Saturday, December 30, 2006
This picture was actually taken just a couple weeks ago, but at least I'm posting something. I also caught a couple of Kalin with Joy, her mother and my sister. I found it slightly amusing that they have the same type of look on their face in both photos.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
I'm home now meeting my adorable niece, Kalin Joy. I'll post a picture once I find my camera cable.
This trip is also vacation. For the last two days I've taken walks with my mom. Tonight I noticed some striking resemblances to Haiti--
Okay, so the road was flat with no pot holes, the dogs were friendly pets and the gun shots were from a shooting range (did I mention this is in Michagan, home of the infamous Michigan militia?)....it's amazing how things can be so similar, but strikingly different.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
I set up a meeting; the contact between Org Y and Org Z was made. In the meeting it was decided that Org Z would finance the event. Fantastic! I felt great. Because I helped facilitate, the Director of Org Y offered me tickets to the concert that would be held on the final night of the event. Since I had 2 friends visiting from the States and 2 other mutual friends that were all hanging out together for this past weekend, I asked for 5 tickets which I received for free.
The evening came and went. It was a very nice time. Everyone enjoyed it....I thought. The next day, one of my friends who lives here in Haiti was very upset with me because I hadn't let her pay for the tickets. She felt I was trying to show her up. She said that she has money and she could have paid for her own ticket and everyone else’s'. Of course, there's a lot more to this little conflict, but this is the relevant part to this story. The thing is that I didn't pay for the tickets! I was given them for free, but she wasn't willing to listen to my explanation.
On Monday, I received a phone call from the director of Org Y. Apparently, Org Z has failed to come through on paying for the event and she was wondering if I could do anything. What is it about money and Haiti.....makes me want to not get out of bed in the morning. Maybe I'll just move to the beach, set up a little subsistence garden and live happily by the sea until a hurricane comes.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
So, here it is from a few weeks ago...
Adventures in America
I’ve found that my life over the past few years has been a story about moving. Moving myself from place to place and moving my Stuff from place to place, although often not the same place that I move myself. The most recent moving episode is transporting my Stuff from Lexington to Memphis while I remain living in Haiti. The funny part is that eventually my Stuff (taking on it’s own life) will end up in Washington State while I still live in Haiti. So, while I have never lived in Tennessee or Washington, my Stuff will have resided both places. (This is because my Stuff now lives with my brother who moves around with the Navy.)
This week I found myself driving a U-Haul truck for seven hours across Kentucky and Tennessee. The U-Haul people first made me pay nearly an arm and a leg for ME (and a few very faithful friends!) to load, drive and unload my own belongings and then the U-Haul people tried to scare me from inside the cab of the truck with warning signs posted everywhere. “SPEED KILLS!” “Watch out for low overhangs!” “Wear your seatbelt—SPEED KILLS!” I didn’t hit any overhangs and I went slow enough to be passed by just about every vehicle on the road. So, congratulations to me for driving an overpriced U-Haul truck for seven hours to Tennessee, a place I’ll probably never live in, but my stuff will.
This newest adventure was part of my semi-annual-moving-about-the-US vacation. This isn’t intentional it’s just that all my friends and family have conspired against me to live as far apart as possible. Okay, so I’m partly to blame by choosing to live outside the US all together. So far, I’ve hit Florida, Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Illinois although the first two and the last were just the airports. By the time I’m done I’ll add Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York to the list.
This morning my brother dropped me off at 6 am at the Memphis airport, I checked my bags curbside and I proceeded to the gate—C13. I walked down the C corridor and came to a split. To the left was C1to C12 to the right C14 to C 22. No C 13! A cruel joke? The newest version of airport hell? Wandering around looking for your gate and never finding it? I re-examined my ticket. Hidden in an obscure corner of the ticket C22 was listed as the gate. So, I hadn’t had my coffee yet….
Once on board, there were tons of seats, so I plopped myself down in an empty seat, which happened to be in the exit row. There are several good things about exit rows. First, you have lots of leg room and…. well, you have lots of leg room. There is a drawback in the fact that you might be held responsible for getting people out of the plane alive, but really, the benefit of extra leg room far outweighs that possibility. I hope. (Just don’t think about it while typing your blog from 25,000 feet while sitting in the exit row.)
