28 April 2015

10 Lessons My Gap Year Has Taught Me

Hello! My gap year is slowly and surely drawing to a close and I'm now in University mode. Well more like attempting to apply to university mode. Yall I didn't know this stuff was so complicated. Being a Ghanaian with foreign background trying to apply to universities back home is actually a struggle and three-fourths. So yea.

I'm really happy with how my gap year has gone and how God has been faithful and has used me! He has changed me and removed some undesirable things in my heart so it's all fist-pumping and praising with a huge dash of worship up in here.

I think it would be weird if I hadn't learnt anything from this experience. I would honestly recommend seniors in high school to take a gap year  (aka convince your parents). There's absolutely not rush to go to university even though many counselors make it seem that way.

In any case, here are 10 Lessons My Gap Year Has Taught Me.

Not everyone is going to encourage/appreciate you and your hustle

Its sad but it's true. Not everyone is going to be high-fiving and/or booty-bumping you as you attempt to figure out what your life is about. And dare I say that some people may try to discourage you. You just have to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and go about what you need to do.

Some people/circumstances are only for a season

Another lesson that is a little heartbreaking. Remember how I used to volunteer at a baby's home? Yea I haven't been there in at least 3 months. And its 2 seconds away from my house. My baby John got adopted and that was it for me. Yea. Also all the friends that I made there... Haven't quite spoken to them in at least 3 months as well. This is probably just my weakness, but I'm terrible at keeping in touch.  But God used that season of my life to teach me something else which is

Patience is a virtue

YALL. Dealing with children is a struggle! All the moms and dads out there who work 9/5 and then have to come home and make dinner, help with homework, clean up here and there, make sure the kids have showered and put the kids to sleep are the real MVPS. They deserve all the awards. All the of them.

Spending time in the Word of God and in prayer are so important!

I realized that the times/days when I wasn't starting my day with some good old devotion and prayer, my thoughts and actions were just bleh you know. It's also so much easier to backslide when you're not in word of God. It transforms you basically.

Pursue new interests.

This gap year, I learnt how to sew and I'm taking a floral design class. I had never thought of these two skills whilst in high school. Like they never crossed my mind. Ever. Ever. 

Work is hard. Hard is work. Hard work is hard.

Um yea. I  don't think I've ever worked as hard as I have this gap year. Just two weeks ago, sewing pretty much consumed my life as I was preparing a display table for Voyageuse Africaine at my old school. I worked till midnight/ 1-ish for a whole week, with no naps (IMAGINE THAT). My back hurt. And that was when I realized that I had never worked that hard in my life before. Like Senior Seminar compared to that was nothing. You guys. I dreamed about sewing. Like I would have dreams of sewing needles going through fabric. That was what my life was about.

There are people around me who are hurting and in need of Jesus so bad.

On a daily basis, I'm sure I come into contact with people who don't know of the saving grace of Jesus and how He died for our sins on the Cross. Like that's crazy you know. But at the same time that's the state in which our world is. I'm convinced that God is changing me inside and out to be used for the furtherance of His kingdom.

Seeking God's will basically becomes number one priority

Like. Lets be real. God says He says plans for me to prosper, and plans to give me a hope and a future in Jeremiah 29:11 and what's better than that? Absolutely nothing. So I'm going to be here trusting the Lord with all my heart and not leaning on my own understanding ( Proverbs 3:5) 

You have to discipline yourself if you're going to get things done

This is an obvious one, sorta, but still! Discipline is important and still haven't gotten that down yet. Like let's take today. I woke up at noon. yea not so much discipline to be found here today. Come back tomorrow. Maybe.

Being shy isn't going to get you anywhere

These last couple of weeks, I'd love to say that I've slowly peeled off my shy self and I'm doing life for real. You want to talk to that boy? Do it! (but not really bc ugh) You want to go to this church service? Teleport yourself there! You need to go to the next town by yourself to buy jewelry supplies using public transport that you dont know too well? Yea just pray for God's guidance to get you there in one piece. But get on that bus girl! Seriously.

So that's it! 10 Lessons My Gap Year Has Taught Me! Have you ever taken a gap year? What are some lessons it taught you? 

You May Have Missed:

How to Survive aka Do Life in Accra, Ghana
8 Ways in Which a Floral Design Course Changed My life

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of all kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2-4

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21 April 2015

How To Do Life aka Survive In Accra, Ghana

Hey hey hey! It's been about 9499202839 years since I blogged. Awkward. Shmawkward. So anyways, not sure if yall know this but I'm from Ghana *fist pumps* *dances azonto* heh, and I'm actually home for a few weeks just to say hey gurl hey to my family and to do some university application shenanigans but lets call it a business trip because yes. YALL.
First of all, Accra (the capital) is HOT. We're on the coast so humidity + salty air is always on 100 so basically leave your lotion at home. I remember when I landed, I was wearing a sweatshirt cuz the plane was a little chilly so I was all loike, let me snuggle up in my sweatshirt real quick. Literally the second I stepped out of the aircraft I was like "im dying, heat stroke, crying, get this sweatshirt off me, what life is this" etc.

So here's how to survive in Accra:

  • Even though it's hot, DON'T STAY INDOORS under the AC or fan. 
It's so easy to basically not do anything because of the heat, but really whats the point of even being here you know? Abeg put your hat on and walk around. 
  • Invest in a cotton handkerchief and/or hand-held fan.
I'm actually not kidding. The amount of sweating  that occurs whilst living in this country oh my gosh. There's basically no need to work out. Living in Ghana is a work out in itself.
  • Take public transport aka trotro aka the bus whenever possible. Taxi money adds up yall.
Do it. Taxis are expensive when you add it up at the end of the day. The bus is affordable, however not always comfortable, but are we hustlers or are we hustlers?
  • Explore your surroundings
Ugh so many photo opportunities for me to even begin to deal. Yes.
  • Seriously don't stay indoors. 
 You'll regret it.
  • Take your camera everywhere you can if possible
Photo opportunities! I always feel shy taking out my camera when I'm here cuz Ghanaians are so shameless with their side-eyes  LHH.
  • Don't be afraid to ask for directions and stuff like that. Ghanaians are super friendly
Everybody is just happy to help so  DO IT. Flash a smile in their direction..blow them all away.. *side-eye*
  • Greeting someone before asking a question or anything like that is kind of common courtesy
A simple "Good morning...*insert question here*" is good enough!
  • It's HOT, I don't think I can stress that enough. But that doesn't mean you should pack ALL the booty shorts and crop tops etc. 
People will stare. People will judge you. Sorry. Opt for looser fitting clothes i.e sun-dresses, harem pants you know clothes that breath up in here.
  • Drink lots of water boothang. You're going to be sweating it up all day errday and you kind of dont want to faint from not having water in ya system
Just drink all the water. Do it. I really can't stress this enough. Water is life.
  • Try some local food. ITS SO GOOD UGH.
Highlight of all my Ghana trips is the food. As we speak, or as I type, I have a quota of foods I have to digest before I leave! Please give me all the plantain chips thanks.

So that's pretty much how to live in Ghana. It's a crazy beautiful place so come visit anytime. But really dont leave your handkerchief. Just don't. You'll regret it.

Look out for more Ghana posts from me in the upcoming weeks! Hope you've been well yo.

And what doth the Lord require of thee? To act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with thy God. Micah 6:8

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Maira Gall