Sunday, August 28, 2016

Truth











How many of you would change your name if you had the chance to? A person's name is often the first thing you learn about someone. It is the thing that sets them apart and identifies who they are from everyone else. It is one of the very few things in life that I believe you can trust people to be honest about. However for the past six or so years and the almost two years I have been writing on Albatroz & Co, I have been lying to you all.

I was born and named Nana Ama Fosua Addo on the 27th of September 1997 in Kumasi, Ghana but most people would know and have known me for a long time as Theresa. However Theresa Addo does not exist, and never did.  Let me explain.

I moved to Ireland at the age of 9 and started school where Nana was used as my first name. Now aside from the fact that it made me seems like someone's grandmother, I didn't mind so much. You see Nana is more of a title than a name. Most Ghanaian people would have the prefix of Nana as part of their names which translates to King, Queen, Princess or Prince depending on gender and age. It is a nobility more than anything else really. It was not until the ' Nana-Banana' name calling and singing began that I started having a problem with my name. I mean there is only so much Hey Jude and Rihanna's What's My Name a 12 year old can take. Till this day neither songs can be heard without a feeling of mild irritation and disdain trailing behind it. I mean even the teachers were at it too. They found it hilarious and I found it frustrating although I knew it was just in jest.

And so to prevent further name calling and a lifetime of pent-up frustrations I decided to do something about it when I entered secondary school and changed my name altogether. In my 12 year old mind it made more sense to go for a completely new name than you know, just using my 'middle name' Ama, as it would be seen. So I chose Theresa, which was..is my catholic name and for six years plus, have been known as Theresa by new friends I made at school and outside and teachers. My colleagues at work knew me as Theresa and I even managed to open a bank account in the name Theresa Addo which completely perplexes me because HOOOWW!? It was opened through a school programme but I had assumed they would check all applications with the school data base and would correct it, why I do not know. But now I have a bank account I cannot close because I cannot prove I am Theresa Addo...because I am not! It's all very confusing.

A few months ago before finishing secondary school, I started thinking about changing my name back to..my actual birth name. I, for some reason felt as though I was living someone else's life that wasn't really me. Playing a character than myself. I toyed with the idea of changing it to something wacky like Sunshine for college but then that would be defeating the purpose of actually getting in touch with myself so I took another look at my name. *short break* Yeah I know, this sounds absolutely mental! I shouldn't even be changing my name at all! *end break*

The idea of being called Nana just didn't sit right with me because as far as I am concerned, it is not a name. It'd be like being called Miss all the time. Ama was a name I had always disregarded as unoriginal because of how it came about. In Ghana every day has a boy and girl name and as I was a girl born on Saturday, I was called Ama which I'm not gonna lie, I now think is pretty cool. After all, its not every country that has a naming system for it's people. 

Fosua was too hard to pronounce, which you would've figured out if you tried to say it just there. Pronounced Fo-su-ya, it was my grandmother's name on my father's side. And well Addo was my last name. You're probably thinking why doesn't she just use the name she was given? Well I am an awkward individual that is why.

My love for the Italian language and the fact that I am a hopeless romantic would eventually help me decide. In Italian Amare is to love and the word Ama translates to he/she/it loves. So in that sense I felt Ama was perfect and oddly similar to my Chinese name,  Tai Ai which means Too Love, loosely translating to Loves Too Much and given to me by a Chinese speaking lady I once met in England. So it is because of it's unique Ghanaian roots and strong romantic connections in the Italian language that I've decided to use the name Ama. Not because it's my actual name or anything. 

On my visit to Ghana, I decided to have this shirt made to symbolize and help remind me of my African roots, to accept and cherish them. I also got to design it myself which was pretty cool too. It has been awkward and confusing trying to explain to people why my name is no longer Theresa or why I'd like them to try and call me by a different name because in fairness, it is a little nuts and I get that. 

And so I ask you again. If you had they chance to to change your name, would you? And what would you change it to and why? I'd love to know.

Hope you enjoyed reading this crazy post! Till next time my pretties.

AMA


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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Snapshots of a Traveler's Story



I'm lying in the sun watching wispy clouds drift by occasionally obstructing the sun's warm rays and restricting the production of vitamin D in my skin. I am surrounded by large fields and the sounds of nature and Scouting For Girls' She's So Lovely which always reminds me of Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging. A low flying plane passes by and a thick wave of wanderlust overcomes me yet again for the biggilian time today and I wish I was somewhere exotic.

Except I'm lying on my overzised Pull & Bear scarf in a park albeit beautiful, in Ireland on one of the few sunny days we experience. It's my only day off work this week and I've spent half of it doing chores and running errands but I'm not complaining because I love being productive when I can. The weather however did bring me back to my time in Ghana.

I've managed to sort out all my pictures and videos and I just wanted to share a few with you guys so you can reminisce with me. I'm most likely going to have to wait a few months to edit the videos as I do not have a proper laptop that can support any good editing software programmes so I'm afraid these pictures will have to be your only fix for now. I've included a little background to each so you're not completely lost.






I was walking around the building to try and get into the classroom and take thier picture but they 
insisted I take one right then and there. I was outside and they were inside. This image was completely all the children's work.




The times I spent following my grandmother's sure footed steps around Dr. Mensah open market in the sweltering African heat was definitely one of the highlights of my trip. Second to visiting the primary-secondary school she and my late grandfather built together many years ago. It was both inspiring and pleasing to see the contribution their efforts had made to the community. I was and am extremely grateful, even more now, for their example in helping wherever possible.




