A taste of Ghana in Belgium :)

11 08 2011

Yes, a month has passed and I am still happy 😀 Maybe I am in my honeymoon period with Belgium but I am not going to analyze it too much… I am enjoying myself and that is that…

But going back to the subject of my post… On Saturday I was very lucky to get a call from a friend asking me if I want to go to the market near Clemenceau metro station… Apparently it’s the biggest market in Brussels. Allured of the idea of Romanian sour cream and “pui cu smantana” and a touch of dill, I got super excited and trust me, I had every reason to be… I am a foodie and that market in my mind is now a big chunk of my Belgian paradise.

fried plantain 🙂

We got there, Bogdan started explaining the architecture of the market, and I found out there are 4 Romanian stores that have a wide variety of products, from Romanian “branza”(cream cheese) and “smantana”(cream) to even Romanian meat products and “pufuleti”. I was grinning happily, buying different things and then I saw IT… PLANTAIN!!!

While I am writing I have this big plate with fried plantain in front of me… Yummy 😀 I didn’t have red pepper or shrimp oil/sauce but I used butter and it’s as tasty as I recall. While cooking it I remembered all kind of things about Ghana and my friends there 🙂 I am not a big fan of Ghanaian food… Fufu, banku and the many types of spicy rice where never my thing but the fried plantain was the one dish I truly enjoyed there… ok, the fried rice with chicken from the Kaneshie market and the egg sandwiches from the side of the road are also a good memory but the plantain… mmm, the plantain 🙂 I used to eat roasted plantain with peanuts, fried plantain, plantain chips… My favorite was the fried soft one and here I am, after a year and 8 months cooking it for myself.

Ghana isn’t Heaven but for me it is so very special and in so many moments it felt as close to heaven as I could be. Looking back I didn’t appreciate so many things and spend lots of times bickering about them. I don’t regret those times, they are part of the experience, I only regret annoying my friends with my behavior 🙂

So here is to Ghana and experiences that shape us 🙂 and of course, to plantain 🙂

Me happy 🙂

PS: I wrote this yesterday evening while enjoying myself in my new kitchenete 😀

PPS: Image taken from Eating Made Easy

Dear Ghana II

29 06 2010

A year ago I was on my way to Ghana, completely unprepared for my experience there… I was such a child and Ghana was such an amazing and challenging surprise…

The 5 hours stop in Casablanca and the marriage proposals… I don’t remember how many camels I was worth at that time 😛 Bad joke, I know… but the proposals weren’t a joke I’m afraid 🙂

I remember Lydia and Gideon and one of their friends picked me up at 2 am from the airport… well more like 3 since they had to wait for one hour for me… The people from customs were too busy watching TV to stamp my passport 😛 The words “Bun venit” in the airport from the artwork designed by Liviu… and so much more

My fist shower with cold water from a bucket, going to work for the first time and being afraid I won’t remember the way back, the first heavy rain, meeting KLepo, Sabine and Emma, Aqua and Lucia… The first trip to Nzulezu…

Beautiful people 🙂

The church every Sunday morning… the first Sunday was the worse… Learning how to negotiate, being robbed, watching men peeing on the street, falling in love with the country, getting Malaria, getting Malaria for a second time… William, Sahil, Tanja, dear Ivan, Brenda and Carla, Lisa, Paula, Esther, Lorena, Bobi, Silviu and Petra, Raluca, Radek, Ryan,Petr, Federica and Federico, Mike,  Big Mike, Darius… OMG… so many wonderful wonderful people… Sushil and Vivek… my great colleagues from work, Richmond, Reggie, Mr. Andoh, Clement, Davis, Gigi and Frimps… and the great friend that encouraged me all the way, Jodie… So so many beautiful people!!!

