Sunday, November 27, 2011

Local entertainment

Another vaguely lazy post, but pulling out my camera over Thanksgiving made the holiday more entertaining - as did the wine, of course. With at least half a dozen wineries in this little town on the coast of Lake Erie, the selection is admirable. Swing by Niagara Falls in the early afternoon, stop in the quaint little town of Lewiston for lunch, bakery necessities, and "olde" book browsing, and head back to North East for some ice wine and a good movie, and any family drama over the holiday melts into a pleasant background hum. Highly recommended.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Earlier this evening, bogged down by a lot of things, I was that girl at the corner table of the cafe, ear phones in (Carla Bruni), laptop and book in front of me, tea and scone off to the side, and one knee pulled up in front of me in unconscious self-defense from the pain and toils of the world (I kid. Kind of). About 40 minutes after I sat down, a kid I vaguely know from rock climbing walked up smiling, gave me a high five, and walked away.

#PleasantlyBemused - the bemusement quickly fading in favor of a smile of admiration and appreciation. It's like an odd version of a Coca Cola commercial.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart)

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
                         i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

-e.e. cummings

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ghana on the brain: keeping hope in the midst of reality

Earlier this week, I learned that one of my closest acquaintances in Ghana had been hospitalized by yet-undefined health issues and relocated from Accra to the inland region of Ashanti. 

It was Sister Akua who inspired my learning to say "Please, I can do it myself" in Twi, in hopes that the older woman would at some point do herself a favor and take a break from cooking, cleaning, laundering, etc. She spoke few words of English and I even fewer phrases of Twi, but one way or another we managed. "Managed," really, isn't appropriate - Sister Akua will always be one of the first people I think of when thinking of or missing Ghana, and I hope I'm safe in saying the affection was mutual. Our backgrounds were drastically different and we were separated by age, language, ethnicity, nationality, and socio-economic status, to name a few, but such divisions boil down easily when it comes to Forster's dictate of "only connect." 

It's been over a year since I left Ghana, and hearing that a serious bout of illness hospitalized her and ultimately separated her from the family she's been with for years - the family I had the pleasure of staying with for two months in 2010 - makes me miss her all the more, makes me wish that much more that there were something I could do.

Back in the US, not long before hearing about Sister Akua's illness and subsequent move, I sat in my political science seminar on human rights while fellow students discussed our responsibility and lack thereof as global citizens. (That phrase wasn't used at the time, but perhaps it should have been.) One student sitting near me in the circle raised her hand to bemoan the potential corruption of NGOs (reasonable, if you haven't done your research before contributing) then, more resoundingly, to bemoan commercials apparently attempting to make her feel guilty for what she had. "I'm sad that they make me sad, playing sad music and showing pictures and everything. They should show something happy!" ...I kid you not. This said under the warmth of a North Face jacket, between Facebook chatting on a MacBook Air she'd just pulled from a designer bag. It took all my willpower not to throw something at her for the sheer absurdity of it.

Relaying my frustration to a friend later, I commented, "and the book we were discussing was really heavy - good thing I didn't toss it at her." The friend chuckled, having initially thought "heavy" was meant to describe writing density as opposed to missile potential, but understood my frustration. That night, tackling a rock wall in an attempt to better channel my energy, I easily scaled a yet-unconquered course - but the breakthrough was bittersweet, to say the least.

In roughly one month, I will have completed my undergraduate studies. Regardless - or more likely, consequently - plenty remains to be worked over in my mind, answered (to some extent), and attempted. Can't help but think that a key part of that has to be connecting someone like Sister Akua with someone like my disgruntled peer. Or rather, encouraging that peer to look beyond Sarah McLachlan and to the reality that remains behind it, the wonderful and the less so.