I am now back in Haiti after a FULL 2 weeks in the US with a FULL range of emotions. Since my last trip to the US was unexpectedly long, this one felt like it went by very quickly; I was running around a lot trying to make sure I got to see as many friends and family members as I could. My time at home was sweet and refreshing, though exhausting at the same time. Adjusting back to my fast pace in the US really took some energy out of me! But while there I made sure that I took lots of hot showers, sat in lots of AC, and ate lots of Mexican food!
Both times that I’ve been home so far, I’ve been forced to stop and reflect on how I am really doing, what I’ve learned, and in what ways I’ve grown so far in Haiti. Both times it has been a really good opportunity for me to take a step back and process, especially because I am a verbal processor and catching up with people means answering questions about my life. When I went home in December, I was elated about the way my first few months went. In every way it was better than I could have ever dreamed or imagined. Everything was new and exciting, and yet I knew a day would come when things would get harder, because well, that’s life, especially in a developing country. I was right about that, because the past 3 months have been more difficult. Though I have loved getting into the rhythm of a routine, with that comes monotony; this is something I haven’t had a lot of until now. In college, there was always a new semester, a new trip, or a new internship just around the corner; now, I am getting used to the adult life of settling into a job and a home and as each day passes, the excitement of something new wears off a little more. Though I have loved the challenge of living a simpler life, with that comes, well, a challenge (I.E. less things to distract me or to fill my time and space.) Though I have loved living in Haiti, with that comes the many adjustments- no constant refrigeration, no AC, new language and culture, and many other things. Being home this time made me realize that this time has been more difficult than I have let myself admit. There was a mix of emotions as I felt like I wanted more time at home with the people I love, yet I missed what now feels like home in Haiti.
Recently, it has been pointed out to me several times that I have been really committed to staying in touch with my people in the U.S and that it is rare, being both post-grad and now an ex-pat. I think that might be what makes this whole thing a little harder, while also making it a lot easier. When I go home, I have a lot of people there. I get to do a lot of catching up, I get filled up with needed conversations, and I get cared for and loved on. When I’m back in Haiti, I talk to some people regularly enough that they get a basis for what’s going on in my life and I get the same from them. With that comes not always being as present as I could be here. And with all of this also comes the missing people and important events. I’ve already missed my Young Life girls’ graduation, am going to miss a friend’s wedding this summer, and miss several events, birthdays, and holidays that I wish I could be there for.
I think this is going to be a balancing act for the remainder of my time in Haiti, however long that ends up being. Still, I am thankful I have a job that I can do remotely for periods of time, and that a flight to the U.S. is not too far or expensive so that I can continue the balancing, the holding of my two worlds, each so different yet so precious to me.
The group facilitation training, Zenergy, that I went to in North Carolina was so great. It was a small group and everything was about experiential learning and getting lots of positive and constructive feedback. I learned a ton about ways to integrate the whole person into group discussions, the power of collective intelligence, and about my own strengths and weaknesses. Collective intelligence involves listening intently to those you are working with, paying attention to your surroundings, and letting those things lead you to your answers together. I have already integrated the experience into my work at 2nd Story Goods and am thinking a lot about how to spread it throughout the company. I am really looking forward to when Liam, the friend who gave me the scholarship to attend the training and one of Zenergy’s coaches as well as the founder of its sister organizational culture company (the Zone), comes to Haiti in the fall to work with us. I think it will be a game-changer for our organization and I am so excited to have some background to what the work will be about so I can help implement it and keep it going when he leaves.
On the next blog, I will share more about my two precious worlds colliding when my friend Callie came back to Haiti with me and about my transition back here. But for now, I have a ton of work to do now that I am finally back at my desk all day long and I’m honestly pretty excited about it. I guess that’s how you know you’re in the right job 🙂