One Year Older and Wiser: Celebrating My Birthday!

Last weekend and early this week I celebrated my birthday here in Ghana. It was a really cool experience to turn a year older in a foreign country. I flashed back to last year when I had my birthday in Washington, D.C. with friends. We went out for African food at this amazing Ethiopian restaurant (kind of ironic) and then went to a karaoke bar in Adams Morgan. Little did I know that I would be celebrating this year IN Africa.

On Saturday I went to Labadi beach with my friend Jackson, who happens to share my birthday! We ate chicken and fried rice and went boogie boarding. I also got a pedicure while basking in the sun. (Pedicures here are really cheap, only 5 cedis, which is like $3.50 USD.)

After the beach I went and met up with Elizabeth, a friend from the states who I was connected with through my minister at All Souls Church in D.C. I am really grateful to have met her, she has been a great support system and has introduced me to lots of other people in Accra. So I hung out with her and her British roommate, Jillian, who is really delightful. Then we met up with some other Obrunis in Accra and went out for Thai food at a place in Osu. There was a live band at a club called Citizen Kofi so we wandered there afterward. Below is a pic of the venue that I took from the top of the club.

It was a real treat because my friend from D.C., Chhikarra was flying in that night to do some work here in Ghana, so he came and met us there. He also brought me American gifts that I had been missing, like maple syrup, coffee, and granola bars. He is such a sweetie and it was really great to see him.

It was a really great night filled with music and new people. I remember at 2 am I was debating American politics with a friend from the UK and another guy from Germany. It is one of my favorite parts about being here as an expat that you get to know people from all over the world and hear their opinions. They were talking about how every European country hated the U.S. when Bush was in office, but the second that Obama was elected, it was like  every country said, “Nevermind, we like you now.” Really interesting to hear people opinions.

I came back to the village on Sunday, a little sunburned and dehydrated, but very happy that I went to the city. Then yesterday, I had class, and all the kids brought me biscuits (what we call cookies in the U.S.) It was very sweet. They asked me how old I was and then I turned the question around on them and asked them to guess. Their answers ranged from 20 to 50…

Kathleen, my boss,  gave me a beautiful wooden box lined with European newspapers for me to store my things for my birthday gift. It will be interesting trying to get it back to the U.S.

We had a little dinner here at the house with my coworker, Samuel and his fiancé, Henrietta. And pizza for dinner! It is not the kind of pizza we have in the states, here they put peas and ketchup on it, but it is quite delicious. Then Kathleen brought out a gorgeous cake and I got to blow out birthday candles. What a surprise!


I got lots of lots of love on facebook, I found myself so moved reading all the posts.  Sometimes when I am all the way out here, it is easy to feel disconnected, but it was just wonderful to see the people I love from all the different parts of my life on one page. And I got to talk with my mom on the phone, she will be visiting here in Ghana in a few days! I can’t wait to see her!

So that was my birthday celebration, one year older and wiser, and very grateful! Thanks for reading!


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  1. Alex says:

    AWESOME!! Looks like tons of fun!!

  2. Lara says:

    Beautiful post Sy! You continue to be one of the most inspirational people I know, and I can’t wait to see your journey over the next year. Wishing you a beautiful new year of life my incredible friend! Love you!

  3. Carrie says:

    Happy birthday! You look gorgeous, as always. And your friend Jackson isn’t too bad looking either!! ;)

  4. Linda Covell says:

    Happy Birthday, beautiful girl! A very exotic celebration. These times will be good memories. Linda

  5. Vickie says:

    Happy belated birthday Sy. Next year we’ll have to celebrate in New York, no? :) Glad to hear you are having an amazing experience in Ghana.

  6. Christy says:

    I can’t believe it’s been a year since that karaoke celebration! Where does the time go? Now you’re all grown up in Ghana. It looks like you’re having a great time. Keep enjoying it for me!

  7. Cati says:

    You’re living what most people only dream about doing. Happy belated birthday Sy

  8. Olivia Goode says:

    I love that your blogging! Such a great idea. Your pictures are wonderful, thanks for posting. xoxo

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