My primary source of frustration this past week has not really been an ongoing lack of sleep, or digestive troubles or seeing the misery and garbage of the Haitian 3rd world reality. Rather, I am annoyed to find it so difficult to talk about and share any of this unique experience with anyone. The Haitians could potentially relate to one half of my pain, and the Western mind to the other half… leaving that all important personal space in-between unaddressed. Be it for my best friend or a stranger on the street, it’s obvious to me that I can never, and I mean Never, do this experience justice via the words that I write here.
Yet write I must, and will.
You see, my primary discomfort during my time thus far in Haiti has not really been the lack of reliable Internet access, nor the frustration of learning Creole slower than I would like. The real problem isn’t culture shock. Undoubtedly, every part of me is aware that I find myself in an entirely new environment; the culture is vastly different and the shock present. Instead, my greatest discomfort thus far is the in-love confusion that my heart feels in this land. The natural beauty, raucous laughter of the people and blazing sunshine are so easy to accept… but what of all the misery, anger and lack? I thought to love was to openly accept all, the good and the bad. How can I accept what I know to be in desperate need of change? My new love has left me profoundly happy, eager for more and perplexed.
I have to tell you – my real longings this past week have not really been for leafy greens, or crunchy fruit and berries or for a nice, long and hot shower. Of course, I vividly remember all of these Western niceties as having been very enjoyable… in that other life. No, my real longing has been for just half an hour of sanity in my mind, to escape this place I do not understand for just a moment, to take a deep breath or several, and then to immerse myself into the mystery once again with renewed joy.
I have to admit…my real discoveries this past week are far from limited to transparent frogs, and sugar cane grow and coffee harvested and beautiful lizards scurrying along broken walls. Their presence, and the sticky humidity and sweat on my skin, all remind me of the new playing field I find myself in. Instead, my greatest discovery has been that of finding a new rhythm and flow in life, where walking slowly makes sense and intuition has its rightful place in my decision making. Time truly does slow down here, and everything takes longer because of it.
Finally, my real joy in my time thus far in Haiti has not only been in visiting the beautiful beaches and countryside, meeting new and wonderfully different people and seeing my own progress and incorporation into this fabric deepen just a tiny bit more with every day. Granted, these are all wonderful things too! No, my real joy is the realization that since none of this can ever be fully explained to another living soul, I am profoundly happy to take these stories, loves and delicacies with me to the grave, to live the direct experience, and to keep it all alive within my heart for always… the one place where any of this makes any sense anyways.