Writing my first book report in second grade felt like asking me to cut my own veins.
Burning my finger on white coals at nine-years-old sent me writhing in prolonged pain, both physical and emotional for hours, probably MUCH longer than necessary.
Pouring my heart and soul into the world of Lucy Maud Montgomery had me crying and laughing, even when I would read it for the tenth time.
Dreaming of a living in a world where the streets were not paved with pebble and dirt yet feeling like a fish out of water every time we would visit the States.
Walking on the rooftop dreaming of my forever love or even just girlish romance created a fantasy world juxtaposed to the hardships of the third world environment in my peripheral.
Traveling back and forth pulled pieces of my heart every time and for days upon the return to Haiti, I would pine over home movies from my friends or even lie in bed, convinced, "I had no reason to wake up in the morning..."
Leaving Haiti was a long-held dream, and then when it was time to go, I felt like I was saying goodbye forever, causing me to wonder if what I had always longed for was truly worth it.
Living in the States for my senior year in high school was both amazing and terrifying. There were days when I was on top of the world and others where my homesickness threatened to overtake me.
Being a senior is already filled with life-changing transitions like visiting colleges, making sure to keep up with those final these-really-count-grades, sending in applications, making life-altering decisions that seem too-big-for-you-at-seventeen. Add on to that, living in a first-world culture year round, making new friends, having my first real boyfriend, and a hundred little things that make life seem LARGE and IN CHARGE instead of you feeling like you own your own days.
Yet it was a beautiful year, filled with growth that only a seventeen year old can truly experience and still not profoundly comprehend.
Seventeen years later, I am thankful for that year.
A year to live away from home before going off to college.
A year to be safe in a little known culture, living with my aunt.
A year to build deeper relationships with the family and long-time friends.
A year to go a little deeper.
A year to know Jesus better.
A year to be more me.
A year to remember.
A year to call my soul my own.
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