Wednesday, July 2, 2008

in transit

I finally know I'm really headed to Haiti. I didn't expect to discover it this way. I mean, it wasn't really when I left Nashville that I knew I was headed to Haiti. It wasn't when I arrived in Fort Lauderdale. It wasn't after I spent the night in the airport catching up on email. It wasn't while I stood in the check-in line with people who had dark hair and may or may not speak English fluently. It wasn't even when I ordered a bacon and egg sandwich for breakfast.

Instead, it was most unexpected. All I was doing was cleaning breakfast-feeding hands that hadn't been cleaned in a while. I pulled out the Germ-X and suddenly, surprisingly, tears nearly formed as its distinctive scent washed Africa over me. And that's when I knew I'm really going to Haiti: when I smelled Africa.

During my Wal-Mart run earlier today, well I mean yesterday which is still today since there was no sleep to mark the changing of the calendar block from one day to the next, my list included hand sanitizer. The 2.5 oz Germ-X bottles were $0.88. The 10 oz bottles, which came with 20% more for free!, were $1.95. I really didn't need 10 or 12 oz because, as I noted to myself, I don't really use Germ-X when I'm in the States. I usually get to wash my hands often enough. In the end, I had to buy the larger bottle. I mean, seriously, that much more sanitizing power for the price of 5 oz? It's a no-brainer. But I think that's also why I smelled Africa which told me I'm heading to Haiti in a couple hours. Because I don't use Germ-X at home. Though I didn't know its scent was making such a potentially sappy mark on me, it and I did spend a good bit of time together during the latter quarter of 2007.

And now we'll be hanging out some more.

And speaking of hanging out (not really, but it does sound like a good segue doesn't it?), below is a photo to hold you over until I have Haiti pics for you. This picture is oh-so-originally titled "End of an Era." Can you guess what era it's the end of?

If you guessed "the era of gas under $4 per gallon," you're right!! Woohoo! Name your prize and it's yours! It seems highly unlikely--as in, in the realm of miracle-requiring--that gas will still be findable under $4 three and a half weeks from now when I return. Therefore, I decided that as a good historian I should take a photo of my last under-$4 fill up. So there you have it. We'll see if I still feel sorry for us and our heftier gas prices after I use enough Germ-X that it makes me think of Haiti instead of Africa.

Smelling Africa and knowing I'm going to Haiti has aroused another emotion in me: the one I felt upon arriving in Ghana. As we rode in the dark from the airport to our hotel a day later than we were supposed to, exhausted me looked out the window and, in spite of my international cultures loving ways, struggled to muster up the energy to want to absorb this new culture. I wanted to want to, but I felt overwhelmed at the thought of four months of having to. And I was surprised. And disappointed. But there was no turning back at that point. And I felt that feeling again this morning when I realized I'm really going to Haiti. I want to go there. But I'm feeling overwhelmed at arriving into it. That will pass. But it's real for now.

p.s. Just so you know: I can pretty much barely keep my eyes open right now. I really want a bed bad.

Acknowledgements: This lovely post has been brought to you by the kind people who decided the Fort Lauderdale airport should provide free wireless internet access in its terminals. Thank you, you kind people.

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