It’s my last night in Jamaica, in Negril. We fly out tomorrow around 1pm. When I’m not here, I miss so much about Jamaica. Even now, I don’t want to leave. I love coming back here, I really do but tonight, as we drove out to Sheffield, where I used to live, I was overcome with a lot of bad memories.
Don’t get me wrong. I have a lot of awesome memories of growing up in Jamaica. I had many friends and there were lots of fun times. But we were also one of the only ‘white’ families in a very poor area. This made us outsiders in many ways, although many people welcomed us. It was often an eye opening place. I saw and experienced many things I probably never would’ve if I’d stayed in Australia my whole life.
Overall, I think this is a good thing. I’ve been given a broader experience of the world, more so perhaps than someone who has grown up solely in a first world country or solely in one place their whole life. That being said, we can live many varied lives in one place but I think moving around a lot also teaches you a certain resilience and adaptability that being surrounded by the same people your whole life might not.
Enough of that though. As we drove back into my old home territory, I felt overwhelming sad. Sad about the lives I see my family and childhood friends and acquaintances live. Sad at the memories of things that have happened to me and people I know. I asked myself, why do I like coming back here so much when every time it’s that bit dirtier, that bit more desperate and run down and so many things remind me of things I’d rather forget?
I don’t know. For someone who grew up in so many different places, this (Negril) is perhaps one of the closest things I have to a place like home. For all its faults, it feels familiar. It feels like somewhere “I” was made. Australia might be home now but this was home for a very important time in my life and that doesn’t change just because I haven’t lived here for 13 years.
Does home stop being home just because you moved out? I think not. And you spend long enough somewhere, you’re bound to have some bad memories, right?