Abroad

Yesterday I walked on the ground of two countries. Yesterday I visited 3 states. When I got up in the morning it was sunny and warm and tropical and when I went to bed it was cool and dark and snowy.

I didn’t share in advance, but my “fun stuff” this week is that I’m in Missouri because I get to stand up as a bridesmaid for two very special people on Saturday. Bobi and Marcus are getting married! Bobi came to Haiti last summer, only planning on being there for a few months, and then decided to stay. Marcus came to Haiti this summer planning on being there until next summer, but then he hooked up with Bobi and now they’re getting married. *Grin* Bobi and I just clicked early on in our friendship and I feel really privileged to be part of their special day. I’m sad that Chris and Liv can’t be here with me though, because that would just be the most fun.

I can see that getting to be here for the wedding is God’s good timing for me too. I needed to take a break, to have some distance from Haiti, to take a breather. That’s a healthy thing, and already, even after only 24 hours away I feel “better”. I needed to be able to breathe a bit, to be able to relax and not feel on edge all the time, to be in what is my “normal” for a bit. I just feel like all I’ve been doing is thinking, thinking, thinking about everything all the time. That’s emotionally wearing. I don’t know that I’ll feel “ready” to go back to Haiti next week, but I can already see that I’ll have a better headspace with things.

The trip was fun. Elsie, another friend from Haiti, and fellow bridesmaid, and I had the same flight out of Haiti, but she was able to change her ticket in Port so we could travel the whole way together, rather than having different connections to get to the same place. The woman at the AA desk was so helpful and friendly. That was really nice. The really exciting thing though was that when we went to board the flight we went up an escalator. An escalator that was working. And, there was a second one, also working. In the same airport. I had only ever seen one escalator before in Haiti at Valerio Canez, but it wasn’t working, just sitting there like a normal set of stairs. When we got upstairs we found ourselves in the new catwalk area of the airport that they’ve been building for the last year, and we walked by the soon to be open new AA boarding lounge, and it was NICE. Then, get this, we walked down a JET WAY. No more walking across the tarmac to the plane. Not that that was bad. I kind of thought it added to the whole exoticness of Haiti. I was so pleasantly surprised by all these advancements that I almost fell over. If we would have had cameras handy, you would be seeing pictures. After a couple of weeks of feeling discouraged about a lot of things in this crazy life of ours, I was encouraged to see good things going on in the country, things that will hopefully help it move forward. People always ask us if we see the country developing, and the answer is yes, but it’s not it big bang noticeable ways. It’s in small ways like jet ways and escalators. And personally, I think those small things are the better way to go if you want long term change.

We had a fun day of traveling. We provided entertainment for everyone in our surrounding area on our flight to Dallas when I got really excited about the Christmas cans of Coca Cola. I know I’ve mentioned before that Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year, so to be where there are Christmassy things is exciting. The flight attendant thought that it was so funny that Elsie and I specifically asked for the Christmas can of Coke that she went and found not one, but two cans for us, and told me I’d better cherish mine or else. It’s in my purse and before it gets consumed prior to the return trip it may appear in various places over the next week in the gnome that traveled the world fashion. Maybe.

I have to be honest, I got giddy when we landed in Kansas City last night and there was SNOW everywhere. I know many of you think that we are super fortunate to spend the winter months in the Caribbean, and heck we do too because that’s the cool time of the year there, but as far as I’m concerned there is nothing better than being surrounded by the white stuff in the month of December. Christmas doesn’t feel like Christmas for me without it. I’ve just always had it and that’s what my brain and heart click with. I mean, aside from the birth of Jesus. It just makes me feel more quiet and reflective. It makes me feel like we have to slow down and think more about what’s going on around us. I know that’s not the case for everyone, but that’s how I feel. And this week, I’m going to enjoy having cold feet and wearing layers and a scarf and gloves. Am I ever going to love it.

Today is a fun day. There will be shopping because we all have Walmart lists that need to be attacked. Every missionary in Haiti will probably tell you the same thing. When you go back to the first world there is “the list” and you take a day or two and attack “the list” with force. And if there is any room left in your bags after “the list” has been taken care of then you fill it with the really fun stuff. I’m so thankful for online shopping because “the list” can be attacked from the comfort of my desk in Haiti, then all I need to do is unpack it when I get to my destination, and then go and finish off the list of things that weren’t ordered, which this time around isn’t that many. There will be a haircut today, which is exciting. First time in a year where I haven’t done it myself. I always have to explain to the hairdresser why my hair looks like it does. “You’re going to look at it and wonder who cut it. Well, it was me. Because that’s the option I have. And I can’t see the back of my head. So. Well. There.” I think there might be lunch out and maybe some coffee consumed and well, just enjoying friendship.

