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.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Elections -- funny

In the online New York Times today, I read the following paragraph related to the US electorate, and it made me wonder if it were true of our voters:

It’s true that nobody ever made money betting on the high level of campaign discourse. When George Smathers successfully ran for the Senate, legend has it (he denied it) that he took advantage of his constituents’ limited vocabulary by alleging that his opponent was “a shameless extrovert” who had “before his marriage, habitually practiced celibacy.”

This one made me smile!

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Declaring War

What will the America administration and other governments following a bad example declare war on next?

So far there have been wars declared on:
-- illiteracy
-- drugs
-- guns
-- prostitution
-- terror
-- teenage pregnancy
-- gang warfare
-- illegal immigration
-- Spam

This strikes me as the epitome of stupidity.

The fact is, all these social ills will exist as long as people remain human, which I think will probably be for a long time.

While it seems like a good idea to declare wars, which by definition are all out efforts to be won at all costs, the truth is that none of these social ills fit the definition. For each of the wars declared above, the cost of total victory is much too high for any country to possibly pay (if indeed it can be paid.)

Also, many of the wars that are declared nowadays just cannot be won by any practical measure. The most prominent war underway today, the US-led war on terror, is one that cannot be won as long as
somewhere where is a single human being who is willing to use force to try to drive fear into the hearts of others to achieve their goals.

It goes without saying that a war against terror (defined whatever way it is defined) cannot be won by engaging in acts of terror.

US forces in Iraq have already engaged in terror, unless "terror" is defined as "stuff that they do to hurt us, and excluding anything that we do to hurt ourselves and others."

Any other definition includes the acts committed by US forces: torture, murder of innocent people and the violation of human rights and the Geneva Convention.

It would be much better for the US and others to stop all these ridiculous wars, and admit that a mistake was made in calling them in the first place.

Instead, the wars should be replaced by projects, campaigns and initiatives that have specific measurable goals.

For example, the "War Against Terror" (which was even better phrased as a war against terrorism) should be replaced by "The Campaign To End Terrorist Acts by Al Quaida by 2010."

In turn, the "War Against Teen Pregnancy" should be replaced by "The Project to Prevent Unwanted Pregnancies by 2015."

The world would simply be a better place if there was a joint commitment to end all wars, and not to declare any new ones.

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Poor Email Etiquette

One thing I have noticed now that most of my email is coming from my colleagues in the Caribbean is that there is a relative lack of sophistication when it comes to how email is used.

Email messages here in the region can often sound abrupt, sharp and even downright rude.

Often, my wife and I have to look at each other and say something to the effect that the person sending the email just does understand how to send email with different levels of "tone."

How do you adjust the tone of an email?

I remember getting an email from a friend of mine back in about 1994 which was WRITTEN IN ALL CAPS.

What they didn't know is that writing email in all caps is the email equivalent of shouting, and the effect on me was to wonder what I did to warrant this kind of reaction.

Beyond the choice of words, there are other ways to moderate the tone of an email, including:

-- the spacing between lines and words
-- the use of dashes
-- the length of paragraphs
-- the use of smiley faces and other semi-graphics
-- the use of abbreviations such ROFL (rolling on the floor
-- the opening lines
-- the closing lines
-- spelling

However, the point here is not to present a lesson in the proper use of tone, but instead to let a returnee or expat know that they need to pause for a moment when reading an email from someone in the region. They often don't tend to be offensive, or defensive or curt -- it's just a matter of not being as fluent as they could
be in this new medium.

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Waking Up from a Nightmare

In a prior post, I mentioned the opportunity I had to do a 9 day course based on The Work of Byron Katie.

The course involves a basic set of questions and a turnaround that can be found on Katie's website --

The idea is simple -- stressful thoughts are the cause of everything that we don't want in life.

Working on our thoughts effectively, as they appear, offers us the best course of action to have lives of peace.

I recently realized that doing the work is a lot like waking up from a dream.

I have found the four questions to be close in form to the ones I ask myself when I awake from a nightmare, only to find to my relief that no-one has died, there are no thieves at the door and that I am not naked and everyone is not laughing (don't ask!)

The four questions are:

Is It True?
Can I absolutely know that that's true?
How do I react when I think that thought?
Who would I be without that thought?

And the turnaround is merely the opposite of the original thought.

For example, in the case of the nightmare that ends up with me naked, the turnaround would be "I am not naked."

