A ‘Nostalgic’ Vacation? (Part 1)

Times are tough and for some of us, we spend our lives trying to make a living; for some trying to survive.

On a recent trip back home, of which I was excited about, mostly to see my family and close friends, I experienced a rather bittersweet time. My land of birth, my little rock in the sea, was certainly not like I had imagined it to be. Yes, things have changed and everyone have moved on to another point in their life, but I was hoping for a little nostalgia.

The minute I stepped foot in the airport, the expecting feeling of nostalgia was quickly evaporated. Every single face that I looked upon was seriously sour. I get it, we all have our bad days, but a place where you come in contact with people on a daily basis should not be a place where you take your personal problems and lash out on others.

“If you are Jamaican, join this line”, said the customer care personnel, as she pointed to the line. She was trying very hard to speak Standard English, but the dialect chipped in, in every other word.

“Passport numba missing, guh over there and fill it in!” she then said to us as soon as she looked at our custom declaration forms.We obliged and proceeded to the next step of the ridiculously long line.

I mean, it was not so bad up until we got to the actual line for declaration. This is when we realize that everyone seriously wanted to ‘eat a food’.

We had nothing to declare, the extra item was an electronic item, that did not require any form of declaration, but once it was seen, we were horridly and aggressively directed to the red line. Other individuals were complaining as well. One particular individual was emptying the contents of his suitcase and all I could see was his clothing and other personal items all out on display for everyone’s eyes. In the end there was nothing for him to declare and the custom agent/officer was quite upset and aggressively told him to pack back his items in his suitcase and hurry and move out of the line.

It was our turn and we had the receipt for the item that was to be ‘declared’. We showed it to the custom officer. He looked at it and with a very angry look on his face said,

“Write wah else unuh have in a unuh suitcase and push it tru di scanner.” My spouse wrote clothes and shoes, which is exactly what we had in our suitcases. We once again obliged and proceeded through the line. Upon exiting the declaration area, there was nothing to pay for or confiscate, so our very ‘kind’ custom officer simply grabbed the forms from my hand and looked the other way. I gather she was upset that she didn’t get to ‘eat a food’ from us.

<<Rewind… two months back.

We made reservations for a car from Budget Car Rentals for the duration of our time there. We got our confirmation and the price for the rental.

Fast Forward >>

We approach Budget Car Rental’s desk and stated that we made a reservation for a car. The representative asked for the last name it was reserved under and looked up the information.

“Its $1000 deposit and $738 for the car.” said the rep.

We showed her the email with the reservation and the price that we were given for the rental and told her that we will be using our Discover card to pay, since it covers insurance for car rentals internationally.

She looked up, with a changed facial expression and said “We nuh have nuh cyar!”

Imagine the shocked expression on our faces.

Panicked stricken and trying to go to plan B (there was no plan B!), we asked,

“What do you mean you do not have any cars, we made a reservation?”

According to her, all the cars are out and the one that we were to get was extended and wasn’t back.

How can you make a reservation for something, you didn’t cancel it and when you go to get it, it is not there?

She then stated that she was going to try and source a car, from where I don’t know, and if we would wait. What choice did we have really? In the meantime, we were asking around other car rental agencies if they had cars, they said they didn’t. We were so naïve to what was actually going on.

Another employee came out and thank God he did, because we would have probably had it worse than we did. He checked to see if we were getting through and I explained to him the issue we were having (This was 1 hour later after talking with the first rep). He went and checked, came back and said there is a car; however, we have to wait about an hour to an hour and a half to get it. We agreed to wait.

“Jus leave unuh bags dem deh suh and wait on the outside by the restaurant” he said to us.

Ah… NO! We are not leaving our luggage unattended!

We proceeded outside with our luggage to wait.

It’s getting dark, we are tired, and we have a far way to go and no car.

A gentle man came over to check if we were ok. We relayed the situation with him and he said hold one. He came back with another gentle man and said he has a car he can rent us.

We told him we made a reservation with Budget and they have no cars. He looked at the reservation and said,

“Den a how unuh get dat deh low price deh, a peak season now?”

