My playlist to Taranga

Wonu Falae - Senegal


September 9, 2019

There’s only one good way to go out. Not with a bang, or loud memorable moments, not with all smiles and a hopeful heart, not with doubts and fears either. It’s with a clear stream of consciousness and one simple phrase; “Press play”.


That’s how I went out. Well, mostly……kind of?…..not really?..…wanted to?

For the next 8 months, I will have to refrain from rewinding and pausing at my very best moments, fearfully holding on to the ones that make me miss home because the truth is: I’m going to another one. 

Pressing Play for me, meant letting God, the universe and destiny run its plan for me, instead of worrying about what is to come. (not to be confused with being lazy). With only one button reading “stop” on the playlist that was my acceptance letter, I had no choice but to absorb each song after the other and prepare myself for the next one that would help me immerse into a new culture, company, and obviously; country.

Song Number 1 was perfect for the beginning of my leaving home. With the IB finally over, I had no impending deadlines to meet. Summer was HOT, fun, slightly nostalgic, and it was comforting. I had settled into the routine of my household, which I had missed for the majority of my 2 years at UWC. And so, as Global Citizen Year emerged out of nowhere, now suddenly a week away, I held feelings of regret, confusion, and fear. Regret that I had chosen to add another year before college; confusion that everyone around me had encouraged me to do so; and fear that I would hate this experience and would have wasted my year in a foreign country instead of at home.

With my friends going to school, I was not feeling any better about my situation. Choosing to spend this week having as much fun as possible, song number 1 weirdly comforted me, despite it not being what I was feeling at the time.

(Song #1)
Wetin Dey/Better Days Ft. WANI by OdunsiTheEngine


Lyrics: Wetin dey, oh, wetin dey. Wetin dey, oh, wetin dey. 
Pull up with the boys and the shawties, And you know that we like to party. 
Wetin dey, oh, wetin dey. Wetin dey, oh, wetin dey. 
All my homies gon’ ride ’til the last day. And you know that we like to party.


The lyrics to this song are probably as important as the music it comes with. It’s a jam. A summer jam. A feel cool, relaxed, Saturday type of jam. At this point, I was still in the summer mood, but I had adopted this appreciation for Lagos’ busy streets, the rising alté scene, easy access to a plethora of markets, and the partyesque nature that sauntered into the hours of 6 pm to 4 am every weekend; no matter the occasion. 


It was in the long four months of my summer ’19, that I really began to SEE my city. And I was not ready to let it go.

“Wetin Dey” is Pidgin English for “How far?” or ” What’s up?” And honestly speaking it’s a question I never know how to reply to. Now more so than ever.



Arriving at SFO, I was not exactly the happiest person in Calfornia. 

Having to leave my suitcase behind, due to lack of time, traveling through 2 completely different time zones and my lack of a good night’s sleep had me a bit annoyed.

My cohort and I had left our comfort zones at home, and we were not really sure what we would be doing for the next 8 months, apart from knowing we would be living in a host family. And my first worry was that they wouldn’t like me.

So you can see I did not go out the way I had planned.

But after a week on Stanford’s annoyingly huge campus, I felt a bit more comfortable, because I had found “Taranga”. (Wolof for “hospitality”) 

I caught myself repeatedly flashing back to my UWC experience in China. 

Despite my 2020 cohort being so different in cultures and backgrounds, we were bonding. On the amazing dining options, the packed schedule of our day to day, learning histories of how certain inequities came to be, and just generally discussing taboo topics in society, that we felt needed to be had. People were anxious about adapting to food In-country, scared of not having certain medications, regretting not going straight to college, and some people were just pushing through it all like power rangers with loud, memorable moments in order for the rest of us to feel more comfortable.

It made me feel less alone knowing that we were going through the same things. And just the development of safe spaces amongst each other made way for meaningful connections that we otherwise could not have had anywhere else. And I’m proud of myself for coming to this realization.

Lastly, as OdunsiTheEngine played in my JBL earphones, on my way to the airport for Senegal, I felt a bit lighter knowing that this experience could be my chance to press play. If I could not control my future, I would have to party till my last day. 

If someone were to ask me,“Wetin Dey”?. For now, it would be “I’m okay”. If I let the music play for a while, before worrying that it would suck, I would not die. I had to listen first though.

****

To end all my blog posts, I’m gonna be cheesy and have a quote for the day.

One of the favorites that I picked up from one of my best Netflix shows, Bojack Horseman was, “It gets easier. Every day it gets a little easier. But you gotta do it every day. That’s the hard part. But it does get easier.”


Wonu Falae