Many of you know bits and pieces of the story behind Ysmaille and I, but I thought I'd write a little bit about our early experiences. Since Valentine's Day is coming up in a few days I thought I'd celebrate by telling you the story of our life.
When I moved to Haiti in 2002 I did not go there for love. I simply wasn't ready to settle down yet, and thought I'd be a little adventurous. I moved out of my parent's house for the first time in my life and moved to a country where I didn't know a soul. I lived in an apartment right outside the school where I taught with four other girls-- one American, one German, and two Haitian. Ysmaille and I soon became friends and within a month or so we were a couple. We had our first kiss outside the gate of my apartment under the bougainvillea flowers. Our first date was at Tiger Mart gas station (a fact that would later save us) for ice cream. We also rode on the back of motor cycles to explore downtown, hitch-hiked up the mountain for pottery, watched movies in French, and spent lazy Sunday afternoons talking about our future.
The school year soon came to a close and it would soon be time for me to go back home. Ysmaille had a half-scholarship to go to a school in New York, but was unable to get the visa so we embarked on a two-year long distance relationship. Each Christmas, Easter, and Summer vacation I would spend a few days or weeks in Haiti hoping that one day we would together forever.
In the summer of 2004, while I was visiting Ysmaille, he asked me to be his wife and I said yes. We decided to get married in Haiti because we didn't want to rely on a fiance visa.
In June of 2005 we had a gorgeous wedding at Hotel Montana, a beautiful hotel above Port-au-Prince. It was a scary time in Haiti with kidnappings happening almost daily and the U.N. presence heavily noticeable, but I was blessed to have my entire family there for the wedding as well as several other treasured guests.
We had an unconventional start to our honeymoon. There were no flights from Port-au-Prince to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, but that didn't stop us. On the morning after our wedding we left at 7:00 a.m. on a bus bound for Santo Domingo. We made it past the border and to the capital. Once in Santo Domingo we took a taxi to our resort. The entire trip took nearly 14 hours. Ironic when you consider how small the island of Hispaniola is. After a week in Punta-Cana we traveled to La Romana, where our friends Karly and Tania, were now living. We were not in a hurry to leave the DR because things were so tense in Haiti, so we took one more side trip to Santo Domingo to visit our friend Guerline. While at Guerline's house we made a phone call to make an appointment at the US Embassy so Ysmaille could get a visa to visit my family for Christmas.
To be continued...