Workin' my way home starts here and I need some help along the way. Moving to an entirely foreign country is a daunting task and worth every ounce of chi invested. A Jacadian is a Canadian of any descent, who feels the heartbeat of Jamaica even when they aren't there. It's an experiential thing, but real Jamaicans recognize it. For some of us, it doesn't matter who our ancestors were, or the countries we were born in, we'd always been searching for that undefinable "something", and found it when we got off the plane. Heart-home.
Autumn went by lickety split with me bemoaining my state of no jamaican vacation for winter 2016 as I was investing in the complete replacement of our 100 year old HVAC system for the condo building. Not even my birthday or halloween managed to get me motivated. lots of problems being tragically hipped. Mid november I got the seondary injections and we were back in business ;)
Chaos came barging in mid December with a trip to emaergency for a case of really LOUD indigestion that quickly transformed into major surgery for large intestine obstruction which in the end was found to be Stage 3 colon cancer with 2 of 17 lymph nodes teasting positive for the big C.. Docs figure it had been ongoing about 10 years with no previous symptoms. Saving grace - no colostomy bag. I have since healed externally from the surgery.
I started chemotherapy 11 days ago. Each round of treatment takes 3 weeks: one IV injection day, 14 days of double dosing oral meds and 6 days rest. I have to do 8 cycles, putting my freedom date somewhere in July or August. There are some nononsense side effects I could certainly do without. No travelling now till chemo is finito!
I'll catch upon the rest over the next couple of days.
With all of the negative connotations that phrase carries when you're on the Canadian prairie, frozen tundra and water pipes, cars that only go "rrrr" instead of "vroom", 17 layers of clothes and of course the dreaded socks, there is the growing anticipation of the next reach, usually January February time... Sure missing the rock this week with temps in the mid 30s - celcius - feels like 40... LOVE IT!!
Six months. Oy vey! I hadn't planned on taking a sabbatical, it just sort of happened. SO many HUGE changes it will take a while to get sorted. All ja related things will get posted here and the chaos of my personal life can be found under the wickedosity blog. Except for Felix stuff that will also be on the front page because \i am completely besotted.
That is my measure of the seasons here on the flatlands. We do have the 4 seasons but to me it has been refined to winter is coming and sock season. I detest socks. They make me feel like I am suffocating and they buffer mi connection to the planet. They get all scrunched up in my shoes and while they make the outside more palatable they are the cause of mi indoor overheating. At least they are harbingers of the annual return to the heart home. The countdown is on. Jan 24 2015 - 6am bright and shiny Kev & I and Kory and Bgirl will be onna plane and leavin' foreign in the frozen white dust ... 67 sleeps.
This past year has been full of angst and adjustment with myriad complications to mi relocation plans. 95% completely beyond mi control. For an inveterate planner that is the most delightful hell. Pushing positivity at miself with every step and fending off the thrice bedamned discouragement the delays drag with them is a constant battle that I was starting to occasionally lose.
On the bright side, I got my 40 year fight with insomnia under control. After muddling through denial and refusal and having the lack of sleep? creep into mi ability to stay awake at work when the heat is on, common sense kicked in. Two things convinced mi I had to do this; my partner Kevin's observation that I appear to stop breathing while I sleep - on a regular basis (scary), and mi research on the effects of long term insomnia and lack of REM sleep (the symptomology read like mi litany of complaints).
Fine. I went for the sleep apnea test. Probably should have done THAT 20 years ago but just the thought of that freaking machine (mi dad had one) gave me the willies. The whole testing process - head gear etc - FREAKED ME OUT! But by then I was invested in results. Survey says: breathing obstructed 58 times in an hour. Severe APNEA. Not caused by anything operable. The muscles in my throat simply were not strong enough to keep mi airway open while I slept so even though I was breathing in my chest there was no air exchange. shit. Reality check. Treatment: Join the force Luuuuke. CPAP machine. It blows normal warmed and hydrated air into your airway forcing it to stay open. Simple hey. What I had been unaware of was that this is such a common ailment now that these fricken machines come in designer colours, and portable with theor own little carrying cases. Thank the 100 little gods I have good health benefits through my job cause they aren't cheap.
