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.

Longing For You, Jamaica

Longing for YouAs you can only imagine, Jamaica is on my mind the way you would think about that hot, sizzling new crush. I wake up to thoughts of beaches and sunshine; checking out my skin to see if I got a tan overnight. I go to bed with blue skies on my mind. Just today, I was walking through the mall and I was checking out bathing suits because surely I may need one in my dream.

The truth is and there is no doubt about it; I want to go to Jamaica. I want to be there not in a few months, but now. This moment. I want to snap my fingers and have my life be transformed so that I am living in a nice apartment in New Kingston. I want to feel the warmth of the sun seeping through my skin. I want to be drenched with sweat; feeling dirt all over my body and the pressing desire to take a long shower because I was enveloped in the hot Jamaican sun. This is not a want, it’s a need. And it is not a desire to run away from the -20 degree temperatures we’ve been having here. It’s just what happens when you’re in love.

Longing for youI want to see Jamaica’s tantalizing mountains, taste the sugary mangoes, canes, coconut water, and feel the juice run down my fingers and all over my shirt. I want to put my feet in the dazzling shades of blue water and sink my toes into the sparkly cotton-like sand. I want to look at the mesmerizing sunsets and sunrises that I often miss here at home especially during wintry weather. Yes I want to be witness to the hustle and bustle and loose myself in the crime and violence; though not literally. I want to empathize with Jamaica when another one of its citizens have been lost to a bullet; and the stains of blood, left as remnants on your soil. Jamaica I want to cry when you cry for another soul placed deep down into your core. Where they should have been walking; they are now lying motionless. I want to share your joy and happiness. I want to celebrate with you during times of carnivals, anniversaries and other festivities. I want to reminisce in your
history with you and honour those men and women that made you proud over the years. Oh Jamaica, your land is so sweet. I want to eat different flavors of ice cream while sitting on your lush green grass. I want to spend my days gazing out at your leafy coconut and palm trees and spend moments in a trance while I stare at the bright colored flowers you wear so eloquently.

 

RelatedThe Last Day

I am so tired of living away from you, Jamaica; because you are hard to live without. Still, Longing for youI’ll be patient for a few more months, because I know my time with you will be sweet. I’ll continue daydreaming about your handsomeness and your rock hard abs you call mountains. I’ll keep drooling over your sugary fruits and your oh so good jerk chicken, jerk pork, fried fish and festival. Must I go on? Lord, help me so I won’t be tempted to steal away to this tantalizing island and make it my home for life.

Day 45: The Last Day

The Last DayCould there be a more perfect last day? I would assume it would just be a drive from home to the airport- as it generally should have gone. Instead Jamaica gave me a thank you gift by revealing its beauty to me one last time.

Emancipation park, located in Kingston, is such a lovely place to relax. It’s a place where newlyweds come to take pictures, where school’s will take a day trip, even where couples might come to share a romantic evening. It is laced with trees and flowers and benches. Small sound boxes are camouflaged in the park, you can hardly notice them but for the sound of music that emanates which creates for a lovely ambiance. This is where I spent my last few hours.

I arrived into Kingston before 9am and I walked from halfway tree to the park. Pictures were taken, conversations were shared and in general Jamaica made me feel appreciatedThe Last Day . Jamaica was happy to have me and is now sad to see me go. The morning sun was warm and pleasant on the skin, the breeze filled the air with coolness. I observed Jamaica one last time and thought about the future- “when will I see you again?” It was hard to believe I was leaving this experience behind to go back to reality. I couldn’t see anything but the moment. Even when I saw that it was well after 11am- already I was in the park for more than two hours! I was not in any panic. I suppose I’ve been in these situations before where It seem that I’m going to miss my plane but everything always works out in the end. The truth is, waiting in the park was so much better than waiting at the airport.

It was almost 12pm when I arrived at the airport. The sign on a large billboard along the way reads, “Please come back”. That made me smile. Jamaica realized that I did not succumb to its appealing beauty and was now pleading for me to return. Boarding started at 12:35pm. This part of the airport is beautiful. I could not help but stop to read some of the lovely posters along the hall towards the gate. As I am reading the posters in the design of a postcard, I see that there were other visitors that felt the same about Jamaica. It is so much more than beaches and resorts. There is so much to do! When you leave, you are already anticipating when you’ll return. Jamaica does that to you with all its charms. You ultimately make the decision before you leave that you want Jamaica to be part of your life in the future.

The Last Day So there I was walking towards the airplane, still oblivious to the fact that I’m going to another country, my home. I never revisit a country but Jamaica probably would agree that it’s different. This is not just a country, it’s a home. It welcomes you on your arrival- whether you are a resident, a visitor or someone like me (an inbetweener) it intends for you to actually feel at home and will not object if you choose to make it just that.

You have to wonder now, why then do so many others want to leave?

The Introduction to my first trip back to Jamaica

I am about to re-experience Jamaica one more time, for the first time in years. I have never returned since I began life in Canada and it’s already 16 years. I would like you to embark on this journey with me and experience it as I will. I plan to blog about everything, from the smallest most insignificant detail to the bizarre, weird and the wild. I’m in the process of planning, researching and getting things together. I now know that I need long sleeve white shirts (thin cotton shirts), I need mosquito repellent and of course a bathing suit. I have already contacted my banks to inform them I’m leaving, as well as the embassy of Canada. I’m still working to get the go ahead from my work place. I have had a meeting already and my bosses were okay with the idea. I already have my Hepatitis A, B, C shots recently completed at the beginning of the year 2013.

My goal is to go to Jamaica to re-experience Jamaica as intimately as I can. I would like to do everything, including a brief stay at a resort- no more than 4-5 days. I would like to volunteer, visit different parishes, speak with the church community , speak with community members to hear their views about Jamaica. I want to see the best of Jamaica and the parts of jamaica that might need help. I want to become as intimately connected with Jamaica that I could tell Jamaica’s story.

This journey starts on April 22nd 2013.