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

THANK YOU FOR DOING YOUR PART TO SAVE LIVES!!

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!!

I’M BACK Y’ALL!!!!

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!

month six. (halfway point, whaaaat?!)

So yep, it’s officially halfway through 2016, which means this year-long adventure of saying YES is halfway over (definitely not the end of me saying “yes” though)! Still can’t grasp how that’s possible. Anyway, here’s what happened in June!

-helped unpack the shipping containers and organize the contents 💪🏽
-FINALLY went to dinner (at a fancay-schmancay restaurant) with my boss
-read Redeeming Love and related to it more than any other book I’ve ever read in my life! SO SO GOOD.
went back to Ti Riv for the first time since my original trip to Haiti in 2013
-said goodbye to “Visitation Rose”–she was accepted to business school at Northwestern. Bittersweet! (And how did we not get a single picture together????)
-hit the beach with 23 high schoolers who were staying at the House all week! Such a blast! (And I got a killer (good killer) trampoline burn from sliding from one water tramp to the other AND I even jumped off a cliff! WHAAAT!) -danced with said high schoolers when a band came to the House for a fun party 💃🏽🎶
-checked out PeaceCYCLE’s new digs!! So excited for what is to come! -saw some familiar faces when some people from my church back home (OLMC) came down–always love that!

I’ll be heading home in a few days with no idea when I’ll be coming back–probably six weeks or so later? Mid to late August? We’ll see! I’ll try to update, but yep it won’t be as “exciting” (not that these are…). Have a good one, people!

clinic, revisited.

I went back to Ti Riv for the first time since 2013, when I originally came to Haiti with OLMC. I don’t know what I expected, but my expectations were met in some ways and destroyed in others. First, you should know that the clinic has been shut down indefinitely for threeish months now (which isn’t uncommon in Haiti, sadly–currently many hospitals are closed due to staff being on strike because they’re not getting paid–which is NOT the case with this clinic). It’s incredibly unfortunate in so many ways. So I went back with my Haiti boss, his wife, and the clinic director to bring some food to the guard and housekeeper who have been living there making sure no one breaks in, etc. I remembered the place as being so busy, joyous, hopeful, and just full of life as a whole. What I saw today…wasn’t any of those things. I know they left early, but the only unlocked examination room looked like they had fled in the middle of an appointment (fun fact: it was also the room I shadowed Wes in and learned so much about medicine). A really expensive full-head x-ray scanner thing (excuse my totally non-medical terminology) was outside covered in cobwebs, leaves, and dirt. There were a few large trash bags and boxes full of (empty?) prescription bottles sitting outside. The lawn was completely overgrown. It seemed lifeless.

And yet there was so much beauty! There were gorgeous flowers, palm trees, and shells, just like I remembered. The water was sparkling blue, just as it had been when Taylor and I walked the beach one morning. The housekeeper and guard were smiling–so thrilled to see us! The dog was so excited that she was running around in circles, to the point of which I couldn’t even get a picture of her. The familiar sounds of Haiti were present–the car horns, bells, roosters, and waves crashing against the shore. There was life, just not the kind I remembered as much. It was a great, humbling reminder that life isn’t just the people.

Also, how perfect is it that today is the birthday of TWO people I was so blessed to get to know on my first trip to Ti Riv?!? Happy birthday, Connie and Kristina!

Ti Riv forever.

 

they say it’s (almost) your birthday(s)

Anyone who knows me probably knows who Liam is–or at least by name. I talk about this kid all the freaking time. He’s my rock, my confidant, my partner in crime, the Ross to my Monica, and frequently my date (we go on “sibbie dates” whenever possible, even if it’s just us going to Starbucks or as much as us going to a concert). He and I are frequently seen making silly faces and dressing up–we do a ton of stuff together. He’s the man. For his birthday I have Luke Bryan tickets (he squealed and freaked when I told him) and I’m also going to take him out to get some fancy sushi (one of his favorites). Love this kid.

Well, I have another bro I admittedly don’t really talk about. Riley. Well, Riley is an…interesting…guy. We don’t really talk (just different personalities and interests, ya know?) but when we do talk and actually get along, it’s good (although it definitely is rare). He’s kind of the black sheep in my family. But I guess he can be a cool cat…errrrr sheep? Whateva. We have some good memories (most of which probably involve us getting into some kind of trouble) so all is good.

Anyway…happy early birthdays to my two bros, Ri and Liam! Love you guys!! Happy 19th birthday Riley! Happy 14th birthday Liam!