Leaving Ghana… Bittersweet

I have many draft posts that I meant to put on my blog but never finished.  So here’s one I wrote before leaving Ghana, let’s see how true I still think it is.  I wrote the top 5 things I’ll miss and won’t miss about each country (Canada and Ghana)… So, what’s it really like once I’m back?


Things I’ll Miss About Ghana

  • Beautiful beaches
  • Dancing (Salsa every Wednesday night at Afrikiko has become my ritual)
  • New friends (including the boys at MBC – shout out to Kombate, Bernard, and Mike)
  • Exploring parts of a new country
  • Being able to wear summer clothes every day (and never pack a sweater! – even though my neurotic planning brain says “bring one – ya never know”)


Things I Won’t Miss About Ghana

  • Bad roads
  • Burning plastic smell
  • Inefficiency
  • Feeling like an outsider
  • Constant sweating…


Things I Missed From Canada

  • Food (Bagels, Nachos, Iced tea, Reese’s peanut butter cups)
  • Snuggling under a blanket when it’s cold
  • Laundry machine (I’m awful at doing it by hand!)
  • Having restaurants readily available everywhere (not only super expensive one in the white part of town)
  • And, of course, Steve! (And my family and friends)


Things I’m Not Looking Forward to in Canada

  • Really cold winter days
  • Early sunsets (though the sunset always feels to early here for the warm weather – about 6:30 all year round)
  • Packing again to bring it all back
  • Trying to answer the question. .. “So, how was Africa?” with something beginning to resemble all the complexities of how I really feel
  • Having to grow up and get a real job..

So far I’ve been back for almost 3 months, and just writing that blows my mind.  It feels like it’s been a few weeks, and it also feels like it all happened years ago – if you know what I mean.  Some things have been harder than I expected, while others have been easier.


I miss Ghana, but mostly just my life there in general. It was pretty laid back and easy.  I guess my life here is easy also, but I can’t let myself relax when I don’t have a new job yet… In Ghana you have to relax, especially when there’s no power.  There’s not much you can do to be productive even if you wanted to, so you learn to go with the flow (which I’ve had a hard time retaining since returning).


However, I really am a Canadian… and even though we all complain about the cold and the snow, I’ve really sucked it up this year!  Steve and I have gone skating on the canal and at city hall at least 5 times (plus ice sculptures and beaver tails of course!).  I really love skinny jeans and scarves and layers… so no prob!  Plus, I’ve been having lots of fun days, baking with my friend Jenna, and just chilling at home playing games with Steve.  It’s so great to be back with people who know me well… and going to the gym with my mom twice a week is really great bonding time!

Overall, I’m doing alright.  I haven’t found reverse culture shock to be as big of a deal as others have.  I have a feeling that it’s because I was in the capital city, where things are a lot more similar to Ottawa than the rural areas would be.  Most people mentioned winter being difficult, but winter is difficult every year so that’s just a given.  Finding work sucks, but that’s not really new…

I guess I’m ready for a new adventure!



About Amanda

Hi, I’m Amanda! Originally from Ottawa, Canada, I am currently living with my partner (Steve) in Sucre, Bolivia for the next year. I work in the unique space between industrial design and international development – but what does that even mean? I’m passionate about working WITH marginalized communities in a way that utilizes design to improve the lives of different types of people around the world. I have worked, studied, traveled, and researched on every continent (except Antarctica), and most recently I lived in Ghana, Bangladesh and Nepal. I love exploring new cultures and learning more about myself along the way.
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