My friend from Haiti is in town for the weekend. This is her first foray to These United States. We have visited her family’s home for the past several years. The island girl in me perfectly at home in their non-air conditioned one bedroom house. My sleeping quarters is their living room cordoned off for guests. Electricity is a random thing that comes on when you are fast asleep and goes off when you first awake. Her husband is building one room at a time and they have just finished their patio. Their home is fully paid.
I am almost embarrassed to give her a tour of my home. Two bedrooms/two baths and an office. She sees the double washer in the laundry room and marvels at how one sits on top of the other. And not to mention the garage which houses a myriad of “stuff” including my rumored shoe collection. My home still has a mortgage.
It is truly all about perspective. They have no taxes in Haiti. All we have here is the Land of Hiked Taxes. We wrangle about the pros and cons of our respective countries. No taxes means peace of mind and money in your pocket. It also means no waste removal and no paved roads. No property insurance or mortgage means peace of mind and money in your pocket. It also means an earthquake or hurricane can wipe you clean with no home to boot.
I want the peace of mind of living somewhere where the food is truly organic and I can jog right next to a donkey or cow (this really happened). My friend wants the peace of mind where primary education is free for her three children and they can grow up with a yard that has grass and not perpetual dust! I want a slower pace where cell phones and social media isn’t my ball and chain. She wants connections to friends and family beyond an app or minutes on a calling card.
One existence is no better than the other. At this juncture in life, we are both resigned to the fact that for this season we must settle for the quick spurts abroad. Her to rewind. Me to unwind.