Priceless Imperfections

The beauty about being married is that the rest of forever is going to be spent with the person I love! Firstly, let me just inject that this will not be one of those cheesy and clichΓ© posts about how ‘perfect’ Paul is. Quite frankly, he isn’t! He’s totally imperfect…. which is exactly why I complement him the way I do 😌. I mean the equilibrium had to be balanced, right?? OK, ok! For those of you who will make me out to be anything less than perfect, let me appease you… I’m imperfect, I have my flaws, blah, blah, blah!! (I’m dying with laughter as I write this πŸ˜‚).Β  Jokes aside, obviously, neither of us are remotely near to perfection, yet, I’d say that I’ve found something in Paul and in our marriage that is beyond beautiful. It’s so priceless I never quite dreamt of feeling this way about another human!

I’ve been privileged to watch the evolution of my husband- both personally and professionally. Like seriously! Everything about him is ridiculously remarkable. (Am I sounding clichΓ© yet? That’s really not the plan here guys πŸ˜‚πŸ˜).Β  The funny thing about our relationship is that it took an UNFORSEEN twist that marvels me even up to this day! I. DID. NOT. LIKE. A. BONE. IN. HIM!! Believe you me, I didnt!! As Jamaicans, we often say “Wi spirit nuh tek…” and truthfully, my spirit just neva tek him! Man, I just thought he was too extra, too involved, too ups and “nuff” and I was completely adamant that since he was the center of attention for everybody, he was most definitely NOT going to be that way with me. So, I ignored him! Utterly and completely! I mean, how long I ignored him is totally irrelevant, especially in light of the fact that that same “ups” man is now laying beside me and also that I just happen to share his last name! Yup, totally irrelevant! πŸ˜‚ It took him some time to get me to see that beyond the “nuffness” was a man who, before we even realized we liked each other, had my best interest at heart- whether I liked it or not- and would literally insist on helping me figure things out and finding ways for me to do and be better. And that, ladies and gentlemen, was when I fell in love with Paul!πŸ™ˆ (I definitely agree that that sounds clichΓ© but it’s the absolute truth).

Thanks to him, I’ve made and smashed some goals that I previously didn’t even consider. So on days when he’sΒ  frustrating and extra and often when he decides to work my nerves, there are times when I look at him, smile and say “I love you, baby.” (He says this part isn’t true but sometimes I do it in my head so it still counts… right?) Mind you, there are times I want to be a terror and wreak havoc because “I have a valid point” (or because I’m petty; sometimes I can’t even tell the difference between the two πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚) but many times I do! (Disclaimer: I don’t always get it right but I try!) There’s something my Aunt said to us after we got married. She said:
“Choose your battles well. Not every situation deserves a response. When you feel riled up, and you need time to process the situation so you don’t say something you’ll regret, smile and say “OK baby” and keep it moving!” Wise words indeed! πŸ™ˆ

All in all, I married a KING! A King who I respect, value, admire, challenge and love!! I respect that there’s never a situation where he puts himself before me! I mean, let’s be honest! Which woman doesn’t want to feel and know that she’s the best thing that ever happened to her man? I know I do! πŸ˜†

Another major thing I admire about Paul is his drive to be successful in his career! Just a few weeks ago he got some amazing news that’s a big deal for both of us! His ambition and dedication to his craft is jaw dropping and worthy of emulation. His students relate to him in such a way that it’s heartwarming. They look up to him and see him as their role model (hence his award at this year’s Year 11 Prom for “Best Role Model Male 2017” and his “Star of Fame” award that he says I should hold up in the bed so that I don’t forget that he’s a star *rolls eyes* ). Yup! Never a dull moment!

By now I’m sure you can tell that I married an EXTRAordinary man. For those of you who know him, you know his sarcasm is on another level and you also know that if you take him too seriously the joke will only be on you!πŸ˜‚

So as we embark on a new week, one that will celebrate the day of his birth, I’ve decided to dedicate this post to him. Thank you, my “Star”. Thank you for challenging me, accepting me, providing for me and loving me selflessly!! Your presence is definitely priceless!! I love you!!

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Out Of Many…

Living in the UK has led me to understand firsthand the meaning of the Jamaican motto β€œOut of many, one people”. The Indians, the Africans, the Asians,Β  the Jamaicans and the proud Brits all seem to coexist in such a natural way. It doesn’t look forced, it doesn’t feel awkward and to be honest, it kinda feels like they all understand each other.

