My Jamaican Charm

A year ago, I was so eager to visit the famous Port Royal; only to be disappointed by the desolate city. There was no remnants of its former reputation as the wickedest and richest city. All that is visible is a small rundown community with a sinlge coastal police station near the sea. But, I guess that was because I did not discover Gloria’s. This weekend, I went back to the famous Port Royal and dined in a neat restaurant with an upper and a lower deck. Jamaican Charm On the upper deck, I had a lovely night view of the sea in the outskirts. There was no moon, so the only lights that glistened on the water were coming from far away communities, from the contours of the mountains. Though I could not see much, the feeling of euphoria gripped me and in my mind, Port Royal had transformed to my version of its early beginnings: with pirates, and parties and classical music playing in the background.

The server brought out fish soup for our appetizer, then the second course was a large brown stewed fish layed out on a platter with two slices of bammies on the side. Gazing on the horizon in between bites, and feeling the joys of living on an island; brought beauty to this desolate city. In my eyes, I really was in the “wickedest and richest city” in the world. By the end of that course, there was no space in my stomach left for anything. I settled in my chair and breathed in the Jamaican- Port Royal air, finding new appreciation for this quaint community. Jamaica has resurrected history on my behalf, charming me with its tales and cuisines, and leaving me mesmerized by its very presence.

Jamaican charm In the last few months, Jamaica and I have grown closer. Neither am I a stranger on these lands, nor a simple acquaintance; no, I am the girl in Jamaica’s life. Each day, I am offered gifts of sunshine and sweet kisses, charming compliments, stories that will last a lifetime and baskets of happiness. But, the best is when Jamaica feeds me with its sugary ice cream, sweet exotic fruits and its flavourful homemade cuisines.

RelatedPortland, San San Beach

This tantalizing island, is a charmer like no one else. Like Charlotte, Jamaica is slowly weaving me in his web; by appeasing all of my desires. And I admit, I have been struck by cupid’s arrow. The more I get to know Jamaica, is the more I am tempted to make this island, my home for life. I wonder if all islands have the same potent magic? Living in Jamaica, is like living in a dream. And the truth is, I don’t want to wake up. I want to spend the rest of my life in this dream where my everyday oozes with happiness. For me, this is enough.

 

Inspirational Mountain View

Inspirational mountain view A look from any one of the windows of my apartment will reveal a picturesque view of Jamaica’s beauty. The lush green mountains and the way they elevate to the sky is not to be ignored. It’s raining, like the sprinkler in the clouds is set on low to water the trees on this Sunday morning. Each time I look out the window, I am thankful because a few months ago, all that I’m seeing now was just an imagination. I am impressed how God listened to a simple prayer and made it reality over a series of months. My new apartment comes with a bed, the necessary appliances and furniture, a kitchen and a bathroom. Initially, I found it small, but after settling in, I realized it was  the ideal size for me. I am deeply amazed by God’s unlimited provisions and how He works on the desires of my heart and withholding nothing.

Inspirational mountain view Choosing to live in Jamaica has been a long time dream of mine- maybe I have the solution for the plummeting economy, or maybe I have a book that can bring hope to hopeless lives. For these reasons, which have been buried in my heart for sometime, I have come to see how God can use me. I am aware that it is not a path frequently travelled- leaving my home to venure to Jamaica to pursue higher education. I’m reminded of a poem by Robert Frost, taking the path less travelled, he says, has made all the difference. So on this journey of mine, I hope that this path that I have chosen will make all the difference.

Inspirational mountain view I am in awe though, as I look out the glass door of the balcony, the very thought of having a desk by an open window, except this isn’t a window, it’s a glass door, has become a reality. My want of being inspired by the beautiful scenery was not overlooked by God, he made sure, even that desire became a reality. The room is clean and has not been used much. The building supervisor said himself that he was surprised the  lodgings department had given this room to me because noone has occupied it for sometime. I know they made no mistake.

Related: Orientation Day

From this little corner room, I will be able to see a view of Jamaica that many will never see, and I’m looking forward to appreciate it when I open my curtains each day. I’m hoping to enjoy it every morning when I sit by the balcony to drink my tea, and more importantly to use the scenery to inspire the author in me.

