All Good Things…I really don’t know where the time goes, you know. One minute I’m at school, I come home, bathe, eat, n sleep, then wake up and it is 2 years later.
The Queensbury Newsletter has been…going. People are still interested in writing; I am just not sure how many people are reading. I put up a little poll on our Facebook page to see how many people are reading the paper and how (via internet or purchasing paper at the center, etc), but not many people responded.
Why is it that people feel the need to not give input on anything unless it’s super good or terrible? Seriously. People, not referring to Jamaicans alone, tend to only comment on things that are either super awesome or completely terrible. Same way with the comments; either it is a great comment, or some really harsh criticism. I do not entirely exclude myself from this theory. When it comes to remembering my students’ names, I can remember the trouble makers and I can remember the names of the good kids. Then you have those kids that aren’t really terrible or good. They’re just there. Yeah, I have the hardest time remembering their names, ha. However, I did make it a goal to know all my students’ names before the end of the year, and I have succeeded in that goal.
Anyway, back to nobody every responding. I just hate having to go far out of my way to get a “random” sample, if you will. So many people see the post (I know this because Fbook now lets me know how many people view the post, thanks fbook for being super stalkish for me), and all but like 5 people do not care to type a comment saying “through e-mail,” “facebook,” “QTTRC,” or any other super short answer. People spend HOURS on Facebook, every day; is it THAT hard to spend a couple seconds to help out? Blegh.. I dunno.. I guess sometimes I am just as guilty. Whatever. My new goal is to find someone to take over this newsletter when I leave. This month’s issue is supposed to come out the 31. Some lady wrote an article and wants it in the paper. She actually volunteered without being asked! I can’t deny that effort! The only thing is that now I have to retype the article on my computer because she printed it out. Oh well. At least she’s writing.
In other events, I finished my Ultimate Frisbee Coaching Manual last month! Now to see how it gets used! I am still working on the Ultimate Frisbee program for communities. I’ve recruited 2 PCVs from group 83 (I’m g82) to help me; going to meet with one of them next week to discuss how we can make things work. To date, I think we have somewhere around 50 discs to the island! The goal is…well.. no maximum amount of discs. I just want as many as possible! If anyone wants to sponsor the shipping of some discs, let me know (it’s kind of expensive). What I have been doing is asking that when PCVs go home or have someone visit, that they take discs in their bags. PCVs that have received discs have only expressed good news with how their communities/schools are reacting. Even if our program doesn’t work out as planned, at least a lot of people were introduced to a new “toy,” and discs are kinda hard to completely destroy, anyway.
Rachel came to look for (visit me) last week! We had too much fun! She went through 12 of 14 Parishes in 5 days! That’s more than most Jamaicans do in a lifetime! Haha.. Oh, and she did it in under USD$100! No, we were not on bus the whole time, either. We spend significant time in Queensbury, Treasure Beach, Kingston, Stony Hill, Castleton Gardens, and Trelawny. :-) We had a great time at different beaches, meeting new people, as well as visiting with familiar faces. It was a much needed and perfect timing visit.
Our COS (Close of Service) conference is in a couple weeks; what? Oh gosh. Yup. We gotta start wrapping things up! I am gonna try and do an Ultimate Frisbee camp for a week in July. It will be my last project before I peace outta JA and figure out my new life in the States. Anyone know of job openings in the sporting field? Ok.. I gotta go talk to a couple of my writers for the newsletter.
…must come to an end.
OK!!! I feel as though I have been extremely busy as of late. I’ve been up, down, and all around.
MJ BIRTHDAY WEEKEND
Oh gosh! What a GREAT weekend! Me, her, and her brother went to a nice lil creek up by where she lives and had a grand ‘ol time. Every time the three of us are together, there’s always an adventure.
Sunday, MJ and I went to this place called Sun Cost Adventures. Super awesome place. We did a human maze and conquered it in 10mins (I think the avg is like 20mins)! We didn’t even cheat! lol After the maze n diddle-dattling around in the sand volleyball court, we headed to the ropes course where I learned that SOMEONE (not me) is terrified of heights. The dude helping us through the course was a pro, naturally. It was really inspiring, though, to see MJ go through the course, despite her fear. Apparently, I don’t really have a fear of heights. I thought I did, but after this thing, nope. I don’t. As long as I have a safety something, I’m okay. I never once got shaky or nervous. I was actually quite surprised. Then, there was the zip-line… sooo much fun! It’s like a free fall. I loved it!! Once recovered from the zip-line, we went paintballing! I have always wanted to go paintballing, but never had the opportunity. Here it was. I finally was gonna do it! Turns out, after all those years of sucking at shooting on video games…I still suck at shooting in real life. lol I feel like, if I got practice, I would get better. But for my first time shooting a gun at a target that wasn’t at a Fairgrounds, I was awful. MJ, on the other hand, was a natural. Next time, I’ll be sure to have her on my team, and not against me, ha. It was just the two of us in the paintball area, so we just had it out after each other! For the first 2 rounds, my gun was broken. It was lobbing the paintballs instead of shooting them. This gave MJ the advantage. Needless to say, she chased me down, and pelted me twice before hearing the official blow the whistle. It was quite the feeling, getting shot. I laughed. Finally, I knew the feeling of getting hit with a paintball. Do I ever want that feeling again? NO SAH!!! LOL I just now got rid of those marks and it was almost a month ago it happened! Oh gosh.. after we finished, we grabbed some grub, shot some hoops, and headed home. :-) Here are some pics from the events:
I went up to Stony Hill again for Easter. Miss Icy had a birthday party for all the March-born peeps (about 5people). Thursday-Tuesday was packed busy getting ready for the party, then cleaning up, haha. But the weekend, on a whole. Was great. :-) Met some new friends, saw some old ones. Just a great time. Oh.. I played Ludo for the first time! Ludo is a HUGE Jamaican game. It’s pretty much the exact same thing as the game SORRY. Super super fun. MJ came 1st and I came in 2nd, beating out two other friends that have played before. Beginner’s luck or skill? Skill, of course!
