I’ve had countless conversations about the concept of “goodbye” lately. Saying goodbye to friends, acquaintances, locations, experiences.
I’m not terrible at goodbyes. I don’t tend to think of them as permanent. Living an expat life, it’s definitely not unheard of to run into old friends or to make plans to see people again.
Which means most of my goodbyes are being said to Ghana itself. Places that I, in all likelihood, won’t see again. These are the thoughts the goodbyes have left me with:
I’ll miss the community that so warmly welcomed us here three years ago but not the spaces already left empty by friends who set off before us.
I’ll miss walking across the street to get to school but not the scent of burning trash that greets us when we open our door.
I’ll miss Simret, the Ethiopian restaurant, and the aloo naan at Tandoor but not the fufu and banku that Ghana is known for.
I’ll miss the greenness of Accra but not the humidity and pollution that keep us indoors.
I’ll miss the silent nights but not the neighborhood club that’s open Sunday afternoons.
I’ll miss the colorful prints I see on everyone I pass by but not the fact that I can’t pull them off no matter how hard I try.
I’ll miss the friendliness of strangers but not the feeling that I never belong.
I’ll miss the bats that fly around at twilight but not the malarial mosquitoes they fail to catch.
I’ll miss the home we made but not the showers that run out of water halfway through because the generator’s in use.
I’ll miss the easy access to western products but not the quadrupling of prices that come with them.
I’ll miss the relaxed lifestyle I’ve grown accustomed to but not the Ubers that take 15+ minutes to arrive.
I’ll miss having the sun rise at 6 am every morning but not the 6 pm sunset every evening.
I’ll miss the tropical Christmases but not the Harmattan winds that come with them.
I’ll miss 57 Chocolate but not the other things I’ve come to love that have somehow disappeared.
Living in Accra has left me with a myriad of conflicting emotions. There are things about this country that I’ve loved and things that have driven me absolutely crazy. Now that it’s time to say goodbye, I’m not sorry to leave, but I am grateful for everything I’ve experienced while living here. I feel ready to take our next step. And after a summer back home with our families, that’s exactly what we’ll do.