We said we booked it two months ago. He goes on to say, that Budget has cars and showed us the cars neatly parked in the parking lot and said that because we are getting it for the price we showed him, they are holding out to the highest bidder.

We asked him how much for the car he was renting and he said $850 plus we have to pay deposit and insurance. We told him we are not going to pay $850 to rent a car, he went down to $650, and we refused. We said we are using a Discover card and it covers deposit and insurance internationally. He went on to say that it doesn’t work in Jamaica only in the United States. I said to him that it does, there is an international clause that states that it covers car rental insurance and deposit.

Hear him nuh, “Is only Visa and MasterCard work a Jamaica.”

My spouse then said to him, “It is a MasterCard!” X_X

To show you how he has no clue as to what he is talking about, he kindly closed his mouth and said nothing more. He obviously didn’t know the different types of cards and was just running on pure air!

“Mi kno wey a gwaan dung yah enuh, suh nuh bodda wid it” I said to him. Apparently he was not hearing the patois in my voice and was coming with some exorbitant prices to rent a car.

We then asked how much it is to just take us into Kingston; he went away and came back with another guy and stated that it would be $200. Kiss mi neck back, $200 just to go into Kingston?! Once more we refused.

By this time an hour had passed and I saw the Budget Rep coming over. To our surprise, she went directly to the man who wanted to rent us the car for $850. He blatantly, with no regards that we are standing there said,

“Den a how yuh manage fi mek dem get it at dat deh price deh?”

We didn’t pay it much mind, as the other rep was directing us towards a shuttle to go and get the now available car.

We were shuttled to another location, which is a completely different car rental company to get ‘the car that we reserved with Budget’.

In the end we didn’t quite put two and two together yet, we were just happy (well… my spouse was fuming!) we got a car that was functioning and could take us into Kingston.

Its rough out there, but it’s absurd to see what lengths people will go to, to get more money from others. No one is better than the other; however, it is opportunities that allow some of us to stand a better chance at surviving. I love my country, but trying to swindle others out of their hard earned money is past ridiculous. I can’t imagine what an actual tourist goes through.

 

 

P.S. The car had no back brake!

———–> part two to come!

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Has chivalry evolved or is it merely put… dead?

I am a pretty modern individual, but I have a lot of old fashion ways core values in me (Yes! I grew up with my grandmother). While I appreciate every aspects of ‘girl power’ certain core roles are still important within a relationship, be it intimate or social.

Being independent is an awesome feeling and it is super attractive, however, is it an excuse that we kill the code of conduct within a relationship? Chivalry is an elegant and attractive character one could have. Does this mean that the relationship have to be intimate and serious before, you can hold the door? And when I say intimate, I don’t mean a ‘slam-bam, thank you madam’ kind of intimacy.

Most modern women are very independent in life and in love, but I would gather that they want someone who will still treat them like ladies, like a delicate flower; however, chivalry has become increasingly rare.

But who is to be blamed for this untimely passing? Is it dead or has it evolved? Is it in a coma somewhere, waiting to take its last breath, due to the rise of feminism? Even so, does being a feminist dictates that chivalry should take a back seat?

 

 

Relationships now-a-days are built solely on social stigma and every details of such relationship is plastered all over social media for all to see. No one courts anymore. The idea is that, if money is spending, then the ‘goods’ should be running, otherwise it’s a waste of time and of course money. Spending money on a nice dinner does not automatically means you will be getting anything in return. It may guarantee you a second date, at least. ‘Oh, you bought a $24 meal at Olive Garden, well there goes the under garments.’ Gone are the days, when a guy would have to court a girl a few months before getting a ‘chups’ on the lips. Now as soon as the date has started, the expectation of intimacy is significantly high.

Chivalry in my opinion is very important in relationships (and I am strong feminist). It shows character and it shows that the person is not just solely into you for a ‘quick meal’.