Day 36- Day 38: Observations and Nuisances

1. I’m always sticky and dirty after a long day outside. The hand sanitizer is great but it adds to the stickiness. I started to carry around wipes so I can clean my face, feet and hands but what’s the point when you have to do it more than once!

2. Ants! They are driving me crazy. I can’t leave anything out even if it’s still in the wrapper. Just today I saw ants in my unopened pack of halls! Halls (the candy!) It’s not even sweet.

3. Security is everywhere. One annoyed me the other day when I went into a store with a half finished drink. “What is that?” “Water” I said. “Why you have the water?” “Because I’m in Jamaica and it’s hot” I’m rolling my eyes and wondering what is he talking about then proceed to leave the store. “A joke, a joke”. I looked at him and walked away to complain to my cousin. I saw security signaled to my cousin and said he was just joking. But I thought he was just annoying!

4. Cold beaches! Why must the water be so cold? Isn’t this Jamaica?

5. Beggars/PanHandlers/Squeegee kids- Whatever their names they are just annoying now.  They work in the streets and attempt to wash the windshields for drivers. They are very aggressive.

6. Waiting. I spend a lot of wasted time just waiting around for someone.

7. Prayers. I see prayers at the beginning of schools, at lunch, after lunch and at the end of school. I like this idea.

8. Crabs walk around freely even in your backyard.

9. Stray dogs are everywhere. It makes me sad to see them roam without anyone to care for them.

*will get back to this list when I think of other things…

Day One- First steps

I have a headache. The heat, the pressure and the change of scenery are all contributing to this painful pounding in my head. At least I’m dressed for the weather in a simple floral sundress and flip flops. My hair though, is getting bigger by the minute. The straightness is turning to friz. I suspect its natural and ought to have been expected.

When I arrived at my destination- the Norman Manley International airport, only an hour and a half (1 1/2 hrs) late, I climbed out of the airplane and walked through the ‘tunnel’ that attaches to the plane to the port.  Inside of the airport did not feel like one. Rather, the long hall felt like I was walking through a nice alleyway with signs on the walls. The first thing I had to do was go through customs. The line was long but it was moving rapidly. When it was my turn, I approached a female immigration officer, I said good afternoon in my sickly voice but no response came, except a demanding arm stretched towards my face, expecting my immigration form and then my passport. I complied. She spoke, “6 weeks, this is an extended vacation”. I said, “yes, and very necessary to make up for the 16 years I’ve been away”. An unexpected smile arrived on her face. She handed back my papers and I smiled and walked away immediately.

I stopped at the “cambio” or the money exchange counter, which was another line up. Only two persons in front of me but may as well be ten. The lady was professional and I got my money and went for my luggage at the turning stalls. I see that it was already removed and left standing with other unclaimed luggage. I grabbed it and quickly found the “green” line, the one to use when you’re not carrying anything over $500US. No one was in the line so I asked another immigration officer the procedures. She took my declaration form and off I went. From travelling to different countries, I think that when you see the exit doors to a new country you’re suppose to know by instinct.This one was a little tricky. The narrow exit door was staring me in the face but it was hard to believe that the doors to my journey to rediscovery would be so small.

I followed the finger pointing of a worker whom I had asked directions. He was pointing towards the doors I saw in front of me. I slowly walked with hesitancy towards the doors which automatically opened and allowed me to see a glimpse of Jamaica. Crowds of people were standing outside. I thought it was a market. I started to pan my eyes from the left corner of the marketplace to the right in search of my cousin. I immediately spotted a slim fair skinned man looking the exact same as pictures I had seen on facebook. He looked like he saw me first and was waiting for me to see him. He walked towards me and helped me with my bags.

I waited by the curb for my cousin who went to get his vehicle. I wondered who would be the first to approach me as I stand alone with my luggage. I saw young men sitting around on garden beds and men appearing to be in deep conversations- though the content was not making any sense.

I peered through vehicles searching for my cousin. When I saw him pull up, I brought my luggage to be loaded in the trunk. The drive from the airport was nice and cool, not as I expected. No matter where we drove, I could still see the sea! Wow.

