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Jamaicans Know How fi Live

I guess I’m feeling a bit homesick today, so I’ve been daydreaming about the wonderful summer vacation I had. Can’t wait til I’m back home!


This summer, my mom, my dad, a couple of good friends and I loaded into the car and set off on a journey across Jamaica. Our destination was Boardwalk Village for the tday.tmrw concert featuring Protoje, Sevana and Runkus. We left home at noon, and arrived in Ocho Rios at about 2. We splashed around for a bit at Dunn’s River, did touristy things, had lunch and then we embarked on the second leg of our trip. Next stop, Negril! *cue music*

Yo, Negril far enuh! We were in the car for 3 hours straight and it did feel like wi neva wudda reach. We made it to the concert just in time to see the first act, Runkus, take the stage and it was a fantastic show but that’s not really what this post is about. The day after the concert, we become full-fledged grung tourists. I had only been to Negril once when I was 5 and after the long ass car ride, I don’t think I’ll be back anytime soon so I had to make the most of it.

Every stop we made reminded me; Jamaicans know how fi live! We are a resilient people and that is what this post is about.

7 Mile Beach, Negril

First up was the craft vendor on the 7 mile Beach. So we were walking along minding our business when this man walks up to my father and says: “Long time mi nuh see yuh!” Mind you they had never met before so technically he was right. The man then guides us to a shady spot and starts promoting his friendship bracelets.

Friends, I kid you not, two seconds into our conversation I looked down on my wrist and one of his bracelets was on me. When I looked back up he was asking me for money. I forgot the word no existed. I paid the man his money and four months later, as I sit here typing, I still don’t know how the bracelet ended up on my wrist. But eh, artisans haffi mek a money too and dis man, did know how fi live.

Middle Quarters, St. Elizabeth

Now you can’t pass through St.Bess without stopping at Middle Quarters for peppa shrimp. Our car pulled up on the roadside and they were off! There was a mad dash to the car and hands holding bags of shrimp poked into our window.

Da one ya fi ‘undred 

Then our minds had to work overtime to connect that voice to one of the ten hands in front of us. Oh the chaos! I LOVE IT! So then we tried to support everyone but there was only so much cash. We had to tell someone no 😦

Yuh really nah buy from me? An’ a me run di hardes’? Mi all nearly jap

We’ll carry more money next time, but I’m not worried because the vendors at Middle Quarters all know how fi live. I mean seriously, dem run afta speedin’ cyar like dem tink dem a iron man.

Melrose Hill, Manchester

Somewhere between St. Bess and Manchester a hell rain did buss. Mi seh ,wi drop inna one pothole crater that was masked by the rainwater and di drop did sound expensive. Brejin, mi neva know pothole cudda mek suh. But I digress.

Because it was raining so heavily, we thought our stop at Melrose Hill would have been much more tame than our Middle Quarters stop.

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People ran out balancing bwail cawn, roast cawn, roast yam, saltfish , juice and dem umbrella! The vendors at Melrose hill know that come rain or shine money haffi mek! Dem know how fi live!

Times are hard but day in day out my people are doing what they have to to keep food on the table. So if you’re a DJ, musician, artisan, vendor, lawyer, doctor, student, electrician, whatever it is, keep putting in the hard work! Why? Because, Jamaicans know how fi live.

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Mr. Edward Christopher Sheeran Pt. 1

Friends, tonight when the sun sets I want you to go outside and find the beautiful moon in the night sky. If you look just above the moon, you will see a star shining brightly. That star, will be the brightest star you see tonight and may even be the brightest star you will see in your lifetime. That star… is me. Mi seh mi ova di moon!

In 2012 while my dad was scrolling through the channels one day, he paused at some award show. I watched as this red headed kid walked on stage with a guitar. He was simply dressed in a green t-shirt and jeans. He looked shy and awkward and I was intrigued. My dad promptly changed the channel. I yelled and he quickly switched back. I had no clue who the kid was but as he sang I knew I had to learn more about him.

