Saturday Chris went to Port to do two filter presentations – one at Heartline Ministries Women’s Center, and the other at Port au Prince Fellowship. They both went well and they sold 68 filters with more people wanting to sign up.
While he was there Chris got to talk to John about our adoption stuff. We’re still waiting for some paper work to be done, but it’s Haiti and it is what it is. We were *hoping* that there would be some crazy possibility that we would be able to get a passport for Liv and then a visa and be able to make a trip back to Canada this summer as a family. We found out Saturday that there is no way on this green earth that it’s going to happen. Don’t get me wrong, it does happen for a lot of in-process kids here, but not in our case. We’re filing our papers as an abandonment case which means Liv officially becomes a ward of the Mayor. Abandoned children are never issued passports because they’re seen as a flight risk. While it was somewhat disappointing, we were sort of expecting it going into the whole thing. We were just hoping for the best.
So, no family vacations for probably the next two years. That sounds crazy and overwhelming, but it is what it is and we can’t change it. Because we’d known this would be a possibility I think we’d both had time to wrap our brains and hearts around it a bit. For the first time I think Chris was actually more hopeful than I was. Usually the shoe is on the other foot and he’s the one reminding me not to invest myself in too much here because I’ll just get let down. We really enjoy our vacations because it’s one of the only times that we can get far enough away that we don’t have anyone that needs us for some reason. We love camping and usually try to take off into the *wilds* of BC for a couple of weeks where there isn’t even cell service, much to the dismay of our parents who like to worry about us. We figure that BC, even the *wilds*, is much less threatening than Haiti :)
The good thing about knowing that we can’t travel together period is that we can now make plans. I know, that sounds funny. We had been sitting in a state of limbo though, which always internally gives me a panic attack. Oh, I look all cool and calm on the outside, but it’s there, stewing away. The issue was that I have a wedding to be in come September, and we didn’t know if we’d be traveling together or if I would be going alone. If we couldn’t go as a family in September, could we go for Christmas? The answers are now alone, and no. I can book my plane ticket when I find a good deal and firm up plans of how long I’ll be home and what I’m going to do, besides looking like a hot little bridesmaid. It’ll be my first time home in a year and I’m looking forward to having time to visit my peeps. I wish I could introduce them to my daughter, but again, can’t change it so I’m deciding not to focus on it and just accept it for what it is. Life is easier that way.
My parents and brother were already planning on making a visit sometime this fall. They haven’t met Liv yet, and that’s hard for all of us. When we found out we couldn’t go anywhere together one of the first things Chris and I both thought of was asking the parents and brother to adjust their travel plans. I sent some emails and explained what was going on, and then called all of them yesterday. (When I got through to my parents, finally, they were visiting my Granny and Granddad and I got to talk to my Gran! That was exciting, especially because Dad didn’t tell her who it was and just handed her the phone. So cute!) So, in a circumstance that could be sad and mopey, the good news is that MY FAMILY IS COMING FOR CHRISTMAS! Yay! I’m soooooooo excited. They had a hard time with us not being there last year. It was the first time that I hadn’t been home, but they knew they needed to share me around. This year was their year and the thought of us not being there again was something that we weren’t really letting ourselves think about. Chris and I figured that since they were already planning on coming at some point, and that we would be here alone, that it just made the most sense. There are a lot of good things about the new plan – it’s easier for all of them to get time off work, there’s more time to plan, our fall is looking busy already and we’d probably not be in the best shape if they came sooner, and instead of ALL of us having a strange Christmas apart, we get to have a strange Christmas together. It’ll be my brother’s first visit and I’m already thinking about the things we could do. SO FUN!
Having things to look forward to here seems to be the thing that often gets me through, so I know this will be a big one as the months go by. I’m already giddy every time I think about it.
Like I said, the fact that we won’t get to leave together for probably the next TWO YEARS is a bit much to mentally take in. I know that when we look back we’ll see how fast the time has gone, it just seems crazy right now. Chris and I have already decided that we’re going to be more deliberate about taking mini-holidays here as a family. It may mean a weekend up at Furcy, which we love, or that we get out and go see some of the things that I haven’t yet, like a trip to Jacmel and Cap Haitian. We know we’re going to need the time away to stay healthy and not lose ourselves in everything here. Chris also knows that I’m one of those people that needs to see friends and family. I think it’s easier for him to be away for longer periods of time. That said, we already know that I’ll be taking a couple short trips home next year to get some family time in there. I thought it was really sweet of him to already know that and to just assume that it would happen. It’ll also be time for me to see board members and what not.
So, that’s life with the Rollings today. Kind of a weird combinations of emotions, but it is what it is. Seems to be my motto today.
Later today I have my second English class. It’s been fun to see how much our employees have been practicing their English over the last week. I’ve found some good ESL resources online, but I can’t use half of them because they’re designed with an entirely different audience in mind. Even simple activities that might just use words or pictures would have to be changed and adapted because most of the people I know here would have no frame of reference. I showed Chris a worksheet that I found that had pictures of animals on it. No one on our staff would have been able to identify a single one on the page. I’m not exaggerating. Have you ever had to explain a BEAR to someone that has never seen a bear before? Chris and I tried that once and when we explained that bears can eat people the reaction was amazing – “Huh! NO! NO!” :) Seriously, the only animals that people see here are dogs, horses, donkeys, cows, pigs, goats, cats, rats, mice and various birds. There is just no frame of reference outside of that for most people. Anyway, I got stuff figured out and today’s lesson is planned. The whole teaching thing kind of scares me. Especially teaching English. Why? Because GRAMMAR exists. The thought of having to know how to explain the parts of English grammar to someone makes me want to break out in a sweat. Silly, but true.
I have a funny story for you. It’s also a cultural lesson. Last week Chris went to Port to get a load of blocks. He got hot while he was helping load the truck so he took his shirt off. He was so sweaty when they finished that he decided to just drive without a shirt. It was the last stop and he was heading for home. He got all the way to Montrouis, about 10 minutes from home, and got pulled over by the police. When he asked what the problem was the officer asked him, “Do you drive like that in your own country?” and Chris told him that he does. The officer wasn’t impressed and told him to put his shirt back on. Chris obliged and headed for home. When he told John the story on Saturday, John told him about a similar incident with some young people that were visiting. I guess they were riding in the back of the truck without shirts and John got pulled over by the police as well. When he asked what the problem was the officer said, “You have pigs in the back of your truck!” and made John follow him to the police station and pay a ticket!
So, the lesson here is this… In Haiti it is perfectly acceptable to pee ANYWHERE you want to. It is perfectly acceptable to bathe topless in the canal, IN FRONT OF EVERYONE. BUT, don’t ever drive your own vehicle without a shirt on. That, is bad.
Don’t say we didn’t warn you.