Stop One: Kingston, Jamaica.
I arrived Wednesday night on a dark runway to what felt like the middle of the ocean. Even though I landed on solid ground, I’m swimming. I’m learning to lean into the waves.
The first few days I had nothing to ground me to the old; my luggage was stuck somewhere in the USA. Interestingly, it forced me to embrace being here alone. Without the familiar. Without an identity. My belongings were back in my balmy hands by Friday night and I was most eager to get immersed (and wonderfully in a new pair of undies).
The sounds, smells and penetrating heat here are an assault on the senses. The humidity is so thick you can touch it. Kingston feels initially hectic, full and not so forgiving to a newbie.
I have been warmly greeted by many birds, flowers, bugs (I’ve got a huge bite on my leg that is growing by the hour), honks and smiles. My new nicknames are officially “pssst whitey” or “hey white girl”. I’ll get used to it.
I went to an outdoor movie Saturday night called The Best Marigold Exotic Hotel with a couple of new friends. Despite the bats flying in front of the screen, basketball and boombox sounds in the background, I really enjoyed it. Of course, the film had some key messages that I desperately needed to hear. Life is gentle and kind this way. Some highlights included:
“This is a new and different world. The challenge is to cope with it. Not just cope but thrive.”
“The only real failure is the failure to try.”
And my personal favourite…
Evelyn: “Nothing here has worked out quite as I expected.”
Muriel: “Most things don’t. But sometimes what happens instead is the good stuff.”
Here’s to the good stuff.