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  • Writer's pictureAzé

Ocho Rios, Jamaica -- A Black Girl's Honest Reflection| Journal Entry #1: Upon Arrival

Updated: Jun 27, 2023

2:18pm. You could feel the warmth before the plane lands. How the sun shines differently in this part of the world, unapologetically lighting up the vibrant, clean, turquoise waters, its rays glinting off the waves, and this sight making me the most excited I've ever been to take a dip in the ocean. How different the world can look, and make me feel, just by the way it looks out of my airplane window. This place that happens to only be about 6 hours away from mine.

How will It be? What will happen here? What will I do? What will I see? Anticipation, excitement and the intense desire to absorb all of what I was experiencing into the deepest parts of my being, my knowing, so I would never forget those moments, welled inside of me as we landed. Even as a new flyer with pain in my ears that spread up and behind my eyes from the landing, my immense joy and gratitude at making iItt safely to this new land could not be diminished. Thank you God for allowing us to arrive safely.

I took my coat off before exiting the plane, and when my feet finally touched the tarmac at Montego Bay Airport, I wished I was able to take off my pants, shirt and shoes, too. Boy, was it hot, but not aggravatingly so. I welcomed the warmth and let it wrap its arms around me. Who knows the next time I'll be able to experience Jamaican weather? And who was I to complain, anyway? I was coming from the United States' winter, and I wouldn't be out here all day, unlike the people who work tirelessly helping tourists have safe and comfortable travels. There were employees everywhere, carrying suitcases, bags, giving directions and assistance as often, efficient and well as they could, as the tips they make are their livelihoods. Note to self: bring extra cash next time.

Customs moved quickly, which was a welcome surprise, especially with all the pressure Sandals put on us to pay for Club Mobay -- a perk that allows you to skip the lines and I think, lounge? Whatever it does, we didn't have the money to pay for it and were happy with the less-than-an-hour it took to get off the plane, through customs and on the road to the resort. We booked with Sandals, so there was a shuttle that would be taking us to Ocho Rios, a two-hour ride. Let me call ma to let her know we're on our way.

Fuck. Me. I don't have any service! What if something happens to me? How do I not have service? I took a breath and let go these feelings of fear and aggravation as quickly as they came, knowing there was nothing I could do about it now. And while I had a very good reason to be ridden with fear and anxiety, it's extremely hard to hold onto those feelings when you're surrounded by an atmosphere of tranquility. The warmth of the island relaxes you as soon as you arrive, and throughout the entirety of our transfer from the airport, we had views of the beautiful, sparkling ocean; palm and all kinds of fruit trees I didn't know the names of; cows, chickens, goats roaming freely; the people of the island going about their lives...

Soon I had almost forgotten I was in a foreign country without being able to contact my family, as I was swept into the surreal experience of being a previously homeless girl, now doing something I had once dreamed of. I'd only gotten my passport only a few months prior, now I'm actually using it -- all within the same year. What a blessing this was upon my life. And I savored every second of it, starting with keeping my eyes open, and viewing the beauty, joy, peace and abundance that is Jamaica.

The last thing I remember from the day of our arrival was the bounty of stars I gazed upon as I floated on my back in the heated pool. Yes, it was night. Yes, Sierra and I had the pool to ourselves since no one else was around. Yes, I got my entire head of knee-length locs soaking wet because I didn't have a swimming cap, and I didn't care. Yes, we went swimming immediately after we ate our delicious, succulent, dinner of oxtail, rice and peas. And yes, seeing those bright, winking stars as I floated weightlessly in that pool of wonderfully hot water was one of the most peaceful, joyous moments of my life. In that moment nothing else existed. Not the past nor the future. Just me, the clear, night sky full of stars and the ever-present knowing that God is Good. Only He could make this possible in my life, and as filled with ease, fulfillment, endless joy and new, safe, positive adventures as it was. Perfection is the word I would use to describe this trip. All praise be to God, forever and ever.


Azé


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Stay tuned for more articles on my and Sierra's trip to Jamaica 🌴✨


Watch the visual diary of our trip to Ocho Rios, Jamaica on the Si. Slays Youtube channel here .


This trip was in celebration of my and Sierra's birthdays, as well as in celebration of Sierra's debut poetry novel, Sunkissed Child: Poetry in Black Life which is available now at sierraespeaks.com along with many other items in her shop.


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