I left early, watching the sunrise appear over the mountains of Haiti, setting the hilltops aglow with golden rays. There were tears and rib-crushing hugs before I had to jump into the vehicle and bid farewell to a country that had become home.
Sleep deprived and over-emotional I sat in the departure lounge, finally handing my boarding pass to the flight attendant as they announced my name. I watched the dusty streets of Port-au-Prince disappear below as the plane rounded the bay and left my tropical island home behind.
I walked dazed through endless airport corridors and obediently collected my baggage, checked and rechecked it onto my next flight and closed my eyes, waiting for the familiar bump of touchdown that would signal I was back on British soil and home.
This year has taught me that home is what you make it. I celebrated my final weekend in Haiti with a great group of friends, hosting an incredible dinner party full of laughter, toasts and happy memories. As I sat around the dinner table with my family last night, sharing almost the same meal, I felt the same sense of belonging and happiness as we toasted birthdays, returning family members and laughed until our eyes watered.
It is strange to be in this process of transition, I am still contacting friends back in Haiti, who keep me updated on the news there. At the same time I am catching up on missed months with friends here at home, updated on new jobs, engagements, houses and much more. I still feel I have a foot in two places, my watch is still set to Haiti time, although my phone is accurate, and as I try to make sense of living life back at home, it is still hard to tear myself away from the life I got used to back in Haiti.
This transitioning will take time, and I will never forget my time in Haiti, nor will I lose the dear friends I have there. Taking time to rest and relax is great, but I keep expecting to wake up back in Haiti, ready to start another busy day. As I begin to process the last year and start to plan my next adventures this transitioning will get easier. It feels surreal but good to be home and I am excited for what the future holds.