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.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

House for who? Car to go where?

When I lived in the U.S. I accomplished the "American Dream" at a young age.

As a 25 year-old I co-owned a four bedroom house, owned a car and had a secure job.

One of the things I learned is that these possessions were not all they were cracked up to be, as I was living at the time in New Jerey, affectionately known as "the Armpit of America" due in no small part to the vicious smell that greets New Yorkers and others coming over from Staten Island or through one of the tunnels.

The car was nice -- it could take me anywhere in New Jersey that I wanted.  The house was good -- I could have over anyone I wanted.

Except that I could never drive to Ocho Rios for even five minutes.  I also could not visit anything I would call a beach without reaching South Florida on a 24 hour drive on I-95.

Sure there were other places to visit, but that had to happen in the summer months when it wasn't so cold.

Also, I could never invite my closest family and friends to enjoy my place -- they were in Jamaica after all.  I could not pop over to my parents for even a fifteen minutes to spend some time checking up on them.

Sure, there were other people to invite over, but strangely enough, i have lost touch with almost all of them, while I retain friendships with people here in Jamaica from when I was 2 years old until today.

I remember when I would come home to Jamaica and would tell people that I lived in New Jersey.  They would ask -- "where is that?"  I would say, "Near to New York."  They would go, "Oh yes, New York."  Living in New Jersey felt a little like living nowhere... it was a strange feeling, but I realize that I also think that a relative of mine living in Cleveland gets the same treatmant from me, now. 

"Cleveland?  Where is that again? What is it close to?"

My point is this:  Moving Back to Jamaica  has restored for me a link to what is most important in life, and also to the most important people.  While I could have a lot of good "stuff" while living in the US, it felt to me like "farrin."  Deep, far away "farrin."

I could not share my life with those who really mattered, or do many of the things that really mattered.

Somehow, going to Atlantic City is not the same as going to Negril. 

Talking to my neighbour (whose name I only learned after several years) is not the same as talking to my neighbours here.

Being able to exercise during the summer months is not the same as being able to live the outdoor lifestyle that I love 365 days a year (outside or hurricanes, riots and elections, of course.)

Speaking American English in order to be understood, is not the same as relaxing into speaking patois.

Voting in the U.S. is not the same as voting in Jamaica.

Talking about race in America is not the same as taking about race in Jamaica.

When I realized that I could never call anywhere in the U.S. "home" was when I knew I would be back home... to my real home.  I doubt that this will ever change about me, even if I do live abroad again.

Now, this may not apply to a single person other than myself, but my life became easier when I realized that I was Jamaican, first and foremost.  The fact that I kept my accent after all of 20 years abroad, probably meant that I never, ever accepted that I was going to stay a "farrin."


At 9/25/2007 10:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would you consider running for public office in 2012 or before if there is an early election called?

At 9/25/2007 11:03 AM, Blogger fwade said...


At 9/30/2007 1:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

just make sure that you recant any allegiance you may have sworn to uncle sam, lol :)

At 9/17/2011 8:54 PM, Blogger Tammy Salome said...

Wow, I know this post is old, but I agree and feel the exact way. I've been living in the US now for about 15 years and I only think about Jamaica. I recently made my decision to finish my Masters and return home after. While Im still young and I've moved around ( NY, Miami, Virginia, D.C) I just haven't been able to make this place home.


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