‘Darkwood Beach Antigua W.I.’
‘Mama I wish that I could split myself in 2 so that I could be in Jamaica and Antigua at the same time…’
If I had a dollar (preferably USD) for every-time I have heard Gianna say that (usually accompanied by tears) I would be living the type of lavish lifestyle to which I could easily become accustomed. January 6, 2012 was our 3rd anniversary of moving to beautiful Antigua. Gianna was only 4 about to turn 5. Anyone who knows me will tell you that this was the most unpredictable decision I could ever have made. I was always the one who preached about giving back to your country and keeping the well needed expertise at home, the die-hard patriot (I am still and will always be a die-hard patriot). I do not like change at all (not something that I am proud of but true). I like routine and predictability and when the opportunity arose the first time to leave Jamaica I took the coward’s way out and turned it down. Less than 6 months later an offer was back on the table and I knew in my heart that it was the right thing to do so I closed my eyes said a prayer (many) and stepped way outside of my comfort zone…
I think I cried everyday after accepting the position. I was filled with anxiety because I was a single mom moving with my 4-year-old daughter leaving all family and friends and everything she had ever known behind and even though I had visited Antigua several times before and had friends here, I had never thought about making it our home. 3 years later I can say that it IS our home, we have made so many good friends and had many wonderful experiences. Our life here is different to our life in Jamaica. It is much more laid back and we spend a lot more quality time together, we spend a lot more time with friends, outside going for walks, going to the beach (and if you have never been to Antigua I must tell you that they are known for their beaches, breathtaking is the adjective that comes to mind.) NO TRAFFIC (well not compared to the horrendous Kingston traffic)…lol…among other things.
‘G and J chillin’ at the beach’
‘Me and G at a Full Moon Bonfire at Jabberwok Beach’
However I miss my country, my family, my friends and I miss hearing that distinctive Jamaica dialect when I walk into a store, I miss the food (Hellshire especially) and the tonnes of 5 star restaurants and food festivals, Jazz festival, night life etc. and I realized that even though I hug Gianna and comfort her when she makes her “Mama I wish…’ statement in her 8-year-old way, I realize that I feel exactly the same way.
I miss the anonymity that I had in Jamaica and I must admit that 3 years later it still freaks me out that everyone here knows everyone else and can give you their entire life history but I love the fact that because everyone knows everyone here there is less ‘red tape’ and if you need help whether it is a school issue, a health issue or any other advice or issue there are a plethora of people willing to step in and assist, no recommendations necessary except for the fact that you are a friend of…
Still, I miss the feeling of connection to my roots, that feeling I get every time I step off the plane and my feet hit Jamaican soil that energy, that connection, that vibe, that love I have for my country and my people….
But…I love the fact that it takes me 5 minutes to get from my office to G’s school and 5 minutes to get us home. My entire lunch hour in Jamaica was not enough to pick her up, drop her home and get back to work. I also love the fact that the beach is 5 minutes away and that most celebrations here, birthdays and other wise, involve the beach so adults and kids can have a great time together with a gorgeous back drop of crystal clear blue water. I am grateful to Antigua for embracing us and nurturing us, loving us and showing us a wonderful life with wonderful people..
‘My Sister and I enjoying a lovely day at the beach when she visited in 2010’
Facing my fears and making this move has caused me to grow exponentially. It has not been easy and we have met our fair share of challenging people and situations on this journey but the benefits that I have derived and the lessons that I have learned both personally and professionally are priceless and will benefit me for the rest of my life. Antigua like Jamaica has its fair share of challenges, which country doesn’t, and I remain a ‘Yardie’ to the end but I do love them both.
Gianna I too wish that I could split myself in 2 so that I could be in Jamaica and Antigua at the same time.
What can I say…we are Jamtiguans :-)….