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.

Sign Language: You Know You’re Back in America When….

…you see signs like this.


Really, I can have ice cold wine in 7 minutes?  Welcome back to the land of innovation and new ideas.  You’ve gotta give that to the States.  And I was just getting to a state of reluctant acceptance that the red wine is always chilled in Manila.

I know.  I probably the only person you know that hasn’t seen one of these things.  But, then that’s the point.  I’ve been away.

“Its the Final Countdown” ….

boredyoga30 days. I have to admit to feeling a little schizophrenic during this final phase.  I seem to oscillate between bored (with a bad dose of cabin fever) and peacefully calm; (watching all the pieces fall in place).  Notice I’m not frantic, frustrated, or overwhelmed at any point so far.  Should I be?  There’s also been a few waves of sadness as the goodbyes and final landmarks start to appear….and there will be plenty more of those.  The hardest part will always be leaving the people, not matter how much I miss the palm trees and beautiful beaches.  At times everything feels so mapped out, and we are just working down the list, checking boxes.   But there have been a couple of physical injuries that have thrown a spanner into the works, which just serve as a reminder that the unexpected is always a possibility and I am grateful that despite them it all seems to be working out.

My goal is to spend the next month best enjoying what remains (Latham’s graduation, last trips around Manila and the Philippines, last time with friends and last favourite things) and the least stressful exit I can manage…

60 Days: The Countdown Continues


We just passed the “60 days ‘til departure” mark.  And as I flick back to my “90 days” and 120 day posts, I realise that we have come a long way…both practically and mentally.  The departure still feels like its in slow motion – it will have been an eleven month process after all – but I do feel a sense of progress and an end in sight as we have tied down various inspection dates and the all important pack out date in June.  Its certainly nowhere near as hectic as our New Jersey departure.  (Preparing the house to sell and trying to sell the damn thing was overwhelming.)  I’m also not a hoarder so we don’t have piles and piles of stuff to clear through, and what needs sorting has been processed.

We’re starting to tie down details in Kathmandu also, and have our new housing assignment, and college details are coming together. Now we just have to pass through Latham’s finals, a three week tunnel that we are just entering now.  Time is definitely speeding up, every week seems a little shorter, and the landmark dates and experiences check themselves off….  See you at the 30 day mark. ;o)

90 Days Tick Tock…Tick Tock…

clock This weekend we have reached the 90 days until departure landmark. Its the unofficial start of the departure check list of things to schedule/do/complete before we go. And the list is long!  Its not that any of it is so difficult, there’s just a lot of it, and mixed in with family priorities going on at the same time, it pretty overwhelming if you don’t break it down into little doable bits every day.

Things would be a little easier if the people reviewing our travel orders could do so a little quicker.  They did stop by for a quick photo though: