Year 2

Friday is the second anniversary of our big move. I can't believe it has been that long already! Wow, the places we've been (and have yet to go)! This was where we were just one year ago. And this was us two years ago.

Overall, I am counting my blessings. We have been following the directives of the Universe and some amazing experiences have come our way. I am most grateful for this time to heal our family. We are building and growing; living and loving; making a difference in the people and communities we encounter (and they are making a difference in us).

In honor of our second year of island living, I thought I would share with you the 5 things I love most about Jamaica and the 5 best things about America (aka: the things I miss most about the U.S.).

The 5 Best Things about Jamaica:

1. Fresh Food
There is nothing like going outside and plucking a ripe mango from the tree and devouring it on the spot.

2. Sea and Mountains
The landscape here is exquisite. I will never get tired of watching the turquoise surf kissing the sand or turning a corner in the road and being greeted with the beautiful green mountains.

3. The Culture of Fix-it
No matter what it is, there is a shop that can fix it. From shoes to computers and appliances (large or small), there is someone here who knows how to repair it. The concept of a disposable consumer culture is (largely) absent.

4. Customer Service
Jamaican people are friendly people. I have yet to visit or call any office, store, school, institution, etc and not be greeted with a smile and kind words. And the best part? The people bagging your groceries at the store walk your bags out to the parking lot for you and put them into your car. For a momma shopping with two wee ones clinging to her limbs, this is phenomenal!

5. Ingenuity
Some of the most creative and inventive people I've ever encountered live on this small island. They say "necessity is the Mother of invention" and it couldn't be more true. Jamaicans don’t let a lack of resources stop them from doing what needs to be done. Need to get a goat to market? Have a bike? Goat rides on bike to market.

The 5 Best Things about America:

1. Sweet Corn on the Cob
Need I say more?

2. Family Bike Rides
The American concept of bike riding just doesn't exist here. There are no bike lanes or wonderful kiddie trailers to attach to the parent bike. They aren’t even called bikes here but bicycles. (Bike refers to a motorcycle…of which there are many…) I miss my wonderful cruiser with its wire basket and shiny fenders. Some of my best memories surround bike rides and I want Shine and Song to have similar memories.

3. Libraries
This will be my philanthropic area of interest (when I have more than two minutes to devote to it). There are libraries here, they are just in a sad way. Even growing up in my little hometown in PA, I would spend long afternoons snuggled in the stacks reading (and dreaming) about far off places. In Brooklyn, the library was not only the place we went to discover new books, but also to listen to great live music, view an art exhibit or drink a great cup of coffee. It was one of my favorite places to go especially on a hot summer afternoon...

4. Wild Places
Barbara Kingslover said it best, "Wildness puts us in our place. It reminds us that our plans are small and somewhat absurd." The idea of National Parks and Wilderness Recreation is a new concept here. Jamaicans are just starting to appreciate and embrace the natural landscape beyond the sea and sand. And while there is an amazing number of wild species here, there are no large predators and I think it is this absence that I feel most.

5. Accessibility of Goods, Information and Services
Americans have the world at their finger tips. There is virtually nothing that Americans don't have access to (and usually at a very low or no cost). I just wish more people in the States realized this and took better advantage of it. Instead, I feel like this contributes to a disposable culture and lack of ingenuity that will eventually put the U.S. at a disadvantage.

I hope that we can eventually merge the best of  both worlds and truly find ourselves at home in both places.
Until soon…
Peace and wellness,