Home, sweet home! It’s been barely one week since I’ve been back to my homeland, Haiti, and the confusion is already settling in. I don’t feel as happy as I should. They say home is where the heart is but if that’s the case, my heart had been broken into two.
When the plane took flight in the Miami international airport, my heart raced with the prospect of returning home after so many years. Finally, I would be surrounded by my own people and feel the thrill of embracing everything about my birth culture – the good and the bad. Soon, I would be able to smell the almost toxic air full of fried oil and uncontrolled freedom in the mist of poverty. However, halfway through the flight, an overwhelming sadness took over me. It’s as if my heart and soul were being ripped out of my body. That was when I took time to ponder on everything I was leaving behind. Even if it’s for a short while, the separation was like anthrax to my life.
Florida is not my birth culture but my absentminded assimilation made it as close to my heart as Haiti. In this little island I have come to find my parents and youngest brother but everything good in life requires sacrifices. In return to be with my parents, I have to leave behind all of the friends I’ve made over the past five years I’ve been residing, all of the TV shows I’ve been accustomed to. Now, I will be awaken every morning by the sound of the merchants passing by my front door on their way to the mache, the endless chants and shouts of construction workers, and the loud wake-up call from the rooster perching from a tól nearby.
I remember all the heartfelt goodbyes with my best friends and my classmates. All the lasts for the summer, the last hour of American TV, the last ride on an acclimatized bus, the last meal on an electric oven, the last walk around the block. They were hard but they had to be done. I had to leave, I had to go visit my other half.
Some people have more than one home, more than one place that settle their restless soul. I’m one of those people. However, that place is not necessarily the brick house with the soft bed to lie on every night. In Florida, this special place is the community college I’m attending. There my spirit is in peace because I can feel my individuality growing with every bit of knowledge I absorb, with every equation I solve. In Haiti, the brick house is my special place. It’s the safe heaven where I can find the people who share my blood, my past, and my history.
I cannot draw a concrete line as to which matters most, which I can’t live without. They both have an irrevocable role in shaping me into the person I am today, and they continue to groom me into the person I aspire to become. So, yeah, maybe I should start making my peace with it. Maybe I need to stop being so restless every time my feet touch the crunchy carpet of an airplane. My heart had stopped being one years ago but I’ve been in denial for far so long. It’s time for me to accept that my plate is made up of more than tassot, griot, pikliz, and fried plantains. I need to stop picking at the hamburgers, the barbecue sauce, the chilies, and the fried chicken sitting on the side, waiting for me to send them the same love I’ve been sending to the other side for years. All of them are here to stay and I will always be grateful for everything they have both given me.