Home in Jamaica


refugees-pic-editedMy blog tends to get followed by those interested in travel, or lumped together with travel writers, but what I think differentiates it from traveler blogs it is that its about living in and discovering new places and making them home, which is a lot different that being a tourist or a traveler.  We have lived in so many places over the years, and been through the transit of settling.  Its tiring in the best of times, which this hasn’t been, and this time around I’m just exhausted by it all.   We’re lived out of suitcases for months, been through the process of unpacking and finding homes for the contents of 176 boxes, hung the art on the walls, and tried to fix the terrible lighting in this house in the name of making life feel our kind of normal. I know the process, the pitfalls and what helps make us slowly fit in and really call somewhere home.  For any number of reasons, 2.5 months into our “Jamaican homewarming”  I am still struggling to feel the spark.  This is mostly not the fault of Jamaica (or Jamaicans) but a cocktail of difficulties that has made our time here to date less than ideal.  I’ve struggled to do things like maintain this blog, or spend time doing things I used to enjoy, and I am in a funk.  Friends and family have asked me if everything is alright and encouragingly ask me about life here, but my blog approaches its third month of silence, its time to make a decision on the way forward.  There are interesting things and stories here, and there is so much that is better.  We have clean air, views of the mountains and somewhere to go walking after work.  The streets have traffic, but not the lunacy and filth of Kathmandu streets.  Our area of Kingston is so much more attractive than our earlier homes, but I miss the enthusiasm I had for discovering Manila and Kathmandu.  Perhaps it is time to see if the passion can rise from the storytelling process and not just the other way around?  Will the discipline of writing again help ignite some kind of spark for life in this country?  I’ll give it a try.  Words of encouragement are very welcome.

16 thoughts on “Home in Jamaica

  1. Oh boy, I do hear you and appreciate the sharing of your struggle. Transitions, as you know, are hard, and this one sounds like it has been a bit more challenging. I have wondered where you have run off too, and almost made an inquiry but shyly thought it none of my business. But I miss you, I miss your beautiful writing and I miss learning about your expat life in exotic lands. What you’ve offered to your readers today is just perfect. I thank you for that and look forward to hearing more. I’m greedy like that. Best ~ Claudia

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  2. Dear Caroline, I was happy to see you are writing again, and I do empathize with your feelings. After the drama and trauma of living through the earthquake in Kathmandu, I am not surprised you are lacking the energy and enthusiasm to deal with yet another move. I went through a similar thing when we moved to Manila (more personal than literal earthquakes, but left me wondering why I was unable to cope with the move to a new city, something that I had thrived on all my life. Don’t panic. I found that writing did help normalize things a bit, but it may take a while before you truly feel yourself again. Then you wake up one day and unexpectedly find the world is back in focus, and you don’t have to pretend to yourself and others that all is well. And just know that at least one friend – looking out on the smog and the chaos of an APEC summit descending on Manila – is unbelievably envious of your evening walks! 😊

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      • O absolutely, I took four years to work out the whys and wherefores – but try not to let it worry you, and it’s not about trying harder, that will just do your head in. (I speak from experience!!) Relax and give yourself time to breath. It all comes right eventually. A step at a time. Galloping through only means you hit that wall harder!! 😘

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  3. It’s okay. I think you had a lot to recover from – the earthquake and all, and then the whole process of moving and trying to create a home in a whole new world. I can’t even imagine having to deal with 176 boxes! Life goes in cycles. It’s just an adjustment cycle, a down cycle, maybe a quiet time, a no-spark cycle. When the spark isn’t there we think there’s something wrong and try to make it come back, but relaxing into the down time usually brings it back. That’s what I find anyway. You’ll find your groove in Jamaica in time. I think you’re too aware not to.
    Wishing you well, and peace with whatever is.
    Alison

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  4. Hi Caroline. Putting fingers to the keyboard again ? I bet you’re glad you didn’t relocate to Paris. I’m just listening to the shocking news here. I’ve never really fancied Kingston but that’s probably because I’ve heard about all the crime there. I shouldn’t think you’re missing Kathmandu too much. Things are bad in Nepal right now. I’d like to see some pictures of life in Kingston.

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    • You’re right…it would be a lot worse if the location played a big part too. Kingston does have very violent crime, although mostly away from the areas that we go, but the threat of guns is pretty scary. I did take a quick look over at your blog and will sit and catch up shortly! Hope all is well in Lisbon.

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  5. I came across your blog by complete accident a couple of years ago, you are a good writer, you add sparkle and wit to your accounts keep up with your posts whenever you have the time. I hope you love your new home. Kingston is a place I doubt I will ever visit so looking forward to the occasional off-beat insight. x

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  6. It may not have all that much to do with where you are: I think that even “newness” can get old after a while. Some of the enthusiasm that you had for your previous posts may have derived from the simple excitement of moving to a new place. Now you’ve done that a couple of times, the process is not as exciting. Says a person on her eighth post!

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    • Thanks, Kelly. Its been a cocktail of events: recovery from the earthquake, homeless leave – which is the last thing I needed in the circumstances, a series of fiascoes and incompetencies on the work side of things and health issues which have made it harder to face all this with aplomb. This is our fourteenth international move and the worst by a long chalk! These things will pass – right?!

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  7. I’m so happy to see you back. I teach writing at the university level, and one of the articles I use with my students is called “Writing your Way to Happiness.” The idea is that by writing and then editing our personal stories, we can actually shape the narrative in ways that make us happier! Sounds a bit crazy, but studies have shown that it really is effective in making people more optimistic and positive about life. So, write on!

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    • Thank you and ha ha…! I just couldn’t do it at first because it felt fake. But I guess I am no longer screaming mad at everything and it is actually helping. At least I am enjoying re-establishing contact with everyone, so on the that level alone I appreciate your comments. What I think it does is help us focus more on the good things, which do indeed exist…just had to get out of the mad phase first!

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  8. Have you had a chance to escape to the coast? I tried to go somewhere every other weekend – even day trips. Granted, that was 11 years ago. But Lime Cay made a fun day trip. We adopted Port Antonio as a second home, and always got folks to go in on rental with us or as group outings. Lady G’Diver will teach ya how to SCUBA dive – one of the owners is a retired DEA attache and eager to see more Americans. Rockhouse in Negril. Good Hope Plantation. Jake’s in Treasure Beach. Yep, it costs money, but such wonderful ways to shake of city stresses. 🙂 In Kingston, is Redbones still around (restaurant?). I recall there was a great Thai/Indian restaurant. A drive up to Strawberry Hill and then up to the Gap Cafe? I hope you settle in and enjoy your time in Jamaica!

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    • Thank you. These are good suggestions and we are slowly trying to get out a bit. Jakes is on our list, as is Redbones, although we’ve yet to go. I look forward to hearing more of your discoveries aS I write about mine.

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