BACK TO REALITY
Now I’m back to bustin my butt. I can’t wait for this weekend to be over with. On top of working on my 2 Ultimate Frisbee Manuals, I have been coordinating all the Peace Corps Volunteers on island to volunteer/participate in a Triathlon this weekend. It’s not exactly the easiest thing to do, communicate with over 60 PCVs who don’t have regular internet access or don’t respond to texts. Even after the numbers got down to about 25, still hard to reach people and have them answer me. So yeah, that had been a crap ton of work.
Also, yesterday my body decided to turn delinquent on me and catch a cold. So today, no school. Just resting and liquidizing my body. WOw… Liquidizing is actually a word?! Awesome..haha..
Other than running and volunteering in the triathlon this weekend, I am just trying to materialize this Ultimate stuff. I need to get discs on this island! That is GOAL NUMBER 1!! I’m currently in the processes of organizing PCVs to link up with groups when they go back home. This way, nobody has to pay an enormous shipping fee. The PCV just takes what s/he can in their luggage. So far, a group in Cali and MI are donating! More to come as PCVs continue to tell me about their vacation times.
But yeah, as we’re getting discs on island, I got 2 other PCVs on board with me to start an Ultimate Program here in JA. A program that uses PCVs to spread the game and learn life skills in the process. I’m super stoked to have them on board with me, and hopefully we can have a lil meeting this weekend to chat out some goals. :-)
THE FIRST EVER QUEENSBURY NEWSLETTER CAME OUT LAST MONTH!! I have been working, since January, on getting a team of community members together to create a community newsletter. Well, had meeting after meeting and we finally got the paper out last month!! I got a HUGE response on so many people loving it, especially the people who grew up here, but now live abroad. AND because of the Facebook page I created, people from abroad were calling in and telling people that live HERE about it before the people HERE knew it was out! And THAT, ladies and gentleman, is why I LOVE social media! If you’d like to receive a copy of our newsletter, let me know, in the comments below (give me your e-mail address). I am super stoked for this project and hope that it can continue each month! I’m a lil worried about a few articles this month, but hopefully I can still manage to put something out!
Well, I’m gonna drink some tea and head to sleep. I really need to kick this cold before it turns into something bigger.
ONE LAST THOUGHT
In light of recent events in Boston…I posted this as my facebook status and stand by it:
Why is there so much hate in this world? Honestly?! “Be kind to one another,” Ellen Degeneres ends ALL of her shows with that statement. If we were all kind to one another, then none of this crap would happen. Must we HATE someone so much because of DIFFERENCE? I understand not liking someone’s personality, but that doesn’t mean I want them hurt or dead; I just don’t bother with them. It just doesn’t make sense. My mind can NOT wrap around the idea of hurting or hating someone because they are not the same as ME or don’t think as I think. If a a country has no disputes with any another country(ies), then there are most definitely domestic disputes. WHY? BE KIND TO ONE ANOTHER!
People are essential in our lives. No matter how independent we think we are, we need other people to survive; we feed off each other’s energy, whether it’s positive or negative.
Lately I’ve been kinda in this awkward/weird place with myself. I have been analyzing how much I have changed since living in Jamaica; apparently it’s been quite a bit. I’m the type of person that definitely adapts to my surroundings. I just kinda “go with it.” I also like to think that I’m a pretty goofy, fun-going person. I just think that since I’ve been in JA, I’ve lost a lot of my goofy side and it upsets me. I almost have to TRY and be goofy (as opposed to it being just natural). Perhaps it’s because I feel I need to put up a barrier of seriousness. Maybe my brain is always in “eff off mode” due to the constant harassment from boys/men. A main reason: I’m not around my friends. My group of friends back home are the goofiest and weirdest group of people, ever. I definitely feed off of their goofiness. It’s like we give each other “material,” I dunno. I mean, I joke around a lot in JA, don’t get me wrong, but it’s just different.
Yesterday I had a couple friends from home stop in Jamaica whilst on a cruise. I was fortunate enough to spend the grand majority of the day walking around and showing them “my home.” The best part of the day, being in their presents, reminded me of who I was/am. Not only was I all smiles on the outside, just to see them, but I could feel my glow on the inside. As the saying goes, “it’s better late than never.” For the remainder of my service, I am going to do my very best to show my true colors. I need to have a lil more goofy fun in my life. Fullstop (period).
Continuing with the topic of my friends, Lucy and Paul, being here, my self esteem also got a lil boost. I’m still not sure if people were just being nice cuz it we were in a tourist area, but I had more than one person tell me that they thought I was Jamaican. One lady even thought I might have been Trinidadian! Even in a slew of “whities” I was [after speaking] seen as a local. Of course, yes, I was more mistaken as a tourist than a local, but it’s just the fact that once I spoke, they knew what was up. It was nice to see them smile after hearing me speak, heehee. They were impressed. My localness was able to help my friends lower a couple prices on items. I guess my Patwa is somewhat decent after all! At least it’s respectable enough to be treated like a local an not a tourist.
Lucy and Paul were happy to get out of the “tourist” traps as well. We went into the local market and bought a couple things for their twin daughters. Paul had fun learning a few new Jamaican terms as well as getting a photo with a Jamaican Police Officer (Paul works for the Indiana State Police). Paul commented on the “shape” of the police cars/motorcycles…I told him that some stations don’t even HAVE a vehicle. Yup… The differences are almost night and day. It was interesting to hear some of their comments and questions, cuz to me, everything they asked about that was “weird” was completely normal.
Which brings me back to my topic of “people.” Most of us LOVE to travel. Why? What’s the point? You know your world, you’re happy, no need to go anywhere else, right? So why do we travel anywhere? Because it’s fun to see something different. Every time we experience something new or different, we also learn something new. I love to KNOW things. I am constantly asking questions to better understand a situation or a person. Eventually, I can make links between two people or two events that are completely unrelated.
Paul and Lucy have never been to Jamaica before. They’ve been on other cruises, but usually stay in the “safer” tourist parts. They had their preconceived notions before arriving, I’m sure; however, after experiencing the culture with a somewhat “local,” I think they appreciate the culture a little bit more. Paul was having fun saying “Good morning, Auntie,” to every old woman, who, in return would give her best, “Maanin Daawlin,” with a smile. That’s just how we do in JA. You say good morning, good afternoon, good evening, and good night. People will respond.
