Thursday, 14 March 2013

Nastronomical News

I have been so very shy about sharing this news with you all. It feels like now that I have decided to move on to the next chapter, a fear has set in that has rendered me almost paralyzed in regards to writing. I am just going to jump...with eyes wide open and trust that I will land on my feet. So here goes....

Jabajanas is moving. Well, I have already moved.

No, not physically. I am still a resident of my beautiful island of Jamaica though I am not yet finished with my time in Barbados (more on that later).

I have bought my own domain and I will now be blogging, vlogging and all things documentary over at I have wanted my own domain for a while and I am truly excited to finally have a piece of this internet that I can call my own (for a fee every month. Lol). All the same, I hope you all continue on this journey with me and I look forward to your love and support and I hope it only increases from here on out.
I have enjoyed writing for all of you and I don't think that will ever change. What will change is what I write about.

In seeking to discover my niche, and in part- my truth, I will be broadening the things I write about to see what sticks, what feels like home and also, what feels like a place I need to visit from time o time because comfort sometimes leads to complacency and I never want to get complacent.

This is not goodbye. I don't know if I will ever write here again but I am much too emotional now to shut down Jabajanas. Rather, I will look at it as a See You Later and figuratively put my posts in a well-decorated shoebox and put atop a shelf in my closet. I will take down the box and reminisce on the contents from time to time whenever I am feeling "nastalgic".

This brings me nicely into my latest feature on my new site- Nastalgic Thursday- which is my version of Throwback Thursday. I look back at a subject that brings up memories for me of my younger years or just something in history that was relevant and can now be classified as retro. My first post features Brandy Norwood and I encourage you to check it out here.

I already have so much to share with you. I am on the last leg of my journey here in Barbados and it feels so different this time around. I also just turned 25 and that has significantly (and unexpectedly) changed my approach to my life and relationships. I hope to share as much with you as I can. I will still keep some things for myself but I am eager to share what I feel comfortable divulging.

As always, thank you for your love and support and thank you most of all for reading. See you at the new house!

Much love,
Yours Truly,

Thursday, 17 January 2013

So I'm a guest blogger now. Hype!

Hey, lovelies!

I did my first guest blog for my friend's blog and you should check it out. It's titled "The Friendzone" and let's just say I'm not here for the whining of the "Forever Alone" club...

 Want more? Go here:

Friday, 11 January 2013

One Love: Jamaican Blogger Tag

In keeping with the excitement from the upcoming Jamaica Blog Awards and the camaraderie that has developed between Jamaican bloggers at home and abroad, I thought now would be a great time to do a Jamaican Blogger Tag.

A Blogger Tag is a game (so to speak) where bloggers of all niches endeavor to form links, possibly discover new information and new bloggers and have fun while doing so. It starts with one blogger (in this case, me) who chooses the topic of the Tag and then gives a list of questions or one general question which is wide enough to have its answer broken down into list form. After the first blogger answers said question(s), he or she will “tag” other bloggers to continue the tag.

The rules for this tag:
·         Title your post “One Love: Jamaican Blogger Tag”
·         Link back to the blogger who tagged you ( you may add a brief definition of what a tag is if you for the benefit of your readers)
·          Copy and paste the rules at the beginning of your tag.
·         Copy and paste the questions as well so readers know what’s going on.
·         Answer the questions (No duh! J)
·         Tag seven other (untagged) Jamaican bloggers to continue the trend. Kinda forces you to make friends, no?

The questions are as follows:
  1.  Why did you give your blog its name? (If it is named directly after you, try and make your answer interesting. eg: Did you feel nervous at all about putting your name out there? Did you just lack creativity at the time?)
  2. Why did you start blogging and why do you blog now?
  3. Do you think being Jamaican influences your blogging style?
  4. What do you think about the increase in bloggers in Jamaica?
  5. What is your favourite thing about being Jamaican?
  6. Ackee and saltfish or “ (mackerel) run down”?
  7. Stew peas or stew chicken?
  8. Tastee Patties, Juici Beef Patties or Mother’s?
  9. Pantucky or KFC?
  10. What do you hope to be the future of blogging in Jamaica?
My answers:

1) This blog was created to document my personal experience as a Jamaican student in Barbados. A common named for Barbadians is Bajan so I decided to have a mashup of the Jamaican in me along with the fact that I was in Barbados (which has now become my second home) and, of course I added my name like any good narcissist. Lol. From that Ja(maican)Baja(n)Nas was born. I used one N because it just made more sense.

