Memories of Jamaica, or Part II

My husband and I traveled to Jamaica for our honeymoon back in May of 1990. Planning this trip had both of us eager to experience new adventures, see new lands, bask in the hot sun, and hopefully meet some of the locals. We had agreed on an all-inclusive resort in Port Antonio, with a spicy addition. A private, nude island they would ferry you out to from the nearby resort.

After our big night, we were semi-rested before heading out to O’Hare Airport to catch our flight to Jamaica. This had been my second flight in my entire life, the first being the trip to Germany I wrote about previously. I’m not a good flier but I held my breath and braced myself as we took off, ears popping along with the gum in my mouth. As we leveled out, I was thankful it wasn’t a very long flight.

Upon landing and disembarking, the thing I remembered best was someone coming up to us, and others, trying to sell us pot. Not the best place to try selling drugs, but we assumed it was a trap, wondering, with a watchful eye, which foolish traveler would be ensnared right there on the tarmac.

After showing our passports and collecting our luggage, we were ushered to a tour bus which would take us to the resort. Let me tell you, it was a long trip to the resort. Not sure how long but it seemed like hours. The resort’s guides on the bus handed out free soda and Red Stripe beer to us to help with the sweltering, and unfamiliar heat. We drank, but alas there was no facility on the bus and before long, we all got a bit of the ‘shaky leg’. Many an empty beer bottle became a mini urinal for a lot of the guys. Us ladies were not so fortunate to have any mayo jars laying around the bus! Eventually the bus pulled over to a rest area with a bathroom, and there was great rejoicing! Hurrah!

At the resort, our room was lovely, there was plenty of food, an indoor bar along with an outdoor one and of course, unlimited alcohol. Just being on the ocean was mesmerizing. My husband, the brave one, went snorkeling while I wound up with a two/three case of food poisoning from eating from an outdoor salad bar. This caused me to miss my husband and our new-found friends at the resort, do their rendition of ‘Piano Man’ in the piano bar one night. My husband laughingly told me the only part any one of them could recall, in their inebriated state was the ‘Lalalala’ part.

We spent an evening with one of the couples in their rented villa not far from our resort. Between drinking and just laughing and having a good time as young people often do, our female host entertained us with one of those ‘face on chin’ and with her laying over the back of the couch with a towel covering the rest of her face, she had us in stitches. I wish I could remember their names, the couples we met that week. We did get together once with one of the couples but that was many years…no wait…decades ago. I wonder if they are all still together as my husband and I are thirty years later.

The people, beautiful and friendly, were always ready to help with whatever we needed. We enjoyed ourselves. The nights were warm and the entertainment hot. We spent some time walking around the countryside, and purchasing Jamaican souvenirs. We went down to the open air markets where Jamaicans hawked their wares, and offered to braid our hair. Heart racing, and so many sights and sounds for this Aspie girl to take in. Sometimes it was terrifying, and other times exhilarating. With Aspergers, I’ve found that some new experiences can be tricky. We need to know what to expect. There is no thrill in the unknown for me, only fear and uncertainty. Yet I love to explore new places, as long as I have my husband by my side.

We returned home only to return to another spot on the lovely island of Jamaica three years later when we went on our first and only cruise so far. That is another story.

A Bit of an Autobiography

Life enjoyed is a life well worth living. I’ve traveled to some interesting places,; Germany, Austria, Jamaica. As a child, my parents and I traveled to Canada and Florida several times. I was the child that thought getting up at 3:30 in the morning, when it was still dark out, and get ready to hit the road was quite the adventure. I still enjoy waking up early before the light of day.

When we traveled to Europe, it happened to be my first plane ride. Thirteen and knowing I was on the brink of an adventure; 6 weeks in Germany and Austria. Fortunately for us, we always had family to stay with so sleeping accommodations were taken care of. The flight was delayed a few hours due to a strike in Canada, so we had to wait. To a young teen, let me tell you it felt like days. I remember heading into an airport store and purchased a magazine to help with the boredom.

Finally on the plane and up into the air, I think the takeoff scared me the most. Holding my breath, hoping we would make it and level off, it was both terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. I remember crossing over the time zone and going from night to daylight in only a few hours. What was fun for someone like me who enjoyed writing even back then is that I kept a journal of our trip. I believe I still have that journal from 43 years ago.