I did, however, discover another small issue with sitting in the exit row. It’s called the faulty, oh-so-inadequate window shade. This was especially obvious when the 7 a.m. sun was shining so brightly. Unlike most window shades that pull down, the exit row shade pulls up and then only half way. This renders the shade practically useless unless one is trying to block out views of terra firma (which is generally obscured by clouds anyway) or the plane happens to be flying above the sun (somehow this seems unlikely). Ah, the joys of travel!
Thursday, June 01, 2006
Hey, Baby, got a chicken bone?
Okay, so my life isn’t quite as exciting as it used to be in
After sitting on my backside for the past nine months reading thousands of pages and typing zillion page papers for grad school, I thought a little exercise would do me good. I started walking a three and a half mile route and much to my chagrin, I am the object of catcalls and horn honks every time I venture out. My sister says I get their attention because I’ve got “junk in my trunk”, since most of the attentions stems from local minorities who happen to appreciate women’s backsides. The other day a car was pulling out of a driveway as I was about to cross. The driver let me cross, then out his window said, “Baby, I don’t know why you’re doing that. You don’t need to walk.” I gave him a funny look, and then he drove off. Now, does that mean a) You don’t need to walk. I could give you a ride. b) Why don’t you ride the bus? It goes right by here. Or c) (my personal favorite) Baby, you’re body is so hot you don’t need to exercise!
Today I went to a plasma lab to try and sell some of the stuff running through my veins. I thought I could make enough cash to at least pay for gas this weekend when I go to visit
After having my plasma rejected, I stopped at Office Depot to send a fax. I locked my keys in my car a few weeks ago (one of those bright moments I had) and I needed to send a fax to my motor club to get a reimbursement. Getting out of the car I noticed a stick stuck in the crevice between the windshield and the hood of the car. I pulled it out and noticed something on the passenger side, too. I walked around the car and saw not a stick, but a chicken bone! Someone had eaten a spicy-barbequed chicken leg and somehow the bone ended up on my car! That’s never happened to me even in crazy-never-know-what’s-going-to-happen-next
Those are my stories for now. I am having a great summer sleeping in until 10 everyday and lazily reading or sitting by the pool. Not working regularly does make the money issue a bit difficult, but I’m learning to trust God for EVERYTHING and just enjoy where I am at the moment. Life really is good when you’re content with where you are.
Life is a wonderful adventure!
Thursday, May 25, 2006
This is my last week at the old job. Today the office gave me a good bye lunch. They announced on Monday they would do it today, so around lunch time I was famished. My boss went down to check on progress in the kitchen and they told him they decided to do it tomorrow when he wouldn't be here! He thought someone might have just been pulling his leg, so he had me call down. They said it wouldn't be ready until 2:30!! (So, really, the cooks hold all the power in this office!) I'd been smelling delicious food cooking all morning and there was no way I could wait another hour and a half, so my boss and I went out for burgers (Delice Burgers, for those of you who know them!). We came back to the office and around 3 the food was finally ready. Both of us were still full from burgers and fries, but to be funny, by boss served me the first heaping plate of food and he just served himself dessert. So, there I was stuck with a second lunch. There wasn't anyway I couldn't be nice and eat some so I choked down have the plate.
I'm slightly sad to be leaving this office, but am really looking forward to starting the new job Monday. I even get a new car to drive! Ah, the perks!
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
The whole knocking-the-teeth-loose experience enabled me to to visit the dentist! I got a recommendation from someone else that knocked their teeth lose and went to see the cutest doctor I've met. So, the experience has had its upside! The office is also very nice with computorized x-rays, blue walls, classical music and a digital wall clock. I mention the clock because just yesterday when I was in for my fourth check-up with the cute dentist I noticed the date on the clock-- 5-22-- and thought to myself," Hmm, only 7 more months until I'm 30." Just the kind of experience I like to have-- sitting in a dentist's office, wondering if I'll need a root canal and thinking about my age!
Thursday, March 09, 2006
So far, I've received wall calenders from a bank, a tire store, a coffee project, a cell phone company and my own office administration. These don't include the ones I received from my own grandmother and my organization's headquarters in the States. I also have a desk calender from the above mentioned bank. It's early March and they are still rolling in. Maybe by the end of the year I'll have a nice collection- to do what with, I'm not sure. If nothing else, I definately don't have an excuse for not knowing what day it is!
