It’s been a little over a month since I last posted. (Insert woes about lack of WiFi here). The theme of my last post was rain, but this month has suffered a bit of a dry spell. Almost every day like clockwork, dark angry thunderhead clouds roll over at about 4pm and shake the sky with drumroll of thunder and lightning for a few hours. The farmers pray for rain but the noisy clouds jealously hold their treasure and float on by – occasionally grumbling as some sweet water briefly falls through their fingers.
One phrase Jamaicans frequently use is “tek taim”. Tek taim means many things. It means to watch your step and walk more deliberately, to stop to chat when you pass somebody on the road, to make self care a priority, and to be patient getting to know a new person, place, or job. (It unfortunately does not apply to speaking more slowly, as my ears ache to catch up to the fast cadence people chat in patwa). Island life is much more laid back than life in the US. I’m learning to be patient with the rate at which things happen here and to enjoy the slow moments. Tek taim has been the message I use to remind myself I’m never to busy to talk and get to know a person, that it’s even okay to not always be busy, and that I can enjoy the time for things I love doing (like yoga, running, hula-hooping, meditation, journaling, and reading). But most of all Tek taim has been the message I’ve adopted to remind myself that it’s important to move through this world more mindfully and intentionally.
In other news, mango season is out the doorbut HOLY JAMOLY IT’S AVOCADO SEASON FOLKS (or pear season – what Jamaicans call avocados). I also think it’s important to note that the avocados here aren’t your measly Oregon Fred Meyer avocados, oh no; these avocados are as big as your face! … Okay – that may be a hyperbole but in truth they are on average 6 inches long and about 2x as big as the avocados I’m used to. There’s an avocado tree in my yard and I think I’m in heaven. Avocados on toast, avocados on soup, avocados with rice and peas (Jamaicans call beans peas), guacamole with plantain chips, avocados with EVERYTHING. Also a new (to me) fruit known as guinep recently came into season. Definitely one of the strangest fruits I’ve tried so far – but I love i and it’s one of my new favorite snacks. Looks like a lime, has the texture of a grape (but more gooey), tastes sweet and tangy sort of like like a grape/lime/pineapple, slightly astringent, and has a big pit in the middle you suck the flesh off of. Delicious and nutritious!
Lastly, on the topic of food, I made ackee and sailfish (Jamaica’s national dish) for the first time a couple weeks ago and it turned out great. Also I didn’t poison myself with the ackee, so it was a success! Ackee tastes sort of like scrambled eggs. Recipe soon come for ackee and saltfish (soon come is not a typo – it’s another Jamaican phrase, which absolutely does not mean something is coming soon but simply means it is coming at some point in the future).
Today I taught a lesson on climate change for a summer camp at a nearby library. After the lesson the students created and colored a vision board of what they say they want the future to look like. I have minimal training in education (or as my program manager has put it “we’re accidental educators”) but I’m realizing the time I spend working with the pickney dem (Jamaican word for kids) is rewarding and fun. I’m looking forward to working with more youth in the nearby primary schools over the next couple years in Jamaica.
That’s all for now! I’ll be going to my first Jamaican Dead Yard tomorrow night so I’ll write about that soon. Until then, don’t forget to tek taim!