The holidays have come and gone and it appears that this site has been rather bereft of updates and posts. Someone must have been asleep at the switch, operator-error in the parlance of the computing world, and things have been a bit slow. So now would be a good time to change that. For what it is worth I have been contemplating writing a bit more on life. Several people that I saw over Christmas and New Years' gave me positive feedback on the updates so I want to continue with them and at the same time practice my writing, honing the craft a bit more in preparation for the return to the real world of American life.
With that in mind, this is a wrap-up of the trip out and back for Christmas. I took about three weeks to travel back to the states and see my girlfriend and family as well as a bit of time to just relax away the days better than I can in Hohoe. Leaving on the 14th meant that I would fly during the night into Amsterdam and then proceed after a few hours of layover-time on to Boston. Damla was there and as a precaution had a jacket ready for me so that I would not freeze upon walking outside. Fortunately it was a nice day for the northeast and that meant I could manage without too many extra layers. The coat would definitely come in handy later on during the trip though.
My initial thoughts on being back were that things had not changed much since I had left. There was still order in the streets, dogs on leashes, and commercials blazing from every surface imaginable trying to encourage the people to go out and use those credit cards to add just a few more precious gifts under the tree. I had forgotten how much media pushes people to buy things without a television or radio in my life here in Ghana. No Christmas music either. That was corrected within seconds of being back on the ground in the airport as it was all that was playing and being advertised.
Still, it was good to be back, and the idea that the holidays would be had with family and friends made me feel very happy and peaceful. A majority of time was spent in Boston but for about 8 days we were driving around the country on a mission to visit people. Unfortunately there was only so much time to get around here or there and so much energy was left in the tank by the end of the trip that I couldn't make it to everyone I wanted to see. In all, we traveled 2,000 or more miles to make a road trip that would put a long-haul trucker... well, they probably do that on a Monday and call it a good day. But still, for the two of us, it was a bit of an accomplishment.
We managed to do this as boyfriend and girlfriend at first, but after Christmas day we could drive all over America as an engaged couple. I proposed to Damla on the 25th and she said, "Yes" which is a whole lot better than, "Let me think about it and get back to you." We are both very happy and had a great time as the husband- and wife-to-be that we were.
It isn't already obvious, Christmas and New Year's Eve were great and I had a lot of food to eat which I don't have in great supply here in Ghana. Ice cream, gallons of coffee (not an exaggeration either), almost a half-gallon of eggnog, meat that is cooked to perfection and things that are deep fried to that golden goodly crispness. Everything was fantastic and by the end of the vacation I really didn't have any more need for it. When I come back permanently I might try eating a few "bad" foods for a week, but I find that I much rather like the taste of good things prepared well as compared to having unhealthy things that taste sweet or fatty. That, and I watched many reruns of the show "Chopped" from the Food Network. Why anyone should know how to cook rose petals is beyond me.
As with many things in life that are good, this trip was much too short. After the kisses and goodbyes were over, it was always off to the next thing. Eventually that had to be the airport in Boston, and both Damla and I said some long goodbyes before I boarded the plane to Rome. Much of the trip was uneventful save for an overhead panel falling down in the seat ahead of me. Alitalia may not be seeing me use their fine services for the return flight to the U.S. A great trip made even better by everyone I got to see. Thanks especially to my mom and Damla for taking great care of me and seeing to it that I got fatter for the stay.
One thing is for sure: next year I will be home for Christmas and I won't have to fly in an airplane or be at an airport for 24+ hours to do it! (Enter the Christmas music 11 months too early)