Old Dogs and New Tricks

I just had lunch with my grandfather today. He is going to be ninety in January, and even though he lives in town I don't see him nearly enough. He remembers the Great Depression, he was at Pearl Harbor that one December, and he raised eight kids on a janitor's salary, sent them to catholic school and everything. He survived decades of alcoholism, and his wife's death, and he really is a remarkable man.

We were sitting at the table in his little tiny kitchen nook talking about how amazing family is, and how good it is to travel somewhere and be able to come HOME at the end of it. I said that going to Ghana really gave me a unique perspective on my country and a new sense of patriotism (though those who claim that there are 'real' and 'fake' Americans still may not consider me one of the 'real' ones). And we started talking about the election. I know that most of my family on my dad's side is on the conservative side, and I was pretty sure that my grandfather was in that category. I told him how it felt for me to listen to Barack Obama speak, how it sent chills down my spine and actually inspired me, gave me hope in our political process for the first time. And he told me the most remarkable thing. He said that (as a child of the Great Depression, a product of a conservative white upbringing, etc) he had never "known much about the blacks." But he said that Obama reminded him of Kennedy, of FDR, of the visionary, inspiring men he has seen as leaders of this country.  And that the divisive, mean, and untruthful campaign being run by the republican party in combination with that vision and inspiration meant that he was voting for Obama. My ninety year old grandfather was touched by a man who is as different from him as it is possible to get. That is the America I want to live in, please?

Giving this a try

So really this was going to be merely a front for my not-so-secret obsession with fanfiction. However, as I am leaving Ghana in 17 days and this is sort of the end of an era, why not write about it? So here goes.

I spent the last year studying abroad in Ghana, having the most amazing, frustrating, incredible, difficult year of my life, and it is almost over. The friends I have made here really kept me afloat during rocky patches. Blah blah blah, like everyone else who has spent time enough in a foreign land to make a family. The thing is, I dont really know how to say goodbye. How do I let it go? It will be over regardless, because everyone is moving off campus now, going their separate ways. And my mom is coming to spend two weeks 'seeing Ghana' before we leave. The part I am most looking forward to? The middle of the plane ride from Accra to Frankfurt, when everyone else is asleep and I cant see the desert below me but I know its there, rolling by me while I stand still thousands of feet about the ground. When I can lean my head against the window and just let it all go. I dont think I will be able to do that until I am so detached from it all, so far above and ahead of everything I am living in the middle of right now. And then it will probably hit me that no one at 'home' knows what a trotro is or what plantain chips are supposed to cost, and I will sit there with my face pressed to the cold window and wish for something that is over.

Is there such a thing as reverse nostalgia, where you have feelings of longing for something you havent done yet? or is that just the dark, twisty cousin of anticipation?

by the way, this is a trotro