we will meet again
It has almost been a year since I’ve had my lil’ tattoo: yebehyia bio. To quickly re-explain its meaning, when I studied in Ghana, the language I learned was Twi (Ewe, Ga, and English are also spoken). How to say goodbye in Twi is “yebehyia bio,” and its translation in English is “we will meet again.”
I love this. The idea that when you say goodbye to someone, you literally are saying we will see each other soon, whenever that may be. So a few years later I scribbled the phrase down like a maniac over and over and over again until I found one I liked, and then had it tattooed on my right forearm. Win.
Surface level, I do want to meet everything I experienced in Ghana again. I horribly miss the friends I made. I miss the long hours in rickety vans up to beautiful mountainsides and colorful, crazy cities. I miss dancing on the beach to P-Square and drinking gin out of sachets and beers out of large bottles. I miss the markets where we’d buy plantains, yams, tomatoes, and beans, in order to concoct some sort of dinner on our little stove. Damn, I even miss the mall that was down the road and oddly felt like a mall on Long Island: air conditioning, bright lights, glass walls and all.
But it wasn’t always easy. There were certains days that I didn’t want to carry buckets of cold water up too many flights of stairs to shower or wash my laundry. There were long, hot, long, and..hot van rides where I was squeezed between women holding squawking chickens and women holding squawking babies. I got lost a lot. And I was sick a lot too, and lost nearly 20 pounds. Extremely limited wifi and weird telephone service made communication outside the country sparse. Running water was a luxury, and the electricity would go out most nights, which meant no fans — the only savior from the heat.
But I was happy. Every single day in fact, no matter what sort of situation I was in. They say happiness shouldn’t be a result of something, and this is a beautiful example. Many times, Ghana was really really hard, but no matter what I was content, joyous, relaxed. So what that tattoo truly means is those emotions are what I want to “meet again.” That feeling of inner peace no matter what’s going on.
And life now, though different in almost every way, shape, and form, is also remarkably similar. I’m constantly moving, interacting, learning, and exploring. I’m continually challenged, and will easily admit that on certain days, life’s also really hard.
Which is fine. Because what I’ve realized is on my best days (super productive at work! amazing run! so much tequila!) and my worst (no sleep! too many skyscrapers! you are such a jerk!) there’s this underlying, fundamental feeling of contentment. Almost like a net that catches whatever is going on, keeping me level.
I spent all weekend sick, which I hate. So I pretended I wasn’t sick, and tried to do things. I ended up at a bar on Saturday night, and was there for all of five minutes before my friends forced me to go home. Frustrated, I cut through the park en route to my apartment, and was immediately struck by how beautiful it was: de-hipstered, quiet, pleasant. I stopped only long enough to take this picture, but it was long enough. And at that moment, while the rest of NYC was heading out for what I hope and imagined was a warm, wonderful, and social Saturday night, I walked home, alone. Quite happy.