David headed back to Canada this morning. I’ll share some of our adventures with you in the coming days, but I thought you might want to read about HIS impressions of Jamaica, and of how I am settling in. In his words:

“Christine asked me to write about my first impressions of Jamaica compared to hers, and to share how I think she’s doing in this chapter of her life. Overall, I am stuck on one word: Home.

According to Google, home is an institution for people needing professional care or supervision, OR the place where one lives permanently as a member of family or household. I would argue that neither fit Christine’s experience here in Jamaica. So if those definitions don’t ring true, what is home? Is it where we live, with all its familiarity, friends, treats, mementos and souvenirs, decor, or personal style?

Before flying out here, a few friends and I collected some items from home to bring, both as treats and to make Christine feel more at home in Jamaica. Once I got here, I could tell that Christine has already re-organized the apartment to fit her style. The two TVs now collect dust in the closet, pictures of loved ones (perfectly straight and spaced I might add) hang from the walls, a collection of empty glass jars ready to be re-used wait patiently on a kitchen shelf, and the kitchen floor sparkles so much that if it weren’t for knowing how much poison she laid out for uninvited guests, I would’ve eaten that food I dropped last night (yes C, that explains the ants, sorry!). This apartment certainly has Christine French’s fingerprints on it.

More than just a place one can rest, be at peace and feel safe, home is built with love, hope and dreams. Jamaica offers all this, as much it offers a roof, amenities, and a bed to Christine.

Christine wakes up with excitement and purpose in the mornings. Rather than rolling her eyes over the 38th email she received, she’s excitedly talking to me about turning dusty, under-used land next to a major street into a play area for children. She’s not alone in her optimism and ambition. For a country that we often view as “poor”, “disadvantaged” and “still developing”, there is an abundance of hope and kindness everywhere. Sure there are warnings and signs of danger – in newspapers, in the full compliment of security guards on duty at all times, in the extra locks and gates, and in stories of robberies and fear – but you don’t have to look far for the good things, and Christine can see it all clearly. It’s woken her spirit.

Home is where the heart is. For that reason, I can say that Jamaica is becoming home for Christine, and I can say that it’s now my home too, for the same reason. My heart is with her, and it’s in Jamaica too. Ya man.”

Thank you David for the wonderful visit, and for sharing your thoughts with everyone who reads this blog xo