 

 

A few pointers to consider:

  1. Simply holding the door – You step out or into a building and someone is behind you, do you let the door go and perhaps let it hit them or do you hold it to let whomever through? Do you expect something in return for such a kind gesture? Is it going to be the death of you if you do?
  2. Getting the car when it’s raining – my spouse and I went out and it was raining real hard. I was in heels and obviously it would have taken me a longer time to get to the car. She walked in the rain, got the car and parked as close as possible to the side walk, just so I could get as little wet as possible. Enough said.
  3. Avoiding games – A relationship isn’t a game! Say what you want and mean it. Don’t beat around the bush, climb the mountain, cross the river and the valley before saying clearly what is it that you want. This doesn’t mean you are going to force what you want down someone’s throat. Show your interest with small gestures, even large ones and mean it. Playing around is very old and tired.
  4. Little here and there public gestures – holding hands are a big deal for a lot of individuals, especially women. It shows that you are not afraid to show the world that he/she is yours and you are proud. A little peck is a big plus too, but don’t go over board to the point where a room is required.
  5. Being respectful – Now this is a major deal, better yet it is the most important thing there is. Respect goes a long way and if your significant other does not respect you, then honey, hit the road. Not having respect in any form of relationship is a recipe for disaster.
  6. Stepping up/in during awkward situations – Offer your seat to the elderly lady who just got on the bus and has to stand or to the pregnant lady who is holding on for dear life as the bus turns and bounced about around the corner. Even though you are freezing, offer up your jacket.

We have become so self-satisfied that we have forgotten the little gestures that help our relationships grow into better ones.

We have fallen prey to the independent anthem of ‘not needing anyone’s help’ but then when ‘a come bang’ text is sent the feeling of being used for only sex arises. what gives?

Some individual like the ‘no strings attached mentality ‘where a ride home in the morning and a crois-sandwich is needed and we will just carry on on our merry way as if nothing happened last night.

There is no ‘right’ way to court someone these days, because it has now become abnormal to do so. It’s not a one-size fits all approach. Most women like to be wined, dined and romanced, be a knight is shining armor, just the like the good ole fashion days. The rest… well…may think that the other person is trying too hard or he hasn’t ask for sex, so he is not into me. In other words, what one woman may see as courtly, the other may see it as offensive or pitiful (I wonder what is that they seek out of a relationship?).

We live in a society where the hookup culture is now customary , where some women are willing participants. We blame feminism for our lack of understanding the simple code of conduct in how to act. Being a feminist should not hinder chivalry. Embrace a woman’s independence and at the same time show her that you can take care of her, if needs be. For the most part, the majority of women does enjoy a chivalrous relationship where they are the ones that hold the cards, however, it is up to them to act accordingly (act lady-like), and when they do, the first dinner will not be from a takeout menu.

 

 

 

 

What happen to good manners?

<< Rewind…

Going home from the supermarket and you pass Mr. Jones on the way.

“Good Afternoon Mr. Jones!”

Fast Forward >>…

Going home from the supermarket and you pass Mr. Jones on the way.

*Looks at Mr. Jones and keep on walking*

The difference is quite obvious, manners is lacking greatly.

Growing up and spending quite an amount of time with my grandmother, I was taught to respect my elders at all times, be kind and most of all, have manners to whomever I come in contact with.

“Manners carry yuh trough di worl.” — That’s a favorite saying that my grandmother would repeatedly say to me growing up and I would literally try to see how that would be possible. I suppose I was thinking about the physicality of it actually carrying you through the world, you know, like a car carrying you around. Now as an adult, I fully understand what that saying means.

I see where children respond to their parents or their elders in ways I would never dare dream of doing, not even now as an adult. First of all I would certainly receive a wonderful box to the face, if I dear fix my mouth to respond to my mother in any way, shape or form that is disrespectful.

I remember I was told to put some washing soap in the machine and start the cycle. I could not find the soap for the life of me, so I went and ask my mother if she had seen the soap. She didn’t know where it was either and I don’t know where my smack mouth got the courage to utter the words ” yuh sure yuh nuh kno wey it deh, because yuh maybe use it and nuh put it back?” I mean, it might not look like something that was bad to say to my mother, however, the tone in which I said it was beyond disrespectful. My mother gave me a look that if looks could kill, I would have rolled over and died! I immediately regretted what I had said and left the room before things got even more serious. She doesn’t play when it comes on to having manners!

