Let’s be totally honest. We got off to a bit of a rocky start. Of course you were ridiculously good looking and you were exciting and exotic and full of life. I knew we could have fun together and we could learn so much from one another. The main problem has always been that I just can’t read you. I never really feel totally safe or comfortable with you. You are so unpredictable, so different, and for a while I was starting to think maybe we were just no good for each other at all.
But then you showed me another side to yourself. It was softer, calmer, and somehow reminded me of home. After weeks of living in the bubble of my little mountain home, I found my way to your beaches and something between us instantly shifted. I felt myself breathe deeply for the first time in weeks. With the relative anonymity of a city (relative because my skin will make me stand out no matter where I go here) I felt like I could be myself without worrying about judgements or expectations. Meeting up with fellow travellers I started to remember why I came here in the first place as we shared stories of adventure, wanderlust and the white picket fenced rat-race we left behind. And as I stepped into your warm turquoise ocean and there was only one thought in my mind: I think I’m in love.
And I realised that I have probably been falling in love all along without even realising it. There are so many reasons to love you, Jamaica. I love you for your children, with their wide smiles as bright as sunshine. I love you for your music, pulsating through the air as strong as a heartbeat. I love you for your colours: the green so lush you could dive right into it; the vibrant bursts of tropical flowers in red, purple and yellow; the ocean proudly displaying every splendid shade of blue. I love you for your passionate and proud people; their ability to flip from a heated argument to outbursts of laugher and back again in the blink of an eye. I love you for your endless warmth and the sound of your intense rain crashing onto tin rooves. I love you for your heavenly-sweet pineapple; your buttery Festival dumplings; your juicy jerk chicken; your Blue Mountain coffee smooth as velvet.
We both know this will never be a long-term thing. It’s nothing personal, Jamaica, but Sydney will always be home to me. I hear her familiar voice calling me a little louder each day I am away. But I plan to enjoy this while it lasts, and despite our many differences you are giving me so much to love.