Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Crash Course: Life 101

How long has it been?  2, 3 weeks?  There is much to be written about.  Where do I begin? I will start by saying my living situation here in Kingston has taken a total twist in that I am no longer residing at my cozy (disgustingly overpriced) 1-bedroom flat nestled within Kingston’s suburban neighborhood of Hope Pastures.  Why?  Because the inevitable took place.  What every Jamaican living in New York warned me about actually came to pass.  You guessed it.  My flat was robbed.  The thief got away with my Blackberry phone (what on Earth was I doing with one anyway-in Jamaica or America?) and a wad of money I had withdrawn in hopes of purchasing a vehicle.  Boohoo.   Instantly traumatized and unwilling to take any chances with not one, but two laptops in the flat I packed my bags and the three of us were out.  Being uprooted in this manner- so abruptly and unexpectedly- when I was just beginning to get comfy (perhaps this is a no-no for a foreigner anyway) led me to feel extremely disappointed and a bit depressed.  I felt (still feel) like I was literally being forced to start all over again when I was already beginning to feel a little behind because the bougieness and seclusion derived from my being in this ‘suburban’ neighborhood was, in several ways, starting to inhibit my contact with the “real” Jamaica. I mean, daily door-to-door car service is enough to shield anyone’s eyes from the realities, whether  painfully harsh or beautifully genuine, of any country.  To make a long story short my depression, albeit brief, has come to an end. Back to discovering and enjoying the island...
Although the incident put me through the ringer it proved to be a most abundant source of reflection.  I’ll list the lessons I believe should be taken away from this experience and others that have since taken place as a result.
  1. ALWAYS listen to your spirit.  What I mean by this is that I kept telling myself it’s ridiculous to need cash money to purchase a car.  It doesn’t matter that this is not America.  It’s illogical.  Anyway, after being encouraged to do so by others I withdrew the money.  Money gone.
  2. It’s a powerful skill to know how to create a balance between the wants and concerns of family members and those of your own.  Chances are your family’s concerns, regardless of how overwhelming they may become, are genuinely out of love.  However, it’s important not to lose sight of your own goals and wants and concerns while trying to satisfy your family.
  3. Never give up.

I will leave you with the lyrics to Dennis Brown’s “A True.”  Fitting, no?  Peace and LOVE.

We got to know what we're living for
We got to know what we're loving for
We got to know who we're praying to
We got to know what we're singing for
We got to know who we're playing with
We got to know what we're working for
We got to know who we're talking to
We got to know what we're listening for
We got to know what we're writing for
We got to know what we're dancing for
We got to know what we're striving for

A true, mmm, a true, mmm
A true, mmm, a true


  1. A crash course is right. It can feel like you won't recover from the impact, but eventually you do. I can't say it enough -- I'm glad you, Negasi, and Jumaane are OK. The morning you told me what happened definitely was no joke. Living abroad is no joke. Learning that some aspects of our society are not culturally specific, like crime, for example, is tough and no joke. Stay focused, stay alert, stay true to yourself. We have faith in you.