I´ve discredited the time I spent in Ghana.
Most of you know that I had excessive and embarrassingly petty drama with a few of the other Americans, which really put a damper on the whole trip.
In addition to that, there was too large of a communication/cultural barrier to actually really get to know Ghanaians well.
By the end of my 4 months there, I wanted out.
Well, now that I am living in another foreign country–and this time for 9 months–I am realizing that Ghana did have an impact on me for the better, even if I still wouldn’t give it a raving review.
For one thing, being in a country with no museums or old monuments makes you use a travel book. And in Ghana that means you end up doing a lot of nature stuff. I saw 4 waterfalls there, went hiking, saw elephants…the type of stuff I didn’t look into doing on my trip to Madrid this past weekend. But I did use a travel book here to hilight what I was interested in. Before that I would have just googled “things to do in Madrid” and gone from there. And because of my positive environmentally-oriented experiences in Ghana, I plan to seek out the same thing in the more remote places of Spain.
To sum it up, Ghana changed the way I travel: travel book + nature stuff.
The other thing Ghana changed–which is something I realized before–is that I am now very comfortable talking about differences between people–cultural/racial/religious. As a white person you always stand out in Ghana. Everyone knows you’re not from there and because most of them (sadly) idealize Western culture, talking about how different I am from them does not carry negative connotations.
Sure, every person is an individual, but I have destroyed my p.c. upbringing to make massive generalizations, assessments, and public sentiments about cultural groups. And it feels great. Putting people into a more or less accurate box is awesome.
So now that I am in Spain, I know some things are different than the way things are in the U.S. And I feel comfortable saying, “I like this. I don’t like that.” I don’t have to feel like just because it’s a different culture I have to respect everything and reserve my judgment. It’s enough to just accept that it’s different and that’s the way it is.