We just got back from our nearly two week trip back to the USA. It had been nine months since we left for Jamaica. Was the readjustment shocking? Not too much, but there were certain phenomena that gave pause. For instance, the first taste of the US was the airports (Miami, O’Hare, and Kansas City, for those scoring at home) and every other person had a Starbucks. Coffee is not that popular in Jamaica, and most people drink instant if they drink anything. Wow, people in airports are very caffeinated, unless it was decaff. Getting into Chicago was when we remembered the Midwest. The scene: lots of large white people – again drinking Starbucks. But it was colder than Miami. It was snowing outside, and most people had coats on because it was cold in the terminal. What, are the O’Hare Fat Cats trying to cut down on the heating bill?
The rest of the time being in the States wasn’t too weird. We saw our family, including the four nieces and one nephew that belong to Shane’s siblings. There was lots of eating out (Mexican, Thai, pizza twice, Indian, Pittsburgian chicken, subs, Central American, brewpub) with some good beer. The Jayhawks lost. Taxes were paid. Shane gave a presentation on Jamaica to his brother’s class. They liked it, especially the candy – bustas, coconut drops, and tamarind balls. Family, friends, and food was the order of the day. What more do you need?
On the way back, we happened to sit next to someone who works at Peace Corps Jamaica in the Miami terminal. We were able to hitch a ride halfway home with her, a lucky break. Being back in Jamaica was a harder adjustment than going to the US. Was it really that hot before? Answer: pretty much, but it might have gone up a few degrees since we were gone. We brought back a chocolate bunny for our co-workers. Nothing says Easter more than that. Kaelyn carried back an infectious disease. Luckily, she has now recovered. Shane brought chunky natural peanut butter (Oil separation is natural). Two possible scenarios that greeted us when we returned to our home:
a)A neighborhood welcome banquet was held upon our arrival (false).
b)We ate Thai noodle soup and trail mix from the States while watching cable (true).
Back on the island . . . The Red Stripe is brewed right down the road. You can’t take your grocery cart outside the supermarket. The nut man’s piercing steam whistle fades away into the distance. A large cloud of smoke from a grass fire obscures the setting sun, grey mixing into the pink and orange.
-Shane and Kae
P.S. Thanks bunches to all our friends and family for their wonderful hospitality. We already miss you guys but now we have new memories to cherish until we see you again at Christmas. You're the best!