My last American lunch was an ice cream cone and two moshi balls (490 calories of materialized emotions). You could say I was getting a little stressed out. Just 24 hours before leaving I really wasn’t packed. And even once I was packed I just kept thinking, “Did I forget anything? Where’d I just put my passport down? How does iTunes suck so badly? Should I bring more books? Less books?”
But here I am with all my bags ready to go. And I’m no longer focused on my things. I’m focused on the actual trip. Something interesting happens when you go to a new place with new people. You can act however you’d like. No one there knows who you are now, and if you’re not staying for long, it may not even matter what they think of you. It was fun for me to see which characteristics were emphasized or diminished last summer. In Ghana, I was both more individualistic and more sensitive to peer pressure, a simultaneous dualism that was new to me. I’ve kept most of the nuances I developed while I away, and close friends have noted the changes. I mostly notice my new willingness to just go for it. I’m less scared of saying “Sure, why not?” and I’ve certainly had more adventures because of it (Philly, anyone?).
I’m also remembering all the things I didn’t know I was going to experience last summer, like clubbing in Accra, Adinkra symbology, meeting and singing to a chief in his home, and dancing in a Nigerian music video. And I’m getting even more excited for South Africa because I really have no idea what these two months will hold.

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