Monday, 19 December 2011

Sunset in Barbados

I just finished my first semester at UWI, Cave Hill, Barbados. It was quite the challenge but turned out much better than I expected. It taught me a lot about myself, Barbados and people overall and it gave me a new appreciation for the region and especially my country- Jamaica. So while the sun sets temporarily on my first time to Barbados, this is a summary of what I have taken away with me.

I learned that there is something to being open to new things, people and adventures. I now have new friends that I never would have met otherwise. I saw some beautiful beaches (Beaches in Barbados are all open to the public and they are GORGEOUS and clean. Pictures are further down in the post). I tried new food- UWI, Cave Hill has a “week culture” where every island gets a week that they showcase the things about their island which makes it special and I didn’t try as much as I wanted but I did try some. I must say that the island that comes the closest to home in terms of preparation of food is Belize. Bajans have a specialty called macaroni pie which is essentially baked macaroni and cheese but they add ketchup. The thought is quite off-putting to my palette but the secret is to get a Bajan to home-cook it for you. My neighbours, who have become family, made some for me and my housemate, Nico and it was DELICIOUS! Oh, I need the recipe!

I learned that there is a very ugly side to competition- whether in law school, a reality show, the work world or just life in general. It has taught me to be very careful of people and to be very mindful of my things. There are people out there that do not care for you to succeed even if it has no effect on their own success. Or maybe it does and I just think differently. There are people who are quite content to try and rob you of your blessings or the results of YOUR hard work.  Also, no matter how genuine of a person you are, selfish and manipulative people are bound to find themselves in your life. It is for you to identify them and act accordingly.

My word of advice: 1) Always remember, “what is fi yuh cannot be un-fi yuh” so if you are to be endowed with something, you will be and no one can take that away. Just have faith.
2) Never let ANYONE make you feel that you should not stand up for yourself and defend your own property. They will do their best to make you out to be a villain but when you are in the right and the truth is on your side, you will be protected. “Men who act in earnest need not worry about consequences”- Marcus Garvey

I learned that while you can be wrong about people and be disappointed or downright hurt, you can also be wrong and be pleasantly surprised. I opened my mind and my heart to a bunch of people and I am glad I did. There is no price on sincerity and the more people of that caliber that are present in your life, the more “happy” you will possess. Oh, the more you laugh, and I mean genuinely laugh, the richer your life will be.  I always say “Happiness is the point of it all”. Live your life with that in mind and you will realize how simple and blessed it is.

It is important to give back. This is something I knew from before but I felt the need to give back a lot more while I was away. I didn’t get as involved as I wanted while I was away and it was because I was busy adjusting to the new environment and trying to be exploratory. It’s easy to get caught up in the problems and blessings of your own life. That is why it is important to make it a point to give back to those who are not as blessed as you are and who have different (most often, worse) problems than you do. The world turns on the kindness of strangers.

I learned that Jamaica and Jamaicans are amazing! Oh, and we are LOVED by people outside of our country. Caribbean people are great! We are all so versatile and so unique and yet so similar. I’ve seen how many of us want to distinguish ourselves from each other and the reasons for this vary. One thing that is emphasized at Cave Hill- National Pride, Regional Perspective. It is important to have that allegiance to your country- the bias is expected actually- but it is just as important to realize that there is a much larger world out there. I’ve found that the best-rounded personalities and the warmest and kindest people are those who are open to what those who are different from them have to offer. Trust me, it pays off.
I go back to Cave Hill in a few weeks and my approach will be different in some respects. I will participate in community service more and I will try more foreign cuisine. I will be open to the lessons that people and circumstances are set to teach me in my life. I will try the new skills that I have been dreaming of acquiring and I will excel.  Most importantly, I will leave this entire experience a better person than I came into it.
Thanks for reading. Until next time, here are some pictures of a day at the beach with a gorgeous sunset. Future posts are to come with pictures of Jamaica Week at Cave Hill along with cuisine from the other nations that I tried.


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