Friday, June 4, 2010

Ode to the Waks

Two years ago (take a month or so) we met Bryan and Sharon Thompsonowak at the American Airlines terminal in the Miami airport. We were all on our way to Haiti to work for MCC. Ben and I got to the departure gate first and made a game out of guessing which couple approaching the gate might be them.

A canceled flight, overnight in Miami and six intense weeks of orientation and language learning later, we were inseparable (except that they lived in Desarmes and we lived in Port-Au-Prince, which necessitated a fair bit of back-and-forth travel). They love to garden. We love to garden. They have ridden bicycles cross-country. We have ridden bicycles cross-country. They love to travel. We love to travel. The list goes on and on. We have never shared such a similar combination of values and interests with another couple before: travels, books, magazines, movies, music, theology, ideology, hobbies, food... Sometimes it was downright weird.
Now this post is going to degenerate into a blubbery cliched account of our friendship that will probably make me cry as I write it. We have traveled all over Haiti and through the Dominican Republic together. While Ben and Bryan built cargo bikes and went mountain biking together, Sharon and I shopped in the market (she likes to buy 2nd hand clothes and alter them and, what do you know, I also like to buy 2nd hand clothes and alter them - although she's a better seamstress than I) and did amazing cooking and craft projects together:
When Bryan and Sharon left Desarmes and moved to Port-Au-Prince after the earthquake, we lived together for awhile. When they moved into their own place, we still worked in the same office (more precisely, in the same 5x10 ft of office space), ate at least 4 dinners a week together and spent weekends hanging out. Incidentally, we discovered that you don't actually need more than 4 people for a dance party.
Yesterday, we took Bryan and Sharon back to the airport. It has come time for them to move on to other amazing things - Sharon is off to Vanderbilt Divinity School where she will be studying ethics and society as a precursor to her PhD. Bryan will be doing a one-year internship at the end of which he'll be a certified arboriculturalist. (See how cool they are?!). Saying goodbye to them yesterday was one of the hardest things we've done in a long time. They have been our community here, our family. And as predicted, I'm crying now...

Bryan, Sharon, here's to 2 years in Haiti full of adventures, difficulties, fun times (and boring and inbetween times) and to our many years of friendship to come. We are so glad that you're who showed up at the Miami airport on July 29th, 2008.

p.s. I fully expect to be made fun of for the corniness of this post, but at least I didn't break out into the lyrics of "Friends are friends forever."
at the airport, sad

7 comments:

Rebecca said...

Dezole cheri : (

Sharon said...

Dudes, I was TOTALLY going to download that song and play it for you before we left!! Good thing you can just hum it quietly to yourself...

Friendship Phase One: over.
Phase Two: just beginning.

loads o' love from
your favorite middle-aged Native American woman

katiep said...

My name is Katie and I have been reading your blog via Kim and Patrick Bentrott's blog. I was visiting CONASPEH, Kim and Patrick when the eartquake happened. I know that I may not have the chance to be formally introduced to you and Ben, but I have truly enjoyed reading about your perspective of Haiti. I am commenting on this post because of your friend Sharon that will be going to Vandy Div school. I am here in Nashville and would love to get in touch with them! There were several of us on the trip to Haiti that I am sure would love to show them around the city or if they need any city advice we would love to help. Sorry, I know this is weird! But would love to help! My email is katiedpickens@yahoo.com
Katie

nerkert said...

You made me cry, too, Sweetie, both for you and because of my own memories of hard goodbyes. But I know you, and I know that you will (speaking of corny) "make new friends, but keep the old." It's a wonderful gift that God has always given you.

Alexis said...

Katie -- thanks for your message. I'll pass the information along!

Anonymous said...

i wish i had friends like that!

T & T Livesay said...

:( Not easy - or fun. Maybe the next couple MCC sends in will be 1/3 as cool and you'll end up with new less awesome but still fun friends.

I hope so.

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