Answering people with ‘what’, ‘yes’ and ‘so’ is, in my eyes rude. Yes who? Yes Dumpling! Yes Yam… Yes Whom?? You could be a small child or a grown adult, manners is very important and you are never too old to have good manners.

Say “Thank you!” When someone holds the door for you.

Say “Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening!” When you pass someone by or persons that you come in contact with.

Say “Please!”

Apologize sincerely and mean it. “I am sorry” has never killed anyone.

Granted because some of us are/were raised lacking manners, we may not comprehend when someone is showing an act of kindness, worst if it’s random, it would come across as the individual being ‘weird’.

Nowadays, parents are afraid to be strict with their child/children because they are afraid of bruising their personalities. Discipline is lacking greatly, because manners are through the door.

I have witnessed a child literally going back and forth with his mother in public and the mother just allowed it. Ah, hell no! First of all if that child was raised with good values then he would not even think to open his mouth and utter any word/s of disrespect. Mind you, kids will be kids, however, parents needs to know when to nip it in the bud. Don’t have the “spare the rod and spoil the child” mentality.

Its not just children that lack manners these days. As soon as we hit the adult mark, we tend to forget our manners. We think that we are now grown and can do what we please without considering others. Simple etiquette is gone and we become such aggressive and senseless beings. Sometimes over simple things.

Having good manners shows acts of kindness and respect and is super important in our daily lives. We use it to make a good impression on other persons and it makes us feel good about ourselves as well. No matter where you  or who you are, manners are the building blocks of each of us whether it be at home, work, or with friends.

Good manners are more than just opening a door and replying “thank you.” While opening a door and saying thank you is nice, true courtesy goes deeper. Because some of us may do or say it and not mean it. Being polite and courteous means considering how others are feeling as well.

Once we practice good manners, we are showing those around us that we are considerate of their feelings and we are respectful. We are also setting standards for others’ behavior and encouraging them to treat us with the same respect as well.

Every culture and individual may have different protocols and feelings about what is polite from what is not polite. The goal, however, is to review some of the more basic and common rules of polite behavior in our society. No matter how much these rules may differ from person to person or situation to situation, the general and basic rule of good manners—and life, in general, is simple and easy to follow- do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

 

Good Manners is priceless!

Family Expectations; dragging you down or uplifting you?

Family is very important to me. I would think it is the same for all or a lot of people. Your family defines your identity and instills certain values in you. They say that your siblings and cousins are your first best friends and they are always there for you no matter what! Its an automatic given.

Family for some people is as the word means, just merely co-existing within a household and sharing financial responsibilities. However, on the other hand, it has many significant meanings to it. But are our expectations of our various family members too high? Are we being dragged down by the ones who we expect to always be there for us?

Lets chat!

Every member of a family lives their own lives how they deem it fit, however, some family expectations are way too high and can become strenuous on individuals who are trying to please a particular family member/s. In some cultures, the eldest sibling is suppose be the one that goes out and set an example for the younger sibling/s and pave the way for them to follow suit. Modern society has gone against that and from it, stems a problem/s.

As soon as a particular family member starts to make some form of progress in their lives, its of the expectation that that particular family member should not be excelling so well. It is understandable to ‘feel a way’ about your younger sibling or cousin or whomever excelling and you feeling like you are not going anywhere; BUT that is not an excuse to ‘bad mind’ the individual.

Family members can become major leeches. You will always be there for your them every single time they are in need, but if you happen to say no one time, then its as if you have never done anything for them.

They just take and take and take some more and then says and wishes the worst for you, because you can not fill the need for them to maintain their nail appointment or buy their Peruvian virgin hair.

Yes, families have their ups and downs and that’s how it is suppose to be as there is no perfect family. Is your family perfect? If so, something is wrong with you! (I am just saying); however, having ups and downs, doesn’t mean that you can’t congratulate me on an accomplishment, a milestone in my life or something that is important to me. Whats even worst is you pretending to be happy for me and then talk smack behind my back! Hypocrite does not look good on a lot of people. If so be the case, just don’t be happy for me… period.