Going to Kumasi and having my first hot bath in a bathtub after 3 months in Ghana… wishing that I would never have to leave it behind… Kakum National Park, Cape Coast… I spent 6 months of my life in this amazing amazing country… I witnessed police brutality, we bribed the police… I ate for the first time Indian food… the Mango Bliss and Global Mamas… Champs, the most dangerous place in Ghana 😛 Feeding monkeys in the jungle… Celebrating my 25 birthday... in Champs of course 😛  The naked guy on the street… so many many hilarious moments 🙂

I wish I could go back and relive some of those moments… I wish I would be again with William, Sahil and Lucia in the car, making fun of the Kumasi trip… I wish I could have again a coffee in Accra Mall with Raluca, fried rice with chicken from the corner of the street, shopping for earrings in the Art Centre with Aqua and visiting the seamstress where I got my extraordinary 14 skirts… Thank you Emma and Sabine for the tip 🙂

My favorite picture 😛

I will go back one day… I will go back!

Thank you Ghana, for everything you did for me… It was hard, so so hard… but at the end of the day, the victory was ours!

Me… missing a lot some really wonderful people

Mi-e dor!

20 12 2009

I miss moments and friends…

Lucia made this for me... MyAfrica MyGhana

5 is a magic number!

11 12 2009

I have 5 more full days in Ghana. Wednesday doesn’t count because I will spend it in the airport or in the plane. I was looking at “My 50 days of summer” and at my 5 rules, asking myself if I managed to respect them. Not really!

Rule number 1: No more homesickness! – I didn’t totally respect it… I learned that being homesick is not something that you can control. There are small things that remind you of home, a smell, someone’s smile, someone’s laughter, an e-mail from your friends… all this things that you can’t control and that have the power to take you for a second in the past, where you are surrounded by friends or family. I also learn that homesickness makes the adventure more intense, more powerful, shows you new perspectives upon things and life that otherwise you might have missed!

Rule number 2: No more counting down the days! – Well I did try but when you have a calendar on your desk is kind of impossible to stop doing it 😛 And again… I did try! I only cut down the days when I was angry or sad or homesick… I even had days when I didn’t noticed the calendar and I had to cut down 3 days or even 4 at a time… mostly after weekends 😛

Rule number 3: Spend enough time with the friends I made here! – I will never be able to say that I spent enough time with the friends I have made here. This shouldn’t have been a rule from the beginning. It’s just not possible! That’s why we have to meet again 😀 A Generation2009 Ghanaian reunion :D… not necessarily in Ghana… It can be Germany, US, India, New Zeeland, Slovakia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mexico, The Nederland’s, Canada, Romania… It’s just too soon to choose 😛

Rule number 4: Make sure I visit everything I haven’t so far… like Togo or Cote d’Ivoire – I didn’t visit Togo or Cote d’Ivoire, I didn’t have the time or the money… but now I see it as one more reason to come back to Africa! And I will come back; it’s just a matter of time 🙂

Rule number 5: Don’t leave the shopping for the last week… – I managed to respect this one… I have only a few minor things to buy… Like getting the last 5 skirts from the seamstress. I am coming back with 13 skirts… And this is kind of funny when thinking that until I came to Ghana I wore a skirt maximum 5 times a year! In the last 5 months I spent 90% of the time wearing a skirt… and this says a lot… I don’t know if about me or about the weather in Ghana 😛

I have a weird feeling when thinking about my decision to come here. My sister asked me today why I came here. Why didn’t I wait to find an internship in Europe, for one year, which would have given me a sense of security?

Why wait? We only live once and we don’t get younger or bolder. With age comes responsibility… There was no better time for me to come here! Yeah, now I am going home… The world is in a financial crisis, Romania is in a political and financial crisis. I don’t have a job. I don’t have money. So what? When did any of these things stopped the world from spinning, stopped the time or stopped people from achieving personal success? It’s a crisis… Screw it! I am going home! 🙂

Me happy!