The point is, they wanted to KNOW. Now, maybe unconscious, they have a better understanding of people on a whole. Every living being has at LEAST one thing in common: WE ARE HUMANS. Sure, we might believe in different things, speak differently, look different from each other, but we were all birthed from our mother’s womb (until science perfects cloning and whatnot). I think it is so cool that different cultures exist. I don’t think anyone will ever fully understand more than one culture, but the least we can all do is try.
“It’s human nature to…” How many times have you hear that saying? Fill in the blank. “It’s human nature to LOVE.” ”It’s human nature to JUDGE SOMEONE.” “It’s human nature to WANT TO EXPLORE.” The list goes on. As humans, we all have different ways to do each of these things. Love to one person might be spending quality time, on the other hand it could mean money, or even receiving a burned CD of music. Maybe other people don’t care to understand, but I do, and the only way to really understand people is to walk in their shoes, if you will.
That’s why I signed up for the Peace Corps. I want to help people. I feel that I can do that. Give myself. My time. My effort. My energy. But how am I to help people if I can’t even understand their needs? Sure books and talkin n thing, but come on… try getting into it, for reals. Do I FULLY understand the Jamaican culture? No sah! But do I have a better idea than each of you who live vicariously through reading my blog posts along with any other readings/news you might read/hear about Jamaica? Most certainly.
I’m in my last few months here, and I think I’m finally figuring out just how to do stuff. I believe, that through my experience in Jamaica, I have a better understanding of the Human Race. I grew up ONLY knowing Americans and the American way of living life. I never really left my hometown until I departed for college for 4 years. I never split from America until I decided I wanted to live in a different country for 2 years and some change. College gave me the chance to venture out of the Midwestern US. Each trip I took, each new person I meet, adds to my knowledge.
You know those people we refer to like, “Man, I would be okay if I never saw him/her EVER again in my life.” Well that person taught you something. They taught you what you don’t like in a person. If you never met them, you would never know what it’s like to experience a “compulsive liar.” Every single person we meet in life teaches SOMETHING. Some even teach us a whole heap of awesomeness. We need to push our boundaries. You can’t possibly know your full potential until you break. So go break something and figure out what you’re capable of doing.* Go put yourself in an uncomfortable scenario. Make being uncomfortable as comfortable as possible.
Although sometimes I rant and rant about life and it’s difficulties, deep down (somewhere), I appreciate it all. I am definitely interested to experience my life back in the States when I’m finished here in Jamaica. How much of “Jamaican Cree” is going to integrate into “American Cree.” I really hope that a good portion is able to make the travel back with me. It’s not that I don’t like who I have become since being here, because I do, it’s just the goofiness that I miss most.
Well.. that’s my take on PEOPLE. I guess that’s what 8hrs of waiting on/riding public transportation and great conversations with another PCV and American friends will create….
For the time sake of your people, I really hope that a better north/south route on your island is in the making for future projects.
*I take ZERO responsibility for anyone who legit breaks a body part. I do not wish for you to break yourself in a physical manor.
Mi soon come back n write, yuh hear?! Until den, fulljoy di poem yah suh (an no, mi nuh write di summin):
If you can’t read this find a True Jamaican to read it for you….
Mi deh yah ah tink and realize seh Jamaican people dem reely different yuh nuh?
Mi love dem… still dere are some tings yuh woulda neva see wi a do, hear seh wi ah seh or even attempt fi try.
Now Tek fi instance…. Yuh eva see Jamaicans a climb mountain wid flag and claim victory when dem reach de top?
Yuh eva see we ah hang out inna di miggle ah di Amazon jungle? Fi wah reason???
You ever see we a jump outta plane wid one parachute or a boast seh we going bungee jumping next Sunday?
Yuh eva see we inna sea, bout we looking fi di Great White Shark? No sah – wi watch it pon TV.
Yuh eva hear a J’can in ah Search & Rescue pan mountain. A mi sen dem up mountain?
Dem find dem way up , dem fe find dem way back again.Idiat dem! A nature way fe feed de weak and hungry animal up deh!
Yuh eva see a Jamaican acting pon big screen going into a haunted house and asking … Trevah you in deh?’
If him foolish enuf fi go ina di haunted house him an di duppy dem can tan in deh.
Yuh eva hear a Jamaican man seh … ‘no honey…. no need to cook rice and peas wid oxtail and a little chicken pon a Sunday
…. mek wi eat a light salad instead.’ Try yuh best… not pon yu life.
Yuh eva si a Jamaican come a work an tell everybody dem bizniz…. how dem neva bade dis mawnin, jus brush teet and wash face….
Yuh eva si a Jamaican wey luv talk over people food…. put dem face inna it an sey dat looks and smell good?
No sah! Dat wi cause fight.
Yuh eva see a Jamaican go inna di company fridge and go tek weh next person sangwige and nyam it off?
Yuh eva hear Jamaican pickney tell dem madda fi shut up and di Madda go tek seat inna kitchen, tek out cigarette start smoke
and seh she nuh know wah fi do wid di pickney? No… One helleba slap crass him face fi sure.
An if dem live inna farign dem sen dem to Jamaica fi di summer and den di odder relatives fix dem bizniz and dem go back wid mannaz.
Yuh eva see Jamaican tek meat outta fridge and stick it inna oven widout lickle seasoning?
Yuh eva hear Jamaican inna di werk place ah talk bout how much time him wife mek him sleep pon di couch?
Crazy tings dat, cause even if she shut di door she expect him fi kick it open.
Yuh eva see Jamaican people a cook and dem stir di pot, taste di food and put di same spoon right back inna di pot an nuh wash it off???
No sah, dat a nastiness…
Yuh eva si a Jamaican have dem dog a lick dem face? Yuh mad?
Yuh eva see yawd people have dem dog sleep inna di same bed wid dem?
Or dawg inna di couch and when dawg get up dem go lay down innna di same couch inna di same spat? Not fi wi Jamaican!!!!
Yuh eva see yawd people kiss dem dawg pon di mout?
Yuh eva hear seh yawd people tek 5 days off from work because dem puss dead?
Yuh eva hear a Jamaican madda innna a store a tell dem pickney ‘no sweetheart, you can’t have that, please put it back on the shelf’.
