As I waited for the airport shuttle van to pick me up for the airport, a slew of thoughts rushed through my mind. I started to go over the items I had packed in my luggage passport, laptop, travel guide, pens. I felt warm with anxiety, but I knew the humidity wasnt all to blame sunblock, Band-Aids, antibiotics. I wiped my palms against my shorts malaria medication, mosquito repellent. I could feel a nervous knot in my stomach as the trip weighed on my mind.
Im on my way to Africa, I thought. How did I expect to feel? Yet, when I saw the airport shuttle approach, two feelings helped the knot begin to unwind: courage and curiosity. I added them to my packing list and climbed into the van. The next morning I awoke as the window shades on my flight to Ghana were lifted one by one. The airport had a feeling of calm reticence. No buildings towered in the distance. No planes circled overhead. I waited for the bus to take me to the terminal as I watched men with automatic rifles walk the grounds. It was strange to see the rifles hang from a strap on their shoulders with the same nonchalance of a purse. I had arrived in a new city with a foreign landscape and a new set of cultural norms, but at least the humidity was familiar.