On the 9th of July 2015 the time had come: I was leaving Holland to spend six weeks with Charles in Ghana. I was ready to explore his country, meet his family and see what his life is like over there.
After a six-hour flight I got out of the plane and got acquainted with the tropical heat. I was surrounded by a crowd full of people and all of sudden Charles stood right in front of me. Words are not enough to describe how amazing that moment was: it felt so good to hold him in my arms again.
Eventhough I was on holiday, Charles still had to go to work. So the next morning on Friday, Charles left for work and dropped me off at his family house. This is where I met his twin sister, his cousin and her boyfriend for the first time. It was so strange, yet such a pleasure, to meet them in real life. Charles’s older sister was busy organizing a birthday party that weekend, where I met a big part of the family and also a few friends. Everyone was very welcoming and kind. You can imagine I had a great first impression.
Then the weekend came. Ghana has a few hidden treasures and Big Millie’s Backyard is one of them, which is located at Kokrobite beach. This is where we spent the day on Sunday. Charles is a very good surfer, so it was so amazing to experience this after all the stories he told me! A small group of men started playing music and kids were dancing. We both love the ocean and the beach: being there together was one for the books. We went to Kokrobite almost every weekend!
There’s a lot I was able to do in Ghana, but also things I haven’t done. I think I somehow experienced Accra partly as a tourist, but I also like how it is to live there. I was part of Charles’s daily life. While he was working, I mostly wrote articles at home for my own blog, Celmatique. And since every destination in Accra is too far away by foot, you spend a lot of time sitting in the car. (Not to mention that the traffic is dramatic.)
But one of the more touristic places I did visit was Elmina Castle. The fort was first established as a trade settlement, but the castle later became one of the most important stops on the route of the Atlantic slave trade. I felt chills down my spine walking through that place… Yet it was very impressive.
Another very valuable experience of this whole journey was the Ghanaian funeral. Sadly just before I left Holland, Charles’s grandfather passed away. The fact that I couldn’t be with Charles the moment it happened was very tough, but we both knew that I would be able to support him during the funeral. I find it very special that I was able to experience this, even though it was so sad. I had the change to meet almost all of Charles’s family. Relatives were flying from all over the world to be present at this day. Funerals in Ghana are not just an occasion to mourn. They are also an opportunity to celebrate the life of the beloved departed. Despite all the sadness, I was impressed by how a funeral can have such positivity and I feel blessed that Charles’s family made me feel part of it.
Charles and I are both very grateful that we were able to experience this together. We have been together for over a year now and the trip to Ghana has definitely played parts in our relationship growing stronger.
Charles: The trip to Ghana changed our relationship in so many ways. Ghana is where I was born and raised. For her to really understand me, she had to witness it herself. She had to experience the country where I’m coming from. When my grandfather passed away she was there to support me through one of the hardest periods in my life. That’s also how she got to meet 90% of my family, all at once. From venturing on road trips along the coast and showing her how I spend my downtime to all the new experiences we shared together such as “Light off”, eating FuoFuo with your hands.. It was amazing. This trip was what it took for us to be sure that this was the relationship we wanted.
Ghana fascinated me, it inspired me and it made me appreciate certain things in life a lot more. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss this for the world. It was a great pleasure to be able to meet (almost) all of Charles’s family, to see the projects he’s been working on for so long and with so much dedication. But it was also great to meet the people he hangs out with when he has time off, to finally watch him surf which he loves so much and to discover the country in a way not everyone will ever have the chance to.
We just know that us as a couple works and it doesn’t matter if we’re a thousand miles away from each other or together every day for long periods of time: we’ll manage. If you lived through that all and you’re still going strong, then you just know this is the real deal. We have been through a lot in the past year and it just proves how strong our love is.
Life can be very beautiful and sometimes it all feels so surreal. But this is the sweetest reality I’ve ever known. We really made it happen and it’s just the beginning!
Missed Part 1? Read it here.