To Jamaica, With Love
The definition of homesickness?
I used to think it was a joke. Homesickness never really applied to me.
I’ve lived in England for as long as I could remember. I can still see the day when the first wave of Homesickness hit me. It was in July last year, when I went to Italy with my big sister. It was the strangest feeling. I’ve only ever left England once since moving there, but I never missed it then. I have always prided myself on my resilience to bounce back from things and never let them keep me down. So while I was missing England on my first night in Italy, the next day I was fine, and my sister and I went exploring. When we came back to England I thought this…for the first time in my life, “It’s good to be home.” Only, England wasn’t my home. Not in the general sense anyway.
But just a few months ago, my family and I went on a three week trip to Jamaica to visit relatives I haven’t seen since I was fifteen. It was a good trip. But being a family trip, of course there was drama. And since my mom and dad don’t get along, she wasn’t happy about me going to see him, and my stepdad didn’t help much either.
Last time I was on the island, I didn’t take anything in. I didn’t look at the sunrise or the sunset. I did’t remember the sights and smells. I didn’t commit my dad to memory. I didn’t stop to think about the beauty and calm of swimming in the Caribbean Sea. Well, clearly I did this time. But it was the best and worst trip I had ever taken. I remembered how it felt to run barefoot down the road, riding in the back of a truck with the wind blowing in my hair. I remembered the laughter of my Dads family, how close they all were, and eating food I consider to be my definition of heaven on a plate.
Because I didn’t forget anything this time, because I stopped to take in all I saw and did, I felt this sense of dread when the day came for us to leave the island. I saw smiling faces as we queued up to get our bags checked in. And I didn’t understand why they were smiling. It wasn’t a happy occasion at all.
Then I realised these people were smiling because they were remembering all the fun things they did on their holiday, but they were also smiling at the thought of going home to see their families and give them the gifts they bought back for them. And while it was a fair and just reason for them to be happy, I continued to scowl at them.
They were going home. And for me, I was leaving home. The fact of the matter is, no matter how long I stay away for, Jamaica would always be my home. It’s the country where I started my life. I know many people would never go there, can’t see why I love it there, or simply don’t care. But for me, I like who I am when I’m in Jamaica. I don’t have stress bags under my eyes, I go at a slower pace in my day, my weight is steady and healthy and I have my dad. In England when people piss me off, I have no family members I can go to and I feel like my head is about to explode from all the crap I deal with. While it’s never going to be one hundred percent for me, I know I have to stay. But the call of the Caribbean Sea, the birds, and the plane, always calls me back home.
Aishae Hill is not very vocal, but if you give her a pen and paper, you will be amazed by how much she has to say. Jamaican by birth and British by nationality, she likes to write stories that compliment all sides of her heritage. She hopes to contribute more writings to Germ Magazine in the future.