It makes me think that, in the words of the Prophet by Khalil Gibran, I am merely awakening from my greater dream, which is my daily living. In my greater dream, there are thoughts and mental pictures that fill my mind that produce the very same effect as my most vivid dreams.

Day-dreaming, it's called.

Or Day-Maring, perhaps.

P.S. Strangely enough, I had a nightmare last night that a friend of mine died in a motor-cycle accident. I was glad to realize during the dream that I was in a nightmare! When I awoke to my senses, I was quite relieved, even though I could feel the residual stress from the dream in my body.

P.S.2 I am in the middle of a great opportunity to practice what I learned in the School. Through some error, I was not booked on a return flight from Port of Spain to Kingston, and when I thought I had a seat on Saturday, I didn't. I was wait-listed for today's flight (on Sunday morning) without luck and will try again on Monday.

Obviously, this is where I am supposed to be, because I am actually, and in fact, very much here.

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Doctors, Skills and Moving Back

I could never understand when Jamaican doctors living in the U.S. complained to me that they could never return to Jamaica, because they are unable to practice medicine in an environment that was so (for
want of a better word) primitive.

After a discussion with a Caribbean surgeon on a long flight, I began to understand why they would say so.

Essentially, their training, as received by them in the U.S. has prepared them to practice their profession under very narrow conditions, with the aid of the kind of technology that very few countries can afford.

It's a little like being able to speak only a single language.

It's not a problem as long as one chooses to remain in the U.S., but it is definitely a problem when one chooses to come to live andwork in Jamaica, or with the vast majority of human beings in the world.

And herein lies the lesson for the returnee and expat -- to develop their craft in a such a way that they can operate effectively in a variety of environments.

In my business, for example, I have the opportunity to drive in countries across the hemisphere, on both left and right sides of the road.

Early on in my short-lived career as a travelling salesperson, I learned how to juggle a map, cell phone, lunch, list of client destinations and a steering wheel at the same time. (Don't try this at home...)

The skill I happened to develop is one that has served me well, and I have the confidence to land in just about any country and move around on my own (although the driving I saw in Caracas still makes me nervous just to think about.) A simple skill such as switching to drive on one side of the road to another is not a challenge.

Any skill that a returnee or expat learns in a First World country needs to be conditioned, and adapted so that it can be used in any country, and especially here in Jamaica. It may involve learning the basics of the craft all over again, in a different way that may be of use here in Jamaica.

The key here is to be savvy about one's skills and abilities, and to gain an understanding of how to meet Jamaican culture at its point of present need.

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General Elections 1980

Mark Wignall has a great column today, recalling the elections of 1980.

As we approach a fresh election season, I believe the conditions won't allow a repeat of what we endured back then, but it pays for all Jamaicans to be supremely vigilant.

Of note, many expats have left for the summer, and are due to return right after election day.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

More on the Inner Move to Jamaica

I have posted before on what makes the return to Jamaica so much of a challenge, and that it has little or nothing to do with the crime, the poverty or the moribund economy.

Instead, I argued that in my case it was more of an inner journey than anything else.

I have noticed however, that compared to the life in Hollywood, Florida that I left, a life lived in Jamaica is astonishing in its sheer volume of (possibly) upsetting incidents.

I remember once when I lived in Florida and there was a short power-cut that was talked about for days. In Jamaica, we had our second island-wide power-cut in a year and it wasn't even worth blogging about. It came and went, and by the time the next day was over there were ten other things that happened that pushed it to he background.

Although Jamaica is a small country, the way in which life is lived for me has changed a great deal, from focusing on days to focusing on minutes.

In my mind I compare it to that scene from "Saving Private Ryan" when the armies of the Allied Forces are storming the beaches of Normandy. The action was chaotic and happening so quickly, that a soldier just needed to live until the next moment, and the next moment, and the next moment, until they either made it to a safe bunker or received a bullet in the head.

Such is life in Jamaica, and there are some real bullets to contend with at times. The sense I have had is of always waiting for something to happen, and sure enough, something comes along and well... happens! By contrast, life in Florida was marked for me by not too much happening, because life there had a certain kind of steady reliability due to the degree of safety, security, consistency and an abundant supply of just about everything one could hope for.

A returnee or an expat moving to live in Jamaica, may find that they need very different coping skills than they have ever possessed. For example, if they are used to thinking about problems for long stretches of time, they may find that they are unable to have that luxury.

If they used to talk through their problems in a weekly phone call with their best friend, or in a weekly therapy session, they may find that a weekly conversation is just too infrequent to deal with all that typically happens in seven days.