2) This is my second blog. I caught the fever around the time of the first Jamaica Blog Awards and I created my first blog with a co-author. I wanted to win a JBA. This explains why I got swept up in the fever when I was nominated. I blog because I am an opinionated person and I like any outlet to share them. I blog because I am arrogant enough to think that people will give a damn about what I say. I blog because I like writing. I blog because it's therapeutic (though I lose my writing mojo so often). I blog because there are many opportunities that can be born from this and I dare throw my hat in the ring to benefit from any. I blog because I love it. I would certainly have stopped by now if I didn't.

3) Well, that's a given just by the name and subject of my blog and posts. So much of how I perceive society and culture is influenced by the fact that I am Jamaican. It has coloured how I have experienced a new country most definitely. I realize that many Jamaicans take life at home and their nationality for granted. Sometimes you have to leave your front porch to appreciate the shelter it gave. I can't tell you how often I have said "I am a Jamaican student in Barbados" to explain my response in situations over the past almost two years. I don't know what crutch I'll rely on when I complete my studies here but I cross that bridge when I get there.

4) I have noticed a lot more bloggers this year just from looking at the nominees on the JBA site. So many news names, at that. When I think about how many I know that were not even included, I realize just how large the community has become. I do also notice that there is usually a boom of new bloggers around the time of the JBAs and that 90% die out in about 6-9 months time and then about half of whose left, stop blogging within a year. I am thrilled with those who choose to stick with blogging especially if they have interesting topics and great writing styles. We need more interaction between bloggers, however, and not just during awards season. Some people earn a  living from blogging and many don't know this. In fact, it is said (with much disdain, I might add) that blogging is just a new trend in Jamaica that we picked up from "foreign" and apparently everyone and their mother has a blog and that somehow makes it uncool. My response is that we are in a day and age of globalization and being influenced by other cultures is not a bad thing especially when it provides potential for intellectual and financial growth. Also, I have yet to happen upon my mother's blog.

5) I cannot choose! I love the language of my people. Nutn nuh sweet mi like patois (Nothing thrills me as much as patois- our creole). Our food is world class. My time in Barbados really highlighted that (no offence to Bajans). We cook differently. Though there are other Caribbean countries who prepare meals with similar spices. I am here for all of it :D. I also must say that I love the spirit of my people. Yes, we are quite frank and we do not hide our dirty laundry as much as I would hope. But more than that, we are a people with a fighting spirit- we are hustlers, we are survivors. And dammit if we aren't "irie".  A we say buil' a vibes. Let's get together and feel alright! Big up Bob always enuh. (For my non-Jamaican readers, I basically said we love to create and have our own fun and I gave a shout out to Bob Marley).

6) I refuse to choose. Give me both! Gimme dem same time too! (Give me them simultaneously). Lately, "run down" has been winning. This is assuming both are served with food (Jamaican for boiled or fried dumplings, banana, breadfruit (can be roasted), dasheen and/or yam). Note: this is run down 
Source: National Library of Jamaica

7) Did I really choose these questions? I'd eat stew chicken daily and stew peas every other day. But that's just because pig's tail (used to make stew peas) is more expensive. Lol

8) I much prefer the way Juici seasons their beef. So it would be Juici, Tastee's then Mother's in order of preference. Truthfully, I'm not turning down a patty regardless of where it's from. As for the other meals they offer, their menus are not constant enough.

9) The world knows I love Pantucky (jerk chicken done by a Jamaican on a grill with the real Jamaican jerk seasoning and preparation). I do love wings from KFC but pantucky wins. I particularly like it with white rice. My friends judge me for it all the time. (It is usually served with a slice or two of bread and with rice and peas at restaurants).

10) I hope we see an era in Jamaica where "blogger" can be an actual job and not just with regard to corporate or technology-based blogs. This means that the stigma attached to blogging would have to be removed. The narrow-minded views don't affect me but I know it's holding back so many and I would like to see it removed.

I tag:

Ricardo of Veritas
Carla of mooretalkja
Afaya of BeautyJamaica
Alwayne of Introvert Mind
Emma Lewis of Petchary's Blog
Nella of As Told By Nella

Since I started this tag, I will tag TWO extra blogger and that will be:
Karee of Negril Stories
Jaevion of Status Quo Unresolved

The Problem With Caring

I have realized or maybe I should say I have been reminded of some things lately. Many of them have to do with the issue of caring. It seems that caring about something or someone or a multiple of either or both of these is a bad thing in this day and age. If one happens to find one’s self afflicted with the disease of caring, one must not dare show it- hide it at all costs if it is to go as far as deceiving others to mask it. Yikes! When did we become like this? When did it become the “in” thing to “care zero” or “give zero f**ks”? I mean people spend an insane amount of time trying to come up with ways to express how much they DON’T care about things- as if it’s not a reflection of how much of an unhappy place you are at in your life. Yes, I said it. The fact is happy people care. Unhappy people care too. The latter just tend to be so burnt by their reality not quite meeting up with their expectations that they respond negatively to having this very human and necessary emotion. Happy people give a damn. They give many damns actually. And they cope far better with the expectation vs reality imbalance than unhappy people because they get that life is not always according to plan and sometimes a situation works out worse than you hoped or wanted but dammit, often times, things turn out waaaaay better than you even dreamed.