What do I remember from that time? I remember how many interesting, historical buildings we paid to enter. I think the castles were the most interesting. We took many trains, which again was the first time with that as well. I loved meeting new relatives, and seeing the ones I already knew. We took boat rides, and went on long walks for ice cream.

Something about traveling that delights the heart, probably its the memories shared with loved ones. New sights and sounds. Foods you’ve never tasted before and some you had but just a little different. Having to pay for catsup instead of sitting on the table ready for use at a restaurant. Some bathrooms you had to put in coins to open the doors so you can go in and use the toilet. Not fun when you really need to go!

It’s the fun I had with my cousin, Peter in Germany, a year my junior. We stayed with his parents the longest, and we would go for evening walks and see their rabbits they raised for meat. Also the first time trying rabbit meat. It did not taste like chicken. I raced my cousin who was so surprised I beat him that he challenged me a second time, and again I won. Running was my best sport in gym class, all others I sucked at.

It was interesting discovering others who spoke English there, even though many people in foreign countries speak it. Austria, Germany, and even Bavaria. I’m sure I’ll never get back there, especially now that I’m close to 60, and my family members there are long gone. Memories, though, last a lifetime, and I feel blessed to have gone there. And I am going to make it a point to find that journal!

Thanks for reading.

What I am Learning

Peace, be still.

In these times, I am learning many things. My faith has increased dramatically. I have learned to trust in God more. I am more convinced, now more than ever before, that Jesus is the Truth. I am His. I belong to Him. He had shed His blood for me, and for all of humanity. This one thing is true. He will never leave me, nor forsake me. And I am more grateful for that one simple fact. Darkness surrounds us, but He is there…waiting in the light at the end of this long, dismal tunnel.

We will never achieve anything of lasting value through hatred. It is like a cancer. It may win a few battles here and there, but in the end it will never win the war. God has already conquered all hatred. He has put the devil under His feet.

In Christ, we have already won the war. If we turn to Him, keep our eyes focused on Him, never forgetting His selfless sacrifice on the cross, we too can put the devil under our feet as well. God is good. He never fails. Love must prevail. We cannot put on blinders and pretend everything is all right when it is storming around us.

As Christians, we shall conquer, we shall persevere, we shall be the light to a darkened world smitten by evil. We need to remember…God’s got this. Fear has no power over us unless we allow it to. Do not invite it into your heart. Do not dwell in hate, or sorrow, or anger. It will get you nowhere fast. I know, because I have been dealing with it often, especially as of late.

Jesus said, In your anger, do not sin. How is this possible when there is so much anger swarming around us like annoying gnats. Swatting at it won’t remove it. I had to humble myself before the Lord and ask for forgiveness for my increasing anger at what is happening. I prayed for peace and a calm mind. Hating others poisons your spirit. Nothing good can come out of it. And He has answered that prayer. I have also sworn off Facebook for the time being while it is awash with so much trash talking, hate, and division. Give me peace. I need it and so do you.

Only divine love can see us through this darkness. The world is sinking in the chaos that surrounds us daily. We need to wash off the muck of deceitfulness, and lift up our faces to the One who casts down light, true light, upon His beloved. Do not fear. We can become paralyzed by it. It can cause our hearts to race, our blood pressure to rise, cause headaches, chest pain, and other ailments. Do not allow it to destroy you from the inside out. Pray. Get on your knees and cry out to the only one who can grant us what we desire. Peace…stability…courage.

This is not the time to walk away from Him. This will only lead you into the devil’s camp. When hearts are disconnected from the blood source, we are done for. Don’t allow the devil to get a hold of you. He can easily deceive, feeding us half-truths. We are not his. We are God’s.

So be strong in your faith. Look up, not down. He is there…always…just as He had promised from the beginning. Pray for yourself and for others. Pray for those who have wounded you as well. There is nothing more freely, more liberating, then praying for our enemies. It will cause us to see them in a whole new light. Peace, be still.

Opposition Rejects

Here is another poem from some years back. With my Aspergers, I feel that I’ve been blessed with the ability to write and I am thankful for that gift. Any comments are truly appreciated. Thank you.

Hailed the new Messiah,

to you the nations salute;

ignoring all the warnings

while impressionable minds you pollute.

Denigrating the righteous ones,

you rejected truth for lies.

Stirring up a frenzy,

you taught the innocent to despise.

Your truth became the only truth,

no allowance for dissenting voices.

With no remorse you struck them down,

allowing no other choices.

In your smugness you thought

yourself all-knowing and wise.

