Enjoying a fresh coconut on the streets of Montego Bay

At some point in ones life, it’s good to take a break, travel to a new destination, buy a refreshing coconut from a local street vendor (if one happens to be there), and remind one’s self that they are living a life they could never have imagined for themselves. I’m learning how to enjoy a slower pace of life.

Life on the island moves at extremes. In some ways things move fast here and seem chaotic, like the roadways and the downtown of our city/town. Cars and buses move fast. Situations can turn ugly here very quickly. For example 20 mins of downpour easily cause flooding and chaos on the roadways due to lack of drains and litter clogged drains. But for the most part, life on the island seems slow. A few examples…

Daily Transportation
Everyday I stand on the main road waiting for a taxi or bus to take me to town. There’s no certainty as to how long I’ll wait. Maybe one day it’s five minutes while other days it’s 30 minutes. Maybe it’s market day and everyone is heading to town, meaning no space for me. I have time to think. I don’t have an exact set time to be at my workplace. I have time.

When a bus does arrive I have learned to slowly get on and off. At first I used to run to the bus because I felt bad that people had to wait. Of course I would be hot and sweaty. I watched others and people take their time. No one minds. Everyone understands that only a full rushes. An example of a fool – Last week I rushed to get into a bus because it was pouring. I forcefully stepping up into the bus, knocked the top of my head one the frame and gave myself a mild concussion. No need to rush or else you might knock yourself out. Lesson learned.

At Work
Our community center is so close to being open to the public but we are still waiting for many items to be delivered. We have been promised three times in the last week when our new furniture would arrive and each time they promised a new date. My supervisor and co-worker have done their best regarding this situation but we’ve all come to just accept that this is the way things work here. You can easily get frustrated or you just cast your frustrations and anger to the wind because really, we don’t have any control over the situation. You’d think we should, but we don’t. The furniture and rest of our equipment will arrive someday, when exactly that will happen of course, is questionable.

Going to a Party
One of my favorite cultural experiences took place during training days (a couple months ago) as I waited for a surprise birthday party to start. We were told that the party was going to take place at 7:00pm. My host family actually wanted to be on time (even though they knew it would start later) so we arrived at promptly at 7 only to find the venue empty. Slowly over the next two-and-a-half hours, more guests arrived and finally the honored birthday guest showed up at 9:30pm – the party officially started. My host family wasn’t upset and I couldn’t help but to laugh. The party started when the party started.

I’ve learned to enjoy and appreciate this new pace of life. I don’t feel rushed to do anything or be anywhere. I don’t feel like I need to know exactly what time it is and I don’t get frustrated when things don’t happen on time. I’ve learned to trust that things will happen when they are suppose to happen, and if it doesn’t, does it really matter? Coming from a fast-paced lifestyle to a slower-paced one can be frustrating. Maybe I’m getting more mature or accepting getting older, but I’d much rather wait and enjoy life than rush through it.

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Blog Update

As always, thanks for walking with us on this adventure. We are working on more videos, more cooking posts, and more pictures to share. We’ve been challenged by not having steady access to internet but that too will be fixed…..someday. 🙂

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