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Ways that Jamaica Has Bent My Mind

richie loopsWhen I’m doing a long, boring road trip back here in Canada one of the things I do to pass time is look at and memorize the license plates on passing cars. Yesterday I was on the highway when I passed a car with the first three letters of SAV on their plate. Immediately I thought of Savanna-La-Mar (aka SAV) in Jamaica. That’s how I thought of writing this blog post. Because Jamaica is so ingrained in my brain, even if I decided to never EVER go there again, there are certain things in everyday life that will forever remind me of the island.

Another funny example: A cup will never just be a cup, thanks to Richie Loop. At my job each person who works there has a cup where we keep our tips until the end of the day. For the life of me I CANNOT say anything about money being in my cup without singing “My Cup” by Richie Loop. The crappy part is that the people I work with have no idea what the hell I’m singing about when I break into “What’s in my cup stays in my cup”. Only in Jamaica can they make a hit song about a cup.

I also cannot look at a broom the same way when I have to sweep the floor, because Jamaica also has a hit song and a dance called “Sweep the Floor”. Of course they do….thanks Elephant Man….for not allowing me to just sweep a damn floor.

Oddly enough, ice cubes are another thing that remind me of Jamaica because having cube trays in your fridge back home are normal but in Jamaica you would probably find a big metal bowl or a plastic bag full of frozen water in a freezer. Your kitchen (and most bars) would also be equipped with an ice pic that you use to hack away at the big frozen block of ice to make your own malformed chunks of ice for your drink.

What are some things that go on in your every day life back home that distinctly remind you of something in Jamaica? Write your comments below and tell us!

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  1. You nailed with this post. Especially the part about people around you not having a clue what you are talking about unless they are Jamaican or have experienced the Jamaican way. LOL. Good Read. My head is full of so many memories from there and honestly speaking, you are really not the same person after you have experienced life in Jamaica. there are things spoken that only those who are Jamaican or understand the culture can understand. Even amongst other west indian cultures they don’t have the same lingo. Jamaican to Jamaican sometimes have a way of talking that only they truly understand what they are saying, speaking often in Parables leaving one with interpretation of what the parable means.
    there was radio station in ochi that everyday at a certain time in the morning would have the daily parable and discussion about what it meant. interesting way of understanding the culture and way Jamaicans communicate without being so direct but still saying what they need to say. Some call it beating around the bush, others call it diplomatic, either way Parables are the key to understanding how Jamaicans Communicate and what their messages really mean, because it is rare to find someone in Jamaica be so direct when they are trying to tell you something without creating conflict. Canadians would be more direct and say what they want or what is on their mind. but in Jamaica they will use parables to creatively tell you what they think.

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  2. Thanks for the comment Christine. You’re right about how uniquely “Jamaican” certain things are. People who get it will never be the same.

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  3. I am totally not the same! Not sure it its a good thing or a bad thing, but I am a totally different person since my time spent inna JA.

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  4. It can never be a bad thing to expand horizons and expose yourself to different ways of life.

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  5. Agreed.

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  6. LOL! I love this post. I also wish I could just think of a cup as a cup. LOL

    I also think it’s funny if we have fish for dinner, and someone comes over to eat with us, that they get extremely grossed out because the head is still on the fish…when I didn’t even think of it as an issue.

    I can’t eat eggs, bacon, and toast without thinking that I am having an “American Breakfast”…as they describe it at restaurants in Jamaica.

    When I am out with friends and one of them orders a drink with Red Bull…I almost always start signing——I’m drinking Rum, and RED BULL…..and nobody even realizes it’s actually a song. In fact, a lot of the things I sing around people; they never even realize it is an actual song.

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  7. Ha!! I forgot about rum and red Bull! I’m the same way! Even if someone says something about drinking I automatically star singing “I’m drinking, I’m drinking, I’m drinking ” lol!!

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  8. When I’m back home in Canada I find myself having to “soap up” in the shower two or three times always with a thick lather; anything less and I don’t feel clean. That’s something I learned in Jamaica. A shower usually takes longer (if the water’s flowing) because it’s so important to soap up a lot. And while grocery shopping I search for Jamaican foods like pumpkin for soup or peas for rice. I’ll never forget the time I was staying with my BFF and I decided to cook cabbage, veggies and saltfish. My BFF’s husband doesn’t like fish and nearly passed out at the sight of the saltfish tail poking out of the pot! To this day he tells the story about the nasty-looking saltfish cooking in his kitchen. Funny fact is that most of the saltfish in Jamaica is shipped from the Maritimes.