One thing that is really FUN is that we get to hang out together away from Haiti. It was fun to see Bobi and Marcus at the airport last night and for all of us to look at each other and know that we had never seen each other in that many layers of clothing. Except Elsie. Because there’s this other thing that happens when you live in a warm climate for a very long time. You sometimes forget that when you travel from said warm climate to cold climates, often unplanned, that you will need cold climate clothes. And when you forget that you often fill up that precious luggage space with everything but cold climate clothes, because you live in a warm climate and don’t need them. Then your friends go and get married, in December, in Missouri. So then you wear sandals and capris and know that you will probably be buying a pair of pants during the Walmart trip the next day. Unless you like wearing sandals and capri’s in the snow.

Sometimes you hang out with people in Haiti because they are your only social outlet. Chris and I have been really blessed in the last couple of years to make more friends, people that are thinking long term, and people that we truly like being around. I love that I get to spend time with some of those people this week, away from all things Haiti. In the few hours last night that we had to catch up on things I was just so reminded of the fact that we are bonded beyond Haiti. It’s going to be so fun to be together and to see those things in our personalities that don’t come out there. Chris and I realized after we got married that we had whole other selves that were sort of our “first world selves” and I often commented on the fact that I thought there was no way that we would have ever been interested in each other had we met in Canada or the US. We just didn’t have similar interests or life stuff going on. But God knew what we each needed and brought us together in Haiti and that combination is fabulous and crazy and beautiful and hard. I see the same thing in my friendships with some of our Haiti peeps. Would we have met or liked each other under different circumstances? I don’t know. But, we like each other now and those are deep genuine bonds and I feel so blessed by that. I’m looking forward to a fun week.

As a nice little bow on the package that we’re calling today’s blog post from abroad I would love it if you would keep our family in prayer. It’s hard that we can’t travel together because of Liv’s adoption. I know that Chris and Olivia would LOVE to be here with me and I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to have them here too. Oliva and Bobi have this crazy special bond and they miss each other when they are apart. I know Chris misses me a lot when I’m gone and vice versa. Pray that he and Liv have a good, fun week together. Please pray too that things are quiet for them. It was hard for me to think about being separated from them after a couple hard weeks, but I know that God has us in his hand. Sometimes we just need to feel that peace to be able to relax in that big palm of his.

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About Leslie

I'm Leslie. Wife. Mother. Missionary. In the day to day my husband and I are responsible for running Clean Water for Haiti, a humanitarian mission that builds and distributes water filters to Haitian families. Living in Haiti full time provides lots of stories, and as I tell my husband, our grandkids probably won't believe most of them. Maybe writing them down will give me some credibility.

4 thoughts on “Abroad

  1. Welcome to Winter Wonderland in N.America!
    Enjoy ~ the SNOW, the sights and smells of Christmas, that Christmas Capiccino that you’re dying to have , shopping in Walmart (most definately!) , the carols played in the stores, the wedding celebration and visiting with great friends!
    We’re sad too that Chris and Liv weren’t able to travel but praying that her adoption will come thru very soon, and that Chris & Liv will have a safe and quiet week at the mission.
    Have a safe and enjoyable break,
    Love Mom Lockhart

  2. Leslie,
    I hope you enjoy your time away from Haiti and also enjoy being with friends. Enjoy the snow (but keep it down there — we so far are snow free here in the lower mainland and I’d like to keep it that way till I’m off for Christmas vacation!)

    It was fun today to catch up on your blog as we’ve been without internet or a computer since Ronel came home and finally are back online with a new laptop.

    lots of Christmas wishes for you, Chris & Olivia

  3. What a special letter and reality doses of life you have shared. Thank you.
    Just got in from shoveling the 14 inches of snow that fell and reminded that it
    is truly beautiful and a gift indeed.
    Have a wonderful and blessed time here. Keeping all in prayer.
    Lori

  4. Thanks for the reminder for those of us living in the states that snow should be considered a blessing for a white Christmas. Not a reason to grumble and moan always. :) I love playing in it but think I was meant for those tropical climates too! lol If there was a way to ‘freeze’ mail I’d send Olivia a snowball for Christmas. ♥

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