Because this country has a diverse group of people, naturally, the culture is quite interesting- at least to me. It’s quite fascinating to hear how the languages vary, so much so that they form an unsual but tolerable rhythm- that is, until they start sounding ridiculously raucous and EXTRA😬. In addition, the slangs used can be quite…Β  confusing, so imagine my first day of work when I was told by a random student (and quite boldly too) that I’m really “PENG”! He smiled and casually sauntered down the corridor. What??! Obviously I was clueless, and being as dramatic as I am, my left brow had already risen beyond the point of comfort. Luckily, I was spared the embarrassment of having a 15 year old explain the technicalities of the 21st century British teen lexicon, as my hubster later explained that the lad had simply been paying me a compliment.πŸ˜‚πŸ™ˆ So here’s what I’ve learned so far:
β€’ If you’re “peng”, it means you are really beautiful. I suppose the term can refer to both people and items.
β€’ “Calm” means that something or someone is an ok/alright/likableΒ  person/thing.
β€’ “Butters” means someone isn’t good looking/ugly πŸ˜”
β€’ “Jarring” means someone/something is annoying
β€’ “Taking the mick” means to overdo something
β€’ Lastly, almost everybody (particularly in London) in the streets, in the stores, in schools, on Arsenal FanTV YouTube channel (Troopz in particular)**, on the bus, at the cinema, in restaurants, in the toilets, use these three terms THEEEEEE MOST in almost every sentence: “fam”, “bruv” and “blood”. πŸ˜’πŸ˜’πŸ˜’πŸ˜’ THEY HAVE ALLLLLLL BEEN BANNED IN MY CLASSROOM!!! Uuuugghh, so jarring!! *in my best Brit accent* πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ But seriously, the informal language is such a habit for some folks that they can’t seem to complete a sentence without using them. Just another cultural difference to get accustomed to… I guess!?

It’s such a blessing to pass the barbershops and restaurants and hear the familiar lyrics and ‘riddim’ of a Reggae or Dancehall tune!! Bap! Bap!! (Lighta) I get exciiiittteddd!!! So, on MAAAAANNNYYYY occasions I stop, bus a wiggle- not a wine πŸ˜‚- and then carry on like it’s nobody’s business! Yes, my loving husband looks on- often with annoyance- and says, “Stop gwaan like yuh know di song. A who dat? Who sing it?” And it’s true! Often times, I do not know the name of the song let alone the artiste who either sings or deejays… but the familiarity of the beat and that good ole Jamaican patois is enough to bring out the stiff and embarrassing dances and wiggles that should be reserved for the only person who can appreciate them… ME! (You really didn’t think Paul appreciates my robotic moves, did you?? πŸ˜’ tsk!)

Another thing I’ve learned (and still learning about) is that Londoners have their own genre of music that emerged in the early 2000s- Grime music. Lawd! It’seems so… different! The beats are suuuuper rapid, and it sounds rather aggressive and jagged. To be honest, my first impression of Grime was that it was EXTREMELY lewd and graphic and scary and violent, so I was apprehensive to explore the genre. However, I later found out that it draws influence from Hip Hop and guess what else? Yup, Reggae and Dancehall as well! πŸ˜† Apprehensive? Me?? Never have I said such a thing!! Gosh no! As soon as I could, I took to YouTube to find some Grime music annnnddddd…

Well, I was able to hear the Dancehall and Reggae influence in those I listened to but just so you know, you may want to search for the censored versions of the various songs… With that being said, it’s safe to say I’ve found my fave (and I’m using the term “fave” very loosely) Grime artiste. He goes by Stormzy and he’s of African descent. Now, he’s no saintΒ  but for reasons unknown to me, I’m drawn to some of his more recent tunes. I particularly enjoy when he raps about the love he has for his girl *wink wink*, when he praises his amazing mom for the sacrifices she’s made and when he shares some of his urban experiences and how difficult his journey has been getting to where he currently is!!

It’s so amazing to hear and see people, from ALL ethnicities, rave and recite their favourite Grime lyrics or Bashment (Dancehall) lyrics or show off their Azonto and Shoki (African) dances or try new foods or attempt to learn a new language just from conversation. It shows that many of us are not afraid to embrace cultures that aren’t necessarily our own and that’s when we realize that although we are so many and all so beautifully different, we are all ONE!!

#ExpatInEngland #QueendomJourneyContinues #WeAreUnitedThroughOurDifferences #LoveAndPositivity

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**PSA: I am by NO means a supporter of poor ole Arsenal!!!! Everybody knows that “🎡🎢BLUE πŸ’™ is the colour and football is the game… winning is our aim… CHELSEA is our name!!🎡🎢 πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜›πŸ˜›πŸ˜œπŸ˜œ

 

A bad break up with my old…

…country!

It was devastating. I can clearly recall the range of emotions I felt in the weeks prior to the end of a relationship I’d had for the past 27 years. Panic, paranoia and pandemonium spread through my veins like the plague whilst it felt as though joy and bliss were about to burst the arteries of my heart! Indeed, I was both happy and sad that I was going to be leaving one love for another.

