Sunday, July 22 (posted after it was written, since I don't have constant internet; this will be common for some of my posts now)
Sorry guys! As soon as family vacation started, I was too distracted by fun and great adventures to blog. To make a long story short, my cousin Laura and I had an awesome time in Paris for 5 days, then the Oslo wedding was incredible and beautiful (plus an exciting jump off the boat into the fjord!), and it was wonderful to be with a big Rekedal/Bjordal clan again, then a week in the south of Spain was really fantastic! Lots of beach time - I swam a few times in the Mediterranean, once in the Atlantic (when we went to Tarifa, the southern-most tip of Spain), and spent the rest of the time on the sandy beaches, in the pool, or eating tapas with great sangria. That was the life! We got to explore a great number of cities and towns nearby, too - Almayate, Malaga, Granada (+Alhambra!), Tarifa, Marbella (sp?), Frigiliante (sp??), and other places. All in all, QUITE a vacation!
Anyway, as you see in this post's title, IT'S GO TIME!!! I'm sitting on my first of two flights to Haiti as I write this! AHH so crazy!! I got back to the states on Monday night, and here I am, off on my way once again. I spent most of this week running around trying to find everything I need and everything I was asked by Olive Tree Projects to bring with me... I'd say I was mostly successful! I got all the vital stuff taken care of, anyway. An unsavory highlight would be spraying all my clothes with smelly/toxic permethrin in preparation for anti-mosquito needs. I also had to do some hunting around for tinctures and things that a midwife requested I pick up - I found almost everything, so I hope that works out!
One thing I have already learned about myself this trip: I SHOULD NOT BOOK EARLY MORNING FLIGHTS. :P My flight from Boston is a 6:40am departure, so I had ordered a taxi for 4:45 this morning. That was doomed to fail... but somehow it didn't! I woke up to my 4am alarms, but somehow didn't make it far enough into consciousness to actually get up. Luckily, SOMEHOW, I found myself waking up at 4:37! I got ready SO fast, and caught my taxi no problem! I noticed the time just after we started driving away - 4:46. WINNER. So far I have yet to realize I forgot anything. But the point is, early mornings and travel deadlines are a potentially deadly combination and I should avoid them at all costs. Plus I feel super tired and sleep-deprive-y.
Ok - now I'm in Miami at my layover before my second/final flight to Port Au Prince!! The man sitting behind me on my flight from Boston was totally speaking Creole - I caught a few words! Super excited/nervous/having butterflies!!
I'm not sure what to write about right now - my head is such a sleepy excited mess of thoughts and feelings and butterflies flying all over the place... but I feel like this is the final moment and I should have something poetic or thoughtful to say. Maybe I'll figure it out on the flight over. Probably not - the excitement and nervousness is only going to increase at this point. (I'm typing strangely fast right now.)
Random tangent! My friend Jenny is in Haiti right now, and is also blogging about her experiences. I took a look at her blog and she had some more suggestions for interesting or informative books that she read before going to Haiti... so I went and bought them, to add them to my stack of books. I'm excited to read them but feel a little silly because I fell so behind on that "reading list" I had set up for myself this summer. At this point, including the 2 new books, I still have 5 books to read! Ah well, they all look great and I brought them along, so I'm sure I can find some time to continue my reading.
My self-imposed summer "reading list" in its entirety is as follows:
Haiti: After the Earthquake (Paul Farmer) - my current book
Infections and Inequalities (Paul Farmer)
Mountains Beyond Mountains (Tracy Kidder, but written about Paul Farmer)
The Rainy Season (Amy Wilentz)
The Serpent and the Rainbow (Wade Davis)
done: Cutting for Stone (Abraham Verghese)
done: Haiti: The Tumultuous History - From Pearl of the Caribbean to Broken Nation (Philippe Girard)
done: Pathologies of Power (Paul Farmer)
done: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down (Anne Fadiman)
I also have my independent study Creole books/CD to work with whenever I have some free time - I want to become able to communicate in Creole as fast as possible!
And finally, if I really need some kind of fun distraction that doesn't serve a purpose (i.e. if I need to have fun and escape any responsibilities, even those that are self-imposed)... I have the NPR Radiolab podcasts! My cousin Laura turned me onto Radiolab this summer when she visited me in Paris, and I'm HOOKED. I made sure to download all the podcasts (they're free!) before heading out on my journey.
Well, at this point, I this post is clearly just becoming me trying to convince myself that I've thought of everything and I'm super ready, but I should just turn my brain off and calm down. :)
One last thing. It's a strange group of us sitting here at the gate, waiting for the flight. At first, it was more what I would have expected... I was suddenly a minority (white girl and a lot of people who could be Haitian). But now, I look around again, and... the most prominent thing I see is a group of young men (maybe in their 20's or 30's?) wearing bright blue t-shirts that say Blessed2Bless. There are a couple of groups of typical looking white teenagers, maybe on youth group trips. Earlier, when I was one of 2 or 3 total white people sitting in this area, I felt a little weird - not because I was suddenly becoming a minority, but because the first big group of teens to arrive bee-lined for me and sat all around/by me. Chew on that. Well anyway.
All my love to family and friends! I'll have internet access at the clinic, so expect more updates for sure! SUPER PUMPED.