Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A mini end of year celebration!


         As the school semester comes to a close (I’m in the last week!) I couldn’t help but wonder what would be a nice, low key way to celebrate the trials and triumphs of the school year with my classmates.  A few weeks ago, the idea came to mind to bake a few goodies as one final time of fellowship together as a class during our time on campus.  I’d like to think that my classmates enjoyed the surprise!  Here’s a look at our celebration.

Cooking is not really my thing, unless I’m really in the mood to cook something special or I’m really hungry.  But when I do get in the kitchen, I like to experiment and try different things.  Upon discovery of a delicious recipe for coffee banana muffins a couple of months ago, I decided to convert this recipe into one for a loaf and bake it for my classmates.  I also threw in some chocolate powder which made it all the more tasty. 

Whipping something up in the kitchen, May 3, 2015
Mashed bananas...yum!  May 3, 2015
         In addition to a yummy bread loaf, I found an oh so sweet recipe for peanut butter cookies.  I love the chef who created the recipe to death, but three major ingredients—peanut butter, sugar, and butter—what was she thinking!  I knew my classmates would kill me if I presented something to them so sweet, so I added a cup of wheat flour.  It didn’t really help the sweetness, but the were quite tasty to me!  After baking and letting the goodies cool I wrapped everything up and prayed it would taste okay.

The next morning, my classmates seemed pleasantly surprised to enjoy the sweet treats after our final Program Planning and Evaluation class.  Yes, some of my classmates did complain about the sugar and no, the black coffee did not seem to take be black enough.  Ironically, some of my classmates were complaining about the sugary cookies and cake, but asked me why I didn’t bring any sugar for the coffee!

Peanut butter cookies with toffee bits and chocolate coffee banana loaf...yummalicious if I do say so myself!  May 4, 2015
My classmates enjoying, May 4, 2015
The enjoyment continues with water, juice, hot black coffee, and local music!  May 4, 2015
Afterwards, we all came together to take a group photo.  Even one of our professors joined in the fun!  While very lovely, I wished it would have come out a little clearer.  While sending the photo to all of my classmates and my professor, I thought it would be nice to send it to one of my other professors as well.  Four days later, at the end of our Contemporary Issues in Adult Education class, my professor asked me why he wasn’t called to be in the photo!  After explaining that I went by his office twice and he wasn’t there, we decided to take another group photo.  I was very glad for the opportunity because this photo came out a lot clearer.  All in all, it was a good week of smiles and laughter for our last week of class together.

Since last September, my classmates and I have experienced several ups and downs with our graduate courses, including cancelled classes (without notice), numerous power outages (learning in the dark with no air condition), and slow internet connection (sometimes none at all).  While we’ve had some setbacks, we’ve also had some good times, too, like joking about how to pronounce the words 'bricoleur' and 'bricolage' and laughing about the workload to keep from crying.  While we’ve had some differences of opinion now and then about how to go about our group work or life in general, I've learned a lot from all of my classmates and I’m a much better person for meeting them, my professors, and the University of Ghana staff as a whole.

Posing with our professor after our last class together...ever...tear! May 8, 2015
        This ends this week's posting.  In a few days, I’ll be flying the friendly skies on my way back home to beloved friends and family (yay!).  Next week I’ll discuss saying farewell to my host Rotary Club and a grueling two week exam period and finishing the year strong (currently have 5 exams down and 1 to go…can’t wait!!) Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Care Package Número 2!

          Not too long ago I had the opportunity to pick up a long awaited care package at the post office.  I was so happy to have my much needed supplies that I tore into the box before I took any photos!  So you’ll be seeing some reenactments.  Here’s a look at the care package.

  By the time I received the package, it had already been in the country for about a month.  My parents and I were debating whether or not to use the regular mail service or a private carrier.  In our haste and indecision, we ended up using the wrong address!  I had made countless trips to the Adenta post office looking for a little pink slip of paper in the hostel’s PO box, only to later find out that the slip never got there because the package was at the main office.  I found this out after making a couple of trips to one of the big post office in the main city area (where I picked up my last package).  A friend and I made three trips there and on the third trip, all of the conditions were right—it was a week day, during business hours, I had my tracking number, and met up with some friendly workers—all good ingredients for helpful service.  

          Shortly after we arrived the power went out, so we had to wait for the generator to be turned on and for the computer system to reboot itself.  After a while later we were told we had to go to Circle.  In midday traffic from the campus it took about 45 minutes to get to the city post office; getting to the Circle office took about 30 more minutes.  After a bit more of back and forth (I’ll spare you the details) I had my package in hand.  I was overjoyed and thankful that after nearly two months, it was sitting safely on a shelf with everything intact.

My package had been in Ghana since March!  May 8, 2015

               Once I got home, I opened my package again (I had to open it once at customs) and was pleasantly surprised to see the contents inside.  There I found all the things I’d so desperately needed: two new pairs of sturdy shoes, a month-by-month planner, a wall calendar, citronella candles, and much more.  Two of my favorite cereals were in the box, along with some other goodies my parents stuffed in like popcorn, Girl Scouts Samoas and Thin Mints, and Goldfish.  While all of these comforts made me smile inside and out, the CDs were perhaps one of my favorite things.  How I missed my Maxwell, Lauryn Hill, and Kirk Franklin tunes!  While packing to come to Ghana, I quickly ran out of space and had to leave my CDs behind.  Now that I have them, I rotate the tunes and listen to the same songs every day!

Can't wait to use this cooler at the beach in a couple weeks!  May 7, 2015 
SWEEET new pair of kicks, May 7, 2015

Samoas are A-OK!  May 7, 2015
Thumbs up for sweet cinnamon!  May 7, 2015
More cheese, please!  May 7, 2015

     It means so much to have some of the comforts from home.  These seemingly small things make a bit difference and provide great relief during the challenging moments of living abroad.  That’s all for now.  Next week, I'll discuss wrapping up the last week of classes with my colleagues!