I got in the car with my dear mother and sister who drove the three hours to pick me up at the airport. It felt so good to be with them again, to be able to relax in the back seat and close my eyes and not wonder if we would have a head-on collision with a bus while trying to pass a tap-tap.
They asked me questions about my trip and I started telling my stories. "Look at all the lights," I was thinking to myself. "Just think of all this electricity! Wow. Everyone has power, and the power doesn't go out."
I decided it would be best to warn them that I would be experiencing reverse culture shock. I had been trained about this in my debrief with WEC after my experience in Betel. But in all my travels, I had never experienced culture shock so powerfully as I did in Haiti, and I expected that reversing the process would be equally drastic.
"Just to warn you," I started in, "I might be in for some heavy-duty reverse culture shock."
"What do you mean?" Mom asked.
"Well, you know, being an emotional basket case, and having to get used to the way things are here, and stuff like that," I said.
"Do you want a banana?" Monica interrupted.
"Sure," I said. I took the banana.
"So don't be surprised," I continued, "if I'm always saying stuff like, 'Whoa, look at all the lights,' or 'Whoa, niiiiice houses,' or--"
I started opening my banana as I was talking.
"Whoa! Look at this BANANA!" I interrupted myself. "Oh my goodness! It's so large! And yellow! And perfect! And there are no ants on it! Whoa! This is the nicest banana I've ever seen!"
The irony was lost on me until Mom and Monica said, "Are you serious, or is that just another example?"
"Oh! No, I'm serious!" I said. "Look at this thing!" I giggled with delight as I bit into its pure lusciousness. Yum, yum, yum, yum. Bliss, all the way down to the bottom.