As my wife and I say to each other: "We have got to up our game."

And that is what many who move to Jamaica are unable to do, and why returnees and expats alike fail to make the transition, and are unable to deal with the fears, stress, aggression, breakdowns and threats that are presented each day, hour and minute.

What can one do about all this?

1. Be Prepared
This involves more than just packing the right stuff. It means preparing oneself mentally (and spiritually) for a challenge, and gearing oneself for a big change in the way life is lived

2. Be Accepting
The worst thing to do is the resist the facts about living in Jamaica, and to continuously complain that things should be any different than the way there are. Funnily enough, accepting them wholeheartedly and completely as they are is the key to adapting and even changing them.

3. Be Open
After coming, one needs to be extremely flexible in order to keep moving when the daily crises occur. The mind and spirit must be facile enough to deal with the unexpected, and also brave enough to imagine being caught in a gun-battle a mile away from one's home.

4. Be Tough
There is a certain tough-mindedness that is needed to live and work effectively in Jamaica, and expats in particular talk about how they had to learn to develop a demanding tone of voice, a no-nonsense style and even a brusque physical manner. This is not about bullying, or using force to scare people, but instead about standing firm for what is right, and for a certain kind of personal justice.

5. Be Aggressively Learning
This involves not only seeking out new experiences in Jamaica, but also travelling abroad to learn new skills to bring back to deal more effectively with life here. The time away is invaluable -- even if it is spent in a mall. Many women attest to the fact that "retail therapy" does provide a welcome break, even if new skills are not learned. There are many opportunities for personal development and training, also, that are more specifically designed to develop new skills and I recommend that both returnees and expats include time away to help themselves to "up their game" when they return home to Jamaica.

I recently had the opportunity to attend Byron Katie's "School for the Work" in Connecticut, and it fit the bill in my case. It involved 9 days of ongoing practice in using a technique that I have found to be useful in dealing with upsetting, angry or otherwise stressful thoughts and feelings. In the vast periods of silence around which the course was built, I was able to take many a deep breath and practice working with hundreds of stressful thoughts as they arose in my mind.

After returning home, I have found a definite peace that comes from dealing with these thoughts as they arise on an ongoing basis. The technique is very simple, and is amply demonstrated on Katie's website in numerous videos and audios.

This is not the only course of its kind that is offered to the public, and in Jamaica programmes such as the internationally available Landmark Forum are offered also.

The point here is that these resources are available, and they offer the kind of training that might not make sense to do when living abroad, but are absolutely vital to "upping our game" once we return or move to live in Jamaica.


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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Practical Advice - Surge Protectors

Shortly after moving to Jamaica, someone asked me if I had bought the special surge protector for refrigerators.

The what?

She advised me that there was a specially designed Jamaican device that was not sold in the U.S., and was made to protect against lightning surges.

One of the features of this device is that it has a 10-15 minute delay after a power-cut before it comes back on. I think it is designed this way because a surge is likely to come shortly power is returned to a home.

It is a must-have.

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Fresh Fruit from the Tree

It is mango season here in Jamaica, and once again there is an abundance of the fresh, fleshy, fruit to eat.

Also, guineps are also just coming out, as are tamarind and otaheite apples.

While we don't have fall, summer, sinter and summer, we do mark the seasons here in Jamaica by the fruits that we can pick at that time of year.

In the U.S. recently, I ate some pineapple, papaya and bananas and the awful tastes were a sure sign that they were way out of season.

I love the fact that our fruits here in Jamaica were actually picked when they were just about ripe, and that they taste that way!

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Top 7 Reasons that Make Jamaica a Tough Country to Move To

In the immediate prior post, I mentioned my belief that Jamaica is one of the most difficult countries to move to live in.


Here are my top 7 reasons:

1. Crime
Our homicide rate is one of the highest in the world, as I have mentioned in this blog in posts on crime. This alone makes things difficult for anyone moving from most countries.

2. Poverty
As one of the poorest countries in the region, there are daily reminders that someone moving to live in Jamaica is privileged (by virtue of them being able to pay for their own ticket.) These reminders include frequent begging at stoplights, homeless people living on the streets, the sight of people living in shacks held together with string and nails, the sight of children selling fruits, and general run down nature of the city, the presence of stray animals (and humans) rooting through garbage and, of course, the level of crime.

3. Language
I can honestly tell you that we speak two languages in Jamaica, and that when patois is spoken outsiders might as well be listening to Portuguese. Whereas just about all Jamaicans can understand English, most foreigners have a very difficult time communicating in the lingua franca. Perhaps 10% of the total conversations taking place in Jamaica are actually conducted in English... maybe.

