Friday, June 26, 2009

Sweet Surprise

Once we managed to make it through the airport circus, we made our way to the La Plaza hotel, where a wonderful surprise was waiting for all of the adopted mommies (the daddies had to stay at the airport and wait for another van) and, as it turned out, me.

The orphanage coordinator had arranged to have all of the children already at the hotel. These are my good friends Lori and Brent's two little angels Jessica and Nathan. Aren't they darling?

As we were collecting our luggage and heading to our room, the coordinator told me that a little boy had "accidently" been brought to the hotel. Accidently? Yeah, I totally got set up. She asked me if I'd stay with him for a while and they'd take him back to the orphanage. This is sweet little Olivier.

Ollie wasn't feeling well, and spent the next few hours cuddling with me. Needless to say, when Nichole came back to tell me she was ready to take him back, she left empty handed. I got to spend the next four days playing Ollie's "mom". It's an experience I will cherish for the rest of my life. I had no idea I could fall in love so completely, so quickly. I miss his big brown eyes. They seemed to look right through me. He was sick for most of the week, but still managed to play a little. When he got tired, he would come to me, hold his little arms up, and nestle into my neck. I miss you Ollie. I hope you are feeling better and that there is someone there to cuddle with you and make sure you are getting plenty to eat.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Welcome to Haiti!

Actually, after a VERY long journey, we're all back safe and sound. I even managed to bring everything back with me, with the tiny exception of my heart which I seem to have left with an adorable 18 month old baby boy. But we'll get to him later... Let's start at the beginning, I've heard it's a very nice place to start.

This is the Port Au Prince International Airport.

Not what you were expecting? Join the club. This was the first of many surprises I received on our little trip.
Once we cleared customs, or the Haitian version of customs, we collected our luggage and went outside. That's where I met surprise number 2. Let me introduce you to Big.

Yep, Big. Not Mr. Big. Just Big. Big was in charge of making sure our luggage got where it needed to go. The first thing I learned? You don't mess with Big. These airport employees love to transport your luggage for you, for a small fee of course. Big is the one who decides who got to assist our group. And I repeat, you don't mess with Big.

This guy tried. A few minutes later, Big was explaining what happened to the police, who were called because Big and his "friend" were about to duke it out in the parking lot. Not to worry, they made up not long after, and appear to still be friends.
Once that was settled, all of our luggage was loaded on to this.

This is called a tap-tap. I don't know why. I would say it has something to do with the sound it makes as it drives down the road, but for that to be true, it would have to be called the bang-bang. This particular tap-tap was driven by Pierre. I can't remember Pierre's role with the orphanage, but I'm sure Lori will leave a comment and remind me. :) I got to visit with Pierre on our way to the hotel. What I remember most about Pierre was how excited he was that last year he and his wife were able to travel to Salt Lake City, with the help of a sponsor. They were able to attend a session of conference. He was still so excited about it. It reallly made me stop and think about how blessed we are. I hope you get to return to the states soon Pierre. I know there are a few more temples you want to go through! :)

Before we could go to the hotel, all of this:

Had to be loaded. I didn't think it was possible. Big did. And what was lesson number one?

Big, you are my hero. And thanks for the alligator clippy. I still have no idea who it belongs to...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Mind Over Matter!

We're on the home stretch and the final countdown has begun. Think I could throw a couple more silly phrases into the beginning of this post? Oh, I just thought of another one! I'm leavin' on a jet plane... Okay, now that you're all singing along, I can finish my post. Think of it as backround music, since I haven't figured out how to put it on my blog yet. Now where was I? Oh right, makin' a list, checkin' it twice... I promise, I'm done now. Two more days until we're finally on our way to Haiti. But first, I gotta pack... Not my favorite part of any trip. Here's what I'm up against. The airline we're flying on allows us to each check two suitcases weighing 50lbs each. You would think that wouldn't be such a problem. You would be wrong. Here's a list of what's going into those two suitcases:

64 teddy bears (18" tall looked A LOT smaller in the store)
35 packages of specially formulated cereal (specially formulated to provide a days worth of nutrition to a child should that be the only thing he or she gets to eat that day)
30 little hand held squirty fans
15 packages of sidewalk chalk
5 packages of handy wipes
2 enormous bottles of hand sanitizer
4 packages of woffel balls (I have absolutely no idea how to spell that)
Various other pharmaceutical items
12 diapers
Some really cute clothes for a little one

Here's how it looked before.

I admit, I was way over my head with space issues. Mom to the rescue. She reminded me of these fabulous little inventions called SPACE SAVER BAGS! One jumbo bag (for the bears) later, and this is what we got.

Nate enjoyed vacuuming the air out of the bag. Really enjoyed it. I don't think I've heard him laugh that loud in years!

The duffel bag weighed in at 48lbs, the suitcase I haven't weighed yet, but since I can still lift it, I think I'm still good.

Where's my stuff you ask? How kind of you to be so observant. My belongings with be with me, in my carry on. Now there's an incentive to pack light!

Off I go to Haiti! See you all in a week!

Thursday, June 4, 2009


I decided that I would be good and eat a salad for lunch. Twenty minutes later, I looked up and found myself wanting to mug the guy walking through the building's lobby with a Burger King bag and steal his lunch. What does that say about me??

Apparently I have issues...

Oh, and I get another nephew in October! Congratulations Jess, Mike, Lexi and Kaycie!