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This Summer, my mother and I went to Jamaica for one week right before school began. While we were there, we also spent time with our relatives; it has been four years since I’ve last seen them.
Once I arrived in Jamaica, I tried to observe all the aspects of the island. Being a city girl, I tried to look at Jamaica from my mother’s point of view. The buildings were bright and full of vibrant color unlike those in New York. The animals roamed the streets as if they owned it and the trees just accentuated the country’s beauty. But once I arrived in places like Salem and St. Ann’s Bay, the view didn’t look so pleasant. Some houses were made of zinc and they looked worn down but it seemed as if the people didn’t really mind. It was their common way of life.
The next day after arriving, my mother I went to a large house where a big celebration was to be held; it was beautiful and it resembled a mini palace. My mother’s house wasn’t too far from that location. Compared to the house around the corner, my mother’s house wasn’t great at all. The ceiling was made out of board and it would leak if it rained too hard. Even the shop at the back of the house was no help. I wondered how my cousins who resided there could live like this? To me, things looked really bad: my family was very, very poor. Sometimes there was no gas or running water available. Only once was water running during the week that I was there. They had to find some source of water to use. I never asked them how they got the water, but I know they went through hell to do so. Yet they always had a smile on their face as if everything was okay.
The children were always very cheerful. The boys from the neighborhood would come to my mother’s house to play their version of baseball. They would be extremely loud when their team was victorious. I just sat outside and attempted to finish my summer homework. Secretly, I wanted to play with the boys because I felt that I was capable of scoring a goal at least once, but I had to put my priorities first. Sitting on the veranda and observing everything worked for me; I would do my work and allow myself to get distracted by the games, sometimes. Being harassed by annoying little children could quickly spoil my moment and that truly didn’t work for me. Despite that, I was able to cherish my one week vacation.
After I returned to New York, I learned to appreciate what I have. In New York, I have running water and available gas to cook food unlike most of my cousins in Jamaica. I also have light in my house as long as the bills are paid. This short experience has changed me because I know how to take care of my self when necessities are gone for a while. Would I be able to live in the wilderness because of this trip? Probably not, but I would think of a way to get around some problems by using what I have and making the best of it.