Our first stop was at Tastee’s, this store makes one of the best patties in Jamaica and I have been yearning for this experience for years! I thought it was going to be a walk-in store where you order your Jamaican patty and leave, but quite the opposite. It was a large restaurant. My cousin found us a seat and I enjoyed my beef patty with coco bread and a bottle of water. Walking on Jamaican soil feels completely different from anywhere I’ve been. My brain knows it’s no longer in Canada but is still confused about everything- at this moment, nothing is making any sense. Maybe this is what’s causing the headache! Along with this bright sun! My eyes are not adjusting.

I finally arrived at a beautiful and peaceful community which is going to be my home for the time being. The house I stepped into was something familiar. From the choice of furniture to the flat screen TV to the choice of decor I feel right at home again.

I was worried that my shower experience was going to be a cold one, but this house as choices even in water temperature. I chose to take a cool shower because at this point my skin was experiencing heat and humidity it had not experience since last year August! After the shower, my head was still pounding so I decided to take a nap, but was awoken from a deep sleep by my cousin’s wife. I thought I had slept all night.

Dinner was ackee and saltfish, the Jamaican national dish and one of my favorite meals. Both doors to the house (back and front) stays open and the breeze is ideal. It keeps the house cool. At 9pm the temperature outside was more to my liking. I used a fan at the beginning of the night but turned it off later when I was about to fall in a stupor.  Wow, I can’t believe I’m in Jamaica!

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.

Dreading your job?

What do you tell yourself when your job is becoming more than you can bear? How do you reason with yourself when you begin to resent going to work? You know you don’t want to get fired or quit. In this economy, it’s hard to jump in and out of jobs as we please, something that ‘Y’ generation has no qualms doing. But the economy is calling all of us to be cautious because we could be in a worse situation- Yes! We could be unemployed. So as bad as it is, thank God we have a job. Sadly though, that does not take away from the fact that the job is stressful, coworkers are negative, management is chaotic and the list goes on. If you can’t seem to see anything positive in your current company and there’s no more incentive to stay, then it might be time to leave. But you have to do it smartly.

To do so, you have to prepare the resumes and get them out there well in advance and hope that another company will select you for an interview and then select you for the job. This is the smart way to do it.

When you arrive at work each day remind yourself that it won’t be long before you leave. It’s just a matter of time before you get that better job, something you know you will enjoy more. In other words, you have to psych yourself up- put yourself in a positive frame of mind in advance because, if you don’t, one day a manager may put you in the wrong head space, and the way you feel at the moment may outweigh the consequences thereafter, which may cause you to loose it. Refrain from doing this no matter how good you think you might feel afterwards.

Instead, smile with everyone, let the things they say roll off your back. Just stay busy, do the job you’re getting paid to do- at this point this is the reason you’re working (to get paid), and when the day is over forget about the job. Focus on the new job that you’re looking forward to. Of course, you will have to take steps to get this new job. Wanting a new job and not working towards it is stupid. Send out as many resumes as possible, really put the effort in gearing those resumes towards the job you want- you have to be specific. Those cover letters can’t be a hit-or-miss, it has to be a HIT! When you know you’ve got this down, just keep doing it, even when you haven’t got the interview yet, it’s just a matter of time. If you want to go the extra mile assuming that you’ve been working at the internet job search for sometime, then set aside time once a week and go directly to the companies you desire to work at. Talk to the director or a person in charge. Let them help you with obtaining that wonderful new job you can’t wait to get your hands on.

The thing is, once you’re gearing your energy towards something you desire, your current job (which had all your focus) will no longer be unbearable, at least not as much. Why? You know why you’re going now (the money) and it’s no longer taking up any emotional energy, plus your mind sees that it’s not a long term thing anymore. Good luck!

Love, the drug

What if it’s not you, it’s me.

You keep coming, yet you should’ve flee

I’m not good for you, but love has blinded you.

I’ve told you, love is a drug, but you didn’t believe

This time, I’m not the one who is addicted

I’m warning you, stay away.

You don’t listen, you keep panting

I’m playing hard to get, you keep saying

I’m not playing, I’m avoiding the drug

This time the drug is me, not you.