Instead, yuh will hear someting like dis …’lissen yah pickney, mi nah walk a street an pick up money,
put dung di blassted sweetie dem an no badda mi peace tiday, yuh hear mi’?
Yuh eva see Jamaican do any wuk afta dem get pay pon Friday.
All di manager dem a play domino round a back, not to mention ludo and draft.
We a Jamaican…. ah suh wi d’weet.. Wi nuh normal.. wi well different from all odda peoples!
A so di ting set. A so di ting stay…
Jamaicans Indeed!!!! A so wi stay fi true?
Good morning (for me cuz I’m writing this in the morning)! Good afternoon; Good evening; Good night (whichever time you’re reading this post, I hope it’s “good”)!
(Yeah, the hashtags…haha.. I decided to be annoying and use hashtags where they’re not useful at all… Oh well.)
Life in my rural home in Jamaica is going pretty great, for the most part. Shall we begin our journey of my latest update?
QUEENSBURY COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER
I had my first meeting about the proposed newspaper last month. It went fairly well. I had 4 people show up, which is 4 more than I thought would come! I mean, I had a ton of people tell me that they’d come, but alas… You know, I respect the people who actually have the gall to straight up tell me they won’t come. As opposed to someone who says they’ll come, then walks past the meeting room during the meeting hoping I didn’t see them. Cho man!! I am having another meeting this Saturday, so we’ll see how that goes. Last month we established which topics would be covered in the paper/first issue. No name as yet, that’s part of the first issue; Paper-naming contest. :-) Hopefully I can get more people to come this Saturday, but who knows. Am looking to put out the Inaugural issue either March 29 or 30. The plan is for me to be the editor and not do the article writing. If I write articles, then nobody else will, so I’m trying to get as many people involved as possible. In theory, it all sounds great. In reality, welp, that’s a completely different story.
Seaview Primary School
Since my allergy to MSG decided to kick in around Christmas time, I have been carrying my own lunch to school (as opposed to eating what is being served at the canteen). For those of you who don’t know, MSG is a salt-like spice/season that is used in most powdered seasonings. It makes food SUPER delicious and keeps you craving for more. Apparently my body, after my whole life, decided that it wanted to reject MSG. Guess it’s a good thing, cuz my lunches are a lot healthier now; on the other hand, it means no free food two days a week…err.. my grocery bill is hiked up a little bit higher. Why is it so expensive to eat healthy? Not fair.
So why else mention this odd food issue I have, right? Well, my students have taking an extreme interest in what I am eating. Each day I am there, they question what I am eating and tell me that I’m weird and crazy. I usually take a PB&J sandwich or a bologna sandwich with a piece of fruit and something else, if I have it, along with water. PB&J is just WEIRD. And RAW bologna??? With RAW pop chow errr bok choy!!! Oh man, their faces are just priceless. ”Oh Miss, you are eating just soooo healthy.” “Look at you Miss, healthy eating.” As they’re either eating nothing, cup soup, or whatever rice recipe the canteen is serving. teehee… Oh well.. I’m sure I’ll get looks today as I’m going to carry my dinner from last night..err.. some chicken taco recipe that I totally killed! Sooo goood!
The other thing my students (mostly the girls) have been getting on me for is my haircut. ”Miss, a why yuh cut yuh ‘air?!” ”Miss, you caan gi’ mi yuh hair, enuh!” Teeheehee… They can’t wrap their minds around the fact that I did not fully enjoy my long soft “perfect” hair. Even when I tell them that it’s just too much to handle, they don’t care; suggesting that she or her sister could do my hair on a weekly basis. lol oh man.. too funny. My hair hadn’t been as long as it was since grade 8! Needless to say, I am very happy with my short hair.
I have been doing a great job in keeping up with my workouts as well as my healthy eating/eating at all for that matter! :-) I think I’ve gained about 3.5 [healthy] pounds! I’m very happy about that. Done being lazy and gaining back my muscle. Yyyeaaahhh.. My most recent work-out is Jillian Michaels’ “Get Ripped in 30.” This is a 30-Day work-out that comes with a meal guide AND recipes for the meals! It’s exactly what I need! I am not good when it comes to nutrition, so to have someone tell me what to eat, is perfect. This work-out is a 20 minute hardcore work-out. It’s perfect. It’s less intense than Insanity, naturally. Insanity killed my bum shoulder and ended up irritating an old injury. I have a lil more control and less impact on my shoulder with Jillian. She’s great!
And to answer your question: Of course I did not purchase the work-out. Like I could afford THAT! HA!!! I have resources and I use them wisely!
COS (Close of Service)
We just got an e-mail telling us that we need to decided whether or not we want to early COS or not by April 30!! Dagnabit!!! I was really hoping to make that decision in like, July. Haha.. We can leave early anytime after August 1. I’m not sure what I want to do. It depends on A LOT. I guess if I get a job afterwards, I’ll just have to hike up those ET (Early Termination) rates that are already above average rate in Jamaica. Oh well. I don’t foresee myself knowing if I want to leave early by the end of April. Also, if I end up back in Chicago, like I have kinda planned, I’m not too sure I wanna spend August there. August is a miserable month in the Chi-town area. Humidity is up and it’s just hot. Yeah, a heat complaint coming from someone living on a tropical island for 2years. Although Jamaican weather is a solid mid 80′s-90′s every day, with a hotter sun, our humidity is far less than it is in Chicago. I’ll take a drier mid to upper 90′s August day in Jamaica, over a 105 degree [with humidity] August day in Chicago any day of the week. LOL. I dunno, man. We’ll see what happens. Only time can tell. Who knows, perhaps I’ll get another international job. 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia, anyone?!?! 2016 Olympics in Brazil?? Hahaha…Wishful thinking.
Well, have a nice rest of your morning, day, evening, or night. Thanks for reading!
Most of us have our weekly activities, right? You know, things you do on a regular weekly basis; things like vacuum (don’t even ask how many times I had to type that to spell it correctly…), mop the floors, brush your teeth, bathe, exercise, run the dish washer, eat, do my laundry, etc… Okay, you got me. I do eat on a DAILY basis, not weekly. I also don’t own a vacuum and mop my floor like 4 times a year. But you people who bathe and brush your teeth only on a weekly basis… probs your new New Year’s Resolution should be to have some better hygiene, unless of course, you have great medical insurance. I’m sure your dentists and doctors love you.
