One year. 365 days ago I tossed and turned in bed before finally relenting to the heat and giving up on the hopes of a few more moments of peaceful sleep. I went to the kitchen for breakfast, greeting our lovely cooks in Creole before talking briefly with our housekeeper about readying the 9 bunk beds for a team of Americans arriving that afternoon. We cleaned, the house ringing with songs and whistling as we prepped the menu, shared some laughs, and got last minute groceries before heading to the airport to welcome a team of 18 Americans to beautiful Haiti for a week. 365 days ago my life consisted of organizing and hosting. Greeting. Prepping. Laughing. Learning. Literally every day presented a new challenge; a new cultural quirk to learn about. For every fun moment of laughter, there was just as much difficulty. One thing a year in Haiti will teach you is crisis management. Learning how to keep on breathing and making decisions when it feels like the entire world is aligning to make your life as difficult as possible.
Example: that evening after picking up the team from the airport we loaded them up into two taptaps, which are pickups with benches in the bed of the truck for seating. They’re commonly used as public transportation in Haiti and we hired these two to help us with this large team. Unfortunately, the guesthouse was also located up a very steep hill and halfway up the hill the first taptap lost momentum and rolled down the hill…directly into the tap tap behind it. No one was hurt and the tap tap only sustained minor damages, but there is nothing quite like a car accident to welcome a team of Americans to a developing country.
I know I have a penchant for nostalgia and lately I just can’t help but compare my life now to what my life was on that ay one year before. I still find myself wandering through a grocery store where I spot beans on the shelf and I can’t help but travel back to that kitchen table thousands of miles away in the guesthouse in Haiti. Or in the midst of a conversation about which pub to go to for drinks and I have to fight the urge to smile and simultaneously cry because I have the chance to make that decision and it won’t be too dangerous or too dark or too anything for me to be able to actually go out for drinks with friends in the city. This week I’ve been homesick for the people and places I didn’t realize I’d been missing. I’ve been shocked by the overwhelming realization of how much possibility I have in each day. My life no longer consists of crises to handle; instead, it’s an opportunity to learn, grow, and develop so I can use my life and career to make possibility a reality for everyone.