There’s no doubt that traveling anywhere opens us up to new experiences, create lifelong memories, and rejuvenates our souls. But not may occurrences top what is felt when we return home, especially after being gone for a while (think six years or so). For two magical weeks I went to Jamaica, my homeland, expecting fifteen days of thrills and relaxation. While I did have the best time, what fulfilled me the most was the intangible, emotionally rewarding feelings going home gave me. My time was spent between loving Lime Hall – a small town up in the mountains of St. Ann – and Runaway Bay, a more modern sector of the island. I was awed at how advanced Jamaica has gotten, but the remnants of the life I knew as a child still remains. My humble, country home in Lime Hall still doesn’t have hot water, but my soul was ignited by the familiar love engraved in the structure of my grandmother’s home. There was no wifi, yet I was connected to the world of comfort created over time by my family/ancestors. One of my fondest moments is sleeping on my granny’s couch for an entire day listening to the rain synchronize on the zinc roof, which created the most soothing lullaby.
I attended parties on the roof top of a mansion, street-side karaoke joint, and beach resort – all with my hovering, but awesome father – and though they were fun, the moments I cherish most are the simplest ones. Tree swings with my little cousins, tasting the saltiness of the Caribbean Sea; listening to grandma and her sister chat across the veranda and catching up with my pre-teen/teenage siblings. Jamaica taught me first, never to stay away that long and that it’s okay to be carefree and still tend to your duties. That’s how my father is able to remain so young. I remember what it feels like to be still, physically and mentally. My cup of gratitude now overflows, and I feel more motivated than ever. My trip home reminded me that with growth comes even more growth. With all the technological advances, there is still much more to be achieved. There’s a popular understanding among Caribbean people that Jamaicans take pride in their nationality… that is true! Not just because our island and inhabitants are beautiful, nor is it because the food is bewitchingly good, but it’s because our culture is rich, the energy is vibrant, and the soul is felt at every turn. My trip home basically taught what I already knew.