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Missing but am now back.

It has been almost a year since I last posted a blog. Wow, time sure moves. Why have I not blogged? Lazy, distracted, uninspired? My gut says my not blogging is a mixture of many things not worth gabbing about at this point.

Now I am back and ready again to blog and share my life as an expatriate on the go…

 

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He Loved Me More Than Anyone Else

My grandfather died and it struck me more than I expected. Why? Because he has been senile for more than a decade and a half. His senility, I thought, would have better prepared me for his passing but it hadn’t. Grandfather (as we called him) loved me more than anyone else has in my entire life. His love was pure, forgiving, not demanding and unfiltered. I was his T and he was Grandfather who didn’t care what my mom or grandmother thought about him bringing me sodas, sweety and patties at the most inopportune time (inopportune to them). 

He lived until age 92, an age that many of us can only hope for and he passed away in his sleep without pain or anguish. For this, I am happy and for this I am grateful to the Supreme Being. His death and funeral signified many things for me. It showed me the true colours of many and it proved the strength and awesomeness of my mother. She, being Grandfather’s only child took on his funeral like a tribute to his life. Everything was done the rural traditional way of Jamaica. We had a ‘grave-digging’, a ‘nine-night’ and we had the funeral in the pouring rain. We had the manish water drinking, the curried goat eating and the rum drinking. Having been senile for so long he had been out of the community for a long time; having lived so long, most of his peers were no longer alive. With this in mind I questioned my mother’s judgment on having the funeral in the country and for bothering with all the rural traditions but she maintained that it was the right thing to do and now I can say she was right!!!! The community came out and supported Mr. Forrest, the arrangements were made and executed in true Jamaican spirit. Mr Forrest would have been happy right down to the green paint that adorns his grave.

In preparing to give the eulogy I spent much time reflecting on my grandfather and realized that he had a major influence on my life – more than I ever thought. He is the real influence for my having entered politics and as such I had no choice but to end the eulogy with SHOWER Grandfather, SHOWER Labourite (the JLP political slogan). Grandfather was a simple man, a very simple man in terms of his means but a mighty man in terms of how he loved us. Will I forget him, will my children know about him? Yes they will because if it is the last thing I do they will learn the words to the song “Sly Mongoose” because in my mind he would have been singing it to them all the time had he not been senile. Every time the song crosses their mind they will remember that to make a mark in life one does not need power or wealth. To make a mark in life one needs a good heart and a love for others. That is who Grandfather was and that is what they will know and remember.

Sly Mongoose

Sly Monoose how yu name gone abroad

Sly Mongoose how yu name gone abroad

Mongoose seh him an Bedwood a memba

Bedwood seh him nuh quite remember

Sly Mongoose

Rest in Peace Grandfather (Oct, 1919 – Aug. 2012)

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To be Jamaican or Not

For the last few days nothing much has bothered me; not the traffic in Jakarta, not the mosquitoes buzzing around more than usual and not the fact that my mother is too distracted to respond to my emails. Jamaica is not only celebrating 50 years of Independence but we are also celebrating our might in short distance athletics. Like everyone else from my homeland I am on top of the world. I am prouder than ever to be Jamaican and I am waving the flag and screaming every time our athletes approach the field. The result of all this euphoria is that I spend more time than usual on Facebook and Twitter and it is from this world of social media that I have found the inspiration for this blog. For that I must thank none other than @BigBlackBarry whose earlier tweets prodded me to put fingers to keys (something I have not done for several months).

@BigBlackBarry is not a personal friend, I have never met him but I feel a connection. Not only is he Jamaican but he is who he is with no pretensions or inhibitions. He says what he feels, at whatever time, about whomever. I look forward to his tweets, he serves as my way of keeping in touch with the lingua of the day and the expressions of the unbridled while I live tens of thousands of miles from my home country.

So today @BigBlackBarry posted the following tweets,

TWEET 1: Question. If you could get a crime free country with employment and good healthcare and good governance, would you be willing to (cont)

TWEET 2: Give up Bolt, reggae music, marley, ie. our current positives? Would you swap places with singapore?

TWEET 3: Be a boring unrecognized functioning crime free economically strong state? Or a vibesy popular crime ridden murder capital with some stars?

These tweets got my attention and I replied to @BigBlackBarry by pointing out that I would not give up being Jamaican to be from Singapore. Many people rave about Singapore’s economic success and it is to be admired. Before moving to Asia I argued extensively that Jamaica should strive to be like Singapore. When former Prime Minister Golding became leader of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), my gift to him was Lee Kuan Yew’s book, From Third World to First. Now living next door to this small nation that has made the most of next to nothing levels of natural resources I am still impressed but would not give up being Jamaican for what they have.

For me, Jamaica is the eighth wonder of the world. How else does one explain a nation-state with a population of

100m Men’s Finals London Olympics 2012.
Photo from I Am A Jamaican’s Facebook Page

less than 3 million people with global success and recognition greater than countries ten times its size? How do you explain that in nearly every corner of the earth there is at least one Jamaican. We have developed a religion, we have created a music form that is globally loved and copied, we have the world’s fastest man and fastest woman. We are vibrant and alive and we are proud. Yes our crime rate is higher than it should be, yes some of our systems do not work as they should but every country has its issues. I disagree that our healthcare does not work – I have learned living away for so long that our healthcare is probably only surpassed by a few developed nations.

I wasn’t the only person who took an interest in what @BigBlackBarry had to say. The responses were many and varied. To me he responded with. “@NatsCR the people who have said they would keep us as we are in my unofficial poll all don’t live here.”