As soon as you make an attempt to make some sort of progress in your life, you are deemed not family oriented and you do not care about your family. Buy a new car or better yet, buy a house and then you will see their true colors, for most it would be green. Funny thing is when you do make something of your life, they are the same ones stretching out a hand or two with high expectations from your success and then sits down expecting hand me outs. How does one’s brain function as such? I just cant figure it out. The pie is big enough for everyone who wants a bite.

I am not saying to turn your back on your family, hell no! but gauge the high expectations and watch out for the snakes in your grass. You know cut your lawn regularly, because you may just get bitten.

So yes family is super important to everyone, but it begs the question, are they dragging you down or are they genuinely wishing you the best and wanting what’s good for you? Shouldn’t they be uplifting you and cheering you along? Isnt that an automatic given? It doesn’t take rocket science to comprehend that.

The ‘crab in a barrel’ mentality within a family has got to stop. Can it be stopped? Is it so etched in our DNA that its the norm?

Many people would argue that it is just the way of life, just deal with it and live a life that is pleasing to yourself. Truth is we all need our family around and without family, we tend to loose our identity, but is it worth the burden of the non well wishers?

 

Living in Jamaica and being gay

Jamaica is known for many reasons; one of which is the country that is extremely homophobic and their intolerance level for gay people is at its highest. It is always “bun a batty boy or bun a sadamite.” I personally find it awfully offensive and hurtful when I hear those words from another individual and I am not being bias. I believe that I was born gay— to some extent. From a tender age I was always attracted to the same sex. I use to go over to my pastor’s granddaughter house to ‘play’ and she would always be coming on to me and even though I was young (eight years old) I found it very comforting and I reciprocated the gestures that I was receiving, mind you I had no clue as to what it is that I was doing and it felt awesome. I wasn’t even question about being there so often, because it was me being at play.

I grew up in church (Pentecostal) and I was always taught that being gay is wrong and is an abomination to God, therefore I have always pushed the feeling of being attracted to the same sex away, besides I didn’t understand what those feelings meant. Liking boys was the norm and I delve into that norm, hoping to feel normal. But even though I was trying to feel ‘normal’ by talking to boys, I felt no form of attraction towards boys, there was simply no chemistry. Also I was more confused than anything because my parents would say “not until you are forty (40)” when a boy would come to the gate, trying to talk to me. Therefore I was scared to even talk to boys. Girls could come over and it would be OK, because it’s considered ‘OK’.

I started dating my first girlfriend at eighteen (18) and it felt like the real me and to me it felt like the norm. Of course I couldn’t tell my parents about it; hence I hid it or was in the closet as what some people call it. My step dad found a letter that I hid and immediately told my mother about it and lets just say it didn’t go down well. I was told that God did not make Adam and Steve and its wrong. It didn’t change my feelings and I didn’t stop seeing her, however it was done in the closet and I would deny it to my parents as well. She couldn’t drop me off at the gate and she was no longer allowed to come to the house.

It was quite easy for me to be out in public with another female, because it was more tolerable. I however did not do anything to offend anyone and I lived by “It’s my life and I live how I want to, however I won’t push it in anyone’s face.”

For the most part being in Jamaica and being gay is rough because persons will get mobbed and to some extent I was scared. I hated walking on the road with my partner especially when she dresses a little less feminine. It was evident that we were together and men would make sly remarks about us wanting a ‘cocky’ instead of tongue in our ‘pussies’. There was no major harassment, however I could not be the real me because it was looked down upon and I was scared of being mobbed. When my partner and I go out, whether to the supermarket or just to have a meal all eyes are on us and you can just see person’s minds turning. We have never really encountered any major issues and that is solely based on us being in the closet. That ‘code of living’ seems to work while living in Jamaica and it makes it easier for us to get around.

Being in another country other than Jamaica has granted me the privilege of being me, it is much easier for me to go about my business and not be judged or looked down upon. It felt so good to be able to walk out in public and hold my partner’s hands and even sneak a kiss or two. No one cares. I still don’t push anything in anyone’s face.

I believe it’s our life and we live it how we deemed it fit. Jamaica, I believe will never accept homosexuality and that in itself is OK; because its just our culture and religion.

Anyone should be able to live their life how they want to and be who they want to without being scared of society. Bottom line, if you are gay and living in Jamaica, you have to live in a closet.