Yesterday was two weeks since I returned from my trip. I think I’ve mentioned before that my body did not react so well to being back to full and comfortable amenities. I started getting the chills as soon as we entered the air conditioned airport in Haiti, and those later developed into a sort of fever on my connecting flight from JFK to LAX. I spent most of Sunday in bed, drifting in and out of sleep. If it hadn’t been mother’s day and the need to see my mother on such an important day, I probably would have stayed in bed all day. I also took Monday to finish recuperating, which was a good thing. A little more sleep, and unbridled access to kleenex was what I needed. I think I still have a few friends in my tummy from Haiti, and I guess I should get that checked out soon. But the idea of going to a clinic and paying for medication (without insurance) doesn’t give me much motivation to go.
The other thing I’m struggling with since coming back is mostly concerned with my career: what I want to do and where I’m going. I honestly think I knew what I wanted to do since I was 10, living in Guatemala. I always wanted to work in a capacity where I could help countries like Guatemala improve their situation, but I never really believed in my ability to do so. Going to Haiti made me realize that performing that kind of work, where you’re directly helping people recover from something traumatic and effecting change (even if on a small level) is exactly the kind of work that makes me happy.
I remember my first night at the HODR camp, our very first meeting. There was a fellow named Ben who was giving his good bye speech. He seemed to be quite a force to be reckoned with. You could tell right away this was an individual who had made a lot of friends, someone who had touched a lot of lives, and someone who had been deeply moved by what he saw in Haiti. I will never forget the words he said that night (aside from his key phrase about being f—g epic, which I believe will live on in the HODR basecamp for the entirety of the program): he spoke about going home, and making his time and his experience in Haiti his “reality,” not his escape from reality. I’m not gonna lie, I thought it was a little cheesy at first: I’m sure everyone has that thought, and I’m sure most people go back home, re-join their old “reality,” and move back into the routine of their normal lives. But after spending my 10 days in Haiti, I totally understood that desire to never forget, to never let yourself slip back into the mundane routine of living as part of the machine of society back home, forgetting that there are people who are living on far less, and in terrible conditions.
After I graduated college, I took a year off to figure out what I wanted to do. I knew at the time that a Master’s degree would probably be more beneficial, but the idea of writing a thesis paper freaked me out, so I though going to law school would be the “easier” academic route. Ha. I failed to consider the prospect of writing over forty pages in research papers, not to count all the practice essays written for bar prep. Live and learn, huh? This isn’t to say I regret going to law school, I’m sure the degree will come in handy, and I met some amazing people that I know will be a part of my life for years to come.
So as Jeff nicely put it, he was still waiting for my plane to land about a week after I landed. My mind has just been constantly thinking about how I want to make Haiti my “reality.” I know the general direction I want to go in, so I’ve been looking into jobs with NGO’s that work in the area of international development, but it seems that in order to get a job there I should have been putting in my time interning and working for free about 8 years ago.
So after two weeks, I think my mind is mostly back. I’m still trying to figure out how to get to where I want to go, and where exactly I want to go. I just know that change has to come from this experience. It might not be in the immediate future, but it’s coming! I honestly believe that everything happens for a reason, and I think this trip was to remind me of what I really want to do, and to give me hope that there’s a way I can achieve that. Where there’s a will, there’s a way…..right?