A view from a roof in Port au Prince



“All living things contain a measure of madness that moves them in strange, sometimes inexplicable ways.”
― Yan Martel

Scorched for depth. Searching for meaning. Running through the hallways of my mind and not finding the room I want to enter. I used to wake up with peace despite havoc that consumed the building, town, and country I lived in. From the minute I wake up until I practically hypnotize myself to sleep at night, I'm racing around either mentally or physically trying to make sure I stay busy, stay fulfilled, stay purposeful. Most of the time this is a failed attempt. Most likely just due to poor effort. If I am watching music videos, facebook updating, shopping, or excercising to keep myself busy... what gain can I expect?

If it's a phase, it's okay. If it's a year or two... or three even(?) of feeling this way and just getting through the grit of life to make way for something else- then I can do it. I'm game. I'll work hard now and get done what needs to get done. But the thought that makes me queasy is, what if this is life?

I hate this race of life and of searching and acheiving bigger and better. I had a quick panic a few nights ago that I better go back to grad school soon or I might not ever go back. Then, I thought, but for what? I don't even want to be a nurse practitioner or to be involved in management. I also don't want to teach. Pretty much I just want to go back to say I did it. To know I achieved something more noteworthy than I already have achieved. Even that realization wasn't enough to dissuade me to think I better go back.
I didn't choose it. At least I don't think I did. By luck or unluck, I got signed up 5 years ago when I was a first year nursing student. I blindly walked into Haiti and since that first car ride through the streets from the airport to the town of Leogane, my heart was exposed to raw poverty and through those new sights, smells, faces, rythyms, tears, friendships, questions, and realizations about what I was experiencing, I changed. I found something I never knew was in the cards for me. I never imagined I would end up finding so much purpose in a place when I didn't even know where it was on the map until I had my ticket booked. Maybe it's not even necessarily Haiti. Maybe it could be any number of poor places, just places that value people, family and community a little more than the good 'ole US of A. I watched Eat Pray Love last night and I there was a quote about how Americans don't know the pleasure of doing nothing, that they work to hard and don't enjoy life. I agree.

I'm a goal setter and future planner and I love these things. Now they frustrate me because it could be anything or nothing. I could waste my days away and no one would stop me or take notice. And I don't want to stop and take a look around years from now and realize I've been wishing my time away. I don't want to waste it, not even this year or this month or this week. It's precious, my time. I just want to give this life my best shot.

This is a scramble of a blogpost. Mostly complaints and rants, and maybe heavy and not the lifter I'd like to give to other people, but that's just what I've got to say today. Maybe I'm repetitive. I know most of these thoughts are not completely new. I've probably said the same thing in different ways dozens of times. So here's for time #13.


Babies and Grandpas

Where am I now?

I am in the hospital. It is 3:28am and I am awake, caring for patients, and am currently blogging cause the night is treating me well and I just have one patient to care for right now.

I work at Children's Hospital. It's my new career. I didn't get much peds experience, or any really, in nursing school and it seemed pretty impossible to get into the pediatric world, especially a peds hospital. I love my job. I really do. Sometimes I have that feeling of "ughhh I don't want to go to work." Mostly though it's just if I feel lazy or tired or if I'm on hour 50 of my 54 hour week (for example, tonight?). When I'm here I feel really valuable, busy and I can see outcomes to my work in such a short amount of time. I love the tasks of starting IVs and drawing blood, I like when parents leave the room for something and I have to hold the babies until they get back, I like suctioning ( I'm kinda obsessed) I like teaching the families and kids... and often times learning from them about their unique and complicated medical histories.

Time flies here. Here, as in Minnesota. It's been almost half a year that I have been living here. How did Haiti slip from my fingers? I think about it daily. Not anxiously, not obsessively, but it is always there in my mind. How do I go back? Or how do I keep going back and keep my job at Children's? How do I incorporate Haiti into the rest of my life? Do my trips continue looking the same as when I was 20 years old? Who is going to do this Haiti thing with me? Is this a solo mission? It's scary, exciting, ambiguous, unknown.

I am in the works of planning a 3-week trip to Haiti this summer. I am so excited to go back. I can't wait to see everyone, practice my Kreyol and immerse into the culture again. I can't imagine what it will be like to see little Michelet again. Sometimes I daydream about it. What he might look like, or giving his family members hugs and sitting and talking with them. I think about the kids I used to meet on my daily walks through Milot and wonder if they'll remember my name. I hope they do. I hope I can pick back up right where I left things, but I have a lot of fears that it will feel different -as if I have lost my place that I worked so hard to get.

On a different note... it seems like life just isn't as much as it's cracked up to be. Sometimes life feels really hard. My own struggles seem so small in comparison to some of the hard stuff I see people dealing with each day in the hospital, but even the small struggles can take a lot out of ya. Coming back to the USA is still a hard process. It's hard to reconnect, and it's hard to start a new life. I feel like I am in the process of even defining what my life is now and what it should be or the things I should be working for. What things are necessary to have as goals in my life? What am I saving for and why? How can I be focused on planning for my future when the "now" is enough to handle on its own?

You know what's funny? That something I learned in Haiti is still so relevant here. I learned that focusing on others and taking care of others makes your own life a lot better and brighter. In Haiti it's so easy cause the hurt is so obvious, the need is in -your -face. Here, sometimes I make a mental list of others that need my love or attention, just to get the focus off of me and self pity. My favorite on that list is Granpda. 94-year-old Grandpa. Always in his nursing home; the same boring schedule. I'm so glad I have him. The constant friend and family member. I always know where to find him, he always has time for me, and each time I visit him I think that both of our spirits are lifted. Last week I visited him and he wasn't feeling good and I was tired and on my way to a long shift at work and we just cuddled in his little bed together.

So there you have it, an update on these last few months and a sneak peak into the upcoming ones. I was looking for a quote to end this blog with. Thanks Dr. Seuss, I think I should realize this simple wisdom a little more often, espcially as I am notorious for asking lots of questions ;)

“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”

― Dr. Seuss