Passports, nephews and house keys: Reflecting on the past decade
It's not an easy task to reflect on an entire decade. On one hand, you have to go through photos, journals and agendas (or, in my case, passports) if you're serious about it. You can't rely on memory alone. On another hand, moments you thought were defining a few years ago pale in comparison to more recent events. You have to look at life events in context, not in hindsight.
I took the lazy route: looked through the photos on my phone and asked Hubs. It was fun, though. We both got some years wrong and we are both wondering what the heck we did in 2013.
Here are the highlights of the 2010s.
2010 — The earth quaked, my heart shattered
The earthquake may be the defining moment of the decade for Haiti. A natural disaster of this magnitude makes or break a nation. I haven't decided on which side the scales have tipped.
From Asia to Africa to South America, it is often the first thing that people bring up when they find out that I'm from Haiti.
I've always found it somewhat poetic that the first country I travelled to with my newly obtained Canadian passport was to my homeland. I swore fielty to the Queen on a Monday morning, applied for my passport an hour later, and hopped on a plane on Wednesday. Destination: Port-au-Prince. The trip itself wasn't fun.
My mother had insisted that I see my hometown in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake. She said that I needed to see it with my own eyes. So, I went.
This visit would mark the first time I didn't feel quite at home in PauP. The city had started to become something else.
But the most defining moment for me, that year, was that visit to my sister's OB/Gyn when I saw a little dot on that black and white screen, and my heart leaped.
Like my aunts before me, I became a long distance auntie. And, in 2011, I welcomed my nephew home for the summer.
I loved Mathys instantly. Him being my sister's son is all the reason I needed.
I take my role as an aunt very seriously. My mother's sisters played an important part in my life. In loving my nephews, I am keeping their legacy alive.
This is also the year I had my hysterectomy. The last of 3 surgeries that would bring a pain-free life. I talked at length about this in my birthday post.
2012 — Home sweet home
Adulthood has its own series of milestones. To me, becoming a homeowner was an important one.
Hubs and I left Ottawa, our home for over 7 years and moved across the river to Gatineau.
This coincided with the infamous 7-year itch—that year of marriage is supposed to be a difficult one.
We spent most of it wondering whether or not buying our place was a good idea. So much so, we didn't really have an itch to scratch.
2013 — What the heck did we do that year?
There's probably a journal and an agenda lying somewhere in my home that could enlighten us. But I won't look for them.
This illustrates that, although something major may have happened that year, in hindsight, it may not matter as much.
What I do know is that we started to save for our very first trip to South America.
2014 — Becoming world travellers
Hubs and I often talked about seeing the world. By that time, we had only been to 3 countries.
The moment they announced that Brazil would be hosting the FIFA World Cup, we knew we would be going. More than one dream would come true with that trip.
Our itinerary together: Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. I'd go back to Canada and he'd meet up with The Boys and go to a few games.
Five years and 27 countries later, I have gotten more comfortable using the "World Traveller" label.
2015 — What happens in Vegas
We gathered a group of 22 and headed to Vegas to renew our wedding vows for our 10th anniversary. Some of them even made it to the Grand Canyon with us.
Since then, travelling with friends became an important part of the experience. Not only do we strengthen our bonds, but it allows us to see the world through other people's eyes.
Another first for me was going on solo trips.
Idrys, nephew #2, was born that year. His arrival into the world showed me that I was capable of loving 2 people in the same way.
2016 — Becoming Pieds poudrés
I travelled halfway around the world with Ti Val that year. We island hopped in the Caribbean, spent 20 hours in Mexico City, and immersed ourselves in Asian culture.
I went to places I had never dreamed of.
And I decided to write about it.
2017 — Going off the beaten paths
Going to Bogotà and Beirut helped define my travel style as well as my travel philosophy.
Growing up in Haiti has shaped my world view and my definition of what constitutes a place that is "worthy" of a visit.
And, given that I've travelled to Haiti despite travel warnings, I knew to take these warnings with a grain of salt. This is not to say that there aren't dangerous places in the world. There are! But travel warnings often describe conditions to which I'm accustomed to.
2018 — Stepping out of my comfort zone
That year was all about conquering some of my fears.
I went on an hot air balloon ride that year. Fear of heights be damned. I also went on a cruise. Talk about not being in my element.
2019 — 40 is the new... Nothing!
The highlight of the year when it comes to travel was going to Senegal.
I went on 4 major trips this year. One for each decade. I went on the African continent for the first AND second time!
There was my first trip to Morocco during which I met some amazing women. The amazing trip to Mexico City. The epic roadtrip across Europe followed by a week in Morocco (again!) and Senegal. And this last jaunt in London.
More than once, this year, I've asked myself if this was my life.
I loved turning 40. I love being 40 even more! And, no, it doesn't need to be the "new 30" to be enjoyable.