Two months after I got the R2D2 installed in mi room we reviewed the data from mi usage and Survey says: breathing obstructed less than once an hour when geared up. Add to that that I was actually sleeping more than 2 hours in a row (oh lovely REM), I had more than doubled my daily sleep time (3-4 hours max), I wasn't nodding off every morning between 10 and 11:30 despite the occasional claustrophobic anxiety attack when waking with the mask on (still working on that one), and I was starting to feel better without knowing exactly what was different. Now, six months in I still freak out once in a while when I wake up but I can even sleep without it for 4 hour stretches even, and I can NAP for the first time in mi life. Big win for mi.
Oh Oh Oh I SO miss jamaica. The sweet smell of the greenery spiked with jerk smoke and permanently flavoured with seasalt haunts mi. Watching the trees and the verge as we drive by for breadfruit, coconuts, and mangoes, found bounty. The susuruu of white sand shushing in with the surf broken by seabirds' cries, the vendors calling in da road, and a dozen strains of musik inviting you to dance as you stroll. Mi heart literally aches to be in the middle of it.
And the people. Farmers, fishers, cooks, artisans, housekeepers, servers, taxi drivers: the everyday people you chat up as you soak up your morning coffee or run to market. Warm people, generous, private yet welcoming. Old world manners. The soft rumbling of patois punctuated by the vroom vroom of the motorbikes or the cacaphonous conversations of the car horns. And like every place on earth there is a strain of people pushed too far on too little, who can no longer care about social contracts in their fight to grasp and hold a single shred of dignity, to feed their children, or find enough food to make it one more day. They do whatever they can and some turn to crime, show me anywhere in the world that this is not a human truth. No I am not condoning it, I am only observing that it is all of jamaica that I love, beach, hills, and mountains not just the paradaisical all inclusives and tourist traps. I find the people of jamaica real, grounded, and determined. I miss that.
And in the meantime - off in foreign as I wait for mi next reach, there are a whole lot of others that for some reason feel the same sort of connection to the rock. And with the direction of Mz. Orbra Harold (may the 100 little gods bless her) she created a crackbook group for those of us pining away. There are enough characters here to keep you in stitches and help keep you not quite so lonely for that place we all miss. Someone is always coming or going and the framily includes lots of locals tah we have connected with. There are moments that this group stops mi from foin' over the edge. check it out, tell'em donna kay sent you but be respectful. Whaagwaan in Negril?
I took the condo off the market in October, the market is glutted with new apartments being sold as condos. It's stupid. Nuff said. My long time flatmate got her own place this summer so Imma rablin' around in a lot of silence, never a good thing for extended periods of time. Think I will long lease it until it sells next year. Still under debate. If you're interested the are pics and details on the link in the header for this site under Heritage condo.
Mi winter project is to learn revit an architectural software that will let me do real plans for mi little jamaican house. So I am busy learning all the things you need to take into considderation when building tropical and green. Should keep mi out of trouble in the darktime.
Signing off for now, will attept to update this more often, blessings to all y'all.
Easier than shovelling out 2 feet of snow in -30 artic crispiness. Easier than layering on that extra 30 pounds of coats sweaters longjohns mitts scarves hats before waddling the 15 feet to your vehicle. Easier than climbing up an icedover roof in order to remove the 3 tons of snow before it caves and it's only January.
It doesn't matter that anything else is not going the way you want it to. Summer is here.
Winter is coming.
More than a month chock full of changes, and normally a huge fan of those opportunities, I feel whingy.
I may have reached challenge overload.
Without warning my autonomic attention to detail, acute observation, and continuous critical commentary in several different voices has been slamming to a complete stop. Momentarily blank brained and scrambling to find the last thread of my own internal conversation, panic starts to creep through the cracks.
My goal/dreams seem to be stymied on all fronts while life parades around me in all its chaotic glory.
Even my eight year old self is becoming obstreporous.
I seem to be idly sitting outside myself watching the slow self destructive slide into the shark pool and find myself incapable/unwilling? to call for help.
Where has my happy me hidden itself?
Woop woop! My spanky new passport has arrived. Good for 10 years of wandering. Just wish my next reach to the rock was closer than next January. It seems like forever since I was in mi heart home. Thank goodness for the Whagwaan group on crackbook that keep connected daily to what's happenin' in town. Soon come.