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Waterfalls and bloody rat murder

Monday, February 28th, 2011

I’m in Haiti, and have so many things to say, I don’t know what to tell you first.

At the Miami airport, I witnessed a woman in a full-length denim jumpsuit with a zipper from the crotch to the throat.

I suppose that’s a good place to start.

– – – – – – – –

My sister Sarah speaks Haitian Creole.  I knew that she had learned the language since she moved here, but it’s a different thing to actually hear her interact with Haitians.  She is so capable, at one point, she explained in Creole to a man named Altime what I do for a living – which I can barely explain to people in English.

Then, in English, she asked Altime, “How are you?”

And he proudly answered, “I am 36-years old.”

– – – – – – – –

We heard about a group of people going to a waterfall, so we decided to join them.  We rode in a “canter,” which is basically a small U-Haul with benches in the back, and about 30 of us crowded into the closed box.  The 90-minute drive up the mountain on the pot-holed road was among the most uncomfortable things I have ever survived.  At one point, sweaty and clammy and jostled and car-sick, desperate for a perspective-shift, I thought, “At least it’s not the Holocaust.”

Yeah, Annie.  At least.

But we arrived at the waterfall, and climbed to the top, and then waded back down, one slick rock at a time.  It was beautiful and lush, and the cold water felt good on our dirty feet.

– – – – – – – –

I met Pierre, Sarah’s precious little friend.  His eyes tick-tock back and forth like a Kewpie doll, and he makes sounds like E.T., and then he looks at Sarah and smiles like this:

He is around 2 1/2, they think, and was abandoned by his mother back in September.  Sarah and her roommate Diana took him in until they were able to place him at the Hope House, an orphanage operated by Mission of Hope.  He has something similar to muscular dystrophy, so his limbs are contracted, and the cyst on his brain means that his cognition will never be much beyond what it is right now.

But that smile…

It is impossible to not fall in love with him.

– – – – – – – –

On Saturday night, as I slept peacefully, Sarah and Diana killed a rat in the bedroom.  It involved a PVC pipe and splattering blood.  I never heard a thing.  What champions.

– – – – – – – –

I left a personal storm behind in the States, and while it feels strange to be away during this time, I am thankful for the distance and perspective.  I am also thankful for you, your kind words, and your sweet friendship.

One month from tomorrow

Monday, January 24th, 2011

I don’t know which is more exciting.

I have new songs.

And I’m going to Haiti.

Seriously: explosion of confetti and excitement and exclamation points right →here←.

Ever since my sister Sarah moved to Haiti last June, I have dreamed of an opportunity to see her life there.  One month from tomorrow, I’m getting my chance – seven days and seven nights at Mission of Hope.

What happens at Mission of Hope, you ask?

Well, they have a school, and a home for orphans, and a medical clinic, and a nutrition program.  They also have a new small business initiative called 3 Cords, which employs amputee women, empowering them to make hand-crafts, cards, and jewelry.  I’ll probably get to experience a little bit of each of these things.  I’ll also probably experience tarantulas and dirty feet and mangoes and a little boy named Tee Kervins.  I can’t wait to meet Tee Kervins, just so I can say his name.

Try it.  Tee Kervins.

See?

Of course, I’m a bit nervous about being taken out of my comfort zone, even for a short time.  I’m someone who likes control and safety and rat-free apartments.  And when I’m honest, sometimes it feels easier to just go about my daily business, blind to the pain and sadness and poverty that might be found elsewhere.

But I believe that it’s important – important, and even necessary – to be inconvenienced.

And I also believe that when I am in Haiti, I will find more joy than sadness, more strength than fear, and more hope than despair.  It just might change my life.

So, back to these new songs of mine.

I recorded three new demos with some co-workers when I was in Nashville in December, and even from just a little home studio, I’d say they turned out gems.  I would love for you to hear them – and if you feel so inclined, they’re available for a minimum $10 donation.  The money will help offset the cost of this trip to Haiti – because go figure, it costs a lot to get to the poorest country in the Western hemisphere.

Thanks, as always, for reading, and listening, and following along with this little life of mine.  I can’t wait to tell you stories from my trip.