The results of his unofficial poll are quite telling. Is it that those of us who live out of Jamaica appreciate the country more because we are not faced with power cuts during Olympics coverage and we are often not faced with high levels of crime? Or is it that when you live elsewhere you realize that to truly enjoy life is more than economic indicators and statistics? There is poverty everywhere in this world, there is also unemployment, crime and instability. What isn’t everywhere is the sound of reggae music pumping throughout the land, there isn’t a sense of vibrancy and amusement in simple things such as a day at the beach. There isn’t the depth of flavour to basic meats such as chicken, goat and fish and without doubt there isn’t that same level of expressiveness as we find at home. As with every other country, there are issues and there are problems but what doesn’t exist anywhere else is the spirit of Jamaica. 

I AM JAMAICAN born and bred. I have left my homeland but only for a time. From Jamaica I was born and to Jamaica I shall return.

Until next time…ONE LOVE!!!!!

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Get a kindle copy of Disposable People free!

Here’s something special: if you would like a free kindle copy of Disposable People get it today. Special promo – its listed as one of the best kindle books being given away today! Get it before it goes back on sale! Please go to http://www.squidoo.com/the-best-of-amazon-daily-free-ebooks-kindle-ipad. They handpick the top rated kindle e-books for the day.
Please remember to read the reviews on amazon and add yours.
I guarantee this is a read you won’t forget. This is the Jamaican Angela’s Ashes!
Look out for the Jamaica Observer review this Sunday.
NOW: you can also pick up a copy at Bookophilia bookstore on Hope Road, Kingston! Other bookstores coming soon.
Remember to like Ezekel’s fanbook page on Facebook so that I can get my Red Velvet cake.
Blessings
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Love Outside of Valentine’s Day….

Valentine’s Day has come and gone but for me romance and love are all-year concepts that should be used to keep the fire burning. Not to say that on Valentine’s Day I do not appreciate the flowers and gifts but the small things and moments that tighten a bond are ongoing. Having spent a few days in Bangkok with hubby (no kids) I came home feeling as though I was floating on air and it led me to go find some poems he has written for me over the years. I will share one with you today. (If you don’t hear from me for a while it is because he has crucified me for sharing this with the world).

A Rising Insurrection

There have been whispers

that it’s a matter of human rights,

and that they are, indeed, human.

That it is a matter of expression, 

freedom to express – that has made them grow so restless

Now, there is a restlessness that grows

beneath the skin, within the bones,

In the tap tapping of the toes;

this impatience grows even in the eyebrows,

which have begun to twitch,

with the tension, the anxiety, the itch.

The fingers too, they tremble,

with uneasy tenseness; 

a rumbling disquiet, antsy agitation,

spasms in the leg, the hand, tremors running through field of hair –

all signs of discontent, growing despair.

A grumbling, simmering edginess,

corpuscles bulging, every bone, every muscle,

every sinew, every lung swelling.

The nervous tingle, stir, agitation.

The tension, the tenseness, the growing rebelliousness.

Every part of my body

festering with rebellion, forming its own gang,

fomenting insurrection, beginning to question

the authority of my lips to speak on all their behalf.

They claim they have a right that’s inviolable,

a freedom to choose their own personal way,

to use their own means to say,

how much they do,

so sincerely, love you.

And every single part of me loves you.

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What Does My Loyalty to Blackberry and PC Say About Me?

English: RIM BlackBerry Storm 2 9550

Image via Wikipedia

Earlier this week I posted the following  Facebook status,

“This is a public service announcement. Microsoft

and RIM please take note” I am a loyal supporter

of the PC and the Blackberry and have no intention

of switching as I am not tempted by the many other

gadgets from the fruit family sneaking into my house.

My only complaint is that I need a boom box on which

to dock my Blackberry. Thanks again for your kind

consideration.”

One of my friends from grad school (Go GWU!!!!!) being her usual straight as an arrow self responded with,

” Perhaps if you progressed with the rest of mankind then you

would have your pick from the many audio compatible device

out there already – there’s a reason no one has developed such a

thing for a dying product line :)”

I did not bother to remind her that during our program she had to take her fruit branded product for repairs while my PC stood the test of time even though it was quite aged. That aside it got me to thinking and wondering what it says about me that I am not even slightly tempted to make the switch. My husband has bought into the fruity fantasy. He has the phone, the rectangular not quite a laptop and too big to be used as a camera gadget and is lobbying hard for us to acquire one of the ginormous desktops from this family of equipment. It has always been the case in our home that we each have individual laptops but all of a sudden we need a family desktop – to do what I know not. So, he has been converted. Thank heavens the store at the corner from our lane is crap so he doesn’t get distracted there.

But seriously, is my love for Blackberry and PC a sign that I do not like change. Am I antiquated or just not cool? Am I lazy and just cannot be bothered learning a new system? Yes I am rolling my eyes at you if you are even thinking of telling me “oh the fruity system is not difficult to learn”. After thinking about it for the last few days I realize that I am none of the above. I am simply loyal and firmly believe that if something is not broken then it doesn’t need to be fixed. My place of abode is in Jakarta but my friends and family are in Jamaica and the US and I keep in touch through BBM. It is reliable and effective. Why switch? Again I am rolling my eyes while the fruity fans try to tell me about Apps. I am not an App girl – I need the basics. Yes they are cool but I don’t miss them.

Have a great one everybody and hug someone with a Blackberry as you go about your business this week.

Until next time…….One Love.