After an incredible Christmas break with my friends, family, and Taco Bell, I am back in Ghana. My school looks the same as I left it. My classroom looks the same as I left it. But my entrance into the class for the new term was different.
In Ghana, the term “I have missed you” can be used interchangeably with “welcome back” or “it’s been a while.” I heard this loads upon my arrival, but when I walked into my classroom for the first time since we vacated, one of my sweetest students startled me with her greeting. Naomi is one of the students I want so badly to succeed. She is sweet, kind, and intelligent and, goodness, I just love her! I wish I could share her personality so everyone could understand why I am so attached to her.
When I entered the classroom, Naomi’s face lit up. And so did mine. She popped out of her seat and rushed towards me as she said “Oh Paige, you do not know how much I have missed you!” It wasn’t in passing like the other “I have missed you” comments. It was genuine and heartfelt, and it made me all warm and squishy inside.
Part of me wondered if something happened to her over the break to make her say that, or if she was simply as happy to see me as I was to see her. Either way, her demeanor and tone have lingered in the back of my head since. I have replayed her saying it, and it makes me grin every time.
I don’t know if she realizes how wonderful it made me feel, but that simple phrase I heard a hundred times before sounded so different and meant so much more coming from her. I am feeling grateful to be back in Ghana, the place I currently call home.
Paige Fuselier is an Agriculture Leadership and Development graduate from Texas A&M University. Before becoming an AgriCorps Member, Paige served an intern for the Texas Agricultural Council and Texas Farm Bureau during the legislative session.