Being an expatriate is fun and fascinating but it can also be quite lonely. When you leave the beach, the ethnic shopping, the volcanoes etc., you turn off the lights and this feeling called ‘being homesick’ takes over your very core. You start missing your mom’s meddling, your brother’s friends who still hang by your parents’ house even though they are grown men with families of their own (just in case my brother is reading please note that i am not speaking about you). More importantly, you miss the things you enjoy from home. For me it is Screechy fish and lobster (Screechy is located on Hellshire Beach in Jamaica & serves the best fish and lobster in the world….not to mention that the price is great), the sweet mangoes especially East Indian and Julie, my mom and her comedic life but also without doubt I miss my friends. These friends are absolutely better than pocket money.
In 1994 I entered the University of the West Indies (UWI) and I found myself alone. For those of you who know me, you know that alone is not my cup of tea. All my high school friends had either gone to other universities or were at UWI but were in the Faculty of Natural Science while I was in the Faculty of Social Science: we may have been on different planets the amount of times we were able to see each other. (In high school I was a science student but decided that a life of science was not in my calling).
The loneliness lasted for as long as it takes Usain Bolt to run a race. In no time I had met and befriended 4 awesome women who remain a staple in my life. I will spare you the details of how we met but through them I have learned the value of friendship and the security that comes with knowing that you have persons who will listen to you cry, whine and laugh like only a Jamaican can (loud & raucous until tears flow from your eyes).
When you live away from home you realize how much you miss these people and how much you truly love them. This is where the power of Blackberry comes in. To all my iPhone friends I say ‘what a pity, hush’. Blackberry Messenger (BBM) is the best invention since sliced bread. Let me not get distracted here as I am itching to give all the reasons Blackberry is better than iPhone but I won’t. Skype and Magic Jack are other must haves to keep in touch with your friends when you live oceans apart. Skype allows you to see them so you can get a first hand view of the fabulous engagement ring or a first glimpse at a Godchild that you won’t get to meet for months to come. It’s important to keep in touch and that is why an expat’s shipment must always include their Blackberry and a Magic Jack.
I know the true value of keeping close to your friends as back in 2008 when I had brain surgery my friends helped me and my family through this traumatic time. I still feel a warmth when I think back about opening my eyes and 2 of these wonderful chicas were right by my side. They had flown in to lend support. I tear up when I remember that Karlene decided to read to me an article about Vladimir Putin because:
1) I had lost my ability to read for a short while after the surgery, and
2) She knew how much I loved politics and political news.
It may sound strange but it is something that has stuck in my mind and signifies how much she knows and understands the core of who I am.
Let me stop before I tear up as I truly miss my girls. Maya, Karlene, Nicole & Kaye: I love and miss you all so much. Thanks for being a part of my life for so many years. My dream (outside of owning a herb farm) is that when we retire we will all live within 10 miles of each other so that I can grow old with my husband and the most awesome women I have ever known. While in the US I met and am now quite close to another person (Nadine) who completes my group of bedrock friends who are better than pocket money. While I am physically separated from these ladies, we are usually only a BBM, Skype or Magic Jack call away.
Until next time……One Love