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Jamaica 2012

Week 2- Day to Day Living

Feb. 3, 2012

So you’ve probably noticed that there was quite a bit to write about my second week in the area. So much so, that writing became like a chore, or worse, homework. ha Either way, I’ve been procrastinating, which only makes it harder to write about everything I want to share with you. On the positive side, however, now my journal entries are in more bite-size packages!

I’d like to make a couple final remarks regarding the Whyte family, then tell you about some new adventures.

After two weeks I had clearly developed some fashion of a routine. Every evening after classes, I would be dropped off at the Whyte house. Then I would say “Good Evening,” to everyone in the living room while I walked toward my room to put down my things. Finally, I’d join the family while they watched the Game Show Network (GSN). This family watched this channel religiously. Deal or No Deal was a family favorite. Mr. Whyte (or Daddy Whyte as Cadine calls him) is also a huge fan of the WWF. He’s convinced that this style of entertainment wrestling is the real deal. It’s true that under normal circumstances I would skip socializing all together in favor of something a bit more intellectually stimulating like reading a book or solving a Sudoku puzzle, but I enjoyed the company of this family, so I made an exception. 😛 It seems everyone here has an acute sense of family and community. Everyone is included, and the Whytes were so warm and welcoming. It was a joy to stay with them.

I’d also like to note that though some people consider Jamaica to be a third-world country, the Whyte family (and I assume a large number of others) has a washing machine and a shower heater to warm the otherwise cold water. These small additions to the household were unexpected and happily welcomed. However, they, like many, have to put their wash out on a line to let it dry. I remember when my Grandpa Bakalar would do this in the back yard of the house on Arsenal even though we had a drier. Alex (my cousin) and I would play in the back while he took it down. I remember vividly the wood pins he would use. But that little memory is a big tangent. Let’s return to the story at hand. So yes, rather than hanging out everything in the back in the dark, I chose to just lay it all on my bed, which if you saw the photos you know was quite large. It worked out well, but Cadine made fun of me with her eyes when she learned what I had done. ha

One the day before I left the Whyte family, Cadine took me out for a coconut. That’s right, we found a hut/shack on the side of the road that sold coconuts and bought several for the family. The man took a machete to chop off the coconuts from a branch, then proceeded to chop up the coconut itself so we could stick a straw inside to drink the milk. It wasn’t half bad, but I grew tired of it after a bit. I did eventually finish the whole thing though! I’m not sure what happened to the coconut afterwards, since I left it at the center…

Two weeks marked my first move, so Wednesday morning Mr. Brown picked me up and drove me about one block away to Mrs. Farmer’s home. She lives off the housing scheme on land her cousin bought while he was in England and subsequently built a very large house upon it. One gets a sense of emptiness when entering the house, like it needs more furniture or something along those lines. It’s only one story, but it’s about three times the size of the Whyte house (lolz total coincidence). There are about six bedrooms and two bathrooms, a wash room, kitchen, dining room, and very large living room. Her family has a nice flat screen TV, washer and drier, among other comforts. Overall, it seems her family of farmers has done well for itself, considering.

My introduction to Mrs. Farmer was perfect. Mr. Brown brought me over in the morning around 9am. we waited for maybe 20 minutes then out comes a wonderful burst of laughter followed by Mrs. Farmer herself. She must be in her sixties or seventies. She’s a mother of five—two boys and three girls. The men are farmers, one of the women is a dental assistant, and the others work at the airport and bank respectively. She’s always laughing her sweet laugh. It’s one of those laughs that make everyone around smile at the very least.

For dinner, she allowed me to serve myself, which was nice since I don’t like wasting food and serving sizes here are about four times too large for me. ha The food is always good too. It’s only been two days so far, but I like where I’m staying.

Denise, one of Mrs. Farmer’s daughters, invited me to Cadine’s birthday party last night. The Whyte’s had family over, and as luck would have it Mrs. Farmer and Mrs. Whyte are cousins. Mrs. Whyte is also sisters with Mrs. Fenton. So it’s a small world ‘round here. Dwayne, Cadine’s beau, was there as were her sister Keesha and her family (husband, Matthew, and TJ). Mrs. Farmer joined us later. There was also a cousin Taz and a couple others. We started by singing a longer version of the Happy Birthday song (apparently there are more lines?). Then everyone said something nice and encouraging to Cadine, either about what she means to them, or how she should always follow God, or wish her 130 more years, etc. Then we all held hands in a circle and prayed, followed by cake and ice cream and a toast with nonalcoholic wine. It finished off with music on the front porch. I was encouraged to dance, but I’m still too shy. I don’t like so much attention. It just freaks me out, I guess. Overall, it was a fun evening.

Oh, geez, there are so many more details I want to share, like stuff about sugar cane and the different types of neighborhoods. It’s too much, though. You’ll have to visit yourself some time. Or maybe it’ll come up again in a different post.

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