For the first time in my life, I’m in a relationship where the only person I try to change is me. It took me a while to get to this point. And truthfully, sometimes it’s a challenge. Okay, it’s often a challenge. I mean, it’s much easier to tell someone else about their flaws and imperfections versus taking a closer look at yourself and realizing that you aren’t Perfect Peggy (or Peter).
Much of the credit for this improved me goes to Felix. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit it, but he is the first boyfriend I’ve had that inspires me to be a better person because of his own desire to be the best person he can be; who God intended him to be. For a long time, I didn’t really understand why I’d been drawn to Felix. Our contrasting personalities, cultural differences and language barrier have caused significant misunderstandings and miscommunication. But I’ve finally come to understand and appreciate his purpose in my life.
As I’ve accepted Felix as is and have focused more on myself, I’ve noticed that he is changing and growing too. I hope it lasts forever and we continue to grow together, but the fact is, I don’t know if it will or not. Which leads me to another important lesson that this relationship has taught me: enjoy the present moment and stop trying to predict what’s going to happen in the future. Love, like everything else in life is unpredictable. Enjoy it while it lasts; however long that may be.
A couple of weeks ago, I finally went home to St. Louis to visit my family. It was the first vacation I’ve had in six months. I was only there for six days, but it was the best six days I’ve had in a long time. It was the perfect break from Haiti.
The night before I left the US, I, along with my nephews and my mom, went to Stir Crazy, a casual dining restaurant with Asian-inspired cuisine. After we finished stuffing our faces with Thai sticky wings, potstickers, kung pao chicken and fried rice, it was time for each of us to read what was inside of our fortune cookie. We started with my youngest nephew, then the older one. Next, it was my turn. I opened my fortune cookie and looked down at the tiny slip of paper in disbelief.
For the last few months, I’ve been considering taking a leap of faith. What’s been holding me back is a fear that my decision will lead to economic instability. I’ve been praying for guidance and direction, so I can’t help but think that this “fortune” is God’s way of telling me to go ahead and leap.
Yesterday, I spent nearly the entire day in bed sick, watching season 2 of Weeds, eating saltine crackers and drinking Haitian tea. I asked the housekeeper, Madame Franky, to make my favorite Haitian tea with fresh ginger and cinnamon. (A colleague introduced me to this tea, and for a week, it replaced my morning coffee. Of course, that was short-lived because nothing can break my addiction to Haitian coffee.) Madame Franky agreed, but also offered to make me a different type of tea that she said is really good for colds. About 45 minutes later, she knocked on my bedroom door and told me the tea was ready.
Haitian tea brewing
Despite how good it smelled, I have to admit that I was nervous to drink it. Sensing my hesitation, Madame Franky assured me that it would be good, and that she would strain it, then I needed to add a bit of sugar. I decided to just trust her. Besides, I’d been wanting to try Haitian herbal remedies, and this was my chance.
A closer look
I slowly took a first sip. Not bad. It mostly had a minty flavor (I thought I recognized mint leaves). It didn’t have as strong of a taste as I anticipated, so I continued sipping until it was all gone. I don’t know why, but I expected this tea to immediately cure my cough, sore throat, congestion and runny nose. It didn’t. But I did find it soothing and relaxing. In fact, soon after drinking it, I fell asleep.
This morning, I’m back at work, and my Haitian co-workers are giving me more advice on what to do to rid myself of this cold. Drink lime juice. Eat a mandarin (orange). Have some tea. Go home early. Hmm…I think I’ll do all of the above.