Quick because the internet is sketchy at best, but everything is going well so far...
Jamaica is incredible, amazing, confusing, beautiful, dirty...everything I expected and yet not at all!
Kingston is the furthest thing from paradise, but I LOVE IT NONETHELESS!!!
It has been a whirlwind 2 weeks, as you can well imagine. I spent my first week getting oriented with the city and settled into my new apartment and making it feel like home. I have no hot water, and oven doesn't work, but I have a lovely view of the mountains and the sun rises on my face every morning!
Learning the transportation un-system (system would imply a sense of order) has been the biggest challenge, especially because I must plan my days events around getting home before dark. It is not a safe city to be roaming around at night alone. I am getting the hang of it though, and now understand the importance of "Jamaican Time," as it can take anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours to commute depending on the traffic and weather. This is just accepted. It is rainy season now, so commuting is dramatically effected; roads have potholes that could swallow a small bus, bridges are washed out, streets are flooded, the list goes on.
I started work last week and I am very impressed with the organization I am working with; they are doing a really great thing for the inner city youth of Kingston. My colleagues are all very warm and welcoming, and many have taken me on tours of the city. I will be working closely with the Director and the Board. My primary objectives are Strategic Planning and Partnership Development, complete with an overall organizational assessment. It is going to be a very challenging and rewarding 6 months!!
I was quick to appreciate the previous annoyances (Air-care) and luxuries (hot showers) of Vancouver, but also quick to forget the overwhelming level of "living large" that just isn't a priority in this culture. Strolling down the streets of Yaletown with a latte, enjoying a nice glass of wine at a coal harbour bistro, pedicures, golf, gym...definitely things of the past (for now...haha)! Getting home without getting killed in traffic, or breaking my ankle on the quasi-sidewalks, hoping my Coaster driver isn't too drunk, finding a shop that sells lettuce, getting to the laundromat before it closes (and hoping they have water), trying to understand patois (the local lingo), and being grateful that I have mended almost all of the holes in my mosquito net...these are the things I look forward to in my day.
So much still to learn, and enjoying every step of the process!