that I've spent some time in the developing world because that would just be silly, incorrect, and a blatant lie.
I love that I can go anywhere and not have to worry about taking toilet paper with me.
I love that I never once worry about the power going out.
I love that I can drink the water from my sink.
There are so many more things in my life that I have come to appreciate, which is both good and bad.
I hate that I probably still will always carry with me this false sense of entitlement because it's something that I grew up struggling with and now understand why my mom, who grew up in the Philippines, always got so upset and regularly told me how spoiled I was.
I hate that there are so many people in the world who have to live in a world that doesn't provide them with the same opportunities, REAL necessities, and lives that I take for granted in America.
I hate that there isn't more that I can do as an individual and that these problems aren't going to be fixed any time soon.
I don't feel like I'm being a pessimist, I just recognize that structural change like this doesn't happen overnight and as much as I would love to be the next MLK or Gandhi, I know that it's not happening anytime soon.
Moving back into Isla Vista has been the biggest struggle for me. I've felt disconnected from practically everyone and managed to destroy a number of extremely important relationships all in a period of a few days. That was one thing I did promise to myself, though. I said that I would reevaluate the relationships in my life and cut out the ones that really weren't bringing positivity/anything substantial to my life, but DAMN that is easier said than done, especially when constantly surrounded by a community of people who are looking to network.
I miss many of my friends from Ghana, Nigeria, Norway, and different parts of the US, but I've forced myself to not contact them as often as I'd like to because from a practical perspective, I don't know when I'll actually see them again so I don't want to prolong any painful attachments. That's also easier said than done.
Every day is a journey for me, but it's a much more difficult journey than I was expecting. To immediately go from a place that brought me the highest of highs to a place that has brought so much emotional confusion has been a rushed and unclear transition.
Ghana taught me more than I could have ever imagined and all I can tell anyone who plans to go there is to open their minds and hearts and let go of any expectations or inhibitions. I let go and found myself again. I found love, hope, happiness, music, expression, and dreams. I saw pain, hunger, sadness, frustration, and pride in a peaceful nation, but in all of that, I saw beauty and something more important than anything I have ever experienced in my entire life. Humanity exists; don't let the society we have developed tell you otherwise.
I don't want to talk about Ghana right now and I'm sorry to the friends that I've pushed away presently, but it's too close to my heart right now to be discussed. All I want the people I love to know is that it was amazing, life-changing, and I would go back in a heartbeat.
Please be patient with me as I decipher my thoughts and feelings during the ending stages of my college career. Don't take it personally if I can't communicate with you right now, but I'm doing the best that I can to readjust.
To any of my friends back there who happen to read this, know that you have given me a gift that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Thank you for that and for a beautiful adventure.