Interlude and the average state of being “okay”

It’s been awhile since my last post, penned on the sunny shores of Ghana, blinking bewildered in the vastly different culture of the South and reminiscing strongly about my Northern friends and family and coworkers. Preparing for that monolith of “re-integration” where I would be subjected to my culture that would no longer be my own, that Canadian experience.

So how has it been? Some would call it a mixed bag. Some would call it natural. I call it being “okay” but having that state be an average of extremes, which are not mixing with each other and do not seem natural at all.

In the course of a day I’ll interact through phone, email, or in person with people that know and inspire me. This part is natural. In the morning I’ll have a skype call with a Canadian buddy or a Ghanaian one. They both want to know how I’ve been since I’ve been back in Canada, what school is like, and if I think I’ll go back to Ghana. They both make me so proud to be their friend, because, like me, they care about people, and that kind of person is what creates home for me. Home is where the people are, and that’s the reason why on a daily, even hourly basis, my heart is pulled in two directions spanning a big city, a massive country, and a daunting planet. Yet they’re both right here in my pocket too, texting me.

All those cool people that I get to know

It’s that uncertainty of the next face-to-face meeting with my friends that draws those sad, tightening feelings through my chest, neck, and face. Something that I didn’t have to worry about so much when I left Canada for Ghana, being assured that I would, indeed, return (I had my flight ticket already didn’t I?).

My "agric" buddy Mr. Abanga and I on my last day at work

And it’s that bubbling of shared memories and experiences that re-ignites the energy I get from the community I’ve built at SFU, where I can walk across campus and say hello to 10 people that I know. That I can show up to a breakfast with the President of the university because that’s my place, that’s what I’m comfortable with, and have 3 other people that I know also be in the room with me without previous coordination. To so neatly enjoy the life that I live in Canada because it truly is my life and I love it.

SFU Chapter at the National Conference

So how is it that with such intense excitement I’m “re-integrating” into my life at SFU yet in the next moment be sitting in such acute sadness, mourning a loss of friends, family, and coworkers?

How is it that such extremes can exist, neither detracting from the other, so that instead of being in a state of okay with a low standard deviation, it’s ending up that I’m solidly situated in an average of extremes?

courtesy of Kevin Hanson (2nd on the left)

Fall 2011 EWB Fellows




About Janine Reid

What is Janine? -board game enthusiast -political observer -Vancouverite -questioner -listener -health provider
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