It's a birthday weekend!!!!
Yesterday at school we celebrated Grayden turning 10! We took the morning off to bake (making cookies and brownies has become quite a specialty of his!), decorate the house for his party on Sunday, and rock out to some Falling Up, KJ-52 and other rock bands on a birthday playlist I made for him. It's been so awesome watching each of the kids develop over the school year, and Grayden's birthday yesterday is another reminder of their undeniable growth! He's reached the double digits! Look out world! :)
Now for an explanation of the title... I think I have laughed more over the past 10 days than my whole time in Haiti so far.
What's so funny you ask? Well, maybe it's the combination of 3 goofy girls trying to learn creole, late night butterscotch cookie baking, Disney songs, or a stare down game we like to play... Or it could just be the Haitian summer air. I've laughed till it hurts and then I've laughed some more... I must be building some serious ab muscles! :)
Many of you have left encouraging comments to me about the way I have seized the culture here and adapted my living to the way things roll in Haiti. However, I need to admit that I have also spread some of my own North American culture with the people here too...
This evening before dinner Mallory, Sarah and I embarked on an adventure to celebrate Sarah's 21st birthday! It is an honour to celebrate with her in Haiti! We had anticipated to go all of the way into Cabaret to try out an new restaurant, but due to some afternoon showers, we thought it would be safer to stay in Source Matelas. We opted to dine at a restaurant that I'm sure is becoming familiar to you by now, Gwopapapou!
Part of the 'surprise' of Sarah's party was that Wicky excused himself for a little while in order to go solo to Cabaret and pick up ice cream for us to enjoy with our Haitian food. When he got back, the girls and I had the brainwave to make Coke floats, which Volcy, Wicky and Sadrac had never heard of before. We agreed that it was essential for them to experience it! The girls and I had a fun time scooping them ice cream and then pouring over the Coke that bubbled and fizzed immediately on contact. With that, the float party began and it was the perfect birthday beverage to enjoy with our fried chicken and plantain.
Following the meal, we headed back to the mission on foot, and it was a moment for me to reflect on my gratitude for the people walking along next to me.
In the bible, Jesus says "no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age and in the age to come" (Mark 10:29-30). For a long time I have thought about that verse and how it has been true to me as I have left my family and gained new 'mothers', 'fathers', 'sisters' and 'brothers' in Haiti. Once again tonight as I tread back to the mission with my friends, laughing and singing, my heart smiled. This combination of people, from different nationalities, families, languages and ages has become another family for me. I am so thankful for each of them and to be with them in this place. It's an honour for me to be their sister!
Thank you Lord for my families, both near and far. Thank you for the promises that never fade. Thank you for hope even in the darkest places. And thank you for laughter, I'll probably still be giggling when I wake up tomorrow.