It’s disorienting, this sudden reversal from feeling not-yet-fully-here to beginning plans to go home. I welcomed 2015 in Barbados and since returning to Kingston have suddenly realised I am on the final stretch. Less than 2 months – in fact 7 weeks today – remain until I will be on my way home. Plans have started to be explored. Friends have started sending job opportunities. What was unclear is becoming more clear. A free and unhindered choice has been made. I am coming home.
There was a time when I thought I might stay longer. I considered looking into extending my Cuso placement. I applied for local work. I believed that Kingston, or more broadly Jamaica, was what was making life life again. A couple week’s holiday – time with my son, respite from Kingston’s sensory overload, dreamy days on another island – showed me that what’s making life life again is me. Yes, being out of my cocoon was an essential part of that transformation, but I’m still the deciding factor. As my Dad has frequently told this restless daughter, “wherever you go, there you are.” It turns out that has an upside.
I have some fears – I fear going home to life as usual, as in life as it was. I know that’s not actually possible, having discarded both the baby and the bath water in my departure, yet I worry that in the ordinariness of Canada I will forget what I’ve learned. I wonder if the comfortable will again make me complacent – if I will lose the momentum I’ve found in the sunshine and the sea and the mayhem of Kingston. Will I stop moving my body and eating better? Will old habits overwhelm the new me? Will petty concerns grey out vibrant dreams?
I have 7 weeks left – weeks to get a whole lot of work done, to continue to travel, to learn a few more lessons, to have adventures. Weeks to eat ackee and saltfish, to watch a sunset in Negril, to visit Hope Gardens and the Bob Marley Museum … all of the things that there seemed to be “world enough and time” for suddenly need to be carefully scheduled.
And the friends I’ve made here – I need more time with them as well. Time to ensure that the ties we’ve already made stay tied. Time for Karen to remind me that I’m still youthful and vibrant; time for Erin to rekindle in me the beauty of an agile mind; time for Kate to show me that one person can have both an objective eye and an open heart.
I am going home. I have loved Jamaica and in exchange Jamaica has been good to me. And, for now, I am going home. I will regroup while puttering in my gardens – sinking my hands into cold Canadian soil, laughing with my sons, catching up with my friends, being with my family. I will leave a piece of myself here, but I will take with me so much more than I’ve given.