11 SIGNS YOU ARE INTEGRATING INTO LOCAL GHANA LIFE
There comes a time in every expats life when they suddenly stop what they’re doing and think to themselves “Wait a minute! Did I just say/think/do that?” Every new country you live in shapes and moulds you in some way or another. It will influence your mannerisms, your thinking and the way you approach life. It may even influence your accent and the way you speak. This is all part of the assimilation process and a great sign to show that you are integrating into local life! Here are 11 things we think are clear signs that you are doing just this!
- You’ve started using local lingo and expressions such as “small small” or beginning each sentence with please. These typical Ghana-isms (terms or jargon unique to Ghana) will slowly work their way into your vocabulary over time, maybe without you even noticing! It’s not only when you interact with locals, but also happens when you go back for summer vacation and catch yourself uttering a few of these expressions, much to the confused looks on the faces of your friends and family!
- You crave jollof rice and kelewele and find that you automatically scan restaurant menus for these very typical and well-liked Ghanaian dishes. When you return from abroad, the first thing you do is set out to get your fufu fix! You have actually started enjoying a bit of spice in your food thanks to your introduction to the local peppery shito Your idea of snacks has gone from a packet of crisps or sweets to dried mango slices, groundnuts and plantain chips and you like to pack these goodies for family road trips.
- On meeting a Ghanaian for the first time, you introduce yourself using your Ghanaian name based on the day of the week you were born. This is a tradition belonging to the Akan ethnic group who name their children according to their day of birth.
- Your wardrobe now includes various vibrant and colourful items of clothing made from the much-loved local favourite known as wax print. You didn’t think you could wear pink and orange together, but now you realize these two colours go together quite nicely! You never imagined you’d wear such bold designs and patterns (at the same time, on both the top and bottom), but now you rock this look without a second thought! You have started to embrace wearing these fabrics and even prefer them to your previous attire, which now seems almost bland, boring and conservative in comparison! Speaking of the new additions to your wardrobe, such as Kente or Batik, you might even have a favourite seamstress who you call up for all your fashion needs. It’s actually really common in Ghana to have a seamstress or tailor and once you’ve found someone good, it’s a contact your friends will be begging you to share with them!
- You’ve started to use (and love) the local beauty and body products on offer, such as the renowned Shea butter, coconut oil and black soap. These Ghanaian beauty staples have long been a best-kept secret of local women (and men!) and now you too have discovered their multipurpose use and benefits. You rave about them to your friends abroad, so much so that you need to pack a stash in your suitcase to take back for everyone as gifts!
- You have bought something from a street vendor at an intersection, maybe some plantain chips or groundnuts. You like to support the local fruit lady who has a stand around the corner from your home. You’ve bought your kids a fan milk ice cream from the man who comes round your neighbourhood in the afternoons on his bike. It’s become part of your daily walking routine to grab fresh coconut water from your local roadside seller and you have recently bought an item of furniture or a woven basket from one of the many weavers or carpenters selling their wares on the pavement.
- You finally understand (and accept) the concept of Ghana Time. You’ve become a lot more accustomed to this style of time-keeping and no longer give too much thought to questioning or agonizing over the actual of meaning of “I’m around”, which could mean anything from “I’m just up the road” to “I’m stuck in traffic on the opposite side of town”!
- You recognize and delight in those tell-tale sounds that are so typical of Ghana; like the beep-beep of the fan milk horn, when the vendor passes by on his bicycle. The call of roosters in the morning or a baby goat bleating for its mom in the distance has become sounds of comfort and contentment in your Ghana life. These are now the soothing sounds of your new home away from home.
- You have developed an appreciation for and understanding of the unique Ghanaian bead culture and you might even have tried your hand at making a few of your own pieces already. You find that you’re wearing beads a lot more often now; sometimes even matching your bracelet or necklace to whatever outfit you’re wearing!
- You reach for your jeans and a sweater if the temperature drops below 26 degrees because you think it’s cool! Tropical weather is now your default weather standard and you find that you need a few days to acclimatize to fresh weather when you visit cooler climes! Your kids feel it’s perfectly okay to grab a blanket for the couch during rainy season.
- You have gotten the hang of the traffic situation and you have even worked out which neighbourhoods or areas to avoid at which times of the day and you try your best to schedule your outings and appointments around this! You have already learnt the hard way about the absolute impossibility of getting from one side of town to the other during rush hour traffic.