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As you all know, I am now in Haiti.  We all knew this was coming and now it’s here, but for some reason I lost the urge to write about it over the past couple weeks.  It was one of the most tumultuous times of my life and I just wasn’t into it.  I didn’t even take pictures during that time.  Maybe that was a sign that I should have taken the time to do it, this site was a sort of therapy for me over the 5 months that Jillian and I were apart. It probably would have been good for my psychy.

But I would be lying if I didn’t say that I am freaking out a little bit.  It started on the plane to Port-au-Prince where I was thinking about what I had done: I left a plush job, benefits, fast food, family, a comfortable place to live (thanks to my awesome roommates/parents).  All that would now be gone.

That was compounded by the fact that I was FREAKING OUT about our bags getting to Haiti without being stolen or lost.  We had such an enormous amount of stuff in them that I swear I didn’t sleep the night before because I was worried about the Wii we were checking.  Not to mention there is now a rule restricting passengers to only one carry-on, and Jillian and I both had two (fragile) carry-on bags each.  We arrived in PAP, after sneaking by the the man checking those extra carry-ons in Miami, with our bags intact and everything safe.

Now that we are settled and our bags are unpacked I can move on to freaking out about what I am going to be doing here.  I’m totally clueless with the language.  I do know how to say, “Mwen pa pale Kreyol”, which means, “I do not speak Creole.”  I also started talking to Jillian about what I was going to do the next day, and we had nothing.  This was compounded by a nervousness on Jillian’s part because her organization is going through somewhat of an upheaval.  We were a mess.

But the next day began when we were woken up by my new Creole teacher.  We didn’t expect him to come, so when he did, it was a good way to start the day.  I had my first lesson which went well but I still know less Creole than many of the infants here.  I then went on a walk to the grocery store (market) to pick up some flash cards.  Let’s just say I don’t fit in.  I was the only blanc walking around and you could tell.  People would look at me with either disgust or complete surprise.  But it was good to get out of the mission house and be with the people.  When I learn more of the language I will feel a lot more comfortable doing this than I did yesterday.

We then went to Jillian’s old co-workers house for a party with ice cream and beers.  The house overlooks all of Port-au-Prince, the view was amazing, and that’s when I realized I need to be bringing my camera with me more.  But we played Pictionary where an English speaker would be pitted against a Creole speaker, and it was hilarious.  The answers had to be in Creole, and wouldn’t you know it, on the first one I guessed the right answer!

Ok, so I am running out for 10 days to go north…I will write about it when I get back.  Please bear with me, I am trying to get settled and figure out where everything goes, but once I get into a rhythm I will have plenty of posts here.  I already have some pictures to put up, trust me.

Cheers,

Your Esteemed Author

The Cutest Video Ever! (Surprised Kitty)

If you have not seen this than prepare to melt in your seat.  There is absolutely no way you can hate cats after you see this video.

Just Hanging Out

These flowers were hanging over the pool at the Hotel Montana in Haiti.  I loved the depth in these flowers, and maybe because there isn’t really much vegetation on the streets of Port-au-Prince, these flowers made the pool that much more of an oasis.

A Floating Casket

This picture has been haunting me ever since I took it on Sunday.  It’s a grave in the National Cemetary in Port-au-Prince that had been opened.  For some reason, to think that this grave was just sitting there open with the casket floating in the water stuck with me.

The idea that there is a body in there was really creepy too, and I felt sad for the family of the person inside.  I guess it’s one of the cold realities of Haiti though, this was not the only grave that had been opened.  The worst part was that many of the other open graves were left empty.

An Artist’s Palette

On Saturday I stopped by my Aunt TJ and Uncle Chris’ house to hang out and watch TJ paint.  She is an incredible artist who has started using a new style to paint Annapolis landscapes.  I’m still going through all the pictures so I will be filing a full post soon, but I thought I would put up this picture because the colors were so beautiful.

A Lesson in Unpreparedness

Every day I work to make my life harder than it has to be.  There are a wide range of actions that I take to make this happen.  For instance, little things such as being too lazy to hang up my clothes when I get home from work result in me having to iron them later.  Those kinds of things happen every day. 

Larger things, such as forgetting to tell the state of  Virginia that Jillian and I had moved to DC, happen occasionally and require a far greater amount of work to fix.  I also like to put off doing my expense reports to the last minute, and paying late charges on parking tickets.  We could go on for days.

Well, in a scene strangely reminicint of when I got the letter explaining that Jillian and I were not married, last week I got two letters.  One was from the City of Alexandria asking why I hadn’t paid taxes this year, the other came courtesy of the Virginia DMV asking why I had not renewed the registration on my car.  The sad part is that I would have probably recieved these letters even if I had never moved.

So I went to Alexandria City Hall and, strangely, all I had to do is show them my car registration and I was all set.  Everything was going eerily well.  I jumped into my car and headed for the DMV, a place where even the smallest of tasks can take hours.  I took my camera in anticipation of a long wait.

I don’t think I have ever taken a picture that captures the essence of a moment as much as this one.  The packed bays, the red numbers, and the annoyance on this guys face sums up every DMV experience I have ever had.  Way to go Frank!

But I waited for 45 minutes to speak with the DMV woman at the desk for 45 seconds, and again everything was fixed with a flash of my DC registration.  This was not a good lesson for me.  A situation where I was required to reinspect my car in Richmond before everything was fixed would have taught me to be a little more proactive.  Unfortunately, today I learned nothing, except that there are WAY too many choices for vanity plates.

I personally would go with “Horse Enthusiast”.

Golden Chalice

Chalice

Well, not exactly golden.  This is a candle holder at Columbia Firehouse.  This restaurant had a real warmth to it, which kinda makes you want to stay there forever.  But then you eat too much and you can’t sit straight, but it’s totally worth it.