The Best Of Both Worlds

I decided to stop at Devon House this past Friday at mid-day,  as I was about to walk by it to take a taxi back to campus. I was travelling with my course text-book and thought, how different it would be to sit and read in a garden. I picked a solitary spot where unoccupied benches were gathered, then took a moment to gaze around. Perfectly manicured trees and grass everywhere just slowed my heartbeat to match the calm rhythm of nature around me. I began to contemplate about how nice it would be to have my very own future backyard look this way.

It’s not easy taking this MBA program, but living on a tropical island balances everything.

Best of both worlds I needed a change in my life and I have found it here in Jamaica. When days are stressful, a look at the breathtaking landscape and the feeling of the blazing sun alone, puts things into perspective. So sitting at Devon House reading about International Finance, and every now and again lift my head to see the reality of my dream, is enough to motivate me to get through this tough chapter.

Although achieving all of the things we want out of life can be conflicting at times, it might be true that if we are creative enough, we can have the best of both worlds. My new friend had posed this interesting phenomenon to me the other night; days before my Devon House study session, and I shrugged at the discussion. I initially felt that while we might be able to achieve one thing well, the other will be compromised in one shape or form. In other words, in my perception, things can either be black or white. We can choose to play or work, and be happy or sad. And the same holds true for friendship versus love. But, the mere fact that I was studying in a garden on Friday, watching tourists come and go, enclaved in an environment filled with happiness, sunshine, cool breeze, peace, and contentment, makes me rethink my initial sentiment.

best of both worlds

Related: Finding a Balance In Jamaica

I am wondering if we limit ourselves from our own desires when we think under such austere conditions (…as I read my IMEF textbook). Living and studying in Jamaica gives me the best of all worlds. Instead of studying in harsh winter conditions, I am basking in the Caribbean sun and I am working just as hard to achieve a Masters degree. Can I have the same pliability with other aspects of my life? In other words, will choosing love compromise friendship? This I hope to solve by making an attempt to use flexibility and creativity to play out this part of my life.

Thursday, May 23: A dream at Strawberry Hill, Jamaica

Truly, I am in love with Jamaica. When I think things can’t possibly get better it does. When I think that I have already seen most of what I had in mind, there’s more. I have never heard about Strawberry Hill until today. It’s located in the parish of St. Andrew up the mountain in an area called Irish Town. Apparently the hotel & restaurant are owned by Christopher Blackwell, the recording studio owner where Bob Marley produced his albums. Before I tell you about beautiful strawberry hills let me talk about the Zoo.

Hope gardens was not really on my list of things to see, but I had a chance to see the Zoo and the small botanical garden. The zoo is not as luxurious as other international zoos but there were birds there that I admired. The macaws, the yellow-chest parrots, and the peacocks were a few of the memorable species. There were tons of parrots but one in particular said, “hello” to me- it was as clear as a person talking. And I happily had a conversation with him. Being around nature today was totally relaxing. It was labour day here and while some people were outside working away, and others like my family spent the day at home. As for me, I used it as a day to see other attractions in Jamaica.

Something New
Strawberry Hills (below the restaurant): There was a museum that I walked through, which led me to where I am standing.

The best part of the day was driving up the mountain (seems like all the good places are either up a mountain or down a mountain). How can I describe this adventure.. it was perfect, idyllic, surreal….it must have been a dream.

It’s only in a dream where things are exactly to your expectations. All around I am at the same height as the tips of other mountains I see in the outskirts.  The clouds just hovering above us. The restaurant is in the shape of a country house…or mansion. Tables were located along the balcony while others are in a more enclosed area. There are different ways to walk outside and no matter which direction, the view is perfect. The general manager walks inside to greet us and had a small conversation with us and really made a connection. The servers all wore their smiles very well, which made for excellent service. A dream, I think. When it got dark the moon and the stars came out to look on us and being that close to the sky it almost seem I could reach them. Dinner arrived and we ate. The music created for a romantic atmosphere with the lights dimmed to perfection. When we finished all our courses, we walked towards the railing of the balcony near us and looked into yonder where all the city lights could be seen from a birds eye view. My thoughts were too many to nail one down. I just wanted to be. If I could just stay in that exact location til morning, it would have been fine with me. All I would need is a sweater, because at that altitude we were at, there was a drop in temperature.

I wish I could find the perfect words to fully describe this day and this night. It was by far the best day I have had in Jamaica, in terms of the cool climate, the height in which we were at, the view, the food, the company, and the service. I guess in a way it did not feel like Jamaica from that high. Or the experience really opened my eyes to experience Jamaica in a way that many locals have not even experienced it. When I walked over to another side of the restaurant to get a different view of the city below I was just enamoured by the moment. It had to be a dream. God is truly an artist. The way He has designed his creation is a marvel.

Jamaica has personality, it’s very appealing to look at and to experience, it’s a world in another world. It’s romantic to be around… I can choose between a day at the beach or a day in solitude on the mountain top. Jamaica is welcoming and warm (or in fact very hot). At the airport, I love that the large hummingbird that sits in a garden outside reads, “Welcome home”. The truth is, I feel at home here, so much that I’m wondering how can I stay here.