I love being a Jamaican living in Seattle. I'm very proud of who I am, my culture and the way I was raised. The opportunity to grow up in this very rich environment is special and I'm blessed to give my kids even a small taste of it when we visit.
Our trip home wasn't as long as I usually like but it was a trip home, so I shouldn't complain. The day after we landed my sister, Lisa, had the the kids and I up the hill to see this beautiful piece of property that they just bought. I loved it and I can see why they fell in love with it too. Flamstead is on the other side of the mountain that we visited a lot as kids, but man what a special place they are going to make this place.
The little boy in the first picture walks up and down the hill everyday to go to school. And when I say hill I really mean the mountain. We gave him and another group of kids a ride up and I made sure to point out to my kids that their short walk to school in the rain is nothing. Uncle Dougie gave us a tour of the property and then took us for a walk into the community where the kids got to see where coffee comes from.
Visiting family and friends is a huge part of our trip home. So one of the first things we did was to enjoy a lovely Sunday lunch with Brigette and a few friends. We had tea with Auntie Carmen (which is always a highlight). I got to spend an afternoon with Sam (one of my oldest and dearest friends) and I finally got to meet her son Jonah. I did a photo shoot for our friends the English's but it always includes dinner and a wonderful visit with the family.
Before Tim joined us, the kids and I explored beaches, went to the pool at the apartment complex where they own an apartment. That's right, my kids have property in Jamaica. We even took a drive into downtown Kingston. It's become so run down but it's a place with so much character. I would like to spend more time down there just photographing people and places. The wrought iron sun is a piece that my sister did. Isn't it cool.
Once Tim joined us we were off to the North Coast, aka "country", to spend a few days by the beach and to not have a worry in the world. Mummy joined us on this leg of the trip and it was wonderful to have her there with us. We swam, we swam some more, we played beach volleyball, tennis, a little table tennis and on a rainy afternoon some checkers. The kids loved hanging with the staff and playing the hotel lunch time games. Another favorite was the dinner time entertainment, we sang, we danced and I even got pulled into one of the silly games.
When we returned to Kingston we spent Ash Wednesday with more friends up at Flamstead, what a fun day we had. We played a little baseball, some went for a hike, and we ate some yummy food.
But one of the most important things that we did when we were home was to visit the Children's Home that my Auntie Marie talked about in length. Auntie was a Doctor in Jamaica and passed away in Dec. 2011. She was a very special lady and didn't have any kids of her own, however, all of her nieces and nephews were her "Angels". She had the biggest heart she collected coins and at the end of the year donate the money to the Children's Home. Well in true Auntie form she left them a wonderful gift and so we had the opportunity for a few of us to present the check. The visit alone made an impact and I know that on every visit home for us, we will make the home a stop and in true Phillipa form there will be a project attached to that visit.
Jamaica will always be home for me no matter how long I'm away. I dream of the day that I can return there to live. There's no where like sweet, sweet Jamaica, no where.