And out of all these things I’ve done, I’ll love you better now

I memorised that one line of the song and as soon as he walked off the stage, I googled the lyrics and found out his name was Ed Sheeran. I played “Legohouse” for hours on repeat, but I eventually ventured off to songs like “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You”, “Drunk” and “Kiss Me”. I dived deeper and deeper into his music and then the music gods granted me Ed’s full + Deluxe album on youtube. That night, I fell asleep halfway through the album and got the best sleep I’ve ever gotten in my entire life.

I have never been able to fall asleep while listening to music and somehow this Ed Sheeran kid had managed to knock me out. Don’t get me wrong, the album was not boring, it was the opposite. It was unlike anything I’d ever heard before. He was a musical genius. His songs were beautifully written, his voice was soothing and the instrumentals were dynamic and complemented the meanings and emotions behind each song perfectly. Let’s not forget his accent! Oh Lawd that accent!

In 2014, Ed released Deluxe album and I decided to buy both it and the + Deluxe album. I played them on repeat and compared them to see how much he had grown as a musician. I knew it was time to see him perform live, so I bumped him up to #1 on my bucket list. Unfortunately, he’d only tour near Rochester whenever I was in Jamaica. I had to settle with watching his concerts on YouTube but I wanted more!

My heart all but broke at the end of 2015 when he tweeted he’d be going on hiatus for a year. I played his albums on repeat and each time a new song became my favourite. A year without Ed flew by quickly and in January 2017 when he tweeted he was back and an album was on the way, I lost it. Fun fact, Divide Deluxe album was the first album I pre-ordered, the love is real.

Each album was better than the last. This summer, I introduced my mom to her future son-in-law and she approved. I told her one day I’d see him live and she told me to start saving. Little did I know, I’d be seeing him one month later and that my friends is why I’m over the moon.

To be continued.


Side note: I didn’t plan for this to be a two part story but then I decided to give the history of my love for Ed and well, now here we are! Not to worry, part two will be here sooooon!

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Self-Doubt is a Heck of a thing

Last week I found out that my Speech-Language Pathology Master’s program is ranked 30th in the US. My first thought was, how the hell did I get in? It was then that I realised that self-doubt is a heck of a thing. What I should have asked was: Why wouldn’t I get in? I had good grades, a solid resume, an interesting story and I worked my butt off!

Why was I so quick to discredit my accomplishments? I blame the world we live in. We are incredibly competitive and are constantly being told we’re not good enough. If we hear it often enough we start to believe it and in comes self doubt.

Why are we so quick to discredit our accomplishments? There has to be something each of us is absolutely fantastic at, no matter how trivial or useless we think it seems. Whenever we doubt ourselves, we must think about that thing, remind ourselves that we’re God’s greatest gift to man, den wheel an’ come again! Hell, even if we feel like God’s okay gift to man, we’ll just pretend we’re the greatest and strive for our goals.

Just remember, perfection is unattainable, mistakes are inevitable, and neither should sway us on our journey to success.

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Yum Yum Best Ice Cream & Hot Dogs

I left class in a daze as I followed the sweet smell of sauted onions to a simple brick building with white roof. I looked up and saw a sign that read: YUM YUM.  I stepped inside and took in the small building. On my left were families chatting happily between bites of specialty hot dogs and ice cream. On my right was a counter with staff members buzzing about taking orders and handing over brown paper bags with food. There were signs all over that said Cash Only.

I gazed at the menu and the only thing on it I recognized was the word hot dog. It was my turn to cash and I panicked.

“I’ll have one hot dog, All the Way.” I said confidently.

“One more All The Way!”  The cashier yelled back to the other workers.

I had no clue what an All the Way consisted of, but in case you haven’t noticed I have a tendency of jumping in with both feet.

While I waited for the mystery hot dog, I struck up conversation with the gentleman beside me. He bought a drink called “Cheerwine” which I had never encountered in my 22 years. Apparently the drink is native to North Carolina. I asked him what it tasted like and he looked at me like I had just insulted his mother. He handed me his unopened bottle and told me it was mine now.  Mi tell him ‘undred tanks!

