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.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Belonging at Home

Visiting the U.S. for the third time in the past month has brought on a sudden realization.

I have just noticed while walking among Americans that I, as a Black Caribbean man, am largely invisible. I don't mean that people cannot see me, I only mean that they choose not to.

When I am home in Jamaica, or anyplace in the Caribbean, there is a constant and persistent eye-contact between myself and strangers that takes place at the shopping plazas, at parties, at stoplights and while running on the road. It is most often comforting, although at times disconcering.

It could all be a function of the small size of our Caribbean countries where, it seems, each person counts. When we meet someone for the first time, the unspoken assumption is that we will meet them again.

In the U.S., I find the opposite to be true. Behind a first-time meeting is the built-in assumption that you will never see them again. Relationships just seem so less permanent - more like loose threads than part of a web of finely-woven fabric.

Another explanation for the "no-look" might be just stereotyping. After all, according to American news reports, I should probably be in their penal system someplace, along with a lot of other Black men my age. Yet, there I am walking through Macy's. From my observation, it does seem as if eye-contact varies by race. In the U.S., I notice that Whites and Asians seldom recognize my presence, while Blacks often do. Latinos fall somewhere in the middle.

In the 20+ years in which i lived in the U.S. I came to accept this way of relating to people as if it were quite normal, and can see it for what it is only now that I have moved away.

And, no, I don't miss this part of America one bit.

Here at home, I like running on the road and saying "Yes, yes" to Zatto, the rasta who tends to the grounds of the nearby golf club. I love being honked at by people I barely know. I enjoy feeling that I belong to something even when the guy selling newspapers, and the one hawking hub-caps, and the nearby gardener all ask me for school-fee money for their kids.

These interactions all remind me that I now belong to this Jamaican fabric, and part of why I Moved Back to Jamaica was to escape the nagging feeling of being just another loose thread blowing in the wind.

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Monday, September 04, 2006

Helping Others Move Back

This is a remarkable report of a Jamaican who is helping Jamaicans to return to Jamaica.

CLICK HERE: Deportees Get a Reception With a Difference

I was touched by this report in so many ways, it made me think that there might be some way for me to ge involved and make a difference.

I imagine that those reading my blog are probably living outside of penal systems, and have the freedom to return to Jamaica when and if they choose.

However, there are those who are forcibly returned and their return, albeit under tragic circumstances, must contend with some of the issues that I and other returnees have had to deal with.

And make no bones about it, these are convicted criminals who are being deported, and some of them are hardened from spending many years in prison.

At the same time, they have served their time, and to hear that they are dumped on the street after being "processed" is heart-rending. It cannot be good for them, and it cannot be good for Jamaica.

Of course there is a strong opinion that "dem tief dem fi fling whey," which is probably what is happening right now. After being flung away by larger society, many of them get picked up by criminal gangs who are willing to use them and their experience to terrorize the rest of the population.

That cycle is one that must be stopped.

So, I am thinking about somehow getting involved.

After all, this blog is called "Moving Back to Jamaica" isn't it?

Read more!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Recent Sky-Larking

Jamaicans will remember the old-time song "Sky-Larking."

I think that my parents and wife think that this is all I do all day, and anyone who reads my blog might draw the same conclusion, especially after understanding why I have not added to my blog in two weeks.

I am not lazy... too much.

Instead, I have vowed to "follow the energy" according to some book I read someplace. It might have been "Goal-Free Living" -- a logical rational for sky-larkers like myself.

Well the reason that I have not been active in my own blog is that I went off unto cyberspace and started a couple more. And I also wrote a special report.

One was simple: a website that I created for the cycling club that I belong to: Things just got out of hand, with pictures, videos and the like, mostly related to the "big" Kingston to Negril ride.

The other was a little more complicated -- a blog tracking my progress towards a triathlon I entered in November.

This one just got way out of hand, and involved video taping and editing, which of course I had to learn to do from scratch. But, I am pretty satisfied with my rudimentary results, I must say, and will apply the little I have learned to a more substantial project on my business website.

There there is a special report I recently wrote on a technique that I have been using called Lights!Camera!Action! The final result can be downloaded from my website's front page (

One thing I have learned in the past from my fooling around, is that it offers me a kind of mini-vacation from the more serious stuff, while giving my mind something to focus on that involves some new learning. I really like it when my sky-larking turns into something serious down the pike, when the fact that I can do something unique turns into an opportunity that I never knew existed.

I hope!

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