Have you heard the quote " If you want to make God laugh tell him your plans "?I heard this quote back in 8th grade and it's always stuck with me. Whether you believe in God or a higher being, I'm sure we can both agree that life doesn't always go according to "plans".
October 4th 2016, hurricane Matthew ravished Haiti, my birth country.To give you the back story, I left Haiti at the age of 9, in 1998. Yup I've been away for 18 years. 18. That's an adult in.. well human years. I've always maintained my patriotism towards Haiti, however I never felt the intense passion to rush back, it always seemed like a part of my life that I faintly remember.My traveling plans were 8 weeks in Colombia, then I would head to Dominican Republic for my cousin's wedding then 2 weeks in Haiti. 2 weeks is enough of a sacrifice for a country I barely remember. Right?
Life clearly had other plans. Like putting a wrench on me getting my Colombian visa; I am a permanent resident of Canada but my passport is Haitian, traveling is extremely hard with a Haitian passport. It just so happens when I realized I wouldn't receive my visa in time and would need to postpone my trip that Hurricane Matthew happened.
3 days after, I was still heartbroken by the pictures I had seen. It felt like something that happened in my own backyard. I spoke with my mother and told her . We both agreed, I would volunteer with her NGO CEHAH. Without questioning why I suddenly felt the necessary need to return to Haiti and help any way possible, my mother and I decided to leave in 2 weeks, we called Aeromexico ( Hi Juan!).
Changing flights is a headache. The best i could get without losing more money was October 25th, with an 11 hour layover in Mexico City. October 25th. My mother's birthday.She insisted we go ahead. So we booked it. For those of you who don't know about my mother; Kettly Excellent is not of this world. I know everyone says this about their mothers but seriously, there is no other human being with a more caring heart while being such a badass. Political militant and activist since the age of 14? Two time mayoral candidate? Cancer survivor? Best mother and grandma ever? [ I've been convincing her to write an autobiography for over a decade now.. wait for it].
Nobody should spend their birthdays in an airport, in a new country and not get to experience said country. Right?
So I looked up airbnb.
5 minutes from the airport.
Messaged the hosts on a whim and explained our situation.For an extra fee, he can arrange a driver, a tour of the Teotihuacan Pyramids in , a drive to a restaurant, and finally to our room.
Mama had no idea. For 2 weeks I had to listen to her tell people she would be spending her birthday in the airport. 2 weeks. I am a terrible liar. I suck at it. Keeping other people's secrets, yes. But something I'm involved with? Forget about it. When we finally get to the airport, and after she's told everyone on the way that it's her "cumpleaños", i crack. Without giving too much away, I let her know that her wonderful daughters organized something special just for her.
20 minutes later, we find our saviour, Jesus! Yup the driver's name. He takes us straight to the pyramids.
The mysterious Teotihuacán Pyramids, built in 300 BC as the centerpiece of an enormous city that is often compared to ancient Rome. They were inexplicably abandoned centuries before the arrival of the Aztecs, who called the ancient architectural marvel the 'Birthplace of the Gods.'- Quick google search
The weather was perfect. The energy unreal. The people, amazing.The whole experience was.. inexpiable. And I got to experience it, I got to start my traveling journey with the person who means the most to me, my first best friend. I'd like to think these 11 hours in Mexico City set the tone for the rest of our trip.
Special thanks goes out to our wonderful hosts and their team. Be sure to check them out for an authentic time in Mexico City
Two months ago, my sisters and I got the opportunity to surprise our mother for her birthday. It didn't break the bank, I wasn't able to get her a cake, I didn't get to scream to the world how wonderful of a human being she is.
But I get to look at this picture of her with her head thrown back, carefree and happy. Even though we knew we were heading towards the devastation left behind my Hurricane Matthew, for 11 hours we laughed and ate and loved life.Mexico City hasn't seen the last of us, next time will definitely be a longer trip.
Wherever you are I hope you're smiling Shiva Kay
All pictures taken with my Iphone 5S with the 4-in-1 Olloclip lens