Honestly though, another activity that SHOULD BE part of our weekly routine: taking out the trash/garbage/rubbish (whatever you wanna call it). I don’t care how many people you live with, I’m almost betting that most of our trash bags are ready to be disposed of after a week. We just stretch it to “save bags,” right? Or perhaps it really IS a chore to remove the trash from your house to an outside bin and you simply can’t find the 30 seconds – 1 minute that it will take to get rid of that nasty crap. Me? I have no clue how I accumulate so much rubbish in my kitchen trash bag. What am I throwing away everyday? I dunno and I’m not about to go look, either. I throw most my food scraps outside, so I really don’t get it, but by the end of one week, BAM! Stupid thing is filled up! Do I take it out, though? Nope! I literally have to walk about 10 steps outside to toss it in another bin, so it’s not like I gotta go far to get rid of it. Maybe I’m trying to save on bags. Yeah… I don’t use a legit trash bin, please, like I could A) afford it or 2) afford it. Who needs a bin and expensive trash bags when you have an endless supply of scandal bags (errr grocery bags for you American folk)!
If there is ONE item in Jamaica that will NEVER be rationed, it’s definitely scandal bags. Allow me to let you in on a little history of my habits. I started collecting my grocery bags for trash bags, back in college. haha… Especially junior year when my roommate and I would go to the self check-out lane and double bag our groceries (hey don’t want that pack of gum to fall through! That sh*ts crucial to passing exams). I mean, it’s the best way to get rid of an expense and it’s not like we needed/had a huge bin, anyway. In Jamaica, I don’t even have to worry about getting things double bagged. The bagger people here are always double/triple/quadruple bagging my stuff. I honestly don’t understand. Perhaps they KNOW that I need those bags for my garbage and they’re simply helping me out. Wow.. what thoughtful people. :-) BUT this can become a problem. My drawer of bags can only hold so many bags, and seeing as I, for some unknown reason, can’t take my trash out on a weekly basis like I should, I have an OVERFLOW of bags. I mean, to the point where someone who hasn’t been to my house before, doesn’t need to ask where I keep my bags (duh, it’s the swelling drawer that can’t shut cuz there are bags sticking out of it like a kid who “cleans” his room by shoving everything in the closet).
In order to solve this problem, I decided to start using my reusable grocery bags (one I got from Mega Mart upon my first shopping trip in Kingston, JA and the other Mummy sent me). This way, when I go shopping, I don’t have to worry about accumulating more bags. WRONG! When it’s my turn to cash out, I give the reusable bags to the bagger people, thinking they’d understand to use them (why else would I hand them nylon bags?). After I’ve already stacked about half my groceries on the revolving shelf thingy, I look up only to find that my groceries are being bagged in the scandal bags! I stop and say, “oh no, I don’t need those bags, use these,” and I kindly pick up the bags previously handed to them. The other day, the dude put a few items in each bag (and they’re big bags), then started to use the scandal bags. I looked at him confused and said, “No man, it will all fit in the two bags, trust me. We just need to pack it better.” I’ve also had people try and put my stuff in scandal bags THEN place them in my reusable bags. SERIOUSLY PEOPLE? I’m not sure they quite understand the concept of saving bags err re-using, OR as previously stated, maybe they think I need more trash bags for my house.
They also never learned how to properly bag items. AHHHH! At least they put the frozen stuff in newspaper, but as far as packing the items. I do my best to categorize my items when I put them on the track; that way, all they need to do is place them in the bag as it comes to them. Nope. Lately, I try to get everything on the track as quickly as possible, then help with the bagging. Oh dear. Do grocery baggers in the States get any kind of training in proper bagging? I just feel I don’t come across this issue quite as much over there than I do here in Jamaica. The service, though.. GREAT. I’m ALWAYS being offered for my bags to get carried somewhere for me. Naturally, I don’t accept. I use the heavy bags as a small part of my weight lifting for the day. Teehee
In conclusion, what I’m trying to say: GO TAKE YOUR TRASH OUT! I bet that rank smell that you “have no idea where it could be coming from,” will go away. You’re welcome.
PS As soon as I post this, that photo will no long be current.
When I got to my site in September of 2011, it was the last, first time I would start the school year/term. Now, it’s my last first week of starting a school term here in Jamaica.
First weeks back at school, whether it be the first week back of the year or the first week back from a long break, is equivalent to that of what we called “Hell Week” in high school. Hell Week was the first week of practice (for whatever sport). Why hell week? Let’s just say that you could easily identify who the athletes were just by watching them walk in the halls, errr hobble around slowly but surely. In any case, we just got our out-of-shape butts kicked; hardly a way to avoid the muscle pains. Much like teaching the first week of school; merely impossible to prepare for the wrath of students who don’t want to be in class…and I teach PE!!!
I’m not saying they don’t WANT to be in my class, most of them do; however, they sure as heck don’t act like they wanna be there. Not only did I have to battle “fresh from break” brains/bodies, but this past week the wind has been INSANE! The wind [at least here in Southeast St. E] was as strong as it was when Hurricane Sandy passed through. Trying to teach over voices is one thing, then add flying dirt, grass, and wind in the ears. Yeah. Nearly impossible. I say nearly, because I actually DID accomplish something.
I’m preparing my students for a test that I’m giving next week. The President’s Challenge (I do not know why it’s called this, I got it off the internet). They (grades 2-6) will perform in 5 separate areas: V-Reach (like sit and reach), Sit-Ups (how many can do in 60 seconds), Push-Ups (how many they can do before falling on their faces), Shuttle Run, and the Mile. This week, I was showing them the proper form on how to do the V-Reach, Sit-Ups, and Push-Ups. Gaaahh!! To get these kids to shut up, stop moving, stop kicking/punching/pinching/anything to the person next to them…THEY DON’T LISTEN! Maybe one or three students would listen. I mean, I told my grade 6 girls to get in groups of 3, and I saw groups of 7, 5, 4, maybe one group of 3? Seriously?! Nobody could sit or stand still for longer than 2 seconds (literally). I ripped into my grade 4 students, cuz they decided that once they got outside, the world owed them all something, I dunno. Seriously, I guess I was never a “trouble maker” or someone who disturbed class, so I don’t understand the point of it (I didn’t then and I don’t now). It just sets all lesson plans back and inhibits the learning of those who WANT to learn and pay attention. PICKNEY!! MI NUH PLAY WID UNUH!! NOW SITDUNG AN SHUT YUH MOUTE! kmt…Mi cyaan badda.. cho man! Hopefully the wind will go down and next week we can get the first three exercises out the way. After that, we gotta do the running stuff to get in gear for SPORTS DAY (err Track and Field without the field events)!!
