This is a compilation of moments where I have recently been jolted by being aware of my own surprise.
So I got surprised by an orange today. There are these oranges that are pretty common everywhere I’ve been, and sometimes you get the ones that are red-pink inside, and sometimes they’re orange. The orange ones are like the juiciest best orange you’ve ever experienced in Canada. The red ones are usually really watery and bland. I was cutting open a few for my mid-meal snack, and got a red one on the first one. I immediately judged it, did a mental “aww” and continued cutting. But I tried it, and it was beautiful and sweet, but light. Not the in your face awesome of the orange ones, but still really really good.
This morning as I was riding my bicycle to work, and almost reaching the paved road in Karaga, I accidentally said “Desipah” to one of the homeless-type people in Karaga. I caught myself today, as I was saying a mental “oops”, as to why, why in the world should I be completely ignoring these people? Yes, when they ask me for money I say I cannot give them, but is my further emulation of local behaviour, attempting to ignore these people completely, something that I want to be doing? Being conscious about this is important.
I have begun to be comfortable with hanging out with Rafik, one of my initial “serious” suitors, as a friend. We greet and shake hands and laugh, and I am beginning to seriously enjoy his company. He’s helping to plaster his father’s new house, and as I was leaving the site after a short visit, a woman on the road called me over and asked, in Dagbani, if I want Rafik as a husband. Wow! In my mental state of friendship I was caught off-guard here, and it reminds me of how far I’ve come in letting people in and being comfortable with friends. If you’d talked to me three weeks ago, I would’ve been fending nearly any male my age off with a big stick.
Leaving early for the office this morning and coming home late last night sent a twinge through my heart. It means I am not spending the small time in between darkness and work with my people in Nangong-ayeli, and I miss it. As a newcomer to my compound, I would awkwardly sit, or read, or see how little I could scare the babies and count down the minutes until it was acceptable to jet to the office. Now I am loathe to leave, and when my routine is disrupted, the world seems off-kilter.
I’m getting comfortable, setting expectations for my experiences here.