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Life in the
We landed at a small airport in Barahona. The place seemed new, but deserted. Turns out that the Dominican authorities moved the customs office to Barahona in an attempt to get more business there and to force air companies out of the airport in
I’ll be here in
In the meantime, it’s nice to escape
Thursday, February 16, 2006
I do have a great sense of relief that this crisis is over. I was getting tired of being stuck in my house and counting supplies to make sure we had enough to last how ever long we might need them. Two sacks of rice, check. Fifteen gallons of drinking water, check. Matches and toilet paper, check. It gets tiring really fast! There are other little questions that nag on the mind, too, such as will I have enough minutes on my cell phone? Can I buy more and where since all the stores are closed? (Since all minutes are prepaid) If I have to evacuate what will I take?
But for now, I'm back at work and things appear to be getting back to Haitian normal. There's already word that some people aren't happy with the way the election was decided, but there's always people who aren't going to be happy. Let's hope they don't cause too much of a ruckus so that Preval can establish his government and bring some stability and security to this country.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Near my house is a major intersection which was barricaded with random bits of whatever was available-- campaign signs, car frames, tree branches. It's interesting until you realize that you are standing around watching people watching other people. Many demonstrations here are done out of sheer boredom or the fact that someone is paying for it to happen.
Other demonstration areas were a bit more exciting including the debacle at the Montana Hotel. The Montana is usually considered to be a reprieve from the chaos, but not this past Monday. Crowds of people pushed their way in, were running around the hotel, jumping in the pool and otherwise causing chaos. The humorous part for me is that Desmond Tutu happened to be staying there as well as most of the international press and other significant VIPs. Some were air lifted off the roof, but Desmond apparently stuck it out in his room. Welcome to Haiti.
Things got really interesting last night (Tues, Feb 14) when television cameras filmed people in the city dump holding up ballots alleged to have been tossed out. Of course, the ballots they found were votes for Preval, who is leading the polls, but doesn't have the majority of votes to avoid a run-off election. There are two possibilities- first, the ballots are valid and were in fact thrown out or second, they were extra ballots that weren't used at the polling stations, had been thrown out and someone decided to mark them and call them real. Both scenarios are entirely plausible. The second is likely because there were hundreds of unused ballots left over that had been signed by the election workers (they were required to do so before the voting began). The deciding factor will be if the ballots had been folded in four, which they were supposed to be and in fact had to be in order to fit in the ballot boxes. In any case, the whole situation has caused an uproar and simply added to the chaos.
Surprisingly, there is less tension and fewer demonstrators on the streets today. On Monday and Tuesday they demonstrated because the final results hadn't been posted yet and there were accusations of 'magouy' (scheming, twisting) the election results. There were even announcements of candidates contesting the results before final results have even been posted!
At any rate, things are likely to become more interesting as time goes on. It looks like chaos, confusion and personal interests will continue to be major players in Haiti's near future. If you don't hear from me for a few days it's likely that I'm busy sitting in my house waiting out the chaos!
Thursday, February 09, 2006
I spent February 7 knitting and playing x-Box. I did make it to the pool to sip a fruit punch, too. Admittedly, these probably aren't normal Election Day activities. Other people were voting to change the direction of their country. Since I wasn't eligible to vote anyway, I don't feel guilty.
Despite the gross unorganization of the elections, here are a few positives that I heard from first hand observers or saw for myself:
1. A few policemen put on their uniforms and patrolled the streets and election areas even though they weren't required to work. They were able to bring order to more than one line of waiting voters and helped ease tensions amongst the impatient.
2. The director of a school acted as a responsible citizen by posting signs for voting booths to smooth organizational problems and by using his own diesel to run a generator so that there would be light for voters and election workers.
3. As has already been widely reported, there was a massive turnout from all social classes. Some of my friends were amazed that so many upper class people took the time to stand in line with everyone else to have their vote counted.
All of these examples remind me that it is the action of individuals that can make a positive difference. We each have choices to make everyday on which actions we will take.
Now for the cynical part....
"Pa enkiet' ou. Yo pral tou'l kand menm." There are people who want Preval and others who don't. Yesterday I overheard the previous quote from someone who was telling her mother not to worry. "If Preval is president, they'll probably kill him anyway." Unfortunately, with
Monday, February 06, 2006
It's the crazy events like this that have pushed me to start this blog (and a little prodding from Bridget- credit where credit is due!). I hope you'll come back often and check in on the happenings that make my life exciting to live. Until then....