4. Incorrect Incoming Perceptions
Unfortunately, people moving to Jamaica don't have an accurate picture of what living in Jamaica is really like, courtesy of our reputation as a tourist destination. Daily life has less to do with decisions about what to take to the beach, and more to do with deciding which way to drive to avoid trouble in the form of traffic, demonstrations, accidents, political parties and neighborhoods that "one should not be caught dead in." Assistance in understanding the real story is really hard to find, and the sheer beauty of Jamaica has mislead many.

5. Bureaucracy and Corruption
Official activities can take a very long time, and sometimes there is a temptation to pay bribes to get things moving. While this is not too different from other Developing Countries in the world, it is often shock to the sensibilities of someone moving to Jamaica from Boston.

6. Aggression and Violence
The daily reports of violence, and the everyday acts of aggression take some getting used to for most people. Foreigners are sometimes paralyzed by the loud music, the open cursing, the seemingly hostile looks, verbal altercations, crazy driving, gang warfare, threats and counter-threats and high level of police killings that they observe. Also, the service levels outside of the best hotel resorts is low relative to the standards of most developed countries.

7. Thwarted Contribution
Most who are new to Jamaica are surprised at how difficult it is to make a non-monetary contribution. Volunteer work is hard to find, hard to accept when offered and is often poorly managed in the experience of many expats. This happens regardless of the apparent need.

Bottom Line -- Jamaica is not a destination country for the faint of heart. While there won't be a violent overthrow of the government or an invasion from a foreign country, there are enough challenges to warrant serious preparation.

Postscript: After getting a few "hot under the collar" comments, I thought that I'd add the following link to quite a different post, and hopefully give the next reader a chance to browse the blog a bit before shooting off a reply: Reasons Why Moving Back to Jamaica is Easy.

To understand why both blogs are accurate, is to understand what moving to live in Jamaica is _really_ like.

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Moving But Not Moving Back

As I mentioned in a prior post, I have been spending time away from writing in this blog as I re-think where I want to take things. It's no that I have lost any interest -- instead, it's a matter of new opportunities.

Recently, my wife and I started a new venture -- assisting companies who are moving their executives to live in Jamaica.

The inspiration for this re-think starts with my wife's experience of
moving to Jamaica.

Her move to live here in Kingston two years ago was not a case of "Moving Back," because she is not Jamaican. Like many Yardies abroad, I married a non-Jamaican, and I happened to do so in the midst of
my move back. What I had no clue about was the culture shock that she and other non-Jamaicans often experience when they move to live in Jamaica.

After two years of her experience and many others, I am convinced that Jamaica is one of the more difficult countries to move to.

Luckily for us, and for others, there are actually some very good resources available on how to deal with a move to another country, and while recently reading a book on the phases that someone goes through when they need to adapt to a new country we had a good laugh: it described her experience with amazing accuracy.

These resources, and the fact that they have not been applied to Jamaica, have made us think that we could offer a service to others who are making their transition to live here.

This has made me re-think a few things about my blog.

My initial thought was to assist those Jamaicans who are also thinking about moving back home.

Now, I have decided to think and write more broadly -- what could I say that would help anyone who is moving to live here? There are some challenges that are shared, but quite a few others that only expats face that we Jamaicans are quite blind to.

On the other hand, there are many Jamaicans for whom a move back home would be closer to an expat move than anything else.

So hopefully, with this broadened focus, I can meet more of the need that exists for those coming to live here in Jamaica.

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

How Can I Move My Career Back?

Recently, I was asked the following by a reader of this blog:

Although I appreciate everything the states have provided me with in the last 10+ years, in the past year I have been yearning for home. Because of that I have been playing with the idea of moving back to Jamaica however that thought is a little scary. After all, it would be starting my life all over again. Moreover, I have read about the very high crime rate especially with expats so I am sure you can understand my nervousness.

My line of work is banking, right now I am an assistant branch manager with *** bank. I have been scouring the internet and job postings for bank management jobs in Jamaica and have been unsuccessful. Do you have any suggestions as to where I could look to seek and apply for jobs. It seems to me like an impossible task. Additionally... the last time I was in Jamaica over years ago I was a tad bit nervous because of the influx in crime. What are some of the safe places to live that will provide me the convenience of shopping, good schools, and good employment?

It is good to meet you and I hope that I can be helpful.

