“Upon our recent landing and arrival, I would like to welcome you all to Negril, Jamaica!” the pilot’s voice booms over the airplane’s speakers. Excitement rushes through everyone and the plane comes to a halt on the runway, as the airplane cabin fills with hoots, hollers and a round of applause. The airplane’s door opens, and as you take that first step onto the stairs, the sun warmly attacks your face and quickly fills your whole body with warmth. You make it to the bottom, look around and realize, you truly are in paradise. Paradise for my family and I was Jamaica. In every sense of the word, it was paradise. We were in the sun all day, laying on the beach and swimming in the pool. We ate exotic food, had our room cleaned for us, and we were waited on hand and foot. Together we stayed up late, got up whenever we wanted and most importantly had nothing to worry about. At the all-inclusive Beaches Resort in Negril, Jamaica, we were in paradise.
It was not until we went into the town of Negril that we saw the reality of our “paradise.” For us this was a place away from home where everything was perfect, and there was nothing to worry about. The reality was that, the people living everyday in our so-called paradise were struggling.
The people in the town were thankful for everything. Any business you gave them, they truly appreciated. Of course they would always try to convince you to buy more from them, but what business person doesn’t? What it came down to, was that they depended on us. Many of them do not have a steady job that brings in a steady income for them or their families every week. Many of them count on tourists coming to this paradise, and buying souvenirs from them. Walking throughout the town was an experience like any other. Coming to Jamaica I figured it was going to be beautiful everywhere. I mean we were on a tropical island, how could it not be beautiful? The sights that I saw however, were astonishing. There were people of all ages, even whole families, that were sitting in worn down huts on a dirt road. They were begging for people to buy things from them. Here I was with my iPod headphones in my ears, texting on my cell phone, walking around without a care in the world. The people around me did not have these luxuries. They were living their lives and supporting their families on a day to day basis, while I was taking for granted everything I had at my disposal. Being around the people there really had an impact on me. They were all so happy. They were with their families and friends, and even though they had nothing else, it did not matter to them. I have decided to get into that mindset of appreciating the real things in life, not the materialistic things, but the important things. To wake up every morning, stare into the sun with squinting eyes, look around at the beautiful nature me and realized that I am blessed to be here in this magnificent place. I may not have every materialistic item that I may want, but I have something much better. I have family, and I have friends and as long as they are here on this earth with me, every place I go can be paradise.
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