During one of my series of farewell happy hours, a good friend took my hands, and in one of those we-are-intoxicated-and-therefore-will-speak-dramatically-epic-truths-moments, made me promise to document my year in Haiti. I haven’t posted again because I’ve been too busy living each moment and just breathing in the air in Port-au-Prince, getting more settled and comfortable day by day. I keep having that experience when you look at the date and are completely astonished that so much time has passed. Tonight, I’m listening to the same friend’s playlist from last year, dancing around my kitchen to disco-tastic electronic beats while cutting up watermelon and trying to focus on one cohesive moment, one complete and transferable thought, that I can put on paper. Which moment can I use from the past few weeks that can give a snapshot of my new life in Haiti. My 26th birthday? The night I moved into my first apartment by myself? The first two weeks staying at my boss’s house, moving into the desk in our office, getting used to my new role? The next two weeks when she was on leave and I had to make it up as I went along? Or yesterday , when she got back and realized all hell broke loose in her absence? Or today, when she thanked me for moving things forward despite the train wreck?
And that’s when it hit me. The past month has been stuffed to the gills with decisions. It’s been like a domino effect, once you make one a series of others start happening, from the large life altering decisions like signing my contract and deciding to move to the Caribbean, to the smallest decisions about lifestyle–more decisions than I usually make in a year. I’ve redefined myself over and over each day. Each day, making decisions on whether I should get the sea-foam green sheets or the sunny colored ones; whether I want to live on a mountainside overlooking the city or downtown in the thick of things, or in the suburbs by my office; whether I should sign up for membership at the gym or at the yoga studio; whether I should go out with new friends and get a drink tonight or prioritize that work project I’ve been itching to finish; whether I want to try live by myself and test my independence or surround myself with fun and exciting roommates and fill my home life with friends; whether I’d feel more at home in the bedroom with wall-to-wall-windows or the one with the full length mirror and the shoe rack installed in the closet. And that is the beauty of moving to an entirely new place–the possibilities for reinventing yourself are infinite and exhilarating.
There is one common sentiment that has persisted over the past few weeks. That feeling when you feel a smile start in your bones and work its way slowly outward, and before you know it you’re grinning at the Haitian band that is playing music at the airport as you exit the plane and get in line at customs. The first weekend, at 11am on Saturday morning, not actually meditating, instead watching the light come in from the windows, lying on the ground listening to the sounds of Petionville traffic at the end of a yoga class, feeling centered and like I am exactly where I am supposed to be. Sitting in the backseat of the car on Sunday on the way to the ocean with my colleague, remembering how the last time we went on a beach road trip and I watched the countryside roll by that I’d imagined what my life would be like if I moved here–and realizing it really did actually happen.
Tonight–going through sun salutations almost by accident after a thoroughly exhausting, demanding, pressure-filled, negative and simultaneously rewarding and overwhelmingly positive 48 hours at work, relaxing into the stretch and feeling that sense of calm.
And Right Now–dancing to the last song on the playlist around the kitchen, my favorite room in my new home, feeling tired after a long day at work, but happy with most of the decisions I’ve made, and able to sleep tonight without wondering what decisions will come tomorrow.