I took a sip and it was magical. “It tastes like Dr. Pepper, without the doctor!” The small crowd that had gathered to witness the loss of my Cheerwine virginity chuckled.

Shortly thereafter, I was handed my hot dog so I parted ways with my new friends. When I got back to my room, I greedily ate my All the Way which was a hot dog covered in on mustard, chilli, onions, and slaw. It wasn’t the best hot dog ever, but I’m biased by Jamaica’s Bad Dawg hot dogs. There was something about the combination of the toppings though that made me want to go back for more. Maybe next time, I’ll actually try their ice cream too haha!

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Are we becoming too sensitive?

A recent trend on Twitter has been the question: “What is Twitter angry about today?” This not-a-joke joke emerged as it seemed every day there was some grand, world ending debate going on. We’d be in a huff about everything from standards of equality right through to the superiority of one music genre to another. At the end of the day someone makes an ass out of themselves and the discussion topic disappears for a few days or months. Missed it the first time round? That’s just fine, because you can rest assured that it will rear its ugly head several times in your lifetime. Everyone has to get a piece of the pie right?

All of this has me wondering, are we becoming too sensitive? In my cultural class the professor invited two Muslim women with slightly different beliefs to speak to the class. A common thread in their stories was how some people were often afraid to approach them, and those who did were afraid to offend them by asking them questions.

Isn’t it funny how our attempts to be politically correct are hindering our chances at making friendships and meaningful cultural exchanges? We’re so hung up on our differences that we forget we are all human beings trying to navigate this overly complicated world.

An example brought up in the class discussion was how we’ve moved away from saying Merry Christmas to Happy Holidays because not everyone celebrates Christmas. Our guest speakers mentioned how they would often respond to Happy Holiday wishes by saying Merry Christmas. For them, the focus is not on which holiday is being celebrated but on the wishes of happiness.

At the end of the day, if you look at how different cultures celebrate their holidays, family, friends and food are often at the core. Even if it doesn’t seem like it, we’re more similar than we think we are. Yes, our differences contribute to the beauty of the world but it’s full time we realised our similarities are what connect us to each other.

 

I hope this is what you needed to hear today. Go out and bridge the culture gap!

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Good Bye New York, Hello North Carolina Pt.II

Welcome back friends! Not sure how you got here? You can find Pt.I here.


We piled all of our stuff into the rental car, programmed the GPS, and we were off. We would be at our hotel in 10 minutes. Our GPS’s name is Nuri by the way because my family names everything. Anywho, daddy opted against updating Nuri before we left home because he did it in May when he came to my graduation. Not much could change in 4 months right?

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We’re driving along and we’re on a highway that Nuri doesn’t recognise. Now she a work overtime and a recalculate out hell and we a drive pon a road weh lead to God he knows where. We decide to get off at the the next exit so we kept going; ever ready for an adventure.

The further we go along this highway though, I’m noticing less and less cars until, I kid you not, it’s just us. Never before have I encountered a highway with just one car. A wah dis? We finally make it to an exit and by this time our ETA is 40 minutes. I assess our surroundings and mi feel mi hawt drop right dung a mi belly bottom.

If I thought I was in country before, Ha! Friends, there were tractors. Tractors!!! Naturally, I start panicking. I have an iron-tight grip on the arm rest and my breathing is shallow. My eyes are darting from one side of the road to the other. This was how I would die. As far as I was concerned, there was a snake seconds away from infiltrating our car.

Never in the history of ever has telling a person to calm down ever aided that person in calming down but that’s exactly what my mother did. She gave me no choice… I bit her head off. She has since recovered.

I soon realised that snakes would be the least of my worries. The trees we passed were covered in huge ass spider webs. Whatever mek dem web deh, cudda draw weh smaddy. I did not sign up for this. These are the kinds of things schools should put in their brochures!

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What the hell is that?

Nuri eventually guided us the hotel. It was in a heavily populated area with an abundance of cars. I knew I’d be safe there for the night so I knocked right out. It has been two weeks since and thankfully, there hasn’t been any snake sightings.

Phobias are exhausting.

Stay tuned for more adventures!

By the way, check out my new logo!!!

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