I decided, after hearing Jess’ idea, that I would write my list of things I miss as well. Some of the things are similar and some of them are quite different, but it was pretty fun to write. We will also both write the “Top 10 Things I Miss About Haiti” when we are back in America! Anyway, here it is:
1. Family. I miss knowing that my family is just a call away, and not the type of call that you have to plan days in advance because you only have so much Internet that you can use. I miss knowing that if something happened, I was a “short” 6 hour car drive away, or if I needed them they were only a “short” 8-9 hour car ride away (my family stops a lot when they travel).
2. Church. This does not mean that I don’t have a church, but it does mean that I have no idea what people at my church are saying most of the time. I miss songs that I know and love, I miss a/c and comfortable seats at a church, I miss leading a small group, and I miss being a pastor. People here call me “Pastor Matt” all of the time, but that is not what I am here. I cannot even preach because I cannot speak Haitian Creole.
3. Food. Specifically hamburgers and steak. I could elaborate, but I don’t feel the need to. I also miss the fact that I could drive down to a restaurant, a grocery store, a convenient store, or get takeout whenever we want.
4. Air Conditioning. Again, I could elaborate, but I don’t think I need to. It is constantly 90 degrees here and sometimes even hotter in our house, and it is not fun to waking up with wet hair having done nothing but sleep for the past 6 hours.
5. Hot Showers. Again, who doesn’t like waking up to a nice warm shower.
6. Friends. I miss being able to ride over to a friend’s house or meet them somewhere to watch sports. I will specifically miss this more come March and the end of college basketball season. I will also miss this at the beginning of January for the first college football playoff and NFL playoffs.
7. Consistency. I love planning and I love schedules and routines. I do not mean that I always want to know everything that is going to happen from day-to-day (even though that would not be bad), but I do like to have a general idea of what my week will be like each Monday. I definitely do not get this here, and it is difficult. It is also very difficult to plan for the future here because things change so often. You never know when something that should take 2 days will take 2 weeks or when something that should take 1 year takes only 5 days. Things are just so different that it is hard to prepare for.
8. Roads. I miss being able to drive down a road with no holes, rocks, bumps, or tap-taps (Haitian taxis) waiting to destroy your vehicle. I miss not having your car scraped by another impatient driver trying to squeeze between you and another guy when traffic is stopped. I miss not having a crazy guy throw rocks at my car and break one of the tail lights and having no way to make him pay for it. I just miss smooth roads that don’t destroy your car. (On a side note, you should definitely not complain about America roads…trust me!)
9. Schools that I understand. With 34 children attending school, I really miss American public school. I also really wish, when I had a parent-teacher conference, that I could figure out what the teacher is saying. I also wish there was stricter standards of qualification for becoming a teacher here in Haiti. I also wish that the schools were taught in a language that the children understood (they are often taught in French and the children all speak Creole).
10. English. I just love English. I know it is silly to say, but I just wish I could talk to our children and understand everything that they want to tell me and have them understand everything I want to tell them. I want them to understand how much we love them and that we would do anything for them at any time. I think they understand this because of what we do, but I wish I could tell them.