“Malaria reminds you that you are alive” - My neighbor Felix.

Only an African would have sage words on malaria. But, he's right. Just like an asthma attack makes you value the air we breathe, losing yourself in sickness for days, and coming out of it reminds you to be grateful for life.

To be real, I was no where near death. I wasn't in the hospital hooked up to IV drips. And I knew the end of the pain was only a few days away thanks to an early dose of malaria drugs at the onset of my symptoms. Malaria affects people in different ways. Those who come out alive have a different perspective. At least, I did.

Don't waste your breath: I'm a journalist. The first time I met someone I usually get them to spill about their childhood nightmares, life long ambitions and everything they never thought was there. So, I didn't mind listening to people talk. And I would return the favor with light chatter. Until now. The first two days I was sick all I could give was silence. A full sentence took all my strength. Questions that were constructive got a response, but random ones a nod. I realized then that too many conversations lack substance; it's mostly small talk just to fill the quiet air. People hate silence because that's when our minds and hearts speak the loudest. Well, now I embrace silence and speak when I have something that will add value to someone else's day.

It's OK to turn down your friends: I'm no Yes Woman, but living in Philly if a homie sent me a text at 3 a.m. to grab a cheesesteak or wanted to crash a show after I'd worked a late shift, I'm was in. Offers like these are especially tempting when your sick. After being locked in the house for days how could I not want to swim all afternoon in the fanciest hotel in Buea? Or eat a cheeseburger overlooking the black sand beaches at Limbe? Or end the day with a plate of the best grilled fish on the planet while swapping stories with my new friends. Easy. I took a few steps. Felt my head spinning. And I said, 'Nah, I'm good.'

Don't force it: Six months is not a long time. Each time I look up another week has passed. I still haven't climbed Mount Cameroon, gone on safari, seen a pygmy, or travelled to the African craft center of Bemenda. But, yesterday, I looked at my Places to Go list and balled it up. I walked on my porch and saw the sun dipped in orange, painting the evening sky mango. I'm taking my time. All the things I want to do will happen in due time. Right now, I'm appreciating where my feet stand.

Put the camera down: I need some help from Drake on this one:

“I'm living inside a moment not taking pictures to save it.” - The Resistance

My desire to document everything I see, taste, touch, feel in Cameroon is not for my benefit, but for my friends and family back home. Which is fair. I expect nothing less from friends that go overseas. It's a cultural exchange and a way to stay connected. But some moments I couldn't capture if I had a camera that could zoom in on a goat's nose hairs from 5 miles away. Some moments are for me to experience without playing paparazzi.

REST! Grinding is the American way. Especially for my generation - even if some of us talk more than we produce. So, I learned that you have to give your body rest. Take a mental health day. Finish reading a novel. Unplug the electronics and re-connect with yourself.