“Rule number three: In Jamaica time is not of the essence. Every meal will be in the morning at noon, and in the evening. The sun will come up and go down around the same time everyday; so don’t say dinner is late or it’s time for bed just relax and let the day occur naturally.
That last rule stood out to me, coming from a world where time was everything and everywhere. Everything was almost always of the hour. Time is the source of our stress and it rules our lives, but here in Jamaica time was a part of their life but it wasn’t their life. They weren’t and are not a slave to time as we are, always rushing.
â–º SEMI FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
Everyone left after that to finish unpacking in their cabin and prepare for lunch, but a few of us stayed back to enjoy the view. We were nearly at the top of the Blue Mountains overlooking the city. As I looked out I could see Kingston, and it was like nothing I’d ever seen, it was a city that wasn’t bursting with the same kind of activity and anxiety as Manhattan or Atlanta. It was more calm and intimate energy like people enjoying their lunch with friends and children playing. They were having lunch not because it was 12:00 pm but because it was a nice time for lunch.
Here I was at sixteen years old long ways from home with no family. I was a missionary, well kind of. I expected constant stress from the moment we got off the plane until I returned home to everything I knew, but I got just the opposite. Even when the one toilet (for me and the two other girls I was living with) stopped working it was “no problem”, we could use someone else’s. Or when ants got in our beds it was “no problem” they were sugar ants so they didn’t bite.
The people of Jamaica are far from rich (by American standards) but they have created something Americans will never have. They have a “hakuna matata” life style of no worries. Where we find stress they logically seek opportunity. For instance when a thunderstorm began while we were doing construction we’d look up and say “wow I’ve never seen a thunderstorm from the inside, can you hand me that shovel.”
Since Jamaica I still have the attitude I developed in Jamaica, and it has allowed me to find peace in my stress. I think Americans can learn something from this small island in the Caribbean’s.
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