Thursday, October 13, 2011

Season of Emotions

Last week was a little emotional for me, as you can see from my last post I turned *gasp* 30.  And as fun and exciting as it was, it was also kinda stressful and anxiety-driven.  Interestingly enough though, it didn’t actually feel much like my birthday because I associate my birthday with the end of summer and the beginning of fall, one of my most favorite times of the year.  (I don’t have a favorite season, only favorite times of year, which are when the seasons are changing, any season.)  So when the leaves start to turn orange and yellow and brown (great color scheme choice, mother nature!) and the air starts to get a little crisp, and you have to put away your tank tops and flip flops, and pull out your sweaters and boots, that’s when I know that my birthday is fast approaching. 

Now this year was a different story.  I got none of the usual tell-tale signs from my environment that it’s time for me to welcome on a new year.  I’m in Jamaica, which means when it gets to be slightly cooler at night, it’s now fall!  Only slightly, so when I don't have or the weather channel or boring people with nothing better to talk about to constantly remind me what the temperature is or will be, how am I supposed to decipher!  Even if I did have any of those resources around here, everything here is in the bloody metric system, so clearly I have no idea what it means to be whatever-whatever degrees Celsius. (Adapt you say? No, no, how preposterous!  I don't think so.)  So pretty much my birthday this year managed to sneak up on me even more sneakier than it usually does.

Regardless, I did have a wonderful birthday.  My principal and teachers had a little party for me at work.  They got me cake and ice cream and a big gift basket with tons of goodies.  I felt very special and appreciated.  Before that, I had only kinda suspected that I was lucky to be placed here, now I know how lucky I am to be here :)  And I got a lot of birthday wishes from old and new friends - thank you all very much!

Anyway, here is something more relevant and informative, if you are interested.  Today was culture day at school.  It's National Heroes week here in Jamaica and most of the schools have some sort of celebration.  At my school the teachers cooked all day yesterday and I got the privilege to help.  I've had a lot of Jamaican dishes, thanks to my many host families and loving mothers who would cook for me, so I've been able to eat and help prepare some of the traditional Jamaican dishes.  But yesterday was my first time seeing and learning how to prepare Blue Draws.  Blue Draws is something like cornmeal, sugar, nutmeg and other ingredients that I can't remember, mixed together to form the batter, that batter is then dolloped inside a banana leaf and tied up with string made from the bark from the banana tree.  Then you boil that nice little package for about 1 hour or so, and then open up the leaf and eat the now solid cornmeal dumpling thingie.  It was a lot of fun to make these as we had about 5-6 people involved in the process of wrapping and tying and boiling.  And Jamaicans are very fun and animated people, so a kitchen full of Jamaican women was a lot of fun, loud and crazy at times, but a lot of fun.  Anyway, here is the finished product.  I was very proud of myself for participating...

Blue Draws or as one of the teachers jokingly likes to call them, Blue Panties

There was also a concert put on by the students.  Each grade got up and did something cultural, like a poem, dance or song.  It was very cute.  Some of the boys (like 8-year-olds who are all incredibly good dancers; America, take note, start them early!) even got up and had a dance contest to see who could do the best Michael Jackson a Justin Beiber song.  Yeah, they LOVE The Beibs here.  The crowd went wild when "Baby, Baby, Baby" came on.  I have a video to prove this too, but since it will take roughly a year to upload, that will have to wait for another high speed time.

Some a da pickni dem inna dey Jamaican colors posin's fi di camera...this is my Patwa coming out.

So, anyway it's late in the day, and I just took a little break from writing this post (for lack of inspiration and an excess of tired) and started to get a bit carried away with reading some of my old posts…which have you seen them?  I’m pretty funny.  Just thought you should know.  I have to think I’m funny, even if no one else does.  It’s like how you have to love yourself before anyone else does.  So, I LOVE ME!  (Oh shut up, you know you totally stalk yourself on facebook)

Thank you for today:
  • My fabulous sense of humor
  • Football Season
  • Patriots
  • Fun culture day at school
  • Cooking with the teachers
  • Formatting – for some reason I really like to format documents and I get to do this at work, yay!  (celebrate the little things that make you happy)
  • Music
  • Books
  • Lollipops
  • Nutella
  • DVDs
  • Mini DVD player
  • Parties
  • Coca-cola
  • My phone that works at my site
  • Not taking super long naps after work

Thursday, October 6, 2011

30 Rockin'

I know what you are thinking...I can do better than that pun of a title.  Well, what I say to you is, not today, my friends, not today.  I can't because, not only am I rusty at this blogging thing, as you can see I haven't posted anything in over a month or two?  I can't even remember.  I'm also pressed for time, as I'm at school and was planning on leaving 30 minutes ago, and not to mentioned distracted (school is not really the best "thinking of a witty blog title" atmosphere).  And last but not least, today is one of the most dreaded days of the female human's existence, it's my 30th birthday.

No time for any pictures - sorry.  Just pretend there is something really eye-catching and relevant here.

But since, today is a big milestone for me, so I decided I must find the time for even a short blog post.  A quick update - I've been placed at my site, which is in St. Ann (one of the 14 parishes in Jamaica, which you might equate to our 50 states), I'm up in the hills, not quite the mountains.  Which is nice because the weather is in-between here, not too hot, not too cold.  I've been here for just over a month.  I'm working at a primary school, which is Grades 1-6.  I live with a host family, a mom and a dad, who have a son who lives in Florida.  Also, I'm near a veteran PCV, who is super cool, and I am very lucky to have been placed so close to her.  So despite my first reaction to my new home (that is for another post) everything is so far so good, and most importantly, starting to feel like home.  :)

Next topic - I'm 30.  I'm no longer in my 20's, can you imagine that I feel exactly the same?!?  What a revelation.  Like, what?  Was I supposed to go though some sort of sudden and dramatic change overnight now that I've left my 20's and am officially into my "real" adulthood.  What is this Y2K?

In fact, I not only look like I still am 22 (ahem, I get told this all the time, it's not just my wishful thinking, okay doubters!) but I also feel very much like that.  First of all, I have a lot of young friends (love you, you know who you are!) and also I'm living a very "out-of-college" type of life - in the Peace Corps, of course.  And, as one of my oldest (she just reminded me that our best friendship is hitting it's 12th year) and bestest friends, called me today, and we reminisced about how when we first met, we broke into the dining hall and stole cereal and other various food products.  I thought about that for a moment, and how it seemed like yesterday, and if I had the chance to do that tomorrow, I can say without a doubt, I definitely would and I don't think anything would stop me.  Not even the "30, you're an adult" label that I've been branded with on this beautiful day.  Which it is a beautiful day, so that will bring me to my next point, which is to remind myself of all the things I am thankful for today and everyday:

Thank you for:
My wonderful friends, I have so many best friends, old and new, and I sometimes I can't even comprehend how lucky I am to have them all in my life!
My wonderful boyfriend
My new school that I work at
My new home
My new community
The beach
The sun
My computer and the movies I watch on you
Jamaican transportation - you are taking some of my new friends to me right now!  Thank you!

Thank you for being here now!!

And Happy Birthday to me.