Haiti Blog

Brent & Letitia Jefkins

One Month: A post about how weird we will be when we return from Haiti!

on April 28, 2014

I’m not sure I really want to say this ‘out loud’, but just in case you didn’t do the math from our last post I’ll do it for you quickly…

…we have a month left in Haiti.

I also managed to outdo myself and go even longer than 2 months without writing a post for you, my faithful readers. I swear to you there is some sort of time vortex going on here, that sucks time away faster than usual. I was actually surprised when I saw that it had been so long since our last post. I could have sworn it had only been a month. It’s a big mystery to me!

If you have ever anticipated anything in your life, which I’m going to assume you have, you know that the one month and one week countdowns are the worst and best (depending on if the thing anticipated is good or bad). After a month, it changes to weeks. “Only 4 weeks….3 weeks…2 weeks…” We can really grasp how fast a week goes. And after one week, it goes to counting days. And man…they go by fast!

We’re finally at the part where leaving has become an imminent reality. There is no pretending we have all the time in the world.

So in the spirit of accepting the undeniable fact that: yes it’s true, we are going back to Canada…I want to give you a heads up. We want you to know what these transitions look like for people returning from living and working in another country (especially an under developed country). And maybe it’ll help you to understand why we’re probably acting weird. 

Currently I have 4 equal but conflicting feeling about this transition:

1) I don’t want to leave Haiti.

2) I can’t wait to get out of Haiti.

3) I don’t want to go back to Canada.

4) I’m excited to go back to Canada.

You may only see 2 conflicting ideas, because wanting to leave Haiti, and wanting to go to Canada seem like the same thing…but they are very different. They each have their own list of reasons.

So if you can start by understanding that we’re making this transition with many conflicting and strong feelings, than that’ll be a good base! Now I’m just going to list some things that come to my head about what getting back to Canada will be like for us.

We’re not going to be eager to jump into anything 100% once we get back…because we’ll feel confused; perhaps we’ll seem a little distant.

We’ll say common English phrases wrong because we haven’t used them in awhile.

And we’ll word things strangely because sometimes we’ll translate a word/phrase we’re used to using in Creole into English…but it’s not normally how someone would say it in English.

For example:

English: I’ll be right back.

Creole: I’m coming. (literally translated from Creole)

We won’t always know how to respond to simple questions about our time in Haiti and about being back in Canada, like “How was Haiti?”, or “Are you happy to be back?”, because it’s hard to sum up complicated emotions and experiences in one word. Imagine if we asked you to sum up your last 2 1/2 years in Canada…for us it wasn’t just some trip, it was our life, and is still part of our life.

We also will feel conflicted when people refer to Canada as “home.” We understand that people assume that because we grew up in Canada that it means it is home for us, but we’ve had to learn to adapt to life in Haiti, and have inevitably taken on some cultural aspects that we now feel might be with us forever. And for our first while (who knows how long that will really be) Canada will feel less like home than Haiti because we’ve gotten so used to being here.

We’ll come back feeling like different people (in some ways), but people will expect us (not consciously) to be the same people who left. We will probably feel conflicted and confused about who we are now, and how do we live in this ‘old’ setting as ‘new’ people. Just give us a little time and understanding as we figure it out.

We might be randomly emotional. Pretty much for all the reasons I just said. But the emotions will be different for each of us. I’ll be honest: I’ll probably cry a lot and you may be completely baffled as to why I’m crying! Brent probably won’t cry (at least not as frequently as me if he does), but he’ll have his own of dealing with everything he is processing!

I have gone through this process before, when I moved back from living in the Dominican Republic, so I can anticipate some of my own reactions. But as you know every experience is different, so who really knows!!

Yet we cannot forget about the fact that God is faithful. He has been with us through our entire time in Haiti, and we know that we need to trust him through this phase too!

-Letitia

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2 responses to “One Month: A post about how weird we will be when we return from Haiti!

  1. Karin says:

    My sister and I call this feelings you get to look forward to “being in the wrong movie”…it takes a while, but eventually the channel will change… 🙂

  2. margaret says:

    I will be praying for you in this last month. Transitions are never easy

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