Wednesday, May 14, 2008

And so it begins...

I went to the airport today to purchase my ticket from Ghana back to London.  (Apparently they want to look you in the face when you buy it so they know you're serious).  Without proper research prior to leaving the house, what was meant to be a quick trip to SFO resulted in a two hour wait for the ticket counter that never opened.  Yeah...I'll be going back tomorrow.  
Surprisingly, that little trip to SFO this morning changed a lot of things.  The last week has been a confusing mess of emotions.  Like waves of nausea or the bouts of traveler's diarrhea I'm sure to get in Ghana (the first but not the last time I'll mention it), I have been afflicted with momentary crying spells.  When you're standing at the beginning of a life changing adventure, your brain can get crowded; mine just exploded.  This trip was planned in haste and in the haze of a break-up, a move to a new city and the pursuit of a new career and I have just now had a moment to realize what I've gotten myself into.  The initial plan to volunteer in Ghana for 21 days quickly became a 7 week journey including stops in England, Germany, Nigeria, Spain, Puerto Rico and Mexico.  Phew.  
I have seen more of the world than most of my peers and yet...I've never seen it alone.  And it's Africa!  My doctor told me to make sure I don't change a baby's diaper while I'm there (oh, you're sneaky, Hep B), my sister-in-law told me her friend was shot in South Africa (just your average Cape Town mugger), and I will be living in a fisherman's village with no hot water and only well water to wash my clothes in (did I mention the 20 college kids I'll be living in a house with?)  When I got my yellow fever shot, I threw up for three days (perhaps they put a little too much yellow fever in the vaccine?) and I cursed Africa every time I ran to the bathroom.  

But my wait at the airport changed all that.  An hour reading Eat, Pray, Love and the quiet observation of people of all shapes and sizes heading who-knows-where reminded me that I am in for a much needed adventure.  And I am thrilled to be doing it alone - this experience belongs to only me and the things I will see and feel during this sojourn will always be part of who I am.  How I wished I were getting on a plane today!  I can't wait to drum with the locals, ride the tro-tros, eat fufu, visit slave forts and monkey sanctuaries, and to work alongside strong, happy, resilient people.

I expect this trip to both simplify and complicate my life.  I predict being so far away from home will both depress and comfort me.  I think my idea of what 'home' is will change.  I hope to return to San Francisco healed and ready to continue the happy life I lead.  I may write here every day, or you may not hear from me until I get back.  I am still terrified, but I have never been so sure that I am finally living the life I want to live. 

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