It wouldn't say that "I left everything behind" -- it was not that dramatic!

Instead, I transitioned myself back to Jamaica over a 15 year period, and each step I took brought me closer to home until eventually it was more difficult to live abroad than it was to stay in Jamaica. It didn't quite work out the way I planned, but overall the plan produced the result I wanted, as here I am living in Kingston.

I think there is a way for you to become acquainted with the banking industry (which is a thriving one) here in Jamaica in a way that allows you to make the transition.

In my case, I had a consulting firm that went from having 0 to 100% Caribbean clients. I deliberately made choices that took the firm into the Caribbean, and also I discovered along the way that I had no appetite for working much in the U.S.

In your case, I would start some heavy-duty research. There is a lot happening in the industry right now, and I believe that someone with your background would be welcome by companies here.

But the way to find out inside knowledge is not through the classified ads.

Instead, if I were you I would foster and use the networks of people that you already know in the industry and in Jamaica. This includes friends, relatives, classmates, colleagues, church-friends... any and everyone. Just ask "who do you know in the banking industry that I could talk to?"

Your job here is to become deeply knowledgeable, and also to let people know that you have experience in the industry, and (hopefully) some unique expertise.

On the internet, there are lots of sources of recent information available via the Gleaner and Observer websites. In Atlanta, there is an ex-senator from Jamaica who works with a prominent bank.

A trip to Jamaica to meet with a few CEO's would also be useful. I have found them willing to meet, and if they cannot, there are always other executives who are willing to meet in each bank.

At this point, you are not looking for a job -- you are looking to create a network. See my companion blog: Chronicles from a Caribbean Cubicle for lots of networking tips. I have given a few speeches recently on the topic of networking.

Once your network gets built to a point, and enough people know what you can do for them, I suspect that it will be much easier to find a job here -- after all, the bulk of business in the region is based on who you know, and who knows you. This is not meant to exclude anyone, but instead is meant to use "mutual trust" as the currency of trade.

With respect to places to live, I would figure that out on your trips home. Kingston is probably the best place to be living while working in the banking industry, and while no-where is 100% safe, there are a range of choices.

I hope this is useful


You might start calling yourself a "returning resident" rather than an expat -- it has a nicer ring to it!

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Tempo Vid Series Online

Tempos is carrying an interesting series on its website, that unfortunately is not accessible in full from Jamaica.

The story-line is pan-Caribbean, and includes a guy and two girls who meet at Carnival and ... it looks interesting but I can't access it all.

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Hardly Ever a Sale

One thing that I definitely miss about the U.S. are sale prices.

The whole idea of discounting items to get them to move out the door is one that seems to be foreign to the Jamaican economy.

Items remain on shelves unsold with dust gathering on them, and as the sun discolours the box beyond recognition, the owner refuses to discount them.

I distinctly remember visiting Filene's Basement in Boston. They had prices that varied depending on how long the item had been on the shelves. A tag might look like this:

$100 Jan 1
$75 Jan 15th
$50 Jan 31st
$5 Feb 28th

It is one of the best ideas I have ever seen in retailing, and prompted many smart alecks to try to hide merchandise in odd places in the store, hoping to come back on March 1st with $5 in hand and a bargain afoot.

The idea here was simple -- it is better to have sold an item for something now, rather than nothing later. This is the old idea of the time value of money being taken to an extreme.

However, here in Jamaica, I have not seen a genuine sale... not once. I believe it has something to do with pride.

It looks as if shop owner's cannot get past the fact that they paid $50 for an item, and are therefore absolutely unwilling to sell it for less than they paid. I think it gets personal -- they feel as if they are cheating themselves if they sell the item for less than some psychological amount they believe they "should" get.

Unfortunately, this is bad for business. It is much better to get rid of stuff that won't sell, and replace it with stuff that will. When a buying mistake is made, the best idea is to get over it quickly, and not to allow it to accumulate further costs in terms of shelf space, security, air conditioning, salesperson time, management time, etc.

At some point, every single item in every store accumulates enough costs to make it economically worthless, and it should be tossed away.

And this, just about, never ever happens here.

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The Cost to Move Back to Jamaica

This is one topic that I have been asked about a few times. I admit... I have just been lazy about looking up the past info needed to answer the question.

One patient reader asked:

My question to you is, and yes, this is all relative. How much do you believe is a reasonable sum of money (liquid US$) to make a 'comfortable' move. Okay, let me be reasonable give me a scale, a range. Thanks.

