Jamaican Me Crazy Mon

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After completing about two weeks of my summer study abroad experience here in St. Thomas, Jamaica, I can safely say it’s been a wild ride! Our group jokes about our Jamaica experience being three things: hot, tired, and hungry. And although that doesn’t put the experience into such a great light and clearly does not show how much fun we have all been having, it sums up a large part of our time here. The heat is indescribable. When I was leaving for Jamaica, friends and family would say things like “it’s gonna be hot! Pack sunscreen,” but I ignored most of that. I have always loved the summer season; the warm sun beating down on me. Jamaican summer, however, is a whole different story. The locals, however, hardly seem to notice it. They wear jeans in un-air conditioned rooms, where the temperature outside is 98 degrees. And they do it all with a smile on their face too! Such a happy people, Jamaicans are. But in coming around to the rest of the motto of our trip, we seem to be constantly hungry. Don’t get me wrong, the food here is  wonderfullll: jerk chicken, coconut rice, hot porridge, fried dumplings, sweet potatoes and  peas…the list goes on and on. During the day however, we do so much that we are constantly using up all the energy we have and wanting to eat! Sometimes, the best feeling during the day is when we get to stop at Juicy Patty for a beef patty (hot breaded sandwich of sorts with beef inside) and a Cran Wata (cranberry flavored water). I never realized how much freedom and how much access I have back home. At any moment, I can hop in my Honda Accord and drive two minutes to the local pizza place. Around here, that is not the case. The nearest food place is in Yallahs Square, about a mile away, and the terrible roads and extreme heat, make the journey feel that much longer. Expressing how much we do all day brings me to the last part of the mantra, being tired. Here in Jamaica, especially being on a service-learning trip, we have very little time to breathe. There is always something to do. And for the most part, I love that! I feel like I’m really getting the full Jamaican study abroad experience. In two weeks, I’ve seen and done so much! I’ve worked in two different schools, taking thousands of pictures with the young Jamaican children who refer to me as Miss. I’ve hiked Reach Falls and faced a fear of being in an underwater cave. I’ve watched the Jamaican national soccer team, known as the Reggae Boys, play. (They lost, but still the game was so much fun!) I’ve learned some Patios, the Jamaican Creole language, and some Jamaican dance. Between all of these fun activities, I have papers to write and a 2 hour class to go to four days a week. I sometimes wonder how I even have time to reflect on everything. But somehow, I have still managed to take in and enjoy every moment here. I am experiencing so much. It’s amazing how much fuller of a person I feel (if that makes sense). Every night, I lie down completely exhausted, yet so proud and so ready to take on the next day. I am learning more than I ever thought I would from every person I have met here, and from the Jamaican culture as a whole. I can only imagine when I get home, and have much more time to reflect, that I will be even happier about the experience =)

   

   

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