As I had predicted, the long-distance relationship with Rick didn’t work out too well. I was pretty sad at first, but then started getting involved with going out with our group of friends around Petionville, including Lisa, our friend Rafael (who took Jonathan’s place at the sugar company), Jean Marc (a cousin of Monica’s who has returned to Haiti to run a family construction business), Chris (works at the embassy), and a few others. We’ve been hashing a couple of times, including a hash by the dump, where they are building the new embassy, as well as a couple around Pacot, where Jean Marc, Chris, and Rafael live.
A few new clubs have opened up, including a Lebanese restaurant called MacDoo’s which has great food like hummus and hookah pipes, and we still go dancing at Club Barak, and Boucane Gregoire has a nice outdoor atmosphere. Tom goes with us a lot, although Sue has been staying home, as she is pregnant! We also sometimes see Fran, Melissa, and Kasson and Olivia, the teachers at the Juvenat house. Malushcka and other hashers are sometimes seen at Boucane, and meeting up at Resto Bar St. Pierre has that “almost home” feeling of the neighborhood bar.
My classes went well for the fall; I had a new class to teach- speech communications. It went okay but was a little boring. In the spring it will switch to Religion, and I am looking forward to that but also a bit worried. I also teach English to grades 6-9. I like the older kids but my grade six are a handful.
I see Monica and Andy and the kids each week; I tutor Christiana on Wednesdays and go home from school with her. Usually we work on homework for a while, then I have a glass of wine with Monica and sometimes Andy. I often stay for dinner but sometimes it’s hard to stay the night because I also like going up to the Petionville Club for the Wednesday night Happy Hour.
In October, we (me, Lisa, Jean Marc, Pia, Chris) went to Jean Marc’s beach house to stay for a weekend. There was a concert out at Club Kaliko and that was pretty fun. It was great visiting the beach and eating all kinds of fresh seafood.
I did a lot of traveling this fall. Just after my birthday I went to the beaches in the Dominican Republic for a really short (24 hour!) All Saint’s holiday. I went to California in November for a continuation of some curriculum training that I had started in Colorado. Then I hurried back to Haiti so I could spend Thanksgiving vacation at my number one vacation spot: Andy and Monica’s mountain house. It was a fabulous meal and a wonderful, relaxing weekend, although it was also sad, as this was the first holiday without Hans Peter Hackenbruch. While visiting one of the beaches in October, he apparently contracted malaria, and he died in early November, quite unexpectedly. It has been a very sad time for Ingrid, Hans Ryan, and Verenna.
I’ve been spending a lot of time with Chris, and getting the opportunity to go to lots of different functions. There was a UN party at La Reserve, which I wound up attending. We have also been to a UN photography exhibit of our acquaintance Sophie’s, and also a dinner and later an awards ceremony at the Pakistani UN camp. It’s been really interesting to see the military side of Haiti.
At the end of December I took a weekend vacation to Isle a Vache and had a wonderful, romantic, relaxing time. It was a great way to end the semester. En route home to Dallas I stopped at Miami and saw Dr. Schwartz and had my braces taken off. Finally! He put a permanent retainer on the bottom teeth, and I have to wear a retainer on the top teeth at night. But at least everything is straight and the braces are done with (and the cost). Now I’m at home for a short winter break, and heading back to Haiti to spend the New Year’s- there’s going to be a big concert and party at the Oloffson Hotel and RAM is playing!