Week Ten – Becoming Haitian

This week I have been met with mixed messages – “You are Haitian so you must forget English – only Creole!” and “We want to learn English! What is the English word for chair? For salmon? For corn? For mattress?” These messages, while flattering, are confusing. I am not sure what they mean by my being Haitian other than I have noticed IMG_9461I’ve started making new noises when I am surprised. Beyond that, I have found that my mouth and brain get confused switching back and forth between Creole and English. So much so that I often just repeat the Creole word they are asking for the translation of.

This confusion of my Americanness versus my Haitianness is further exacerbated by the fact that my mom, dad, grandmother, and sister are coming to Haiti in less than 1 week for Thanksgiving. The kids have been preparing for this visit by asking me daily to see pictures of my family and are doing their very best to try to remember their names (Teebee? CaREEsa? Daveed?) This will be my first Thanksgiving in a foreign country and I am very unsettled by the idea of not eating turkey…

This week it has rained every day, lowering the temperature by at least 15 degrees. At first I was enjoying it, but then, when I felt the urge to put on a sweater in 78 degree temperatures, I realized they might be onto something about me becoming Haitian. The

IMG_3500
Practicing their best dinosaur impressions

kids come to school bundled up in rain jackets, hoodies, button up chambray shirts – whatever they can find to stay warm. Despite the cold, the rain coming in through the windows and puddling on the floor (the school buildings are built for upper 90s and blinding sun), and the dreary grayness, the kids are all just as cheerful as ever – grinning as those who can see push and pull the wheelchair bound and blind along with them.

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2 thoughts on “Week Ten – Becoming Haitian”

  1. Dearest Grayson, I am laughing out loud reading your post.
    Ypur holiday will be joyful to have your family there. I hope you are there thru Jan -February when the dental programs kick off in full swing.
    What are your plans?
    Blessing to you at this special time – Marion Bailey

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey Grayson. Love your blog. I lived in a foreign country for Thanksgiving (four Thanksgivings, in fact). And while it is weird not to eat turkey and dressing, you will always (always!) see Thanksgiving differently when you are back in the US. Living abroad heightens your senses to certain things for the rest of your life. Happy Thanksgiving. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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