I love mornings in new places. It’s this mix of excitement and awe and enthusiasm mixed with a little bit of apprehension and nerves. New sounds. New smells. New colours. You are in your new home away from home for the next few days.
I remember vividly my first morning in Ghana, August 2003. I was 20 years old and had never been outside of North America. We arrived late in the evening, as is often the norm when doing international travel from North America – those red eye flights are killer!
I awoke to the 6 am alarm of two roosters crowing away outside my window.
It bolted me out of bed like a flash of lightning, not just because of the disturbance of the sound when I was trying to get over my jetlag, but because I wasn’t used to my surroundings. This sound of the rooster, accompanied by the smells of burning bushes and humidity, sounds of Accra waking up…all of this was new. And different. And exciting. And very overwhelming.
To this day, when I hear a rooster crowing, especially in the morning, my mind reverts back to my twenty year old self in Ghana. I remember different questions running through my head: did I really commit to spending an entire year in this new place? what was I thinking? what time is it back home? where exactly am I? will this ever feel like home?
Very soon time passed in Ghana and the crowing of the rooster, though continuously there each morning, stopped waking me up.
I grew accustomed to the sound. Which is, in my ways, a metaphor for my growing accustomed to the country and my new surroundings.
My advice from my lovely Ghanaian friend the rooster? Embrace the newness of that first morning! It’s purity and freshness is a feeling that you can never quite recreate again. And make a point of memorizing, or journaling, those first few moments. I can remember that morning far better than most mornings in my life…the smells, sounds, tastes…even the conversations.
Embrace that moment.
Embrace that rooster.