This week, I have a major life anniversary: 10 years of living in Ghana! On April 17th, 2007, I stepped on the Kotoka tarmac in Accra with two big suitcases, and was hit by a hot wind of promise.
And Chale, Ghana has delivered…
(Our wedding slideshow has more than 21 000 views!)
- Two beautiful Ghanaian & Swedish children (who prefer yam over potatoes)!
- A PhD and an academic career!
- Community among a crowd of influencers in BloggingGhana! (link to failed campaign #MoreStories)
- Fantastic friends and networks who continue to awe me!
But despite worldly successes, the transition from a cold, Scandinavian country to a hot Tropical one has not always been easy. In my home of 10 years, I continue to be an outsider who hear “Welcome!” every single week. While I smile and say “Thank you!”, it hurts to know I can never fully be accepted here. I often say “I am a 7-8-9, now, 10-year-old in this context…” and I like that image as it often accurately reflects how much – or how little – I understand of my surroundings. Many things (traditions, greetings, events, ideas, relationships, ends of relationships) here still surprise me, actually surprise me more than during the early days in Ghana.
In addition, 10 years away has made me start to feel like a stranger in Sweden. Swedish politics, fashion, topics for discussion throw me off, makes me raise my eyebrows. While I can walk the streets in Sweden totally blending in…ok, maybe not when I sport my colourful wax print in the sea of black, gray, and beige…but, at least, without hearing anyone welcoming me, I increasingly feel like a stranger who look around with a surprised face. I am reminded of what a family friend who grew up somewhere else said about living a life abroad: “soon, you don’t belong anywhere”.
Missing being close to my Swedish family is unfortunately a feeling that grows with time.
I am not saying the above because I want to complain, no! Life in Ghana for 10 years has undoubtedly been good to me, or else I would not have stayed. My dreams have come true! But life in Ghana is not just good, rather it is continuously the adventure of my life.
I am still thinking of how to mark this milestone, if you have ideas, write a comment below. Thanks!