My grandmother and my 106 year old great-grandmother i.e her mother. In this picture my grandmother is preparing my great-grandmother for this picture. Of course being a horrible grand daughter I took the picture anyways.









My grandmother and I on my last day in Kumasi before heading to the capital. She'd been awake since 3a.m and was heading to the funeral of her aunt. I threw on the top I'm wearing over my PJs for this picture.








This is  Nana Addo, he's two and a half years old and the youngest child of our family help in Ghana. He pulled me out of the bedroom on this morning to take a picture of him in his uniform but spent the whole time avoiding the camera.















I visited my first kindergarten/primary school that I attended in Ghana, Regal International School. Most of my old teachers had left but these two women were always there from the very beginning. It was so amazing to get to see them again especially after so many years. I didn't think I'd recognise anyone let alone have them recognise me! It was definitely a welcome trip down memory lane.




There are many street vendors of all ages, men, women and children in Ghana who brave the throngs of traffic daily to sell anything from packets of nuts to pots and pans. These boys were selling frozen yogurt. We'd stopped in traffic and I had bought one of the strawberry yogurts I always ate as a kid. When they saw my camera they asked me to take their picture which I promised to print out for them but I never got the chance to :( 


Before going to Ghana, I had faint memories of visiting this lakeside with my father and half-brothers. However I was not sure if they were real or not. I took the opportunity to visit the lakeside again, Lake Bosumtwe with my father and brothers and got to reignite those memories.  









There is a fisherman on a plank of wood or something in the picture directly below but sadly you cannot see him. I also realized I need to get better lenses.
While I was with my grandmother, they harvested the year's corn. We started to remove the pips from the cob so they can be turned to flour and used to make Banku, a Ghanaian delicacy amongst other dishes.









Many of the buildings in Ghana caught my attention because of their vibrant colors, decrepit beauty and the stories and lives they hold. This building could be hosting at the very least 3 different extended families or tenants who've come together as family. Whilst traveling with my Uncle, we stopped to speak to a friend of his in the hair salon below the complex.





I spent my last week in Ghana in the capital with my older brother. After a 5 hour coach ride I arrived to the capital with expectations of a fun week ahead and it did not disappoint. The journey to the capital itself was full of beautiful scenery like these mountains.








One of the sites we visited was Black Star Square, the site of Ghana's Independence Day Parades and I got my dose of history in Accra thanks to my brother who brought me around and showed me everything. It was so odd having someone so willing to take my pictures for me.
Photo Credit @ Big Cymps














My brother styles video shoots and movies as a job and on one of the nights I got to follow him to one of their shoots in a lovely seaside bar, it was however too late to get many pictures of the actually beach.






















We visited the national museum and got to hear a little about Ghana's history but not much because we had very little time.  This is a picture my brother took of one of the statues along the pond in front of the Kwame Nkrumah statue.





Photo Credit @Big Cymps
                                                       



 There was some massive church event going on in the Black Star Square and we stole behind som railings to get this picture but shh...don't tell anyone.







This is the oldest tree in Jamestown one of the oldest districts of Accra. Here they speak a different dialect called Ga so waking through this area I had absolutely no idea what anyone was saying. Something that is drawn into sharp focus when a woman starts angrily screaming at you for no apparent reason. They also have a king and spiritual priest and chief who govern the area.



This is the statue of the man, Kwame Nkrumah who fronted Ghana's fight for independence from British Rule. We now celebrate independence on the 6th of March. 59 years since 1957 and counting.


I hope you enjoyed these little snapshots. I'd love to know what you think. What are some of your latest snapshot moments in life?

Till next time my pretties xxx

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Standing In Glasshouses































In keeping with trying to get out more, I decided to go on some adventures with our Italian student while she's still here. She's too shy to go around on her own and I have no problem being a learn as you go tour guide. Last time we headed out to Temple Bar and this time we hit up the National Botanic Gardens after months of planning to go but never quite getting around to it.

There wasn't exactly much on bloom at our visit, except those flowers and plants in the greenhouses but it made for a lovely day out. We first joined one of the garden tours and visited the Viking quarters and gardens and saw how they would've lived and farmed for food. The Botanic Garden itself is surrounded by large open areas of grass perfect for picnics or cloud watching or general relaxing with friends or family. I'm a little sad we didn't think to bring a picnic with us but maybe next time. I am ever grateful for the beauty of nature and love being surrounded by it therefore our time spent there was highly refreshing and fulfilling for me. Emily, our Italian girl really loved it too, she wanted to see everything but there was too much to be seen in one day.

Due to the large amount of pictures in this post I told myself I'd try and keep it short and also I've gotta head to work soon ( no rest for the wicked especially when they're as broke as I am!). Before I let you go, I'd like to apologize for the fact that this post was supposed to go out last night however juggling the extra hours at work this week, I hadn't had time to fully write and schedule it. Also the results of those exams I was stressing about so much a few months ago came out, and I passed! And of course results night also loosely translates to party night so it's no wonder I didn't have time last night after coming home from work to finish the post before hitting up the town with my friends. Monday the college offers will go out and I am seriously praying that I get my first choice because I cannot wait to be in Uni already! 

I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much I enjoyed writing it. Have you been on any adventures lately or have any coming up? I'd love to know,

Till next time my pretties xxx



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