Sunday, August 10, 2014

The End and the Beginning

Well friends, it is hard to believe that I have been back in America for almost a month now! And what a crazy month it has been! 

Backing up to right before I left Haiti, here are some pictures from the going away festivities:

This is Pere Michelin, the director of the hospital, and I as he presents me with a plaque for service to Sainte Croix

My going away party included great food, dancing, lovely words, and some fantastic gifts! It was very hard to say goodbye to many good friends, but as they all told me, it was not goodbye but rather “see you soon.”

I returned home into the squealing embrace of my parents and spent the next week getting really excited about things like lines moving quickly and the miracle that is the American grocery store (seriously. They are AMAZING. Take a minute to appreciate it. They are full of EVERYTHING you could ever imagine. None of it is expired. The prices are clearly marked and you can play games with sale items. Bless my mother for putting up with the 10 minutes I would take inspecting the 40 different choices of nuts before selecting the kind I wanted.)

I spoke in 2 churches and gave some variation on the talk recorded here, in case you have missed my dulcet tones. 

 I also had the pleasure of presenting a poster on my and Kyle Evan's work in Haiti at the celebration of 40 years of women’s ordination in the Episcopal Church. What an incredible event!

It was such a pleasure catching up with friends and family and I managed to squeeze in a mini-college friends reunion and a Burd family “staycation,” here featuring the Philadelphia Zoo. 

2.5 weeks after returning home, I moved up to Pisacataway, NJ to start medical school. So yes, it did feel like I spent 3 weeks packing and unpacking and I am very happy to be settling into my new house! Here are Devon and I on our porch the first day of school--- Devon being the roommate that I found via Facebook while still in Haiti. Thank God for technology and very trusting new friends!
No, I couldn't open my eyes for either of the pictures we took

After a few days of orientation, we started up classes and then on Friday had the day I have been looking forward to for a long time: The White Coat Ceremony. It was an incredible day and it was such a joy to look at my classmates faces as we donned our white coats for the first time: we each had this ridiculous grin that indicated pride, excitement, joy, and the sense that we have arrived in our vocations. 

I miss Haiti. I miss my friends. I miss my students. I miss speaking Creole and the way you never had to look at the weather forecast and the funny looks I got as I walked down the street and the fish we ate on Fridays. Haiti is and will always be a part of me and I will be forever thankful for this experience. 

Thank you to everyone who helped and supported me this year, financially, emotionally, spiritually, or however else: if I realized one thing while in Haiti it is that dependence on others is not a weakness, but rather opening yourself up to grace, a vulnerable but beautiful place to be.

So this blog now closes but another adventure begins. 

"You'll need coffee shops and sunsets and roadtrips. Airplanes and passports and new songs and old songs, but people more than anything else. You will need other people and you will need to be that other person to someone else, a living, breathing, screaming invitation to believe in better things." 
-Jamie Tworkowski

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