Anywho… Ohh.. My grade 1 class… We’re pen-paling with a grade one class back in the States. Actually, from Prairie View, my old elementary school! And the teacher of the class we’re writing with, one of my good friends from high school, Caitlin Gerrish err Riley, now. Her class sent a letter right before break, so we just got the opportunity to write back. Kids are adorable. Caitlin also sent some pictures and when I showed the grade 1 teach and my principal, the first thing they both said, “Look at that playground!” Yup. Most kids in the States don’t realize that perhaps their “crappy” playground equipment isn’t found everywhere. My kids have one set of monkey bars (about 6 bars on it), a flat soccer ball, and a playfield. Yup that’s it. Oh and it’s shared for all 6 grades during the combined lunch. Yyyuuup… Kids get creative, though. They got this weird way to play Baseball. Sometimes they have a kooshie ball, if not, they use crumpled up paper. They throw it in the air, hit it with their hand, and run the bases that are all about 3ft a part, lol. It’s definitely modified. Oh yeah, there’s the occasional fight over the jump ropes as well. Ha..
In other news, I GOT MY HAIRS CUT TODAY!! Grandma and Grandpa Clancy helped sponsor said hair cut, thanks for the check. I finally found a place I love to go to get my hair done. I’ve gone there a few times since June and the ladies are awesome. I teach one the lady’s sons, and he’s a good student, if not my best, so that’s good. Anywho, I have neglected to get my hair cut by a Jamaican, cuz well, they’re just not “used” to cutting “my kinda hair.” haha.. But my hair was getting too long and I couldn’t wait another few weeks til I saw Courtney (PCV chick in my same group that cut my hair back in July). So I went, trusted the chick an am pleased with the results.
Well, ammo check out for now. I plan to clean tomorrow. Also, I’m trying to start a community newspaper! So far a good response, but we’ll see what happens when it actually come down to it. More on that as the project unfolds.
Hope everyone is doing great and hasn’t already failed in their New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve been on top of mine all week. Worked out at 6am all week long! Yay me! OKayy… feel free to send me cards, letters, money, toys for my kids, ideas, encouragement, prayers, and all that good stuff.
It’s been about a month since my last update. Guess why? My keyboard decided to go AWOL on me again! Blegh… Fortunately, my paps came to the rescue (no, not physically, unfortunately), but he got me a Christmas present of new computer!! So here I am, finally “with time” to update. Probably I have far too much to talk about and it will end up being a HUGE post; ergo, I will headline and bullet point for brevity.
2012 Miss Queensbury Competition
- Held Saturday, December 22, 2012
- “Funday” day events…didn’t really work out…err people didn’t really come
- I turned our meeting room into a “Winter Wonderland” (See picture below)
- MJ CAME TO SUPPORT ME AND THE COMMUNITY
- Main event (Crowning of Miss Qbury 2012) – I was freezing. Ok, no FREEZING like back in Valpo, but I was COLD!!
- Because of said coldness, the second the winner was announced, MJ and I booked it home.
- Unfortunately, a nice warm shower was NOT waiting for us, instead the shower (I swear) had ice coming out of it.
- Eventually, we got warm.
- This Christmas was completely different than last year, in a good way. Last year I spent it in my community (country-style) so this year I decided I wanted to spend it up in Stony Hill, to catch a different feel.
- Sunday, Dec 23, MJ and I just chilled and relaxed.
- Monday was a travel day. We headed back to Kingston (Stony Hill)
- Met some more of MJ’s HS friends on the way (2 dudes, pretty cool, for the most part)
- Drove through Grand Market to get some “NEEDED” shoes for MJ (she doesn’t NEED more shoes, no no no)
- People are crazy and Grand Market is NOT a place for vehicles. Pedestrians definitely have the right of way…AT ALL TIMES
- Went to church Christmas morning. Probably the EMPTIEST I’ve ever seen a church on Christmas morning.
- I was so cold during church. No these cold moments are not sarcastic cuz I live on a tropical island. I was freaking COLD, okay?!
- Naturally, the very second I got home, I stripped outta my church clothes, into jeans n whatnot.
- Ann’s husband picked me up and I spent the rest of the day over at her house with her family.
- It was super awesome to spend Christmas with a big family. It reminded me of going to family Christmases back in the States.
- I met back up with MJ and Miss Icy at Miss Silvy’s house. Oh man.. THAT was a hoot! haha.. HUGE family part happening. It was great to see a lot of the people there, Miss Silvy loves me. I got there in time for them to give out presents.
- They had one person hand out all the presents. It went as so: In a loud excited voice, “[insert person's first n last name]” After the name is announce, everyone screams and claps.
-Person receiving gift then enters the room with an exstatic, “I GOT A PRESENT!! YYYEAAAHHH!!! WOOO!!” Perhaps even adding in a lil dance.
- Great times. Indefinitely
- December 26 is “Boxing Day” which has absolutely NOTHING to do with the sport of boxing. It originates from “back in the day” when servants would receive “Christmas Boxes” from their superiors. Anywho, National Holiday, nothing is open. MJ an I head back to country.
- She introduces me to her hometown and where she “did de baawn n grow.” It really is fun to see the initial excitement of someone go home who hasn’t been home in while.
-She grew up in Manchester, the Parish next door to mine (St. Elizabeth)
- Met her Aunty and had some AMAZING Manish Water (Google it…no really, do it.. here’s a link, see 1st ingredient).
- Played my first LEGIT game of Dominoes since being in Jamaica. It was MJ n I vs 2 old dudes. We obviously won…one game out of 6. But hey! We prided ourselves on that win!
