Tuesday, December 1, 2009


There are two seasons in Ghana, rainy season and dry season. There is no such thing as spring, summer, winter, or fall. I have come to realize that all of the things that I associate with November anecember are completely cultural. There are no seasonal decorations, no sweaters, no special festive foods, no special songs of the season, no speical sporting events, no change in the weather, no change in the clothing. There is no such thing as summer clothes and winter clothes here. You wear the same thing year round. It doesn't "feel" like December because all of the usual traditions and signs of the season are completely American. I would have no idea that Christmas was coming if it weren't for the calender.

The longer I am here the more I realize how culture is so engrained in our mindsets. Our culture determines so much of our lives. What we eat, what we wear, what we say, how we interact with others, how we spend our time, the list goes on. When the kids ask me what I am making for supper, if I say a sandwich, or pasta, or salad they don't even have a concept of what those foods are. Strange isn't it? The very expectations of interactions between people is heavily influenced by the culture you come from. Here I am expected to ask of people's family, and to greet all of my elders when in passing. I am expected to at least call people here on occasion and give my greetings (no matter how brief) on a regular basis. I am slowly learning these things. My life is so different here. The things that people worrry about at home (what clothes you wear, going to the grocery store for food, social outings...) are just not a part of life here. No one cares if your clothes don't match, or if you wear the same thing three days in a row. No one goes to a grocery store for food, no one expects you to have social plans on Friday night. The thoughts and worries of American life seem so far away.

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