You see, this break up was like no other. I wasn’t leaving one man for another, nor was it a decision I could escape- it simply had to be done. I had to leave my family, my friends, my job, familiar faces and places- I just had to leave my country for love! I had to do it and though my heart ached (and still does) for everything familiar, my husband wasn’t there and so unfortunately, my country, with my family and my friends, my job, with all those familiar faces and places, just could not be home anymore!

As the weeks turned to days, I tried to make the best of those final moments with those I loved and thought impossible to live without. They didn’t know it, but in those moments, I was taking them all in, appreciating their unique personalities, savouring the warmth of their love and friendship and all while smiling but dying a little inside.

The tug-of-war war with Sunday started from the Friday evening. Two of my closest friends sisters, my younger brother, my niece and both my parents made our way to Montego-Bay to enjoy the “last weekend” with my cousins and aunt! We decided to make every second count-and we did- but before we realized, the Sunday morning sun was smiling and spreading it’s rays through the windows. The. Day. Was. Finally. Hereeeeee!!! I was going to see my husband, I was going to actually live out my days with the man I’ve dreamt of all my liiiiiiiiiffffeeee and I… Was… Happy. Ecstatic. Excited…

But…

Once again, I was on an emotional roller coaster…

Nerves started kicking in. How was it Sunday already??? I went to the bathroom, locked the door… and criiiiieeeeed!!

No, I wasn’t being melodramatic. I genuinely felt as though I was going to go bat shit crazy. How was I going to cope in a foreign country, with no family or close relatives, or with no friends?? Sure I’ll have my husband but who else??!

The day passed in a frenzy but we made time for 2 hours at the beach- God, I love the beach!!! I watched as my niece, as usual, had every one of us wrapped around her tiny fingers and can still remember her squeals of delight as the water gently washed over her. This was my family!! This is my family!! Regardless of the 8 or 9 hours or the many miles that separate us, no matter where I go, they’ll still be mine as I am theirs!

Suitcases checked. Breadfruit, ackee, sorrell, Maggi seasoning (you can take the woman out of Jamaica but you can’t take Jamaica out of the woman πŸ˜πŸ˜‚) checked. Everything was in tow and ready to be shipped across the Atlantic! If only I could’ve gotten my emotions in check as easily as everything else.

Here’s the thing with goodbyes: you know you’ll have to do it but that doesn’t make it easier! I sat in the chair between my parents and looked at my mom who struggled to hold back her tears. I hugged her… and all hell broke loose. She baaawwwwllleeedddd until she was in a tantrum, my aunt and cousins started tearing up my two sisters started crying and sure enough, I was in the mix, long before them!!!

Although I was the one who was leaving, in that moment, I felt as though I was being abandoned (ok, maybe at this point I’m being melodramatic… maybe) but this was by far THE WORST BREAK UP I had ever experienced!!! I wanted to tell them to come with me, that we all should stick together, that I was afraid of the unknown and that I’d doubt that I’d survive a day without them. But I couldn’t (for more reasons than one but 1. being that I needed to come to terms with my womanhood, especially now as a wife and 2. I’m almost sure my husband would chant the passage from the Bible that speaks about wives “leaving” and “cleaving” parents and such πŸ™ˆ). The hugs weren’t long enough, the “I love you’s” were not enough, the tears were just not enough to soothe our aching hearts…

It was truly a bitter-sweet experience but with my travel documents in hand and a heavy heart in my chest, I decided to focus on the peace and happiness of seeing my soulmate again instead of the pain and heartache of leaving my loved ones…

The thing is, it doesn’t necessarily get easier. At least for me it hasnt- not yet. I guess the aim is to find ways to make the ache more tolerable. Oh how I miss them- my family, my friends, the familiar faces and places…

…but I know they understand that this “break up” just had to be! πŸ˜‰

Unlike actual relationships, this isn’t a situation where I’m leaving every memory- good and bad- behind. No! In this case, I’ll be using those memories as a guide to figuring out my way in this foreign country- a country where too many people are often impolite and everybody and their mother has a cigarette hanging from their lips.

For the next however many years, this will be my new home. Will I make new friends? Will I survive the bipolar weather conditions? (I’ve experienced sunshine, rain, hail and snow ALL IN ONE DAY πŸ˜‘) How will I get over that gnawing ache in my chest when I think of my homeland?

I don’t know when or how I will ever feel as if I belong here. What I do know, though, is that through this medium, you will be able to go through this experience with me… and that brings me so much more comfort!

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Living in the UK has led me to understand firsthand the meaning of the Jamaican motto “Out of many, one people”. The Indians, the Africans, the Asians, Β the Jamaicans and the proud Brits all seem to… Β 

… to be continued in my next blog! 😊😊

#ExpatInEngland #TheTalesOfAJamaicanGirl #Love #CheersToFamily #CheersToMySisterGang #CheersToMemoriesAndNewExperiences #LoveTimesTwo