medium that I did not consider in how I mediated my experience was through my weekly emails home to friends and family. Just as blog posts or biweekly reflections required for my coursework, knowing that I had to write these emails forced me to keep a certain audience in mind. I would try and find experiences to share that they could enjoy or relate to. Here are some general descriptions of subjects that could be found in my emails home. These were more than just emails. This was my social network, the link to my world.
Group Email- This was the mass email, ones that I have included on this blog and posted the day that they were sent. Here I tried to keep it interesting. I included things that people could possibly relate to, which can be more difficult than not. Sharing crazy stories, strange sights, and funny billboards and marriage proposals made up the bulk of it. Even if I was having an off week or a bad day I could not let it show too much. I was talking to a support group, and I could not let them know I was struggling, especially when some of them were already convinced that I was going to die of typhoid or in some kind of machete fight.
Parents- I could be honest in this one. If I was struggling, I could let them know. If I wanted to talk about this experience in the big picture of my life, then it could be found here. How I was starting to feel less repulsive to marriage, where I was at in my head, where I want to go to grad school, how this will impact me when I get home, etc. The kinds of things that only parents want to hear about. I also emailed them when I needed help with London reservations or about getting extra bug spray. Thank you parentals!
Cami- My best friend since high school who went to China last year. Most of what we talked about were the similarities between our experiences and how we could relate. A lot of apologizing on my part for not realizing just how significant her experience was for her when I drug her straight off her 40 hour flight to go to a welcoming home party for our mutual friend.
John- John is a sports fan, so every entry home had to include something about the World Cup. Since we broke up right before I came to Ghana there were the pains that come with that were sprinkled in here and there. Of course that had some impact on my day. He also kept me updated on who was engaged to who, the latest news, and events to look forward to when I get home.
Ryan- I think I was the most honest in my emails home to Ryan looking back on it. We seem to have a shared soul or something. From him I could expect the, "so, how are you really" question, and I could answer without reservation.
Rob- Rob is crazy about animals. If I saw a snake, he was going to hear about it. If we killed a snake, he was most definitely not going to hear about it. I was also able to talk practicing "being in the moment" when I wrote to him. He is my role model for that, and it is something that I learned in Ghana that I am trying to juggle now that I am home.
Grandma- Was very concerned with my love life. All of my cousins my age are now married, and why I am not marrying the perfect boys I dated for years doesn't seem to compute with her. Love her to death, but this was the bulk of our email correspondence. She is also an amazing cook, so I laid out all of the tasty meals I wanted as soon as I got back. I was not disappointed!
Of course there were more, but these were my usual writers. It is interesting to see that not only did the medium of email mediate my experience, but that the relationship I had with that person altered what I chose to write about it!
Photo credit goes to derrickkwa on flickr