Living in 2 Countries
Having Sophie’s birthday for the second time, in a different country, this time on her actual birthday, got me thinking about how different things are now that we live in 2 countries. The truth is, living in 2 places (here and Jacksonville) can present some unique challenges but it can also bless us with some incredible experiences. It is funny how, in both places, things can be so normal and so completely surreal at the same time. I want to give some specific examples of that phenomenon and hopefully help you understand a little bit about how we live.
- When we got to our house in Haiti last Tuesday, it was almost like a reunion for Sophie. She was absolutely ecstatic and was just grinning going from one thing to the next like everything in the house was exactly where it was supposed to be for her.
- For me, however, the first night back I tried to clean out the shower head and ended up breaking it instead. So I tried for like an hour to fix something that couldn’t be fixed just because it irritated me that I broke it. In America I would have just run to the store for a new, cheap shower head but in Haiti I fixated on it for like an hour before moving on while I could have been helping Jess get us moved back in!
- We can do the most normal thing in the world like go to a movie and all I can think about is how much money is being exchanged. I start to think about how so many of my friends in Haiti could use just a fraction of what was spent on a simple 2 hours of entertainment and snacks. I have actually counted the number of people in the theater and calculated how much was spent on everything just so that I would know how much money we could have taken down to Haiti with us…Doesn’t that sound like a fun date?
- At the same time, we will spend hours at Publix and Target when we are home and I will not even think twice about how incredible it is that we have all of these things at our fingertips.
These are simple examples, but I hope it helps you understand the point that I am trying to make. As I walk around Haiti sometimes and see things that, for an American, should be crazy, they seem so normal. At the same time, when there are things that I should not think twice about, I find myself getting upset. When I am back in America, things that should be really normal can seem completely over-the-top and vice versa.
Living in these 2 completely different places like this is very necessary right now for our ministry and for our family. For our ministry to be successful, it is important that we are in Haiti to help take care of our children, manage our employees, and so that everyone knows we are in Haiti for the long haul. It is equally important for the success of All Things New that we spend time in America fundraising, working on the organizational side of the ministry, fundraising (do you see what I did there), and making sure we have all that we need to operate in Haiti. For our family, because we have 2 babies, it is important to be in both places as well. It is vital that our kids get used to living in Haiti and get to know our kids here really well. At the same time, especially when they are young, it is important for them to know their family in America, to be at doctor’s appointments, and to know what America is like.
It is difficult to communicate exactly why living in 2 places can be so challenging, but I think you probably get it on some level. There is this tension that can exist in both places, but there is also this sweetness of living that is equally prevalent in both places. When we are in America, we long to be back in Haiti but when we are in Haiti we long to be back in America. When things go wrong in America, I sometimes think about how I would never have to deal with this in Haiti. But then when things go wrong in Haiti, I think the same thing about America. The same is true when things go right. It can be difficult to find time for friends in both places (and we apologize for that) but it is also a really cool experience to have friends in 2 countries with different experiences and who speak different languages.
Basically, I am writing this blog just so that you can get a sense for the stage of life we find ourselves in right now. It is exactly where we are supposed to be, but it can be a strange way to live. Thank you for always praying for us and for always being interested in our ministry and what is going on with All Things New.