- While she did some other family bonding, I got to chill with Felecia (MJ’s high school bestie). Felecia and I are already well acquainted with each other. It was fun to see her home, as well, and meet her family. Loved it. Once again, I go to a place where I can feel “at home.” Love that about Jamaica/Jamaicans. If they like you, they make sure you’re comfortable.
- The three of us went out that night, met up with the other two dudes (friends I recently met), played some more dominoes and then some pool. MJ still is…working on her Pool skills. It was definitely a time when I wished I had Pool Shark Skills like my sister. I’m not GREAT but I don’t COMPLETELY suck. lol
- They tried to get me to dance…I have a rule in Jamaica. I don’t dance in public (around Jamaicans)….unless I’m seriously inebriated, which doesn’t happen. I’m an okay dancer, I LOVE to dance, but Jamaicans have a different flavor of dance. I’m not the biggest fan.
-That essentially concludes my Christmas time.
-I had a GREAT Christmas
Happy New Year!!
- I rang in the New Year up in Stony Hill, as well. What can I say, MJ is clearly one my besties. Also, I had an eye apoitment on the 2nd in Kingston, so it worked out well.
- NYE..what did we do? Oh yeah.. NOTHING. Taha.. Probably MJ n I made 1,344 plans, essentially leading us to just stay at home, watch the fireworks on TV n sleep soon-there-after 2013 was here.
-Apparently bathing earlier in the day was a chore, as was trying to get all dressed up to go out.
- Not to mention we’re both B-R-O-K-E. Thank you Christmas and gas for tiefing our money.
- It was nice to have a nice chill time at home. I enjoyed it.
- New Year’s Day brought in more relaxation time.
- When was the last time YOU had your eyes checked? Oh deary…
- I got my eyes numbed 3 times. Weirdest feeling ever.
- Had a lens sucked to my eyeballs (good news – no glaucoma)
- Watched myself practically go blind as my pupils dilated
- Walked in the mid-day sunlight while eyes were dilated. Not fun or easy by any means.
- Had my sunglasses on, but they didn’t do too much help.
- Had a jack with a hood, so I walked with that over my face to create shading. Kinda helped.
- Good news…my eyes are fine and I probably have above average peripheral vision. Whaddup. I’m awesome. That’s all.
Christmas in January!
- Yesterday I got my Christmas gifts from my mom’s side of the family!!
- Had to travel to Negril for it! (She sent a suitcase down with a friend that came to a resort)
- Woke up at 5:15am, was out the house by 6:15am. Did my 30min walk to get a taxi. Was on the road by 7am.
- Arrived at the resort at 9am.
-Found Jordan at 11:30am. What did I do in 2.5hrs?
-Made friends with the front gate security guard (also made him do the most work he’s ever had to do).
- He was from St. Elizabeth This played an important role in why he helped me so much! Yay for Parish Pride!
- After all of our detective work, I found Jordan.
-Unfortunately their time schedule did not comply with mine.
-He gives me the suitcase
- I decide to open said suitcase in the security office (since I made a new friend).
- He was happy for me.
- I was happy.
- I left and went home.
Well folks, that’s about all I got for now. I gotta get ready to go to school. Today is my first day back teaching of the year!! Yay! Every term I feel I get better and better. Hopefully this one will work out even better than the last!
Happy Newest Year!
PS New Year’s resolution? Get in better shape and keep it! I know, everyone has this, but I really mean it. I’m currently waking up early mornings and working out. I REALLY hope I can keep this up. I’m also certain that this routine will change throughout the year, but getting fit and eating healthy is the goal. Also… I come home, for goodsies, in less than 8months!!!! Where has all the time gone?!
Enjoy the pictures (That are not in chronological order)
I was lying on my stomach in my bed, not having any want/will to move. I couldn’t even force a smile upon my face. As I’m laying there texting a friend about my stupid brain hating me, I feel something crawling on my left shoulder blade. For those of you who don’t know me, I H-A-T-E bugs. Phobia-style hate them, full stop. In any case, I’m not gonna let this lil, whatever, rule me. So I take my right hand, close my eyes, reach over to my left should blade, and quickly smack my back. I definitely felt something, it wasn’t just my imagination. I then clinch my fingers together, making a fist, and feel some ooze start to seep. I briskly remove my hand from my back and chuck the thing against the back of my open bedroom door. All I see is something black fly across the room; my first and only thought: a roach. Disgusting! A roach was just on my back! So I get up to wash my hands from the little bit of goo, and before returning to my room, I grab a shoe. I’m gonna kill that roach so hard! I move the door and raise the shoe in the air to smash the roach, but I only came to find a fluffy black caterpillar “limping” away with its guts trailing a mark on my floor behind it. A huge sigh of relief comes across me. ”How did you get in here, little dude?” I pinch its fur, pick it up, and toss it outside.
I figured this HAD to be an act of God to get me moving again. God knows I hate bugs, but don’t mind the lil fluffy caterpillars (even though I have no clue if they have any danger to them whatsoever). It was just so random that it was a caterpillar on my back. How the heck did it get there? I am only going to believe that God placed it there in order to get me moving again….within a certain amount of time, too.
So now that my blood is back flowing into my body, I decide to write in my journal. I’ve always written in a journal since I was a child, and it has always helped me. I’ve been lazy lately, but I really needed to “talk” out some issues with myself, so I wrote it all down. When I finished, I decided that it was time to be a lil social, so I went to go up to talk to Auntie and Uncle. When I stepped outside my door, I saw an animal in the carrot garden. Thinking it was a goat, I move closer to go make friends (I like to say hi to the neighbourhood goats). When I got closer, I realized it wasn’t a goat, but a large pig! I start to chuckle to myself. A few seconds later I see a man walking up to the hog with a stick. I then proceeded to watch him try and force the pig back up the hill to his pen. The man was hitting the pig, kicking him, everything to get it to move, but the pig kept resisting, and continued to eat whatever was on the ground (maybe getting some carrots). Oh man, I just kept laughing the entire like 5mins this was going on. Eventually, yeah, the pig started moving towards his pen. After about a minute when they were out of site, I hear the pig cry out. Ha..oohh the price of freedom. I hope it tasted good, pal. Here again, God has me get up, just in time to see this episode, so I can get some more laughter in my day. A forced smile is never as good as a genuine one.
