Journey to The Motherland..

I would say that the day started at 3 a.m for me, but the truth is that I didn’t go to sleep so at this point I’ve been wired for about 36 hours.. but I can’t even say that I am tired.

I am going to Africa.

Just saying that still doesn’t feel real. All I can think about is trying to figure out how it is that I am going to absorb as much as I possibly can in this 3 week period. Do I vlog? Do I take pictures every waking moment? Do I just live, and pray that I can remember it all to write about it nightly? And clearly none of those seem like the ideal situation, the ideal situation is finding a balance between every method there is.

The night before I was due to leave I finished packing around 9 pm. I had contemplated packing ahead of time so many times but that would have required that I washed clothes ahead of time or that I had to accept the fact that I was going to be studying abroad in Africa for three weeks. So after a fun night of hanging out and late night swims I woke up to go run some last minute errands and get Sonic for breakfast. You take Happy Hour for granted until its 2 – 4 pm overseas and Sonic is a distant memory playing with the idea of being a mere figment of your imagination. I came back home to wash clothes, pack, clean, and watch Law & Order: SVU until the very last minute. By 10:30 I was completely settled, but I knew that if I went to sleep the chances of me getting up on time or sleeping on the plane were slim to none, so I went to game night at a friend’s.

We played a game called Black Card Revoked, and I (starving because this was only my second meal aside from my Sonic Croissant breakfast sandwich , I didn’t realize that amount of black privilege that went into this game. The basic rules of the game: the least amount of points you acquire the better. The cards were separated into two piles.. one pie was ‘Fact’ questions, and then a pile of ‘Majority Rules’ questions. Thinking back on it, it is so interesting that the validity of your blackness is based on questions centered around Friday, your favorite Jackson, and what it means when your left hand starts itching. What about gaging that are more directly linked with the black experience as opposed to just he Black-American experience? It showed me that knowledge of my history is regarded more of a luxury than a necessity, and I think it’s necessary to know where you came from to have an idea of how that will influence where you are going.

I left for XNA this morning at about 3:20 am this morning. On the drive to the airport I was feeing nostalgic and undeserving. I have been afforded the opportunity to travel and see parts of the world I old dreamed about, and to be going to Ghana has just been surreal to me. I made it to the airport around 4:15 am, check-in was a breeze. When we landed in ATL it was breakfast time and I was so hungry. I am normally pretty hesitatnt to buy food at the airport because it is so expensive, but I found a cute and affordable place from breakfast. I had 3 large pancakes, scrambled eggs with cheese, a sausage and a slice of bacon, and a large Sprite for 9 dollars. It was so much food I coudnt even eat it all. While at breakfast we met a man, his name is (INSERT NAME). A married African-American man was sitting with his wife, we found out that he had been to Ghana before and then he began to drop so much knowledge on us, about what to do, where to go, he was fantastic with answering questions, and he urged us to send him an email when we made it back to the States

Our last layover was in New York City. This is where I took the time to make my last calls to my family, friends, and loved ones. I had Panda Express for lunch, which I knew I would immediately regret because I really dislike using the restroom on the plane. As we sat waiting for the plane to start boarding passengers I looked around and was in awe by what I saw. Here I was with these preconceived notions of what Ghanaians looked like, and of course there was a wide range of looks but I saw so much of myself and people I know in the people around me. I’ve seen babies/young children on the backs of their mothers before held there by cloth but to be honest I had never seen it done in person. I watched as a mother secured her baby with ease and assuredness, I was awestruck. I even remember the smile of the Delta personale when she asked me how I was doing and I told her that I was fantastic and she told me that that kind of attitude is contagious.

Positivity. Positivity, and an optimistic attitude are the only things that are going to get me through these new experience,

And now, as I sit on the plane with 6 hours left in the flight and listen to children cry, and watch as people walk back and forth to the bathroom, I am excited. Im actually going to use the restroom and try to get some rest, by the time we land it will be 8 in the morning in Accra and Im going to have to stay up to acclimate my body to the new time zone.

~Kristen Phantazia

“Travel while you’re young and able. Don’t worry about the money, just make it work. Experience is far more valuable than money will ever be…”

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