Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Once Again

I received the notification that I have been placed with a host family in San Ramon, Costa Rica. I am overwhelmed by so many emotions. I’m excited because, well, I get to form new relationships with people so alike and so different from me. I can’t wait to learn from my host family.

However…I am also full of memories of my Ghanaian host family. Around this time four years ago, I learned that I would be placed with John and Agnes Adinkra in Kumasi. I knew they had three sons, Derek, Seth, and Caleb. I didn’t know my brothers’ ages, or understand the reality that Ghanaian households are full of additional relatives, so I got a few sisters in the mix.

Wow. Four years ago, John and Aggie were strangers to me. Now the Adinkra family is a part of me. I am defined by them in the way I am defined by my own parents and brothers.

Me, Maa Aggie, and Daddy, Christmas 2012
They took such good care of me! I was so young then. So unsure of myself and the world. And they knew things about me I didn’t even have to tell them. When Maa Aggie came to visit me in Colorado, she nodded knowingly upon finding out that I was an RA. “You’re always taking care of other people,” she said. “Half of your year in Ghana was spent taking care of the other exchange students.”

Maa Aggie and Me at Poudre Canyon in Colorado, May 2015
That was the same year I took what I now consider “my best trip to Ghana.” My second time back after my exchange year, I knew who I was and what I was doing there. Kofi didn’t let go of me all summer. I didn’t even realize how much joy my simple presence brought him, until then. He wanted to be a part of everything…my friendships, Enliven Mama Africa, and my silly activities.
Now that the shock is fading, I can look at things a bit better from his perspective. To me, he was one part in my story of Ghana. A big part…an essential part…but just one part. I was everything he’d ever know about Colorado. I was the most interesting thing that had happened to him in the past three years.

Kofi Painting the Enliven Logo, July 2015

Since my last post, I’ve gone to see my host family in Atlanta. That was a wild experience. It was fun. I got to meet my brother Derek and niece Abby for the first time, and we visited a lot of interesting places in downtown Atlanta.

Kwame and Me at the Georgia Aquarium, May 2016
Me, Abby, and Maa Aggie in Atlanta, May 2016

And it was also challenging. Because now I know…

The details. Which don’t belong here.

Oh, Kofi. In January, I was seriously considering dropping out of my college study abroad. Because I didn’t think I could risk getting so close to someone in such unexpected ways…not if I could lose them.

But no. I will do it again. I want to. I deeply want to. I think about the Adinkras every single day.
Sometimes I believe that my relationship with them is a fluke, something that cannot happen again.
But I think that’s wrong. I am capable of creating awesome relationships wherever I go.

Mendez family, here I come! Baggage and all… 

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