I’m flying out tomorrow, back to Canada to visit my son for his birthday. This first two months living in Jamaica was always meant to be a test run because one never knows if they’re going to love something until they try it. I’m the most diehard Jamaica fanatic I know and I still knew that there would be things I’d hate about living here full time. Get out your popcorn because I have a feeling this post will be longer than usual and will be spilling a lot more info than I’m prepared to share.
I just realized I haven’t made a blog post in 9 whole days which is pathetic for me and I’m sorry! That brings me to my first issue – living here and trying to be self-employed – it’s beyond easy to get derailed and sidetracked! For me the hardest part is my friends in the neighborhood who are used to me being on vacation but I’m not on vacation anymore. So they show up at my gate or call every day and ask what I’m doing. I think they secretly hate that I work and can’t just hang out at the rum bar all day anymore, which brings me to my next issue about living here – rum.
Forget safety in Jamaica because I’m more concerned about my liver than I am about getting shot in an unsafe street. Rum is just too available, too cheap and too easy to not drink it. There have only been a handful of days in the last two months that I haven’t had at least two drinks, which is a sharp contrast to my life in Canada….I can’t remember the last time I drank there. I’m not saying I get drunk every day here but I am saying that compared to my quiet, liquor free Canadian life I feel like I need to detox.
You know the old saying “Nothing is certain but death and taxes”? Well there are a few additions to that list where Jamaica is concerned. One of the certainties here are curry stains – you cannot and will not avoid them. Cockroaches are another but the cool part about roaches are that the longer you live here by yourself the more you learn to just deal with the disgusting things and stop calling your neighbor to come kill them.
Some things I’ve learned about myself:
***I absolutely can’t keep up with hair growth here. It HAS to be the hot climate but I can’t shave my legs fast enough before I feel like a wooly mammoth again, in less than two days.
***Living in Jamaica doesn’t not chase all the blues away and cure depression. Happiness is inside you and living in a tropical country isn’t going to make it all better. The sun is shining and the men are cute but it doesn’t take long to see through it all and realize you’re still YOU.
***It’s lonely. I moved here as a single female, not to be with a Jamaican boyfriend (like most people believe). I have a lot of “surface” friends here but only a handful who would go the extra mile and could rely on in a pinch. It’s funny, when you live here full time a lot of the good friends migrate to the surface friend side.
Some things I’ve learned about being self employed here:
***Internet can and will ruin your life unless you’re one of the lucky ones who gets a great provider the first time. Not all places in Jamaica are created equal and what works for someone up the street may not work great for you.
***Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, meaning diversify when it comes to ways you earn money. Inevitably there will be some sort of “fuckery” that comes along to put a wrench in your plan so it’s better to have multiple work streams, unless of course you’re already wealthy when you move here.
***You CAN make very positive connections in this country! So same as anywhere else, get out and network sometimes. Don’t see everyone as your competition because they just might be the connection you need tomorrow. For real.
One of the biggest things I’ve learned about myself here is that in my first two months I absolutely DID NOT accomplish anything I came here to accomplish. I was easily sidetracked, had major internet issues and had some non-paying clients. My first bundle of money ran out and I have just enough to get myself home tomorrow and pay my June rent. Yes, I’m disappointed in myself and need to go home to Canada and regroup, re-plan and rethink my return to Jamaica.
A few things in general that I’ve found about living here:
***There are MANY great and wonderful people here who aren’t out to take advantage of you. I can’t count how many times I’ve been picked up on the roadside in the rain and offered free rides home, etc. Foreigners rarely get anything for free here so I’ve been really appreciative and thankful for the great people I’ve met.
***I’ve really never wanted to bring up the man topic but my eyes have been opened since moving here! I’m not involved with man here but I do get the opportunity to hang with lots of male friends who’ve opened my eyes, I think it’s fun to watch LOL. I thought I had them and their game figured out but you really need to be here in person, full time to watch it in progress. It’s interesting and I’ve built a tolerance/understanding towards it, if you can believe it.
***JPS and Digicel suck and if they see this post and want me to elaborate I would be more than happy.
***When you have a car no one wants to give you gas money but when they have a car they ALWAYS want gas money. Yes even some foreigners don’t pay and it makes life kind of rough here.
So I think that’s it for now. The biggest disappointment of all is that I’m leaving the island and hardly have any more to write about til I come back in a month’s time. Because I ran out of money I’ve been pretty much stuck to home for the last few weeks and haven’t been on the road at all. The only thing I can ask is PLEASE don’t abandon me because I promise when I get back to Jamaica in June I will produce what I came here to produce.