As you all know, I am up for two awards (the links to them are in the words "two" and "awards"- it's not just one link) in this year’s blog awards and I have spoken about what it has meant to me this year. I touched on the responses I have gotten and the fact that I was less than appreciative of quite a few of them. Then I realized that I was to be grateful for even those. Though I was not a fan of the delivery, I should have been glad that people were honest with me. Firstly, it made me know that my requests were too much for some people (they simply were not into being asked for votes) their support was not to be counted on and that’s okay. It’s not a big deal. I still had to ask though because while you may not get what you ask for, how else would you actually get what you want? No jokes about just taking it. It doesn’t apply in this instance. Cheeky J . It also showed me that it is rare for people to put themselves out there and make it known that they care enough about something to ask for help in achieving it. I had people tell me that they respect me for being able to do that- as if it’s not a given that a person would. And the fact is, it isn’t, not anymore. And that is a part of why so many reacted negatively to my requests. The “spamming” alone could not have been the reason because last year, I was a spamming tyrant (I was up for 5 last year. Compare that to the one I was up for for the first two days til the 2nd category was put up. Also it was new to me so I was a beast. Lol) and there was much more support. People are just more jaded and they expect that everyone should be as well.

I remember that my first response was to say “oh, well, you can be as negative as you wish. I will remain unphased- except to be most put off by your off-hand comments”. And then I realized that I was affected. And I was going to try to hide it and continue asking for this favour JUST to make it seem like I wasn’t bothered. The fact that I was planning to do this showed that I would have become just like those who care and hide it. Mark you, for a little while, I did feel like I didn’t care and that I would be just as zealous next year and it didn’t matter if they supported or not. But the truth is, the point of asking for votes was to get support and the fact that I didn’t receive it in the way I expected did affect me. And that was… IS okay. So I took the time to really look at the situation and see what I was to get out of it so that the experience was not all for naught.

I got that it’s super easy and tempting to get caught up in the negative- so much so that you may end up ignoring the positive completely. While focusing on the lack of support from those who I thought would be top cheerleaders to my cause, I was losing sight of the new unexpected Team Nas campaigners that I acquired. Let me tell you, when something good happens to me that I did not expect, it puts me on cloud 9 and I can float for days! But I was adding gravity to my state of being by looking at what didn’t go my way. Like a spoiled child. Tsk, tsk. No bueno. I also realized that what I really aspire to have with regards to things like awards is a support base that does not require prodding. I should have enough readers for my blog and loyalty from them that I’d simply need a post and then a reminder or two to get the results that I want.

Additionally, I remember one individual going on a rant about the nominees who asked for votes saying that we should not blog for votes or awards, we should blog for the love of it. -_- Because the two are mutually exclusive, yeah? All the same, I had a conversation with that person and she eventually got to see my point. Doing something you love does not mean you would not want recognition for it. We bloggers put time and effort into our blogs and sometimes external validation is necessary. If that is never the case for you with respect to your craft then great. You have clearly achieved a level on Maslow's hierarchy of needs that others have not. But you should bear in mind that everyone is not the same and give room for our differences in this regard. People who create have a sensitive relationship with their work and it should not be judged how much or how little validation a person needs from others to help to push on and create more.

I made a decision to stop vying for votes. I gave a general post on Facebook and I posted a couple tweets about it. I dislike the fact that the vote tally is shown and I get the psychology behind it (my Psychology training is giving me all the side eyes right now) and I am a little mad that I fell for it especially since it is only worth 30% which means it means nothing if the judges don’t give their vote. Last year, I did not get the judges’ votes. I was hopeful but I was also aware of the biases. These biases will no doubt still be present so I am not sure why I allowed the madness to possess me. I am not mad that I cared though. It would mean a great deal to me to win and it is important that I acknowledge and live in this truth. More than that, I acknowledge that losing once may not sting as much as losing twice and while I assumed I would be much more prepared to deal with a letdown because the first cut is the deepest, I may be wrong. While I know they did not truly care about it, I appreciate the people who pointed out my frenzied approach to campaigning because they only had my emotional well-being in mind. LOL. I needed a speed bump to show me that I was dangerously close to setting myself up for disappointment. For that, I thank them.

