Reflections on Ghana while in Spain

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.Wli Falls

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.a whole store in Madrid with needlepoint pillowsPlaza Mayor


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