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  9. I never understood the whole lather process for them. It’s like they think if there’s no lather they aren’t clean lol.

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  10. My first trip to Jamaica was nearly 3 years ago and I’ve been there 5 times since. It’s hard to remember my life before Jamaica. It’s hard to think there was a time that Jamaica wasn’t a big part of who I am. It’s changed me in so many ways. After my first trip I understood the phrase “Once you go you know”. There’s a common bond between those who have been to Jamaica. A collective consciousness. A knowing smile we give each other. It’s not a typical vacation in the traditional sense. You see life differently afterwards in a way that is so hard to put into words. Everything is more intense in Jamaica. The colors, the tastes, the smells and your feeling of touch. It’s kind of like switching from black and white to technicolor in the Wizard of Oz. Everything reminds me of Jamaica, but now I smile everytime I hear bob marley music in a car passing by or someone with a shirt that says Jamaica, or the flag sticker on someone’s car. If I hear the Jamaican accent in a crowd of people, I turn and search for the voice. It takes me back to the Island. It’s really everywhere. I have a deeper appreciation for my life. A gratefulness for my job and my apartment. I place less importance on “stuff” and more on experiences. I learned a lot from the Island, about some of the things that matter. Every time I return, I feel like I learn more. I can’t wait to go back.

    I just found your blog today, and I’m enjoying it a lot!


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  11. Thanks for the comments Daisy! I think we can all agree on what you just posted. It does change you forever unless you’re part of the select few who have gone to Jamaica and never returned. Glad you’re enjoying the blog!

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  12. I have to share..I got tears in my eyes when I read Daisy’s post. What a great post. She nailed it. The tears came because I am super emotional about Jamaica right now. I was all set to go to Sumfest next month with a friend (whom I have never even met, but she loves Jamaica just as much as I do – if not more – so she is automatically a friend of mine). However, due to unforeseen circumstances, I am unable to go because she is in poor health at this time. I feel a void; a need to be part of those smells, sounds, ect that only Jamaica can provide. :(

    I can only hope I will get there soon. I haven’t been since last August!

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  13. Aww that’s too bad Jamie. I hope you can go soon too! I feel your pain because I’ve not been since January and probably won’t go again until October-ish unless miracles come my way!

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  14. Dumper Truck – Lets face it, Kartel is at his best when he’s being rude: “Back it up pon di dum-pah truck/ tun roun’ fi di love start up…” This song gave us the best line of 2010 “Set good like the ice inna freezer/ what a body nice you ah sting like a bees yah”. Maddd.

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  15. LOOOL Freddy!!! The first line you wrote, I didn’t even know the clean version of it! That’s not the version of the song I have HA!

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  16. So well said from all of you.

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  17. OMG Daisy, you are soo right on the money with your statement gyal…Im so glad to know there are some 0ther people out there that “get it” many people talk about resorts, and the beach, but yet they dont know or understand the real jamaica experience and feel it as deeply as I, and you folks do!! The Cup song Kristi I do too at random functions, and at work (where I supervise a casino bar) everytime I hear someone say rum, of course the “and red bull” pops in my head…I also throw out a bumboclaat or blodclot and get strange looks from co workers..LOL I bring home soap and laundry soap now, just so I can wash and smell that familiar wonderful smell which always takes me back…or the smoke off a fire burning reminds me of ja…anytime I feel hot and humid, when I sleep with the fan blowing on me, when the hot water runs out and Im showing in cold water, when I hear a whistle blowing (i think of a peanut cart) or a horn honking..all these things take me back to Ja in my mind…when Im not out of my mind, its usually on all things Jamaica…(so bad that my family actually gave me an intervention..LOL true story) and of course anything dumpa truck…i can sing it here, but no one knows what it means and if I explain it, its probably offensive, much like the dancing style would be here…LOL but I always get a kick out of seeing the locals reaction in Ja when old fluffy white lady can back it up on the dumpa truck and sing it word for word..dwl…pull it pull it!! (which no one here knows either and when I hear a good song and start yelling that, I get strange looks also)

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  18. LMAO at the peanut carts. Those things drive me CRAZY! That high pitched whistle is so annoying hahahaa.
    I can’t dance at home either because no one understands.

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