Wednesday, September 1, 2010

pre-Haiti -- packing my bags & saying my goodbyes

Mission Trip to Haiti August 7-13

This article was written for I Am Modern, the award winning
No. Virginia magazine & website for the Modern Woman!



We will be working construction & in an orphanage.

My Bucket List ... Mission Trip to Haiti ... Really?

Right in the middle of James Taylor & Carole King singing "Shower the People You Love with Love," my diva sis-in-law said she could now take a JT concert off her bucket list. Made me think about mine. Was that why I wanted to go on a mission trip to Haiti in the middle of August? I know why I signed up on the church bulletin board 5 months ago. I had just heard Father Robb of St. Matthew's Episcopal Church deliver a sermon about "Taking the easy, and happy route in life. That was ok, but not really the life for which we were intended." I also had one of my best friends and fellow parishiners, Paige Fishel holding my hand. She was the last name on the list. 6 more openings. So easy to sign up when it was 5 months away. A few weeks later another BFF would take a spot, Beth Cascadden, and then a Chick's Picks customer, Sharon Adams, asked if she could join. She is a yoga and fitness instructor; great skill set to have on the trip too! Yep, this IS right .... it was MY payback time. My time to "take the hard road," to challenge myself, my faith. To get OUT OF MY BOX!!

I do live a charmed, wonderful, happy life. Don't get me wrong, we have experienced our share of cancer, divorces and deaths in our family. But overall, I am an extremely fortunate person. I live in the United States with a great husband in a lovely home with healthy, joyful kiddos. I am an entrepreneur with a thriving business filled with beautiful, girly eyecandy. I promote women and their art, I am able to help and contribute to charities. We live close to my mom, we travel and see John's parents a lot, I have a loving, spiritual group of friends that I meet with weekly, I say hi to someone everywhere I go. Heck, I even have 695 friends on Facebook!

So when I was attending Haiti Mission prep meetings, looking over packing lists, getting Hepatitis shots, reading FYI articles from my mom about criminals running loose , Haiti was still ... in the future. Now it is REALLY time to go. That's different. Signing up is noble. Actually going is terrifying.

Maybe terrifying is extreme? How about anxiety-riden? I am anxious about quite a few things ....

We are on a floor in a church, on an air mattress, for 6 nights. I usually get 8-9 hours, and use 2-3 pillows.
the heat
Even with a July birthday, summer is still my least favorite season. I detest the heat.
saying goodbye to my son & daughter
Enough said.
straight bangs
Even with my first Brazilian Keratin treatment ... my bangs can look funky in the humidity!
packing light
I love options, choices, having my favs with me ... this will be hard.
pulling my will out of the file
When is the last time I looked at it? Ever?
communicating with the Haitians
I don't speak French, or understand Creole. But I really want to connect with the locals.
being w/o my blackberry
With a 24/7 web-based business, 350 designers, children's doc appointments, sports team announcements, invitations, new high school updates ... HOW can I be w/o emails for 7 days? reading the bible
Born a christian, go to church, but will I be the only one who has a hard time navigating The Book?
3 hour church service
Yep, that's what we will sit through. And that's when my 14 year old broken tailbone injury is so painful.
I am too high-maintenance
Not in the mani/pedi/latte/nordstrom way. In that some ladies in my group barely wear make-up to church. I kinda want to bring a lipstick. Will they look down on me?
I drink soooooo much water these days, will we be rationing? How DARE I complain!
walking away from my business for a week
It IS named Chicks Picks BY Hillary for a reason. National magazines give me 24 hour deadlines. I work with hundreds of designers, have 5 sub-contractors and am planning 4 promotions for the fall. Can I really put this on hold?
Will I have night sweats on top of sweating at night?
interacting with the orphans
How, how, can I help them the most in just a few days? How can I leave them ?
being strong
I am a crier. Good thing my BFFs are there. They already know this about me.
seeing the devastation
I am so curious about this. How will I live in Northern Virginia with those images in my mind?
can I really go a week w/o accessories?
Sorry, but this is my passion. My business. I write articles about wearing lots of jewelry on the beach. Hard to shake.
taking pictures respectfully
I will want photos for me, and to share. I want to do it right.
being with my blonde buddies
My husband who is trying to find humor to alleviate his anxieties, calls us "Pretty in Pink does Port au Prince" ... my mom says, "You girls are attractive. Wear baseball hats, sunglasses, dress down, don't be too friendly." She is seriously worried about the gangs running loose since the prisons were destroyed.
the mosquitoes
To bring or not to bring the mosquito netting? I already have the lotions to protect --- same stuff that our pets are sprayed with. But what if one buzzes by my ear all night long?
not knowing my other group members
This is going to be a profound, life-changing, as well as physically, pyschologically and spiritually challenging trip, and I am going with 16 strangers. I want to know their anxieties so maybe we can relate. Will they discuss theirs?
I wish my husband was going
John has been my beyond-capable adventure guide for 17 years - he has taken me rock climbing (he proposed in Joshua Tree), canoeing, scuba diving, spelunking, deep sea fishing, camping, bike touring, skiing, boating. I am scared to go with out him.
will I feel helpless?
so much destruction, poverty, orphans ... what can one person do??
coming back to reality
will I be feel differently about my life when I return? will I want to give up my business? my accessories? my nice house?

But then I remember the human body is resilient. I can do anything for a week. The Tattersalls are an adventure family. I have a great husband and a Chick's Picks assistant who will hold down the fort. I trust our leaders, Father Rob and Richard Leach. I did get a blow up mattress. I will communicate with the Haitians using my eyes and hands. As Paige reminds me ... "We have to do this, this happened on OUR watch." I will bring one lipstick. I will be better because of what I have seen. I need to get out of my comfort zone. This is on my bucket list. I have faith.

My Women's Group of 5 years who will be sending us off & praying for us!
Standing: Jan Haugen, Jennifer Chugg, Hillary(Haiti),
Beth Cascadden (Haiti), Theresa Tirella, Paige Fishel (Haiti);
Sitting: Lynne Miller, Karen Dalton, Denise Longo, Lane Bolyard