I hope you’ll all join me on this journey back home. This blog will feature the good, the bad, the ugly, and the surprisingly bizarre facets of making that big move back home! As the world becomes more globalized more Africans are moving back to their respective countries to do what they can for the wonderful continent we call Africa. However, as most of us are probably aware, making a huge move – particularly one after many years away – is quite a mix of emotions. Hopefully, Tikulma will help provide insight into some of the things that pop up while prepping to return to the motherland.
“Tikulma” is a Dagbani word (from Northern Ghana) which means “let’s go home”.
I figured it would be pretty appropriate to the theme of this blog. The “relocation for dummies” was suggested by one of my good friends, Maame, and is a spin off of the ” for dummies” instructional manual series.
Alors, anchors away, fasten your sear belts and let’s get this trip started!! It’s bound to be a bumpy ride!
There’s a time for everything. A time to laugh and a time to cry. A time to pursue and a time to roll back. A time to leave and a time to return. Home. Yes, I did just say return home. Finally, after 4 years, 8 months and 5 days (and counting), I will be returning to the motherland. While I cannot tell you the exact date, I can say that the day is drawing closer and closer as each day passes. Haha, very helpful right? For real though, the date is under wraps for good reason. Not because I’m afraid the “witches” will hinder my progress or journey. And those of you who do know it for one reason or another, pray keep it to yourselves.
Anyway, I am extremely excited. And sad. And scared. And optimistic and so many jumbled up emotions in one! If there’s a pre-cultural shock, this has got to be it. I’m pretty good at handling transitions and I absolutely love traveling to new places, meeting new faces, trying new things etc, but I’m usually quite composed and organized when getting ready to make a move. For some reason, this one is a huge bag of extremes. Maybe it’s because I’ve been away for so long. Maybe its because I know I’ve changed and I’m wondering how to pick up where I left off. Or maybe its because of all these expectations I have. Guess it’s all part of the process.
So. I tried to keep this huge, major, major announcement under wraps, but some of the things I’ve been thinking about, I just had to write about. Tell me how I was sitting in my room one morning doing a mental checklist of all the pre-departure things I should be doing and what pops into my head but soap? Yes, soap.
I caught myself thinking “I need to get some liquid shower soap. The nice scented ones. Lots of it. What will I do when it runs out?” That’s when I stopped dead in my tracks. Of all the important things to worry about, I was sad I’d not get to use my favorite brand of soap?
As if there’s no soap in Ghana or W/A. Hmm. That’s when I realized that no matter how much I love my country and have faith in it’s potential, it’s still very easy to buy into the consumerism that is prevalent in the U.S. and other western countries.
Also, I’ve been looking around trying to find information from other Ghanaians/Africans on preparing for the big move back to the motherland. How do you deal with readjusting? Handling relationships – especially those that largely involved you being tolerant of people – when you and others have changed? Making your debut back onto the professional and social scenes? A whole battalion of thoughts. But alas, most that I found had to do with Americans or British peeps visiting “Africa” for one program or another. Some were helpful, but they definitely didn’t incorporate the nuances related to Africans in the diaspora returning home. So this “record of events” is aimed at providing insight into some of the things you deal with or think about when making that move. Hopefully it’ll help me a ton and other peeps as well.
Disclaimer: This could be considered a social experiment of sorts to see the processes the human mind (or being) undertakes when readapting to formerly familiar situations.
I’m going to try to be as honest as possible in recounting my thoughts, emotions, experiences, but if these past couple of weeks have been any indication, I will have some pretty naive questions or thoughts, so please bear with me.
Will be setting up a separate website for this ‘adventure’ and will share the link once I have it. In the meantime, enjoy and do let me know if you have suggestions on what to pack, things to absolutely do in Ghana when I return, changes to brace myself for, etc. Can’t wait to see you all again, inshallah! :)
Jemila Abdulai is the creative director, editor and founder of the award-winning website Circumspecte.com. A media and international development professional and economist by training, she combines her business, communications and project management expertise with her strong passion for Africa. Besides writing and reading, she enjoys travel, global cuisine, movies, and good design.