I cannot thank you enough for asking about my safety and that of my Haitian family. I have been completely overwhelmed by the love and support of those who have reached out and asked about us (I heard we even have monks from the Abbey of Gethsemani praying for us! How meaningful, especially since I have spent many hours there!). We at the House should be okay, but it’s the people of Haiti I am worried about. Hurricane Matthew is entirely unpredictable. Regardless of whether it does touch ground here or not, Haiti will be hit with side effects. I’m using this to update people as best I can (we shall see how long having internet and electricity in general will last). Refresh this page to see the latest updates, and please keep the people of Haiti in your prayers. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! This is also a pretty good website with a nice selection of maps with tracking information.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016 – 9:25 am
Hurricane Matthew isn’t at it’s worst yet–from what I’ve heard, it itself hasn’t even hit Haiti yet (as my mom said, “it’s the calm before the storm…literally”). As of the latest tracking prediction, we shouldn’t be hit as directly/centrally as we thought. But this has been shown before and then changed. I spoke with one of my coworkers, Lamothe, about the current status of the hurricane. He said that somewhere on the coast (I’m not sure where), the waves lapped up so high they touched the electrical wires! I don’t have to tell you how…awful…that is. I can’t even think of the “right” word–I’m still in shock. Some homes are already flooded, and more will flood. The rain is coming down relentlessly and mudslides are on the horizon, so to speak. The winds have been strong the past few days and it was sprinkling rain for most of the morning and afternoon yesterday, but now it is no longer sprinkling as much as raining heavily. The main concern in Lamothe’s opinion is what they call the second wave. The diseases and health issues that will occur as a result of the hurricane. Cholera will be extremely present and quite possibly Ebola as well. To say the effects will be devastating doesn’t even cover it in the least. My housekeeping staff has opted to stay at their homes with their families and possessions (their life’s work).
We should be okay at the House–I cannot emphasize that enough. As crazy as this seems–I still can’t find a way to put it that doesn’t sound terrible–I think I need to be here for this. I need to see beyond what is seen on the news and on social media. It’s one thing to witness something like this through your television with a cup of Starbucks in one hand and a fire roaring in the fireplace, it’s another to be there in person. Not to say at all that I am living in a shack. I’m not “down and dirty” where I don’t know if I’ll survive. I am so blessed to be in a safe place, but I am so troubled to know that I am one of the lucky ones as a result. So many people live in homes with tin roofs that we would never in our wildest dreams think of as homes. So many people live on mountainsides and at low points that will suffer from the mudslides and the rain gathering together at the bottom. Pray. Please, please pray. Thank you.

Tuesday, October 2, 2016 – 8:49 pm
So I wrote this awesome thing and then it was deleted due to a poor connection so let’s see how this attempt goes. We think Hurricane Matthew has passed Port-au-Prince–miraculously. But now we are riding it out. We aren’t sure whatever to think that the worst has already happened or if the worst is still to come. Here at the House, we are perfectly fine. The rain has continued steadily and the wind is strong enough to slam every door you open. But we are making brownies and watching Netflix. We are lucky. Too lucky–we shouldn’t be this blessed when our brothers and sisters are literally up to their waists (or worse!) in water and don’t have homes to go back to (see the screenshot below, sent from a friend who is safe in Jeremie, near the north coast of the far southwestern portion of Haiti). Mudslides will occur over the course of the next few days. People have lost roofs and the houses underneath them, and some have lost their loved ones. The rain and wind “side effects,” I suppose, will affect homes, businesses, and churches along with the hearts and souls which fill them daily. But we are blessed. Please pray for those less fortunate. Thank you.