You decide the filter you put over your eyes when you view the world. I wear rose-colored and sometimes teal-tinted glasses (because these are from my favourite color schemes and I love seeing the world painted with these colors). Also, I care. And I have no problem with that.

Thank you for reading    

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Awesome News! Vote For Me (Take TWO ;) )

Vote for Jabanas for Best Overseas Jamaican Blog here

The pun in the title was not planned but aren't those the best types of puns really?

This is the original "Vote For Me" post that I had written in anticipation of  both categories being put up on the site since the day voting started for this year's Jamaica Blog Awards which was not the case, as I mentioned before. I apologize for the confusion that the lateness caused. But I can now officially say that:

I am up for TWO awards this year for the Jamaica Blog Awards

The time has come again where I ask you lovely readers and supporters to vote for me to help me have a chance at winning a Jamaica Blog Award. Don’t worry, the voting period will not be as long as before so I will be out of your hair real soon. I am nominated again for Best Overseas Jamaican Blog for JaBajaNas and I am also a contestant in the UNICEF Jamaica #Hashcon2012 competition for a post I wrote. The prize for the Hashcon2012 is a tablet pc. I cannot stress how much I would appreciate this. Not just because I am currently without even a smartphone- no joke, ask my former friends who have disowned me because of the sad excuse I have for a phone. As a Jamaican student in Barbados, having a tablet is a dream. There is no thought to buy one if I wish to pay my tuition and eat food while in BIM. So such a competition is a godsend. I explain in my Hashcon entry post what the topic for this year was (this year's topic was truly an important one) and you can check it out here.

Vote for Jabajanas for Best Overseas Jamaican Blog here

Voting lasts is until January 14. You can vote once per day. Get your friends to vote for me too.

Thank you so much for taking the time out to do this.

Much love,

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Vote For Me in the Jamaica Blog Awards

So I had this post written yesterday but it had different information in anticipation of something that has yet to come to fruition (remember the Hashcon competition I entered with my last post? It has yet to be put up on the site for people to vote. I won’t say anymore on this topic because my uncensored opinion about this would not be positive and I am not yet in a censored place).  

The Jamaica Blog Awards are almost here and I am unexpectedly a finalist this year. I had made a conscious decision that I would not put myself in the running this year due partly to the disappointment from winning none of the five awards for which I was nominated last year (one for this blog and 4 for my other blog that has now been on pause because my co-author has basically lost interest and a male perspective was necessary to the style of the blog). All the same, supporters saw fit to nominate me and it was enough support to get me to be one of the fifteen (yes, 15!) finalists in the Best Overseas Jamaican Blog category. It is a very tight race and I truly do not expect to win but I am thrilled to be nominated a second time. The voting is done by fans/supporters and qualified judges with the supporters’ votes being worth 30 %. The fact that being nominated was such a surprise gave me some motivation to ask for votes and I went about it with some fervor last night and this morning. However, as the hours passed, I lost my zeal to ask for votes due in large part to the response (or lack thereof from a few people). For the most part, no one will support unless I ask them individually and when I ask people individually, it’s as if I am being a pest. Last year, I didn’t care. For whatever reason, this year, I do. It’s no longer fun. So while I would only have to pester people for half (literally) the amount of time as I did last year, I can’t quite find the energy needed to do so for a week. I think this is due to some responses I noticed to my campaigning for votes and then also some stems from disappointment in those who I expected support from. What are ya gonna do? C’est la vie, right? Moving along…

I am still very grateful to those who nominated me (it means the world to me, truly) and to those who vote before I even ask and who go the extra step to ask others to vote for me. And I am thankful to those who graciously took the time out to vote for me when I did ask. Mucho thanks to you all. I want to specially thank Yanique S., Karen L., Joel  M.(what is your last name again, Tokyo? Lol), Donia F.,Toysan G., jhenellemonique  and Ricardo (a fellow nominee- check out his blog, Veritas) for voting before I even asked them individually and making their support known so others could follow suit.  J And, of course, my mother and my cousin Kerry who always have my back, who shared the link and asked for support for me on good ol’ Facebook. Thanks a million!

If you want to start or keep voting for me, just click this link <-- it carries you straight to the button to vote for me. No hassle.

Thanks for stopping by. See you next time with new posts and awesome news about our future together. J

Update (Jan 10, 2013): The Hashcon category was finally put up this morning and you can vote for me by clicking this link