The Global Jamaican

I have been struggling with things to post these last few months. I never feel I have the time I need to dedicate to the posts I want to write. As a result I gather google results of things that interest me. Although I find these fascinating they aren’t what I set out to do and feel cold and impersonal. With Christmas coming up I have been working on a holiday post but it isn’t done yet and will have to wait for next week. It has been too long since my last post and I really wanted to share something. Jamaica has been heavy on my mind recently. Call it home-sickness for the home I have never lived in, or perhaps it is brought on by the winter temperatures – Mexico, Florida and California have also been on my mind.     

This longing manifests in odd ways. Last week I wore miss-matched socks under my black boots, one yellow and the other green. I called them my Jamaica socks. This morning when I heard the howling wind, I rummaged for my green and yellow scarf, even though many others would be much warmer. I’m wearing the scarf over my black dress at work today. At the bus stop there was a young man dressed in a green coat and white tuque with a Jamaican flag on it, I wondered if he was experiencing the same longing.


In honour of all my fellow global Jamaicans making their way through temperate winters, here is the statement that accompanied The Global Jamaican.

 

The Global Jamaican

The Global Jamaicans
The Global Jamaicans

 

My mother comes from a family of eight children born and raised in Jamaica, all but two of those children left Jamaica as young adults between the late 60s and early 80s.  The two sons that remained in Jamaica have both left for periods of time to work overseas, Baboo (Percy Myers) often worked as a fruit picker and farmer in the United States and Ontario, while Garfield, the youngest son, did research in India and traveled extensively as a reporter for various West Indian newspapers.  The six that moved off of the island settled in New York, England and Vancouver, their children have spread further, Toronto, Washington DC, Virginia, and Olympia WA, to name a few, currently the next generation is spreading their wings.

On beginning this series I imagined my family providing me with memories of culture shock in their new homes; I was surprised to find so many of the memoirs they shared with me pertained to travel and a marvel of how easily one could pass from one country to the next, and the amazement of just how large the world really is.  Visiting Jamaica I have often encountered comments along the lines of, “Oh you live in Canada, do you know my cousin in Toronto?” or “When I go to Toronto to visit my Aunty I’ll come visit you in Vancouver.”  This, I have found, is an ongoing joke for Jamaicans living on the west coast of North America.  How does one explain to someone who’s experience of the world has been limited to an island country, half, maybe even the third of the size of Vancouver Island, that North America is so large that one does not easily drive form one side to the other?

In my contact with cousins, and other Jamaicans, who have been born abroad I have seen a longing, that I too feel, for our motherland.  I have also found that we all have different notions of what Jamaica means to us, and what being Jamaican means. 

 

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One thought on “The Global Jamaican

  1. Pingback: Writing the Personal or Writing Around It « Anastasia E White

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