Thursday, October 6, 2016 – 7:47pm
Ever since news of Hurricane  Matthew broke, people have been texting, calling, Facebook messaging, WhatsApp-ing, tweeting, and fill-in-your-preferred-social-media-platform-ing me asking how I am and how Haiti is doing. From my parents to former coworkers to guests I’ve met here at the House to cousins I see once a year (if that) to a few US bosses, I am reminded each time of the kind and generous spirit of those I have been honored to know over the years.
But, friends, what do I say? How am I supposed to respond? I don’t know how I am doing. I know physically I am okay and the House I live in is standing, untouched, as if nothing ever happened. But that’s about all I know. I don’t know how I’m supposed to respond to photos and videos from friends (friends living in Haiti and elsewhere). I don’t know how to put into words the pain I feel (especially since I feel as if my pain isn’t justified at all because I live in a house that miraculously escaped Matthew and didn’t suffer unquantifiable damage). I don’t know how to “accept” prayers and well-wishes when so many actually need them. I don’t know how to brush off this feeling of being numb. I don’t know how to explain the seemingly never-ending hope, faith, and joy coming from people who have been through so much (see the “Jesus loves me” bracelet below). I don’t know how to anticipate the health crises that are sure to emerge as a result of standing water, lack of hygiene, food, etc. I don’t know how to sort everything out and try to make it make sense.  I just don’t know, guys. And I don’t think I could ever truly know.
So thank you for asking how I am and how Haiti is. Thank you for being concerned and caring and an all-around awesome person. Just don’t be offended if it sits in my inbox for a bit while I try to process. Thanks. 🙂


September recap.

So I’ve ditched the “month one,” “month two,” etc titles for these monthly recaps because now I’m at the point where like I haven’t been here for nine months straight, so it could get confusing (at least for me). So back to boring (although it’s not like “month #” was too innovative, either).

ANYWAYS. Here’s what I was up to!

-I came back to my other home, Matthew 25, and met it with mixed feelings. All’s well that ends well, though!
-FOOTBALL, FOOTBALL, FOOTBALL, BABY. YESSSSSS FOOTBALL SEASON IS AWESOME. (And I’m totally protesting all 4 weeks of Brady’s suspension by wearing my “Free Brady” shirt each Pats game day he isn’t playing as a result of the suspension. I also read “Meeting Tom Brady” by Richard J. King–highly recommend.)
-passed out–making this the first time I’ve passed out not in Carmel (so that’s gotta be exciting, right?). Oh well, it was time! Let the freaking weird pattern continue. It’s whatever, truly.
-Aaron Carter, aka 1990’s/early 2000’s maje heartthrob celeb of “I Want Candy” (THIS video is the one that comes to mind for me, though–like Lizzie and Aaron were perfection) and “Aaron’s Party (Come Get It)” fame, followed me on Twitter. I think I can die happy now.
-did a self-imposed 9-day eyeliner challenge since I suck at makeup. It was a success I think! Also: in a pinch, a bent paperclip will work in place of a q-tip for makeup remover…things you learn.-danced for literally hours to Lady Gaga’s “Perfect Illusion“–YOU WILL NOT REGRET LISTENING. And you won’t be able to merely sit and bob your head–you WILL full-on dance it out! Queen Gaga is BACK and better than ever, y’all (just like Tom Brady will be when his revenge tour starts on Sunday…whabam)!
-worked on learning a  TINY bit of ASL (because at work, there are some deaf people and I feel terrible not talking with them)

ON A MORE SERIOUS NOTE: I have spent several hours total tracking Hurricane Matthew (or as my coworkers say, “Hurricane Matthew, not Matthew 25,” because the House is called Matthew 25) and will continue to track it. It is looking like a good portion of the country will be hit with category 3, and a far southwestern bit could get category 4. So, so many of the people will be affected, and to be honest, Haiti can’t take it. These people struggle on a daily basis to find food, shelter, and basic necessities that many of us take for granted. Please offer up prayers, thoughts, etc for the people of Haiti. And not just Haiti–Hurricane Matthew has already affected people elsewhere and will unfortunately continue to do so. Everyone could use prayers so please keep them in your prayers. Thank you. I’ll keep you in the loop. This is the most recent prediction I have seen, updated earlier this morning. See that red eye marker with “2 AM Tue” by it? Follow that to the right and Port-au-Prince, where I am, is the first point of land contact, not including the small island (at the intersection point of the backwards L that is Haiti). Also, apparently any point in the circle could be the “eye” of the hurricane, not just the center. So keep that in mind. Here at the House, we’ll be closely monitoring the progress of Hurricane Matthew and I’ll be having everyone sleep on the first floor just in case. Thank you in advance for the prayers.
Hurricane Matthew

That’s all, folks! Til next time!

my relationship with food.

