Arrived!

Yes, the Rolling family has arrived back in Haiti. We may be hot, sweaty and tired, but we’re here. And it feels good.

We arrived at the airport yesterday with enough time to check in our 7 bags. We knew we were going to be time consuming when the ticket agent closed the line after us :) $240 later for luggage fees (did you know a third bag with American Airlines costs $150? Yeah, neither did we.) The guy was really good though and let us check 10lbs extra between several bags using the excuse that we’d already paid that $150. That was nice.

When we got to security an airport worker sent us into our own line so we didn’t have the push from behind to hurry, hurry, hurry. That was nice too. Our flight to LA was uneventful. When we arrived we found out that getting to our next gate was no easy feat and after a missed shuttle (because the driver took off even though a staffer was on the radio saying wait because we were just getting out of the elevator…) and some good fresh air we got where we were going and found out that our flight was delayed going into Miami. It gave us more time to get dinner and get ourselves adjusted. We were able to check our carry on’s all the way to Port, for free, so that was nice too.

We arrived in Miami and got on our next flight to Port and then sat on the tarmac for about 45 minutes. That wasn’t so fun considering that some of us (ahem, me) got zero sleep on the red eye to Miami because I had a sweaty little person on my chest. They cited rain and waiting in line the first time, and then that there was a problem with the baggage count. Chris may have made some crack about it probably being our fault for that one extra bag. That wasn’t really funny but I think I laughed. I was sleep deprived, what can I say?

We eventually landed in Port, only about an hour late. Olivia slept the whole way in, including landing, then woke up and said, “Is this Haiti?” and when we confirmed, she got a big grin on her face. She’s an amazing flyer, for the record. Not a problem.

This was how Olivia spent most of the night.

I'm pretty sure she could fit into a carry on. I'm not sure I've ever seen anyone do this before and have to admit I was jealous.

We decided that we would go slow and steady through the PAP airport. We were some of the last people off the plane, some of the last on the shuttle, got through Immigration without issue, and miraculously found all our bags in short order. They had already been off loaded to the bag overflow so Chris was able to go in and grab them over several trips and all was good. We were a bit worried about having so much luggage and not many hands but we got all of it on the carts and made it out to Bryan without anything falling off or anyone (mainly Olivia) being run over. We were in the van before we knew it and Bryan was sweet enough to have brought snacks and very cold water for us, which was SO appreciated.

And an hour or so later we pulled up to our gate where there where streamers flying. Kelly and the boys had gone crazy with welcome home signs and notes. It was really sweet. Yonese was finishing up her day in our house when we got in and I was welcomed with a HUGE hug from her which was enough to almost make me cry. She was gushing over Alex and when she saw Olivia she scooped her up into the biggest hug and I watched my girl just grin from ear to ear from being in Yoneses arms. Yonese had spent the week cleaning our house from top to bottom. I mean TOP, to BOTTOM. She washed clothes that had been hanging in the closet. The beds were all stripped and everything washed, even pillows. The house was gleaming and she just said, “It wasn’t enough time to do everything”. :) I love that woman.

When I walked into our house I was hit with how spacious it felt, and how bright it is. It’s funny that I still feel that way. I know when we’re here all the time it doesn’t feel that big, but as I walked through and looked around I was just struck with the fact that this is home. Our home. Our home filled with luggage.

250 lbs of the bags...

...and, the rest. Except the two carry ons that had already made their way to the bedroom.

It’s less neat now. Now there are open bags all over with foot paths. I basically pulled out what we needed for today, made some beds, and called it done for now. Tomorrow is for unpacking. I’m feeling overwhelmed, but I know I just need to whittle away at it. The biggest part of it is that before I can put stuff away I need to do some sorting and reorganizing in closets and storage rooms and cupboards. It’s just a side effect of not being here and having someone else living in our space and someone else doing the cleaning and putting away. Kelly called it “reclaiming”. It fits. And I’ll do it little by little. I will find places to put everything! :)

And now it’s time for bed I think. Even though it’s not even 8pm here…

Thanks for all the prayers!

~Leslie

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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.

8 thoughts on “Arrived!

  1. Yay for being back home in Haiti as a family of 4!! I can’t believe that an extra bag was $150 – that is crazy! Good luck with the “reclaiming” of your house and finding spaces for all the stuff you brought back.

    Looking forward to seeing more photos of Alex and Olivia… I’m sure he is changing so much every day. Enjoy showing off your gorgeous son with all your friends in Haiti!

  2. So happy and relieved to hear that you all arrived safely with luggage intact! What a accomplishment to be able to maneuver through the PAP airport as it can be most challenging at the best of times. And what a little “trooper” Olivia was!
    Yonese is such a blessing to you – HUGE HUGS to her from us in Canada!
    What a nice welcome back home for you all!
    Hugs, Mom (Nanna)Lockhart

  3. I’m almost breathing a ‘sigh’ with you!

    So glad and thankful for your smooth travels. Take good care and God bless.

    HUGS

  4. Welcome home!
    Olivia is certainly a great traveler, I am glad your flights were relatively uneventful.
    In 2003 a third bag at American was $100 USD.
    Did I read that correctly, you now have shuttles at the PAP airport?

  5. Iove keeping up with you! Welcome “home”! You folks and your exploits have become part of my life. God Bless!

  6. So glad you made it there safely, and that Irene had the courtesy to get out of your way so you could. What a nice homecoming! And I bet Olivia will enjoy playing with Kelly’s boys in her own yard. Say hi to Yonese for me —

  7. Yeah for you! We also hit bed early after returning. 7:30 for us and you traveled much farther and with smaller kids. Praying for you and the family as you readjust and reclaim. Blessings

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