Safety Last, Kids (And Other Surprising Habits I’ve Picked Up In Jamaica)


Talking to animals
I have officially become a cat lady, greeting Stella and Tiger as if they are good friends and chatting to them about the weather or what I should cook for dinner. I also find myself saying hello to goats and donkeys as I pass them on the road and to be honest they are usually far more talkative than a lot of people.

Safety last, kids
The other day I got into a car and it wasn’t until the end of the journey that I realised there was actually a seatbelt and I didn’t even attempt to put it on. (Sorry Mum.) Safety is the absolute last priority around here, and you do start to get used to it – still, I do wish that women with newborn babies wouldn’t ride on the mini buses on incredibly bumpy roads with their baby in their arms while sitting on a milk crate.

Eating to live
I was joking with a friend recently that I have become like a squirrel in constant preparation for winter. If I am near a supermarket or fruit and veg stall I stock up with weeks worth of food as I never know when I’ll be able to buy more. I also pretty much eat anything that I can get my hands on. After a decade of being vegetarian I now pick the bones for every last scrap of meat – hiking up mountains is hungry work and meat is expensive so I don’t intend to waste any!

Cleaning like Monica Geller
I’m not sure if its an attempt to “nest” and make my house feel more like a home, or because I have so much free time, or because everything always feels dirty, but I find myself cleaning constantly here. I get a ridiculous amount of satisfaction from knowing all my domestic duties are completed: water has been filtered, floors swept and moped, benches wiped, wasp nest sprayed, cats fed, mongoose shooed out of the house, all the usual stuff.

Treating certain material goods like Gollum treats The Ring
My laptop. My iphone. My stereo. My pillow from home. My favourite skirt. My peach scented body wash. My Tim Winton novel. I thought living in a developing country would allow me to rise above such superficial attachments, but in fact they have only grown stronger. Because these items are much more than objects now. They are my link to loved ones, my source of connection, or entertainment or comfort. And all those things are fairly in short supply right now. My precious …


5 thoughts on “Safety Last, Kids (And Other Surprising Habits I’ve Picked Up In Jamaica)

  1. I can certainly identify with the attachment thing. Although I was surrounded by people almost all the time, (unlike you I lived in a house with up to seven other people) sometimes I felt completely alone. Thank God for Skype. There were times when I just needed to speak to someone who knew me – the warts-and-all me. Someone to whom I could admit that I felt out of my depths or felt overwhelmed.

    I sometimes wondered how the early missionaries managed. Or anyone for that matter who left loved ones behind for long periods of time before all this technology. Maybe like you they cleaned.

    I put a mongoose out my back door today too. It crawled back in complaining of the cold. You know, the usual. Haha

    Oh, by the way, I loved your post on the Bob Marley Museum. I visited many years ago and really enjoyed it.

  2. It’s so weird how when you’re home you would never drive off your street without putting on a seatbelt but when you’re overseas? That’s just not something you do. It’s that way in Asia, S. America, East Europe, Africa, everywhere… That’s probably why the leading cause of tourists is death in collisions, but hey– who’s citing statistics?

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