I go and chat with Auntie and Uncle for a small bit, then came back down because I wanted to blog. But before I do anything, I must always check Facebook (I hate this about me, but have no want to change it). A friend sent me a link to a picture of a grumpy cat, totally adorable. Then I saw a post of a crazy funny video from another friend. Again..genuine smiles reach my lips. And now I’m posting all of my happenings.
God KNOWS and has life events planned out for us. My motivation to do most anything, especially today, has been shot. I feel alone, in a dark hole, and it’s hard to pull yourself out of hole where you can’t reach the edge. I try jumping to grab it, but I keep slipping. I need an extension. I need a pole, a string, another hand to come from the other end to pull me out. The problem is that I do feel alone and I think I’m alone. The solution is to know that I’m NEVER alone. That extension, that hand, is ALWAYS there to help me. It is my choice to see it AND use it. I can see it, yeah, but lately I’ve been choosing not to use it. God is just waiting. He is patient. I’m sure He gets pissed when I’m practically screaming for help in that hole, thinking I have nothing, when He is always with me.
I need to get out of this damn hole. Apparently what I’ve been doing, hasn’t been working. The events that occurred today helped me to see that hand. I am now choosing to grab hold of it. God will pull me out of this hole. I can see the light already. I just can’t let go.
Here’s to putting my words into action…
So this word/phrase has multiple meanings; it is working as both pleasant and crappy. For the sake of sanity, I am choosing to mix up the order to which I’ll explain my meanings.
First off, I got food poisoning last night again, err this morning at 2am (seriously?!). This is the 4th time I’ve experienced food poisoning while being in Jamaica, and all 4 times it has been within the last like 6 or so months. The common denominator, RICE (and I’m not talking Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate, either). After my last episode of food poisoning, I learned that rice actually is known for being a food poisoner. You must make sure you prepare AND store it properly. I didn’t even cook the rice this time, either. It was my usual Sunday Dinner from Auntie Daphne. *sigh* Oh well… Looks like I’m just gonna avoid rice for a while. Today I’m sipping on water with oral rehydration salt and nibbling on “blan” foods, considering my stomach still “tastes” like vomit.
There are tiny little ants that like to invite themselves into my home. They NEVER bite me, no. Instead they eat holes in my clothes and devour the tiniest of crumbs they can find in my kitchen (and I keep my kitchen CLEAN). One place they have recently voyaged to, is my tea kettle. This does NOT make me happy. I have to boil my water, then put it into a container, and cool it before I can drink it. As you can imagine, it is not nice to pour out your water, only to see some ants thinking they’re on the worlds greatest water-slide into a lazy river. *Dumps out entire container of water* (SERIOUSLY?!)
On a more positive note, I decided to wash out my tea kettle. How did I do this act? I put dish soap in it, along with the water. As my kettle began to whistle, it spewed out water [from the spout], and bubbled over the top like a volcano (Seriously!?)! It was soooo cool! And I even got a lil mopping of my floor out of it. *Even though I deep cleaned my house all day yesterday.*
A quorate finding: Bran Bun (spiced bun made from wheat flour instead of regular flour) is scrumptious, but incredibly crummy (seriously?!). Can’t it be a healthier snack, withOUT the mess? It only unintentionally lures those little ants to come “help” me clean up when they are anything BUT invited.
Today I’m planning to put up my Christmas decorations (seriously?!). It’s “next year” already?!? Holy goodness. I can’t believe it’s Christmas again already! What happened to the last year of my life? Wow… By the way, I’m totally listening to Christmas music while I type this blog.
Saturday, December 1, was World AIDS Day (WAD). I can do a LOT of negative ranting on this; however, I’m going to refrain. In lieu, I am going to regurgitate what Peace Corps bored into our heads during all our trainings/conferences: As long as ONE person shows up, it’s a success! So I had about 7 or 8 people actively participate in my event. Let’s back up… I have been working on this WAD event for a good month. I put A LOT of effort into making it a fun affair. I kinda built an expectation up that it people would show up (mistake #1, don’t ever have high expectations in PC, unless you’re 100% sure, it’s like setting yourself up for disappointment). In any case, I started the day with a n HIV/AIDS Quiz Competition. I had 4 contestants (I expected almost nobody, so that was a plus, see how it works). They all seemed to have a great time. It started about an hour and a half later than I wanted, but megh, all was good. So now I’m just waiting for 6pm so I can begin my main event. Keep waiting.. I decided to start around 6:30pm since there was an important football (soccer) game being played. So yeah, people came in and out during the event. It was an extremely interactive happening. Oh and earlier in the afternoon, I went around the community pinning red ribbons on people reminding them about the event. So people KNEW! And people were in the computer lab the same time my meeting was going on (SERIOUSLY?!). People just CHOSE not to show up. I can sit here all day and give “excuses” as to why nobody came, but that would get exhausting. Like I said, I’m going to stick to the positives (and not HIV ). People DID learn new facts and they did have fun. Cool. I guess I just thought that since I had a lot of advertisement prior to this event and put more effort into it, that more people would show up. As opposed to last year when I did everything the NIGHT BEFORE with next to no advertisement, and a bunch of people came. I guess last year I was still “new” so people came just to “see me?” I don’t know…
As of yesterday, December 2, 2o12, I have NINE MONTHS til I come home! I’m in SINGLE DIGITS (SERIOUSLY?!)!! So crazy!!! Where has all the time gone? Once January hits, I can’t say “next year” or “next September” anymore! It will be “this September,” which sounds far closer than “next.” Ha… So yeah.. Yup… I really hope I can snag a job before I leave JA. It would just make my life in the States more sane, you know? Just having a job and knowing where I’m going to live…yeaahh..that kind of stuff. I’m pretty sure I want to settle down somewhere in the Chicago area for the next few years of my life (at least). I miss all my friends and family and it will just be nice to be around socialness. :-)
Okay, I’m done for now (seriously)! Yyyeeaahh… My plans are getting a lil shaken up today, but it’s cool, typical Jamaica.
Until next time…Likkle more!