I've heard stories of how Haitians play soccer with them in the warehouse because they are the size of footballs.
I've seen traces of evidence they've left behind in the guesthouse pantry - Chewed ends of my favourite cereal boxes.
But never. Never, did I anticipate the events of last night.
10:14pm - I hadn't been asleep long. I was awoken to Sarah whispering in panic that she had just witnessed a rat enter our bedroom. To be more specific, it was under my bed. She flicked on the light and I squinted in despair. How it got into our apartment was beyond our comprehension, but it wasn't the priority at the moment. The current crisis was that it was scampering around the edges of the room and dashing into the darkness of our back closet. We needed to get it out, at least that's what Sarah said.
10:17pm - All I wanted to do was lay my head back on the pillow and pretend it was a dream (blame it on the kickboxing), but Sarah insisted that we find a way to chase the rat back to wherever it belonged, just NOT behind the washing machine where it was currently hiding. Her and Ben were in full gear with mops and brooms and Sarah instructed me to put on my Keens. I obliged.
10:20pm - The three of us looked at each other not sure what to do next. I knew I was completely helpless in the situation and I made sure they knew it. After a quick pep talk from Sarah, Ben strapped on his headlamp and proclaimed 'I'M GOING IN!'. Sarah and I watched feverishly as he got on top of the washing machine and with the blunt end of the broom tried to scare the rat out of it's hiding. I think I was telling him to stab it, but everything is blurring together.
10:24pm - Ben's broom taunting was working. He told us to get ready for it, which meant me sinking farther back towards the safety of my bed. Sure enough, the rat shot out from the closet, through the path we had laid out for it, and back into the kitchen. I started jumping up and down in victory, but the task wasn't finished yet. Now Sarah was in play with her mop on guard. Her and Ben talked strategy. I made myself useful by building a barricade between the open doorway between the kitchen and bedroom so it couldn't go back to the closet. And then I stood on the safe side and watched.
10:30pm - Sarah opened the screen giving the rat a free getaway. We were almost there... The rat skittered this way and that under the cupboards, back towards the fridge and then under the pantry shelf. The broom and mop were flying.
10:33pm - The rat took one final dash out of the protection of the shadows and zipped right out of the front door. I let out a cheer and then remembered that my students were sleeping next door. Immediately we shut the screen and sealed the main wooden door tight. Where it ran to and what it did next didn't matter anymore. As long as it was on the outside looking in.
10:38pm - I made my way back to bed, adrenaline still pumping. I laid in silence thinking about the horrible outcome of what would have awaited us in the morning had we permitted that nasty creature to stay the night. Never in a million years would I have had the courage to smoke it out like my friends had, but how thankful I was to have them around.
Authors Note: Reliving all of the emotions, instructions and behaviours of last night was quite humourous for me to write... Certainly an 'only in Haiti' event to be remembered. I think my ability to write in 'comic relief' means the terror of the rat is wearing off a little, but I am letting this statement stand: Bring on the lizards and cockroaches, but here's hoping that we never, ever, EVER have to deal with anything like that again.