Memories of Home, Gidan

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We thought we were ready for the winter. ‘It’s mild’ they said. ‘It just rains a lot. We barely get any snow.’ No snow, just rain. That’s doable or so we thought. No one mentioned the constantly grey and overcast skies. Or the fact that the rain wasn’t the tropical thunderstorms we were used to. You know, the one where it suddenly gets dark in the middle of the day, thunder claps and lightning responds and it pours for a few hours. But after that, the sun makes a reappearance and all is well with the world again. Nope. That’s not the type of rain that fell. It was a cross between a shower and a drizzle; you weren’t quite sure whether you could brave it or you needed an umbrella or rain jacket. And the sun did not make an appearance for days at a time. As two West African girls used to sunshine all year round, we quickly succumbed to S.A.D. – Seasonal Affective Disorder.

On those days when winter seemed to drag and the sun seemed to have forgotten about Portland, OR, we took comfort in memories of home. For me it was the tropical fruit – papayas, pineapple, mango and the coconut. On particularly grey days, we brought out our African print outfits and beaded jewelry, for a splash of colour over the browns, greys and blacks that that filled our closets. When we would find our way to the African market, we were sure to buy some Milo to make a hot cup of that delicious cocoa as we tried to make sense of ancient Greek history. And some plantains to fry up because your jollof rice wasn’t complete without a side of dodo or kelewele.

Although we can’t say that we’ll ever get used to the winters here, we’re thankful for the memories and the reminders that we’re able to bring into our home away from home.

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