I Can’t Stop Smiling

There’s something in my water, I just know it. That’s got to be the reason I’ve been so happy lately. Or maybe I’m happy because I am. I haven’t stopped smiling since I got back from Germany. That vacation truly did wonders for me. I really needed it and I’m so fortunate to have such a loving aunt and uncle who knew I needed it too.

Why am I so happy? What’s been going on? It’s nothing major, but the small things just add up and make everything better. When I returned to site, it was a wonderful homecoming. I was actually happy to see my latrine (I needed to pee really badly). My neighbors were yelling my name, the small girls ambushed me for hugs, and the puppy almost had a heart attack when she saw me. I went to market on Monday and found my dear friend Vida waiting for me with open arms. She was so happy to see me. We sat and talked about my adventures in Germany. She told me about the new things happening at the market. We shared stories and laughs. I love spending time with her. She calls me her best friend. She’s not married and her son is older. She lives alone. I sit at her stand and keep her company. She’s a wonderful human being and sells the greatest batik. I bought 22 yards that day (there’s a story behind all those yards, but that’s for another time). I walked to my veggie stand and was greeted much the same, with enthusiasm. I made my way to Modern Way for lunch and it felt like walking back into your mom’s kitchen.

Yesterday, the small girls came by to hang out. I sat and talked with them for an hour about all sorts of things. I discovered an incredible secret though. Those girls drank so much water when I gave them one of those MIO water flavoring things. I’ve never seen them drink water and they were slurping it up like they had been running through the Sahara. I taught them the importance of water to a healthy body and they agreed to drink more, especially now that they had this great MIO thing. At one point, I was demonstrating different vegetables and how we eat them in America, when one girl squeezed a cucumber. It literally burst in my face. I was laughing so hard. Who knew spoiled cucumbers could explode?! We alternated between Twi and English. They are such a great group of girls, I enjoy having their company.

Today, I started working very early. The night before I finally finished my work plan for SAP. I spent a good amount of time making it beautiful and timeliney. This morning, with renewed vigor, I sat down to do some spreadsheets. I still have to finish my data analysis, but I love it. I love every minute of analyzing data in Excel. And nothing makes me happier than having new, fresh data to play with. After I worked on the data for a few hours, I did the rest of my wash. I sat down outside and began washing my underwear. As I enjoyed the sound of my washing board intertwining with the country music in the background, I watched the morning pass in front of me. I watched girls go to school, moms washing dishes, and unemployed boys sitting aimlessly. The rainy season weather was perfect, cloudy, windy, and not too hot. The sheep came storming by, freaked out by a pack of dogs. I watched as they leaped over each other in a mad dash to escape those wily dogs. The compound puppy came over to greet me with her all too sweet howl. She obeyed as I told her to lay down beside me. She loves to nip at my heels, but I began teaching her the meaning of NO. Gifty, the little 2 year old who lives next to me, came over to see what I was washing. She never talks to me, never has. She always smiles and runs away when I try to talk to her. I asked her where she was going in Twi. She answered me. She actually answered me!

The afternoon was met with those “seriously?!” moments, that I’ve come to appreciate in Ghana. First, I let the cucumber I was peeling slide right out of my hands straight into the trash. Then I dropped all my silverware trying to grab just one spoon. Then I burned my hands picking something off the stove. Then the rain began to pour, immediately after I had just come inside from checking the status of my clothes. I didn’t get upset at my downhill luck. I laughed. Watching that cucumber slide in slow motion out of my hands and into the trash was priceless. And as much as I hate pulling laundry off the line, there is something so quintessentially wonderful about running in the rain to rescue your clothes from sudden downpour.

I ate my delicious tuna salad lunch with a new cucumber. I sat back and enjoyed eating healthy. (For breakfast I had hardboiled eggs, toast with olive pesto and sardine pate.) I feel good. I feel wonderful. I feel happy. My work with SAP is incredibly fulfilling and will keep me busy through the rest of my service. I love spending time with the people around me. And I know that I have people all around the world who care about me and want to know that I’m happy. I love what I do. I love who I’ve become.

I could also just be smiling because I look fabulous today, but maybe that’s just as a result of how I feel. No, who am I kidding, I put eyeshadow on today. I look great.

And I feel great too.

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