Thursday, December 4, 2008

Farin min'

Every time my husband hears someone say some place is too far, he chides with what can be summarily restated as 'pish posh.' He reminds us about how far we used to walk 'back home', how packed the buses were, and how long it took us to drive from Portmore to New Kingston. His stories of life in Jamaica sometimes border on exaggeration, but I have to admit he's right.

From how and what we eat, to how we raise our children, things in the United States don't look much like our days in Jamaica. True much of it is advancement and taking advantage of opportunities, but there is more than that. My interest in all things Jamaica has grown exponentially over the years. I read the Jamaica Observer and Gleaner voraciously and engage in passionate discussions about how the island can be 'fixed.' I now become out of sorts if my local supermarket doesn't have the ingredients I need to make dishes I never used to care about.

There is also the oft-reiterated notions that we work harder in the United States. We don't go to work late or not at all if it's raining when we wake up. We work late and on off hours. It has become so commonplace for West Indians to have more than one job here that the 'hardworking Jamaican' has become a comic punch line. This, though I didn't know one person who had a second job when I lived in Jamaica.

How are you different from your days in Jamaica - or Trinidad, or Guyana?

1 comment:

  1. I must admit that I often say some place or the other is far or too far dependent on how important it is for me to get there. I often picture myself going back to Jamaica and fixing it because it does not seem too hard or hopeless. About working hard, years ago, working in the US was harder for Caribbean people. In Jamaica I can recall only people in the medical field had two jobs. I guess because of the shift system in that field. Having lived in two other countries before my present one, I did not notice anyone with more than one job. However, since moving to Trinidad I was surprised that women in the housekeeping/cleaning profession have up to three jobs in one day. The lady that irons for me has a full time job, doing everything in the house. She then leaves and do an ironing job for about three hours and then off to an office cleaning job. These ladies would fit in quite well with the system in the US. Hard working is doing what you have to to survive I think.