Wednesday, 1 July 2009

To Canada From Jamaica, With Love

Happy Birthday, Canada! You're looking pretty good for 142! Wish we all could age as well.

I speak as an expat Jamaican who has made her home here for the past forty-nine years, more than twice the years I spent in my birthplace. Canada is home to many Jamaicans, expats who came here for many reasons ... perhaps they went to school or university here and decided to stay; they may have married a Canadian, as I did, and thus made it their home. Many Jamaicans came here in the seventies, the unhappy times in Jamaica, when Canada seemed to offer a safe place, a better place to live and raise our children.

Whatever the reasons, many of us have lived here for a long time ... we have adapted, well sort of. I'll never get used to winter. Mon pays, ce n'est pas l'hiver ... give me spring, summer and fall ... but we survive. Sure, we miss the tropical weather, the sea breezes, the easy-going laid-back life ... soon come, mon! We miss the bright colours of the bouganvillea, the poinciana, the flame of the forest. We miss the food ... oh, we can replicate it, but is isn't quite the same. We miss the salt air of the sea, the soft white sand between our toes ...

But we're here, Canada is our home, and we are happy and safe and living in the best possible country on earth. So, Happy Birthday, Canada! And many more of them!


Cathy said...

Hi Dorothy,

Great post as usual. Canada is a great place, no doubt. Sadly, there are some things left behind that I will always miss.

Most of all I miss the loss of my extended family, now spread to the 4 corners of the globe.

I miss my sense of place.

I miss those family friendships of generations that can never be replaced.


Dorothy Kew said...

Thanks, Cathy. I agree with your comments. I left Jamaica when I was 22 years old ... my extended family is pretty well all gone, and I have few friends left in Jamaica. Many have left there as well and are scattered all over the world. But, we still have the memories!

Guy said...

Hear! Hear!

That's right, Dorothy; if nothing else, Canada Day is the time to remind ourselves of how fortunate we really are as Canadians...

Russ Campbell said...

I left Jamaica in 1955 and missed it for the first two decades or so. But the Jamaica I knew exists no more, except in books, old newspapers and in the memories of thousands in virtually every country in the world.

The food and the (older) music is still something I enjoy. And I enjoy the people who shared similar experiences to mine growing up in the land of wood and water.

Thanks for your post.

Jamaipanese said...

great post

patricia said...

I'm sorry I'm so late to commenting on this post, Mom. Very well written and heartfelt!

Arras Memorial

Arras Memorial

Trooper Victor Dey Smedmore

Trooper Victor Dey Smedmore
My uncle Victor