I'm Home

April 20, 2018
By IvanKuadey BRONZE, Chantilly, Virginia
IvanKuadey BRONZE, Chantilly, Virginia
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Family is one of the most important aspects of my life. They’ve supported me and molded me into the individual I am today. My complete understanding of my ethnic identity and cultural background didn’t hit me until my visit to Accra, Ghana in 2010. I learned a lot from that trip, not only about my background and ancestry, but about the richness the country holds in its diversity. It was a very memorable experience.

After getting off a 10-hour flight from the US to Africa, my family and I finally arrived at the airport in Accra, Ghana. My parents hadn’t visited their childhood hometown since they immigrated to the states in 1994, in hopes of starting a new chapter. Landing in Accra, I could tell my parents were ecstatic, huge smiles lit across their faces once they saw family and friends they hadn’t seen or spoken to in years. The 10 year old me had to adjust to my new environment, and it was also one of the first times I had to entirely immerse myself into the culture and make an attempt to speak the language.

We soon headed over to my grandmother’s home, and upon arriving there I was met with a huge warm welcome. She had prepared a traditional homecooked meal for us, and I could not wait to dig in. Her cuisine filled my stomach with delight, and reminded me of few dishes I had tried in the states. Being present in this setting made me realize a lot of things, like the importance of being surrounded by loved ones and actively participating in new experiences, while being open-minded.

While in Africa, I met many relatives I would’ve never seen or remembered otherwise. And for a majority of my life, I had only known what life was like in America. However, after this visit, I learned a lot more about the country my parents grew up in and how they were raised. 

This trip was my first experience that led me to get in touch with my family’s cultural background and learn more about my own cultural identity. It was a long process of two different cultures mixing into one, and it just took me a while to adjust. But once I did, I learned to embrace each unique aspect of both cultures on important holidays and events each year. This experience also taught me to appreciate other various cultures around the world, not just my own. I figured out how each society is able to express their countries uniqueness in different ways using culture. I learned why culture is so important to so many individuals in the world, as it has the ability to influence other people’s lifestyles in creative ways.

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