At a cafe in Cambridge, MA, a cappuccino machine is whirring.
Every few seconds the front door opens and a slight rush of cold makes its way through the doorway, though not enough to disturb the students that work vehemently from their computers and textbooks, wrapped in puffy jackets and pajama bottoms and big, thick boots.
Outside, snow. Lots and lots of snow. And on top of it, a Christmas Eve-like feeling is in the air, the expectation – the suspense – of a storm to come. Indeed, Boston is preparing for another foot starting tonight. But with the cool preparedness I know all too well of Bostoners, I am sure this coffee shop is expecting to be just as busy in twelve inches of snow, or twenty.
I’m not sure how my flight tomorrow morning to Haiti will go. Possibly it will be a nightmare. But since there’s not much I can do at this point, I figure I’ll just cozy up to a cup of hot chocolate and a familiar computer screen for now. The future is the future.
By a unique stroke of humor, flights to Haiti are actually much cheaper if you fly from my home in North Carolina and up to Boston first. Flying to North Carolina, to Boston, to Haiti, to North Carolina is cheaper than flying round-trip. This gives me a few days to catch up with Boston’s strong Haitian community. This afternoon I’ve been invited to visit the Somerville Haitian Coalition, in an exciting opportunity to train Haitian Americans in using the laptops that we distribute to schools around the Caribbean, so that they can potentially come and help train the teachers (and in their native tongue, without translators), too. It’s an opportunity not to be missed.
Because of this trip, my suitcase looks a bit horrendous. If you were to open it, not knowing any better, you’d probably think I were afflicted with some weird packing disorder. That or a phobia of discomfort. Big, furry boots and a wool coat, flip flops and Crocks, tank tops and a sweater. That’s how you pack for 30-degree Boston, and 90-degree Haiti.
Due to Haiti’s political turbulence, my Marine boyfriend tried to convince me to take his Ka-Bar, an enormous knife that I associate with what psychotic murderers use in thriller movies. I declined.
I know of an article a while back that I shared with other Go Girls about a man who made it to a number of locations around the world for about $420. He did this through a series of layovers that he worked out with the airline. Rather than flying direct, each layover was a new destination for him in his trip around the world. The goal was not the end location– the goal, for him, was the travel itself and the stops along the way.
It’s an interesting idea and it has brought me to where I am today – much farther from Haiti than I originated, but also much more full of experience. The more I’m here, the less nervous I become about tomorrow; the more excited I am for the adventure. Often we whisk away certain days with our fingers, as if they are “preparation days” for better days to come. But each day is its own series of challenges and excitements, despite what the future holds. Each day must be given its own honor, in that sense.
It is Wednesday and no one has any idea that I’m not from here, that I don’t come here all the time, and that I am soon to leave as quickly as I had arrived. Today, I am more than a fly on the wall. I am a student, a townie, a frequenter of the many Irish pubs in the area, the scarf-wearing, boot-thumping liberal scholar, the girl at the local coffee shop. I am a part of Cambridge.
Tomorrow, I will be a part of Haiti.
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