To those of you reading from back home, a.k.a. Armstrong and surrounding areas. Or even other parts of Canada. Or if you’re family. Or friends of my family… Oiye.
Um, the family hasn’t arrived. Yet. They got to Seattle on the 21st and waited in line for 5 hours to be told that there was no way they were flying out that day. I guess 1 foot of snow in Seattle will do that. Apparently the airport ran out of de-icer. They stayed the night and yesterday got confirmation from their insurance people (my travel agent mother would be waving her finger right now saying, “See, this is why you buy insurance!”) that they had been rebooked to fly from Vancouver on the 24th to arrive here on the 25th. That was the earliest they could get out. So now they’re in Vancouver, visiting friends and hanging out until tomorrow when they leave.
So, Christmas will come a day late in our house :) My brother is calling it Boxmas. I shared that Haiti doesn’t celebrate in the same way we do back home, at least not in our area because it’s mostly “payisan” – lower class people that can’t afford anything big. We can basically celebrate any day we want and people won’t notice the difference. I like that. I feel like the presure is off to make the 25th this big celebration, even in our own little way. I like that the focus for us this year has been taken off that and that it’s going to be even more about Christ’s birth and family, just because of circumstances.
I did really well with holding it together all day yesterday after we found out. I’m one of those people that gets really excited about stuff, so the dissapointment hits me pretty hard. After several phone calls throughout the day and having to wait for info I finally crashed a bit yesterday evening. All day I was thinking about what it was exactly that was leaving me feeling so dissapointed. It wasn’t really the Christmas part of things, though that will be nice. It was that my family still hasn’t met Olivia and if they couldn’t make it in this week it might be several more months before they could get the time off work etc. I don’t want them to miss anymore of her. She needs her grandparents and they need her. Chris and I talked about it last night and were prepared to tell them that even if they couldn’t get here until Jan. 1st and had to turn around and fly back the next day as planned it would still be worth it for us. The whole situation left me feeling frustrated and helpless because there was no one to blame and there was literally nothing I could do about it but accept whatever came and go on. It was weather, plain and simple. I was so happy to get that one last email last night saying things had all worked out. The excitement and anticipation came back pretty quickly.
We found out about 45 minutes before we were supposed to leave for Port that they wouldn’t be arriving. We decided to go anyway and take care of the errands that we would have been doing since nothing would be open on Christmas Day. I’m glad becuase I needed to get out of the house to stay busy and wait for whatever info was coming. We ended up having a good day. Took my computer in to get fixed because it decided to crash on me on Saturday. Matt, if you’re reading this you should probably be laughing. Just because it’s me. And a computer. It looks like it’s fine but just needs some doctoring so to speak. Pray that they’re able to save all the files on it becuase we have no back up and that’s where all the mission stuff is, all my pictures of my wee babe, my emails etc. Sigh. The guy fixing it is great and is going to bring it out to us rather than us having to go back in and get it because he’s coming out this way for New Years anyway.
I like going grocery shopping because it’s a “normal” activity. I have never been in the store this close to Christmas though, and let me tell you, I was biting my lip to supress laughter at points. People are people, all the world through. I went to go get ground beef and there was one older lady cleaning out the case, but very selectively. Why selectively I’m not sure because she fully intended to take ALL of the meat. I had to subtly get my hands in there and quickly grab what I needed before there was none to be had. I’ve had to learn this aggressiveness while living here and sometimes I think if people from back home, especially Canadians, could see me they would wonder what happened. She left 3 packs. Out of about 50. Not exagerating. Next stop was the deli counter, which can always take a while. I sort of settled myself in and the guy helped me pretty quickly. In true Haitian fashion several people came around to try and jockey for position. The ground beef grabber showed up and just walked up to the counter and said, “Monsieur! Mwen vle….” and just shouted off her list. Like he should drop everything right then and there and hop to it. He looked at her exasperated and kept working on my stuff. There were a couple of nuns there doing something similar. Then another older woman with clown style blush and bright lipstick came and did the same thing as the ground beef grabber. Seriously. Laughing inside, being polite on the outside. I think I was the only one not yelling at the deli guys, and the speed that they processed my stuff makes me think they appreciated it.
Yesterday was one of the few days that we had enough time to do some stuff that takes time. We went and looked at water tanks, solar hot water heaters, doors and tiles for the apartment. We have some pretty good ideas about things now. It’s exciting to be looking at that stuff, I have to admit.
A big thing happened the other day. Chris decided he was tired of paying for diesel for the generator so he got some jumper cables and jimmy rigged the solar panels to the batteries and now we are off the grid. Well, the Haiti grid, which means not being reliant on a generator. We’ll hook everything up properly when we get the controllers, but it’s working! Almost a year of working on that thing and now it’s paying off. Very exciting. We’ve run the generator for 15 minutes in the last two days – just long enough to fill the water tank. But then the pipes for the pump started leaking. So now we have no water in the house until later when Chris and Evens can get it fixed. It’s amazing how this kind of thing, and how we deal with it, changes over time. It’s like we’ve learned to slot things in order of importance and deal with them that way. Last night the thing that was most important to focus on was whether we were having family here for Christmas. No water in the house? Whatever. Pump a bucket and deal. One of the other missionaries was telling me that someone once commented that living in Haiti is sometimes like camping. I was thinking about that last night as I was scooping water out of a bucket and pouring it on my toothbrush.
Today I think we’ll be going to visit some friends, as we had planned to do. Tomorrow we may go up to Canaan, the orphange up the road, to hang out for a few hours. They’ve got Christmas programs etc going on and it’ll be nice to spend some time with friends while we wait for the fam to arrive.
I just wanted to update all of you on the status of the trip as I know many of you were/are praying for safe arrival and luggage and all that. Keep praying. Say a thanks that everything has worked out the way it has and that we still get to celebrate Boxmas together.