A while ago, I wrote a post about the food I’ve been able to enjoy while here at the House. Our cook, Memen, is AMAZING and I am so thankful that we have her (despite how bad I often feel about it, I know that she has a stable job and home and she is doing what she loves–and is great at). While her food is incredible, I often feel as if I’m just not hungry. Maybe it’s the heat, maybe it’s just that I don’t eat a ton anyway, maybe it’s that sometimes I just want a freaking burger or piece of pizza (and not the rice that I have nearly every day), maybe it’s my insecurity about my appearance (and not wanting to gain weight AGAIN) spiraling out of control, or maybe it’s something else entirely.

I struggle a lot with this. I confessed to “PeaceCYCLE Rose” earlier that I feel conflicted because as soon as I try to eat even a bite (at lunch, normally it’s just lunch–I’d do away with that meal if I could), I feel as if I’m going to be sick. It takes a whole lot of water and procrastination for me to finish even a small bowl–which is a rarity in itself, since I hear “piti manje” on a daily basis. But I feel so bad! Memen’s a great cook, but I’m not hungry, PLUS the real kicker is that I’m here in this country that I’ve heard called a Fourth World country. How can  I turn down food when so many don’t even know when their next meal might be? How can I be so selfish, so uncaring? It’s been (excuse the pun), eating me alive. I think about this more than I ever thought possible. Every lunch time, I have to decide whether to say yes or no.

This isn’t my first brush with not feeling up to eating. I stress starve–unintentionally stress myself out over whatever it is to the point of which I don’t even think about food. And when I do, when someone says “hey, wanna grab dinner?” I’m not hungry at all. I didn’t plan on bringing that up so woops. Oh well. Now you know!

Mkay I’m just gonna go before I spill all my inner thoughts and secrets! 😉

save a life, please…it’s easier than it sounds!

I am here asking you to please, prayerfully, at least consider donating blood. On a daily basis (or so it seems), I receive e-mails from the Indiana Blood Center and the Red Cross. Both organizations (and I’m assuming they’re not alone) are in desperate need of blood donations. According to one of three e-mails I received today, it takes 550 donors EVERY SINGLE DAY to maintain a “sufficient blood supply for the patients and hospitals served by Indiana Blood Center.” The entire donation process is normally right around an hour long and there are so many great things that can come out of it (and did I mention the donation itself is normally around ten minutes?!?)!

If I was stateside, I would be donating at every chance I could–just like I did before I came to Haiti. When I come back, I’ll have to wait a little over a year before I can donate again (one year because I came here, plus 3 months because you’re eligible to donate two years after contracting malaria–and for me, most of the first year is spent here). I urge you to please donate! It’s not tough and it’s actually kind of addicting, at least for me. If the feel-good part doesn’t do it on it’s own, I know some donor centers offer incentives, like gift cards or raffle entries (plus of course the free treats you have to snack on for like 10 or 15 minutes after donating).

For the Red Cross, the super simple requirements are as follows:
1) “be in general good health and feeling well”
2) be at least 17 (or in some states, 16 with parental consent–Indiana is one of these!)
3) weigh at least 110 lbs
4) you must not have donated within the last 8 weeks–once 8 weeks are up, you’re eligible again! I personally had it calendared every 8 weeks to donate

You will also need to present valid identification (a driver’s license will do the trick). Depending on the donor center, registration may be required, but not always.

And lastly, a few blood donation facts:
-one donation can help up to three people
-every two seconds, someone is in need of blood
-a single car accident victim can require 100 units of blood (for reference, the average donation is 1 pint)
-while 38% of the US population is eligible to donate, less than 10% of that eligible population actually do (womp womp not good!)
-3 teaspoons of blood could save a baby’s life
-approximately one out of every seven people entering hospitals needs blood


summer in the States

So as I’d said a few times, I was stateside for most of the summer (I flew back July 6 and flew back here to Haiti Sunday). It was fantastic being back! I think that being away for so long really made it that much better and more meaningful. I was able to see some of my best friends (including a trip to Michigan to visit my cousin Em) and family (at my cousin’s wedding in the Maine-New Hampshire-Boston region). I was also able to work quite a bit–I’ve said many times that I’m a workaholic, and I couldn’t stay away–and hang out with some coworkers, too!

