Rainbows and Butterflies

Last summer when I worked for US Soccer I worked with a girl who had a positive outlook about EVERYTHING. So much so that one of my other coworkers nicknamed her Rainbows and Butterflies. She knew this, of course, we all joked about it. I do my best to be rainbows and butterflies, but she had it down to a science. Here is a somewhat more realistic view of my life here:

  1. I love where I live. I sort of have more space than I know what to do with because I can’t really buy anything to put in it, but it somehow feels homey. I have my own kitchen, which I like. I cook all of my own meals. I like to think that I am creative with my cooking, but really I find one thing I like then cook it until I get sick of it then find something new.
  2. My host mom hates me. There is a Jamaican Proverb about rubbing the mean lady’s back so you can get gungo pea soup, which basically means if you are nice to someone who may not be a nice person or be treated well with others, they will be nice in return. Well, I have tried to play that game asking about church related functions and getting long-winded answers, but I regularly get yelled at for things I had no idea where wrong. This weekend, for example, I got yelled at for not having the tablecloth on my kitchen table. “Your are going to mash up the table if its not there and that is disrespectful to me!” I got this lecture after I told her I had spilt water and was leaving the tablecloth out to dry.  I got a good pep talk from Ann (the safety and security officer) and her advice was basically just to continue to play the game. Old people are set in their ways and it will just take time for everyone to adjust.
  3. I love my football team. True, that too it’s not without its challenges, but it’s the few hours a week of training that I look most forward to. I didn’t realize how much a part of the team I was until this weekend when I got a bunch of hugs from people who thought I had left forever without saying goodbye because they didn’t know I was in Kingston. We have our first match this Saturday. I think we are prepared ability wise, but mentally I’m not so sure.
  4. Training for the U-15 team starts tomorrow. I am still kind of unclear of what my role is going to be exactly, but I am under the impression that I will be coaching the team. Similar to the senior team training sessions, it’s a few hours a week that I know I will be doing something, not just pretending.
  5. I was going to the local primary schools once a week to play football with the younger girls. I really enjoyed my time, but 40 little girls was VERY overwhelming. The hardest part was getting there, though. Getting the 8 balls that we have to play with from one place then taking a taxi to the next all the while you walk down the street and EVERY person asks if I will give them a ball. I have enough money to take 2 taxi rides a day, some days I was taking up to 6. School ends this week, so I need to find another way to play with the younger girls. It’s a work in progress.
  6. I was going to say I have been reading a lot, but the truth is one week I will read 3 books, then the next I will watch 3 seasons of TV shows. Its sort of a strange balance, but for now it works.
  7. I live a hop, skip, and a jump from the beach and I have never been. It’s a beautiful view from the taxi on my way to and from work, but I just haven’t had any desire to go. I guess I just miss freshwater.
  8. In training we talk about small or easy wins. A small win is something small that you accomplish.  It can truly be anything. Some days that is just introducing myself to someone new or learning a new word. Others its actually going to a school and playing.
  9. The 80-20 Rule. Marie, Chantal, and I have all agreed that there is an 80-20 Rule. During the meeting that was supposed to start at 7 but didn’t start until quarter to 9 is 80% nonsense and 20% useful. Most times that 20% is a generous overstatement. The amount of unnecessary debate (or really just straight up arguing) that goes on is so frustrating. I’m learning to enjoy the prayer that happens before, well, basically anything that happens.
  10.  This one is really just because I felt like 10 was a good round number. Friday I went to the doctor (yes, again!) to get my physical done to play and the doctor gave me a long talk about how I am not to play in the middle of the day because she can’t have me passing out on the field. Then she grabbed my arm and said, “WE ARE ALMOST THE SAME COLOR!” I am not going to lie its good be called “Brownin’” in the street instead of “Whitey” meaning my skin color is more tan. Mind you I am still very white.

So that’s my attempt at a non-melodramatic life update. I promised myself when I started my blog that I would do my best to be as positive as possible, but the reality is I will never completely be rainbows and butterflies. The people close to me know the emotional toll being here has taken on me, but I am not alone. I have amazing friends here that I couldn’t do without and who are always there to keep life in perspective. They say it’s the toughest job you will ever love…Jamaica and I are still working in a love-hate relationship at the moment.

PS Sorry for the large mass of text.

What I learned today:

I should have started watching Gossip Girl ages ago.

“Bun and Cheese” without the bun is gross, but pumpkin rice is AMAZING!

I have gotten over my fear of bag juice and how unsanitary it probably is.

I still love Modest Mouse.

 

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