We are home. The closest thing I can say to explain the experience is that it is very similar to the days right before my wedding- I am way too busy, completely overwhelmed, everyone keeps asking me how I feel, and I feel about 10 things at once (some of which I cannot name, even to myself).
I have brushed my teeth with water straight out of the tap.
I have used the ladies' room and flushed my toilet paper.
I have eaten an apple, without soaking it in bleach first.
I have slept all night without awakening to a single rooster crowing or car backfiring.
I have had stomach problems after eating things like spinach, which I think my stomach forgot all about in the last semester.
I went into a Walgreens to buy mascara. There were probably over 50 different kinds. I found the one I like. There were four- four- varieties of black. "Glam black", classic black, black-brown, very black.
I thought there was just one kind of black.
We have completely over-scheduled ourselves. I drove over 110 miles between today and yesterday, just running around within town. I hate driving around. It is soul-sucking to me. One of my favorite parts of my life in Haiti is my pedestrian, non-commuting lifestyle. I need to actively pursue peace and rest.
Everything we have done so far we chose to do, and wanted to do. Some things were urgent, like speaking to a 3rd grade class today (it was the last day of school) and seeing one of our earliest spiritual mentors (he was only in Texas for a day or two more). But I have not even unpacked yet. Have not even (on my third night here) taken a shower in the US yet (hot showers!!!).
I feel like I am seeing the US for the first time. My overriding emotion (though certainly not the only one) has been surprise. I have walked around in a daze, in a constant state of feeling like I am seeing the most beautiful and organized place on earth. My parents' house is like a mansion. The TV is like a movie theater. The restaurants are like palaces. They treat you like royalty- service at the speed of light, hardly a sip of water taken before someone is refilling. This place is Disney.
To contrast: We went to the cell phone store yesterday to try and replace Ben's phone that was stolen last week. In brief, we needed to have a family member call AT&T customer service, add our names to the account, authorize us to get a new SIM card on the account, wait for the customer service agent to log this in the computer, then the agent in the store needed to check and see if we were due for an upgrade, sell us the (free with contract extension) phone, install the SIM card, activate the phone, log all of this in the computer, and sign the contract extension. ALL of this happened within 20 minutes.
Which is approximately 2 and a half hours LESS time than it took for us to go through security at the Port-au-Prince airport two days ago.
This place is Disney.
I am so grateful for one big answered prayer. I was very afraid that my heart would be full of judgment toward my hometown and my home culture. I thought I would walk around filtering my mouth, but with a heart secretly full of judgment and condemnation, thinking everybody around me are a bunch of Paris Hiltons. This has not been the case. This is due, I know for a fact, to the Holy Spirit alone.
Instead I just feel awe, largely... awe at the beauty of our strip mall classical architecture...awe at the orderliness of our Tolltag-linked airport parking system. I was moved by the beauty of the pink-and-purple-striped flower beds in roadside public landscaping, shocked by the efficiency of the visitor security check-in procedures at a suburban public elementary school (front desk volunteer uses a machine that scans your drivers license, then prints a time-and-date-stamped visitor sticker with your drivers license photo on it).