Here are some basic costs I incurred in my move from Hollywood, Florida to Kingston Jamaica:

1. Packing
This involves moving all your stuff into a 40 foot container, (or two or three.) The packing that must be done is more involved than it sounds, as I detailed in these post to my blog.

Professional help is a must to prevent breakage. I paid around US$550 to pack my container.

2. Moving the Container to Jamaica
I have no idea what the going rate is, but I paid about $2000 for a 40 foot container without a car inside.

3. Moving and Unpacking the Container
I recommend using a customs broker to do everything from clearing the container and its contents, to putting it all away in your new residence. I paid about $1350

4. Airfares
Depends on where you are coming from, and the size of the family.

As a returning resident who kept to the guidelines of they allow in a single move, I did not pay any customs duties.

This was all 2 years ago, so things may very well have changed since then.

With respect to the amount needed to feel comfortable, I would say that a budget in South Florida works out to about the same lifestyle in Jamaica, more or less. I have kept a monthly budget for a few years, and can see where the transition to Jamaica resulted in some one-time costs, but the overall number stayed about the same.

In other words, a US$50k salary in the Miami/Broward area gives just about the same lifestyle in both places, by me estimates. I left South Florida before housing prices went on a rampage, (and before some major hurricanes) so this should be adjusted somewhat to reflect these events.

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Monday, July 09, 2007

A Nasty New Fee

I just noticed that my bank statement has a nasty new fee for every purchase I make here in Jamaica.

All of a sudden, there is a 3% fee on every single transaction conducted here in the Caribbean. Last month I paid US$50 in these new fees.

While the exchange rate has been moving in my favour, from J$62 to J$68 to US! in two years, inflation and this new fee have reversed any possible gains.

From here in Jamaica, I have a sinking feeling that there is not much that I can do about this, but I will look into, just in case it is a fee that Bank of American is thinking that it can get away with without too many people complaining.

We shall see.

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Poor Jar Jar Binks

I remember when I first heard the noise that Jar Jar Binks of the Star Wars saga fame (Episodes I and II) was a racist stereotype of Caribbean people.

In particular, his "obviously" Caribbean accent was demeaning to West Indians everywhere.

Except that he just didn't sound West Indian at all.

In fact, I distinctly remember having trouble following what the heck he was saying (assuming he was "male" and not merely a computer generated figure.)

However, I am sure that there are those Caribbean people who would take it upon themselves to relate to the figure as racist, in spite of the fact that he sounds nothing like us. Some would argue that I am just being naive , of course, and that iam unable to see racism when it is plainly in front of my face.

Which reminds me of my first week living in the U.S. as a college student. I was amazed at how frequently my fellow students of African descent, who had grown up in America, labelled everyday incidents as "racism."

He looked at me funny -- "racism."

He cut me off at the light -- "racist."

I got a low grade -- "racists."

In my first few weeks there I remember being quite confused that what just a few days prior had been called "rude," "mean" or "impolite" under same-race circumstances became racist when a difference in ethnicity was involved. My confusion was settled when I realized that the absolute worst thing someone can be called in America is "racist" and that as a way of getting some kind of "victim power" it worked.

That is, it worked for a while, because the most potent weapon a Black person has is to cry out "racism!"

And, in like manner, Jar Jar Binks became a racist parody of Caribbean people.

Except that he just doesn't sound like anything like a Caribbean person.

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Sunday, July 08, 2007

Still Alive But Not Yet Kicking

No, I have not abandoned my blog.

The time away has been great, and comes as I am doing a major "re-think" with respect to where I am taking things on this online diary.

Some new ideas have been shared with me about what I could use my blog for, and what I could link it to that have me very excited.

One has to do with a new service my company is offering -- transition services to expats executives, managers and their families. I never made a connection between my blogging here and that service, as they came from different places and were inspired at separate times by unrelated events.

Then an expat friend of mine shared how much she enjoyed what I had to say.

And recently I have begun to receive and answer all sorts of questions (in increasing numbers) from Jamaicans who are either moving back, or thinking of moving back. A typical example of question (that I am yet to answer) is "how much money should I set aside to move back home?"

That is no trivial question.

My wife, having made the transition to live in Jamaica from Washington DC is the one who is the real expert, however, as she still has "expat eyes" and can see all sorts of things I don't see - including the need that expats and Jamaicans have for material assistance.

So... question is.... is there a connection between this blog and that transition service?

It seems so.

For the overly curious, the "9 day course" I took was delivered by Byron Katie -- "The School for the Work." More on this later.

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