Stop ticking

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

My friend Fred Wilhelm writes great songs.  I talked to him a few months back, and told him that some of my happiest moments of the past year were the times that I heard him play this one:

I mean, seriously?  That is just the coolest.  I hope this isn’t sacrilegious, but when I hear him play this song, it feels like church.  “I’m here today ’cause that brave woman begot me” – I want to shout hallelujah.

I’m thinking about my own family today – how we have our own unique story, one that keeps progressing and morphing with time, for better and for worse, each of us changing and becoming and growing into whoever it is that we are, whoever it is that we were created to be.  We are equal parts comedy and tragedy – and a total gong show, at times.  We are far, far from perfection, but still, “when I’m with ’em, it’s like Thanksgiving.”

Today, my littlest sister Sarah is moving to Haiti. At 22-years old (and more mature than the other three of us kids put together – no offense, Jeremy and Becca, I know you agree), she bought a one-way ticket, and is moving to one of the poorest countries in the world to do a little good.  Those of us who know her know that she will do more than “a little” good, and while we will miss her terribly, can’t put into words how proud we are of her.

If I ever wrote a song about my family, today would be an important line.

Road trip recap

Monday, May 17th, 2010

I drove to Kansas City this weekend – and you know what that means:

On the road again from Annie Parsons on Vimeo.

I’m sorry that the video was only 52 seconds long, but… no, you know what, no I’m not.  That’s about all you need to be subjected to.

Besides this (glorious) video, the only other eventful things that happened on the drive were watching a bird get completely OBLITERATED by a Camry (we’re talking: cloud of feathers, body ricocheted into the median), and calling Becca in a panic to ask who the fifth member of the Backstreet Boys was (why did I forget about Howie? Oh. Probably because he’s Howie).

When I showed up for Sarah‘s college graduation, my mom told me I looked like a flower.  I kind of felt like a flower.

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Micah and Tyler have their summer buzz cuts, and it’s clear that they adore their aunties.

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Sarah is now officially a college graduate and a real live nurse.  We have her with us back in Colorado for a few weeks, but she has a one-way ticket to Haiti next month.  Little sister, prepare to be smothered by us.

Gone to Pleasure Bay

Friday, October 16th, 2009

So much has happened in the last day.

First of all, the helium balloon.

WHAT.

Is this the weirdest story ever?  First of all, that this Jiffy Pop contraption actually existed – and in someone’s backyard, no less.  Secondly, that the entire country was thrown into a frenzy when it was reported that there was a 6-year old boy inside, adrift.  And his name was FALCON.

When I found out that he was okay, that he had been hiding the entire time, I was in the airport getting boarding a flight to Boston.  My mom called me and told me that they found him hiding in the garage attic.  And when I hung up the phone, I got all teary – because this is amazing?  This is the best news ever?  And I am PMSing?  So leave me alone.

But then!  I arrive in Boston to the news that it’s gotten even weirder!  The family had been on “Wife Swap” – the show that makes Jon & Kate look like Ward & June Cleaver.  And when asked why he didn’t come out of hiding when he heard his name being called, little Falcon said, “You guys said we did this for the show.”

Oh, snap!  Right there on “Larry King Live.”

I’ll choose to just be happy that he’s okay, because this could turn into a circus.

Anyhoo.

I’m in Boston!  And this is the weather.

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It’s putting a damper on my plans, since today was meant for some solo exploring outside on foot while my friends are busy.  But you know what?  I’m going to do it anyway.  Here’s where I’m going to go walk in the freezing rain right now:

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Doesn’t that look like fun?  Walking out into the middle of the ocean??  Around PLEASURE BAY?

And now that I have spent 20 minutes creating a map with arrows that, at this point, is useless to anyone but me, I just want to point you toward one last thing.

My littlest sister, Sarah, is in her last year of nursing school.  The things that nurses know, and know how to do, blows my mind – the medical realm is so far outside my small scope of knowledge.  Last night, she wrote a post about an experience that had me riveted.  I can’t believe how much she has experienced, the lives she is making a difference in, and the incredible path she has chosen.  I am bursting with pride.

A day away can transform uncertainty and renew the spirit.
-Maya Angelou