Thursday, August 18, 2011

Parakeet Whisperer

What can I say?  Animals just love me.  Despite the fact that I'm allergic to half of them.  Just as I was sitting here, trying to think of a title for my new update, a parakeet started fluttering around the bird cage right next to where I get internet access.  I looked at it and thought, "Hey that looks just like the one that escaped a few days ago..."  It was indeed, the Prodigal Parakeet, returning, no doubt, from his life of fermented mangoes and loose songbirds back to where he knew he would have food and water aplenty.  It took him a few minutes to realize that he and I both wanted the same thing (for him to get back in the cage) so we had a bit of a dance.  Then he stood on the open door for a full thirty seconds before finally deciding that, "Okay, I've had enough freedom.  Lock me and never let me out again."  I would say that his mate seemed especially happy to have him back, but that's just plain anthropomorphizing.

The past week has been the best of my time in Haiti so far.  To be sure, it hasn't been entirely devoid of it's low points, but nothing that some dancing to Mumford and Sons in the office couldn't cure (Don't worry, I was alone.  If anyone had walked in right then, it would've been very embarrassing.  And a special thanks to Brittany Gaddy for the "workout" idea).  At the beginning of August, I was very worried that the lack of activity would send me into my deepest depression yet.  I feared that with nothing to look forward to until school starting in September 5, I would slowly start to lose my mind.  Fortunately, God has been faithful and provided me with some lifelines.  My relationships with people in the neighborhood have continued to grow.  Having people invite me to activities and events - even if it's something as simple as playing cards or going to the day's soccer game - makes such a difference from me inviting myself to do those things.  I just feel that much more a part of the community here.

Last week, I also started teaching another class, also in Limbé.  Loulouse, another professor at UCNH, and her husband run a small church/school that's attached to their home.  She asked if I was available to teach some English classes and since my schedule was pretty wide open, I was more than happy to oblige.  It's a good-sized class of about 15 and we take the material at a pretty slow pace.  I'm learning from my mistakes in other classes not to rush through and assume that students are studying at home.  Also, whenever students say that they understand something after the first time I explain it and that they don't have any questions, they're always lying.  Always.  How true the saying, "A teacher is someone who never says something only one time."

Things at UCNH seem to be picking up.  There's a meeting tomorrow for professors (that I'm still not sure if I'm supposed to go to) to talk about what needs to happen between now and September 5 to get ready for classes to start.  Hopefully I'll be finding out in the next few days which classes I'm teaching.

Other than that, there's not much new stuff to report.  Oh, a six year-old girl and her mom moved in to the house I'm staying in about a week ago.  I'm not really sure why they've moved in, or how long they're staying. They're both great, and I especially enjoy playing with Shanunu, the six year-old.  It's fun to have a younger host sibling, at least for however long they stay.


  1. Ah! I'm so glad you did!!! Way to take advantage of music and an empty office!! Also, if someone ever does walk in on you, it will make for a great story :D

  2. Way to go with the Parakeet! I found out the in-laws that live below me have 3 sets of parakeets, I hope I have as much luck with being their friend. Also, I am glad to hear that this week was better for you and that you have a 6-year-old to play with. Somehow little kids brighten up the day :)

  3. Jennifer CatellaniAugust 25, 2011 at 7:13 AM

    Hey Chris, thanks for sharing your experiences in Haiti like this. You're an amazing writer- keep it up! Praying for you and esp. the start on the 5th. Glad Emily and Irene missed you. Enjoyed seeing your Mom and Hannah while I was home one afternoon. Take care and be blessed.

  4. Shoot, I just typed up this whole thing about your comment, "Also, whenever students say that they understand something after the first time I explain it and that they don't have any questions, they're always lying" and then accidentally erased it!!!! Bummer, anyways, the point was that I totally resonate with the students and they just need time to think, process, and forget, before they have any questions... (this usually occurs about 30 seconds after you've asked for questions and understanding). Basically that's it. I'm glad to hear that you're feeling more involved with the community and having mumford and sons dance parties alone (although they're much more fun with other people). :)