Dear Ghana,

1 12 2009

It’s time for me to leave… I am sure you have noticed how restless I have been in the last weeks. I am sure you were aware of my desire to fly away to colder areas of this world 😛 You don’t have to take it personal. It’s just the way I am, terribly attached to my family and friends 🙂 and kind of inpatient most of the time!

Hello/Goodbye/See u soon?/Whatever 😛

I want to thank you. You have been truly amazing and this has been the biggest adventure of my life. I will miss you. I will miss the things you have shown me, I will miss the friends I made with your help. I will miss places and people and plantain… the fried one is the best 🙂 I am thinking about packing some to get with me but since I am stopping in Vienna for a few days, it’s kind of impossible 🙂

I guess I could make a list with the things I will miss… but it will be kind of big and you will get bored reading it 🙂 It’s enough to say that with both good and bad, you more than overcame all my expectations 🙂 I am returning back home more mature and more aware of myself, and this my friend… is the biggest achievement of them all 🙂

You were a very interesting friend. You made me hate you, and then love you, and then hate you, and then love you… and now I am confused 😛 And we both know how much Ghanaians love this word. For the (soon to be) almost 6 months that I have spent in here you were a brother, a sister, a friend, an enemy, a mother, a father… not exactly a lover but it was close 😛 Because of you I experienced so many feelings and it was a wonderful journey 🙂

I will not invite you in Romania! I don’t want to hurt your feeling but you are kind of a big mama and you will not fit in the plane… or in the country! But I am taking back home with me things that only you could give! And I am grateful to you for that 🙂

You are probably asking yourself why I am writing to you this letter, when I have 2 more weeks to enjoy you… I don’t know… it just felt like the right thing to do… or maybe because the mail is so slow around these parts. My friends sent me a Birthday card in October and I still didn’t get it… 🙂

This being said I wish you well. I may come back sometime in the future, who knows 🙂 When I do, I do hope to find you bigger and merrier 🙂

That pain in the ass intern that hasn’t always been your friend!

PS: If you have any tips and tricks for my last 2 weeks here please write 🙂 Even if I will not get your letter in the end 😛

PPS: I attached a picture in case you don’t remember me… with so many interns I am sure you are having a hard time 😛

The things I am thankful for…

23 11 2009

We celebrated Thanksgiving this weekend. William got up on Sunday at 5:30 am and started cooking. Lidia joined him and thanks to them I had the first and the best Thanksgiving ever 🙂 They actually cooked 2 turkeys and all kind of delicious dishes that are traditional for this holiday. I stayed in the kitchen and I learned a few secrets just by watching them and Stella and of course tasting the food to make sure it’s perfect 😛

When William sent us the invite he made a very nice parallel between the pilgrims that went to North America and us, interns discovering a new world, completely different than anything we were used too, at least in my case: “Thanksgiving is a time in the United States when families and friends come together. But originally it was about a group of people who left home to face adversity in a new world. This may be the perfect holiday to celebrate our own achievements in this new world.”

It felt wonderful to gather all of us, together. More than 20 people from so many different countries. For a moment I felt like home, celebrating Christmas with my family. Thinking about what I am thankful for, I started remembering all the adventures I had here… and believe me… life in Ghana is an adventure… every single day! And every single day this group of wonderful people stood by me, laughing, making fun, listening my complains, sharing a drink, sharing a meal, giving an advice! And I am thankful that I came to Ghana and met them. And I know that my experience here wouldn’t have been the same without them!

Thank you:)

Sweet escape :)

18 11 2009

It’s 2 pm and I am in my office just wanting the day to end faster. Outside the weather is sunny and I made the horrible mistake to look into my pictures again… I spent my lunch break daydreaming… Here are some of the places where I would like to be right now:

Ada Foah 🙂

Ada Foah sunset

Waterfall Lodge – Wli Waterfall:

"Hallo" said the parrot 🙂

Cape Coast:

A piece of Cape Coast Festival from Sabine 🙂

And the list may go on…

Heaven... again!

Me… in a weekend mood!!!

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