Moving Back to Jamaica

A blog about my Move Back to Jamaica after 20+ years of living in the US. Most of the articles focus on the period from 2005-2009 when the transition was new, and at it's most challenging.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Missing Home and Living in the US

The following comment was made by an anonymous poster and I thought it was interesting enough to be posted on its own.

I was born in America of Jamaican parents but I also feel that there is the other side to Jamaicans living in the U.S. - "living the American Nightmare".

My grandmother came to the U.S. from Jamaica leaving her children behind > came to clean homes - promise of an American dream > left a good life in Jamaica > now in her late 80s with early Alzheimers and phasing in and out of memories of wanting to go back or at least regretting not having a home back in Jamaica that she could have returned to...and so instead sits in a horrible NY nursing home with no home/island foods to satisfy her appetite(she starves refusing the canned foods they prepare), etc - nothing but fading memories of what she could have done.

How many Jamaicans actually come to the U.S. and obtain college educations and beyond or even save enough to be able to return to their homeland?

There is not much in the U.S. for those who feel they need to emigrate from the islands to chase the so called American dream - unless done with success like those who have gotten Masters degrees, business degrees, etc and have create self sustaining businesses to be able to return. Heck there is not much here for the average African-American.
I cannot say that I understand what is going on in Jamaica hands-on, but the number of complaints I see from even those who are here from Liberia and other African countries is enough to make me wonder where the better life truly is.


At 7/24/2008 7:14 AM, Blogger JackMandora said...

To move or not to move is the question perplexing me as well. For me, the grass is rather dry on this side of the fence, but when I hear some of these horror stories, I kind of just give thanks for the bread fruit I have roasting on the stove top, and the little much I have in my omni. That said, if I got a green card tomorrow, I'd be gone by next week.

At 8/05/2008 10:10 AM, Blogger themackdiva said...

Well my friend...the grass seems greener when all you see is the hype that is America. There is much muchness here. Stores galore, big shiny hospitals with art on the walls, and nightlife and museums and baseball games and the list goes on.
But you need plenty of money to buy into all the muchness...pretty much like any other country. If you lived in Australia, or Gabon, or Thailand I would imagine that you would need a lot of money to live large there too. Just as if you were not so well off or struggling in those places the grass might seem greener somewhere else. I rarely hear of wealthy people leaving JA because I imagine they feel they have enough.
Now I was fooled by the hype of America. I grew up watching Sunday matinee movies on JBC where everybody in America sang and danced and all were happy. I visited America and was dazzled by all the shiny stuff...but thats all it is... stuff.
America is not that much different to anywhere else in the world right now. Never really was. It's not particularly safe, it has it's economic struggles, food is expensive. Many jobs do not offer insurance. Public schooling is weak unless you live in a very wealthy area. And I don't mean ordinary wealthy by living in a nice brownstone in Brooklyn wealthy. I mean living on Park Avenue overlooking Central Park wealthy, to have your child in a good public school that has the calibre teaching of say Fay Simpson Prep in JA.
Here in the States you have to put up with a value system in Education, and morals, and just a bunch of other things across the board that do not match the way we Jamaicans are raised. My daughter has to put up with children constantly talking and misbehaving in the classroon because her classmates do not value Education as Jamaicans do. The Teacher's hands are tied because even daring to discipline a child here is considered a classrooms are out of control. I had to take my child to the hospital after a child stabbed her with a pencil at school. A beautiful hospital with smiling nurses and glistening floors. My husband and I took her through Emergency and the Doctor prodded her wound as my daughter and I winced. The Doctor declared her a non medical emergency and refused to clean it or put a little salve on it....unless we had $280. My husband and I do not have insurance at our jobs as we happen to be 2 of the millions of residents and citizens of America who do not have insurance so our hands were tied. So I asked for an excuse for school...and the Doctor said sure with a lovely smile...if we had $280. So off we went to lovely shiny Walgreens...which I can assure you has no cure for being treated like a second class citizen.
Everything(emphasis on the word thing)is here in the USA. When I lived in New York City I was surrounded by Theatre(I love the theatre)...a decent seat is at least a hundred dollars so to take you and your family is at least 300dollars.How often can you do that? I can't afford that! Plus you work so much here you often don't have the time or are too exhausted to do all the entertainments they have here. Add Winter to that and you really do not want to go anywhere. Plus, what is the use of a thousand baseball games when all you want to see is a Cricket Match?
I do not blame anybody for thinking America is so glamorous. America's attractiveness is based in illusion, Hollywood, popular culture, celebrity, glitz in bulk...mesmerizing. Yet, all you have to do is look at the latest episode of some celebrity show or glossy magazine to see how unhappy people are here, and these are Americans born and grown here with a pile of money. There is something wrong with that picture.
I met a young lady recently who although born here in the States believes there is a lack of compassion and care about people here that makes her uncomfortable and unhappy. She is looking to Europe for relocation. Her parents who gave up all they had in India to live here think that she's mad. So maybe the grass will always seem greener, but I have seen first hand that it is not, and I am glad that I have discovered this while I am still fairly young and have the strength to move back home and work towards my goals and dreams, same as I would in America. So with all the material stuff that is here... jackmandora...mi nuh choose none...I'm coming home.

At 8/05/2008 11:16 PM, Blogger JackMandora said...

Macdiva, I'm sorry you got disillusioned about Big Foriegn. I'm not harbouring any illusions about the us of a or any 'promised land' for that matter. I'm simply saying my prospects here are not what I'd like them to be. Many Jamaicans go abroad and up their chances of retiring in comfort, of providing better opportunities for their children etc. etc.. For many it does not work out for one reason or another. For many it does work. Now what's wrong with my wanting to go see which category I would fall in? You've had your chance, let me have mine!

At 8/06/2008 7:18 PM, Blogger themackdiva said...


I am not saying that you should not come to America.
And I do not have the power to keep you from getting your chance. I am just saying that America is just not all what people make it out to be. Life here can be hard! A lot of Jamaicans do not understand that you are trading one bunch of hardships for another. Even worse, the same hardships for the same harships.

Many Jamaicans here big up themselves when they go to JA to visit and make themselves out to be more successful than they actually are to save face.

There is so much to contend with here on a daily basis that I believe that I should be honest with anyone who wants to live in the USA...I would not be a decent person if I did not try to warn anybody who wanted to leave family, friends, culture, and all that you have grown with to move to America.

Alright, I know that you are discontented...and you should have your chance. But...have you considered anywhere else to move to?...the world should be your oyster not just the U.S.
Have you considered New Zealand?...yes I'm serious. There are many opportunities there and the quality of life is very good. If I was still restless that is the place I would go.
If you can stand cold and you probably can if you want to live in the USA...try Scotland...they are in desperate need of a workforce as the population there is dying out. Scotland is cold but very beautiful and the people have more in common with Jamaicans.

Google the website escapeartist and check out what the rest of the world has to offer...I promise you that I did not mean to rain on your parade...I know how it is to want more. My wish for you is to dream bigger than America...after all America is not the whole world even though Americans would have you believe that.
However, I also want you to consider the phrase " bloom where you are planted"...This is something I wish I had taken to heart as I would have been much happier and much better off.

Now, I do hope that if you end up in the States that you will be one of the many that it does work out for.

At 8/08/2008 4:41 AM, Blogger JackMandora said...

Thanks for the warning.

I can't get into your blog from here.

At 8/08/2008 1:57 PM, Blogger themackdiva said...

hey jack,

I do not understand your statement...explain.


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