Resident Alien

Embracing a new existence
The more I live outside of Jamaica, the more I learn to appreciate my little piece of rock. The little things you took for granted, the smells, the people (although some of them really get up your nose). Every place I go, it is like starting over. These last few years I’ve experienced culture shock, as it were. I have had to learn to do everything for myself. While I consider myself an independent woman, there are things I never did for myself until these past few months. There are also things I stopped doing years ago –like taking the bus.
For the things I’m now doing for the first time, I’ve developed a routine. I’m up by 5:00 am on weekends: I sort my clothes and before midday Saturday they’re all washed, dried, folded and put away. On Sundays I do the ironing, clean the flat and again by midday everything is done and I can spend the rest of the day making my feet soft- you know what I mean, scrubbing heels and toes and rubbing then with lotion. By this time too my lunch is done cooking, leaving me enough time for dancing.
That’s another thing I do. Every other evening I dance for an hour or so in my flat to keep fit or so I say, because I’m not noticing the difference. That and cooking are two of the things I’ve never had much time to do.
Then there is my newly discovered gastric curiosity. Bonita has me eating things my parents had given up on me with- my grandmother must be smiling from heaven – but I made a pledge was to try as many of the local foods as I could. You see I tried horse meat last year in Europe and discovered that the unusual may not be so bad after all. So I’ve since had marlin and flying fish and coocoo.
I still have lots to do and try but for me, there has to be a plan.
Firstly though, I have to get used to the idea of not having a car. That has been a bit of a challenge for someone who liked to get up and go at the drop of a hat, so I’m a bit tethered now.
Next, I must adjust to the ZRs. I must admit that they frighten the spit out of me. They bring back nightmarish rides to and from school on the Jamaican minibuses during my teen years age years. The music was offensive back then and in many respects it is the same on these ZRs.
Getting used to public transport has been the hardest part of adjusting to my new life – it’s a nightmare waiting on the BTBs and the ZRs have me holding my heart from start to finish.
Thanks to this experience, I’ve copped another first. I never used electric hand dryers before now, preferring instead to dry my hands with paper towels. These days though, I use the hand dryers daily to dry myself when I arrive in work soaking wet from perspiration.
Now too, I’ve now joined the class of the “dry-land tourists” shading from the heat of the sun under an umbrella. I think I now know why Rihana was so obsessed with the umbrella that she sang about it. God Bless the man or woman who invented the umbrella over 400 years ago.

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