Finding balance and fun in Accra, Ghana

Heart Health Friends

On Health. On Heart. On Friends.

Ghana has been amazing.

I’m so glad I did Airbnb and found this cool roommate of mine.  It’s nice to have company and someone to chat with at the end of the day!  I never feel alone in Ghana as a result.  Plus, he’s fun and has lots of friends here so it’s great going out with him on the weekends.  I had a weird, very girl-anxiety dream this morning and we chatted about it over coffee before he left for work.

And Accra’s nightlife?  It’s pretty fun!  Some things are not for me, like the club scene – Hollywood Boulevard, Levels, Twist … But I adore Republic.  It’s just a chill place where people just hang around on the street outside.  I’m not even sure there is an inside and if there is, maybe it’s just bathrooms.  But great ambience and right in the heart of Osu.  Firefly would be up my alley too, but it was closed when we tried to go last Friday…

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Car service in Accra, Ghana

GE Money

On Money

Ghana has been amazing beyond all my expectations.  But I’m not going to write about most of those things here.  Partly because I don’t want to jinx anything, and partly, because something else is giving me ennui this morning.  Of all the things to write about while I’m in Ghana, I can’t believe I’m going to make this post about money.  I think that’s because this morning when I woke up, I didn’t feel like getting up and felt cranky.  When I realized what it was…

I’m loving my time in Accra.  I love the place where I’m staying and feel so lucky to have found it  Who knew Airbnb reached all the way to west Africa?  Anyway, my roommate is great, a guy from France who is somewhat fussy and also quite funny.  I’m always happy to see him around at the end of the day.  It’s nice to have company here.  The place is a two-floor, brand-new duplex with a beautiful kitchen, terrace, rooftop infinity pool, insane views of Accra, etc.  My room has its own lovely bathroom (no bathtub for my bath-taking friends), but with a waterfall shower nonetheless.  Really, I love popping in here during the middle of the day. It’s like stepping into an oasis.  And I’m right across from the Accra Mall which is so convenient.   Continue reading

Make me a vampire, please?

Home and Heart

On Heart. On Home.

Lately, I’ve become obsessed with wanting to become a vampire.  I know it sounds crazy, but bear with me.  It’s not like I want to be any old vampire.  True Blood?  Or Barnabas Collins?  Ah, no thanks.

barnabas

But I would love to be a vampire of the Vampire Diaries caliber.  In addition to being healthy, being strong and not aging, they get to wear special jewelry that lets them walk around in daylight!  So they don’t miss out on anything as far as I’m concerned.

vampire diaries

Sure, a wooden stake through the heart will kill them, but I’m pretty sure that would kill me as a human, too, right? Continue reading

Building a new life

Home and Heart

On Home. On Heart.

The funniest thing happened to me today.  I realized I’m really building a life in Santa Fe.

I’ve been playing tennis once a week as part of a clinic at the Shellaberger Center in Santa Fe, just to keep a hand in, and one of the girls invited me to play in a foursome this Sunday.  How fun!

Then, I was supposed to spend the entire month of September in D.C., and out of nowhere, the Airbnb reservation was cancelled.  My first instinct was to rebook another place with the additional money they gave me for the inconvenience, but then I wondered if it was a sign ….

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Value your time

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I am so disappointed in myself.  I waited an hour this afternoon for a manicure before finally walking out.  The place is called Nail Time on Airport Road in Santa Fe.  It was just that busy for some reason with people getting full-on treatments.  The client turnover was pathetic.  I’m not sure why more people don’t give up and walk out.  No self-respecting NYer would ever  wait that long for a manicure.  But this isn’t NYC, so I was willing to sit around for a bit, as if I had nothing better to do with my time on a Friday afternoon.  Is that really true for everyone else still sitting there?  They just have nothing better to do with their time or are just that desperate for good nails for the weekend?

As for me, I put up with it for as long as I did because I’m going to the opening night party for the New Mexico Folk Art Festival and my nails are super ratty.  I wanted the manicure to get into the spirit of the event.  Instead, I’m super cranky.  And I have bad nails. Continue reading

Make amends with good friends

Friends and Heart

On Friends.  On Heart.

Time goes by so fast.  My first week in Santa Fe is over and it went by in a whirlwind.

But something was off.  I felt the absence of one my good friends out here.  Last week, all the power went out in my house and I got really scared.  When I called her repeatedly, she didn’t respond.  I finally just called the police and everything turned out fine, but the thing is, I felt abandoned.  I count on this one friend a lot, I think more than I even realized.  Not being able to reach her in what felt like an emergency at the time, made me feel very alone out here.

It threw me off somewhat all week, despite having good workouts in the mornings, interesting meetings and calls with new people, and plans coming together for the rest of my time out here and for when I will be in Ghana in August.  It made me realize how important my good friends are in bringing stability and happiness to my life.

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On my way to Santa Fe, New Mexico

Home and HeartOn Heart. On Home.

Wow, Congo really did me in this time!  I literally walked out of the country with no less than 50 mosquito bites.  I’m so thankful to be taking preventative malaria medication… Plus, we lost power one evening which was terrible, especially walking up five flights of stairs in the pitch dark.

Now I’m back in the U.S. for the next month or so.

I’m actually on my way to Santa Fe right now which is something I’ve done hundreds of times before, but I’m feeling on edge and I’m not sure why.  Somehow, this time feels different, more significant. Continue reading

Remember, you’re in Africa

On Work. On Home. On Heart.

I always forget how much Africa challenges me on day one.  Last night was no different.  Arrival in Kinshasa was great.  After a painless immigration process, I was met by Gustave, Dr. Manya’s driver.   Before you think anything, Dr. Manya is a surgeon and he has no idea how to drive.  Plus, if you saw the streets of Kinshasa, especially on a Saturday night, you would get why you need a driver!

We’re staying in Gombe which is actually a nice part of the city. But I’m working with a non-profit so we tend to stay on this one crumbly street that has three hotels, two decent places to eat (one Indian and one Italian), and a variety of unlit street bars with the ubiquitous plastic tables and chairs.  Last night, the noise was horrendous.  Kinshasa on a Saturday night, combined with the World Cup?  Not peaceful.  And though I’m so thankful to have a functioning A/C, periodic erupts into noisy fits, truly scaring me awake. Continue reading

Why am I Procrastinating?

Work Heart

On Work. On Heart.

It’s still a bit of a challenge to get focussed on work projects.  I know some of my reluctance to get entrenched in the details (also known as “procrastination”) comes from questioning many of the projects I’m working on.

Just one example – I want to build a hospital in Ghana.  Of course, there are many partners and steps involved in this process, but a large part of pulling this together is on me.  Meaning, I will spend my own money to stay in Ghana for one month later this summer and pursue this project.  I have to really believe this is possible to justify spending thousands of dollars.

Most of the time, I do.  But then I read about the Ghanaian government and its economic troubles and mismanagement, and I think, what am I doing?  Why am I investing in this country that can’t even get basic policy stuff straight?

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Dealing with post-vacation blues

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On Home. On Work. On Health. On Friends.

Re-acclimating to life in the U.S. post-Belize and London has been tough and I’m feeling lethargic and unmotivated.  Let me just say those are two very sticky and greasy feelings to carry around.

I had such a great month of May with two of my closest friends in two totally different settings, but now here I am back in NJ.  I’m trying to get settled for a few weeks on the east coast, but I’m struggling to find my footing.

I have three weeks before I leave for the Congo.  After that, the rest of my summer will be spent in Santa Fe, New Mexico and Accra, Ghana.  Continue reading