"How was Haiti?"

By: Katie Quartucci

So, what now? you ask.  How was your trip?  How was Haiti? You went back?  Did you love it?  I’m so glad you’re back.  How was Dieuberlande? I missed you so much!  We have to get together! When can we sit down so you can tell me ALL ABOUT HAITI?  I can’t wait to read about it.

Depending on who you are (and how you ask) determines how I answer.  Some get a solid, “It was 2 days too long and HOT, but it was good.  Thank you for asking!”  Others receive the twenty-minute fumbling of thoughts rolling out of my brain as I try to sort out the “why’s”, the “how in the world’s”, and the other information that has to be expressed to fulfill my commitment to share.

Now, after two months of being home, I can, (hopefully), form a more cohesive thought that will give you a better understanding of how Haiti was and answer the what now? About 2/3 of the way into the trip, I found myself floating like a red balloon.  I felt myself slipping away into the abyss of “I KNOW TOO MUCH AND I WILL NEVER EVER KNOW ENOUGH” no more, no thank you, none, can’t, I will not complete this trip in one emotional piece, nope. In an attempt to anchor myself to the figurative ground, I felt myself reach down from floating to push play on some music that would (hopefully) help ground me. I texted with my husband and a couple of my anchoring besties and surprise! I did not float away.  I survived. I made it home to the desired (but now somehow annoying) reality of “what’s for dinner”? and alarm clocks, but neither were sending me to figure out how to help the trauma of tragedy get through another day. Coming home and realizing the real reasons I dreaded going on this trip was my least favorite pill to swallow.

You see, now I realize that before I left, I had settled into knowing myself.  I knew when to expect that haunting feeling of not fitting in; and where I truly felt belonging.  Coming back, I was home where I belonged, but I didn’t quite fit in the same space I had left.  Now, the people I loved the most would have to figure out how to shift with me…and that can be tough.  We have already endured this very thing after previous trips. I was determined to reenter on purpose this time.  So, I purposefully decided to not only feel the pull into the depths, but also feel the warmth of the sun drawing my eyes back up.

I wake up grateful for my bed and running, clean water.  I make myself acknowledge the safety of having a family filled to the brim with potential, planted fiercely in love and faithfulness to each other.  I can rest easy knowing that there is room to mess up and still be adored. I do, however, have to communicate WHY steam came out of my ears when that last comment about “this is ALLLL that’s for breakfast?” creeped out of the little one’s mouth.  I get to share with my preteen that I feel out of place too and how I manage those feelings.  I’m forced to allow my husband to support me by actually telling him, out loud, what’s in my head.

You have to know that Haiti brings a knowing and growth into my world that stretches well beyond the time out of country and hands on learning.  It permeates throughout every single everything that makes me up, and I will, once again, forever be changed.

That is how Haiti was.  This is, the what now.