Here’s what I did during my stateside summer:

-had my belly button pierced!
-paid homage to my spirit TV character, Rachel Green, with a little hair cut (read: BANGS) and style
-purchased new lipsticks…I’m addicted and feel fairly certain my lipstick addiction will have it’s own post one of these days
-spent time with friends and family, but also was able to meet up with another friend a few times, which was lovely
-bought new cowgirl boots! It only took a dozen or so country concerts…
-made blackberry mojitos by the lake
-went on a few sibbie dates with my best bro
-suffered through more than one killer sunburn
-gave into my Starbucks addiction and secured my Gold status for 2017 (trust me: try the iced coconut milk mocha macchiato…and hate the idea of it or not, the PSL is back and it’s awesome as always)
-received a new fancay schmancay travel backpack for my birthday–the Tortuga (which will also likely it’s own post)
-went to Maine, New Hampshire, and Boston for my cousin’s wedding festivities and explored New England a bit (and devoured some amazing food). It was so nice not being landlocked (which is also a song I’m obsessed with)
-rocked out at two concerts (okay, Luke Bryan was two nights, but still) which was quite a few less than usual! Luke Bryan was amazing and it was awesome seeing Panic! at the Disco again–a bit of a throwback since they were my first concert!

ps: as of last night, FOOTBALL IS BACK YESSSSSS 🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼🏈🏈🏈

let’s do this!!


Written on the plane from Atlanta to Port-as-Prince:

I’m aaaaaalmost to Haiti and I’m so excited! It’s been a long day (highlights include sitting in front of the most poorly-behaved child I’ve ever seen on my flight to Atlanta and being held up in Indy before I could even check in because I wasn’t the cardholder on my reservation) and I just want to be back at my Haiti home! I’m psyched to see everyone again and meet a bunch of new life- and world-changers! I brought some banana bread and brownies for my coworkers since I couldn’t exactly fit individual gifts for them. Oh well, maybe next time!

As I’ve been thinking about heading back to Haiti, I, to be honest, have been bittersweet about returning. As excited as I have been to get back to Haiti life, it was wonderful being in Indy again and immersing myself into my old life. I was (and am) sad to be leaving my family, friends, and work behind for another few months. Anyone who knows me knows I love my job, so it was pretty sad actually to put it on hold once again. But I also love my Haitian friends and coworkers who have been like my family this year, along with the many guests I now call friends. This is my last long leg of this adventure, but I know it will stay with me for the rest of my life and I look forward to seeing my friends in the future–because I will for sure be back (as soon as probably January or February to train the yet-to-be-hired replacement)!

Let this adventure continue. I am forever grateful for the opportunity I’ve been blessed with! More to come soon!!!

let my summer break begin

I’m on the flight back to the States FINALLY!!! “FINALLY!!!” for many reasons–1) I’ve straight up missed my stateside home. 2) This flight was delayed 1 1/2 hours because of yesterday’s weather (the arrival last night got here late because of weather, and there’s a minimum amount of time that the crew has to rest for so yep)…and now they’re saying that were basically flying around in circles because there’s a storm in Atlanta and we can’t land there for now. I still haven’t booked another flight to Indy since there’s no way I’ll make it through customs and get to my gate in less than an hour (that is for sure not happening now, thanks to the circling). 3) These past three months were significantly more difficult for me than the first three months.

BUT there was a shining moment of my day! Yes, the delay sucked (especially since it’s affecting my connecting flight to Indy), BUT I MET FREAKING EVANNA LYNCH AND BONNIE WRIGHT!!!!!!! For all of you non-Potterheads, they portray Luna Lovegood and Ginny Weasley in the Harry Potter series. I saw them standing by the gate (the PAP airport is crowded all together) and I knew they looked familiar and the fact that the passports they were holding weren’t from the States gave me the courage to walk on up and say hi! I talked to Evanna for a few minutes (Bonnie was talking to someone from their group) and gah I’m still literally shaking with excitement. Eeeeep that makes the delay and resulting flight dilemma worth it!