By silencing the voices of many,

the righteous became demonized.

You blinded your soul to peace & justice,

a bitter harvest to soon be reaping.

Towards a new hell on earth,

you allowed society to steadily be creeping.

A tyrant, you wallowed in their blood,

when the opposition was accused of treason.

But alas, Judgement Day will soon be here,

and evil lasts but for a season.

More Poetry

Good evening, dear readers.  Since I received a lot of views last time from my poetry, and since I love writing poems, I hope you do not mind me sharing a few more.  Again, these were written a few years back.  I shall try to get a few in as we are under a tornado warning here in Northern Illinois.  I just planted my vegetable plants today so I hope nothing fierce sweeps through here.  Please let me know what you think of these, but please be gentle.  I am always open to constructive criticism though.

The Final Battle

On this hill,

so cold and grey,                                                                                   we stand and fight,                                                                             to die this day.

Faint, we not,                                                                                     no turning back.                                                                                We face our fate,                                                                                 as we come under attack.

We, the brave ,                                                                            embrace the end.                                                                              This hallowed ground                                                                       we shall defend.

So here we stand,                                                                              our last breath taken.                                                                            Die a hero                                                                                              and not by cowardice overtaken.       

The Battle

Cursed be the bloodied past,                                                      steeped in misery,                                                                                  where brave men lost the will to fight                                                  for honor and nobility.

The battle raged                                                                             ‘cross desolate plains.                                                                        As death swallowed many,                                                                    and the soil drenched in blood stains.

Who, with gallantry, stood tall,                                                              on that fateful summer night?                                                              Fear shook them to the core,                                                              as they debated whether to take flight.

Now tears were shed and heart were rent,                                        as they lived with shattered bodies and dreams.                              No solace found to render them whole again,                                    or quiet their nocturnal screams.   

Okay, these are a few war-themed ones with Memorial Day on Monday here in the U.S.   Our tornado sirens had gone off here about 30 minutes ago along with a bit of hail, but now the sky is beginning to brighten, but we have so much water.  Flooding all around, so that is not good.  Too many people having to pump water out of their homes.  I think it finally is stopping, and that was an answer to prayer.  Well, let me know what you think of these poems, and if I should keep sharing.  Have a safe and enjoyable rest of your weekend, and remember to be careful out there and stay healthy.

Eva  

                                                                                                                                      

Shared Poetry

Okay, these poems are rather old, probably a good twenty or thirty years or more.  I used to write plenty of poetry in my younger days, and it was a sort of a catharsis for me.  Lonely, suicidal, and unsure of where I fit in society, these words dripped off my pen like blood from a razor blade, my soul exposed for all to see.  Okay, perhaps that is a bit too graphic.  Anyway, please humor me a bit here and allow me to share.  When you read them, just remember I was young, probably late teens or early twenties.  Enjoy.

Brainwashed

In youth,

we start out angry,

then gradually

we are lulled into a

complacent existence

of blind obedience to

the higher powers that be.

The decimation of our free will

the ultimate sacrifice.

*************

Disinherited

One day

we too shall fade away,

becoming nothing more than

a speck of dust.

Bounced around these infinite cosmos

like abandoned children with no place to go,

our anguished cries reverberate against

impenetrable celestial fortresses.

******************

Standing Firm

I–

stand alone in a world teeming

with prejudice and hatred,

injustice and dishonor,

and narrow-mindedness and greed.

I–

a symbol of peace

stand firm against these

opposing, destructive forces

like a solitary flower

in a field of dying weeds,

leading the silent revolt

against the tumultuous March winds.

Life Continues

Hi.  How is everyone doing?  Has this become our new normal?  How are you keeping sane?  I’m doing a lot of reading; books, magazines, the Bible, plus watching a lot more television than I would normally view.  I’m also writing more poetry.  I’ve been wondering about magazine publishers.  Are they still reading?  Accepting/rejecting submissions?  Turning out new issues?  So many questions.  So much fear and uncertainty.  Should my house be cleaner?  Why do I keep waking up so early?  Should I learn something new?  Write a letter?  Mail a card?  What do we do when at home?

Are you learning anything new?  Are you understanding yourself and others better?  All I know is I am sick and tired of watching the news.  It’s draining.  I know and understand completely what is going on.  I turn the news off.  I’m aware of the suffering.  I’ve been praying for those stricken, for first responders and all those on the front !ine.  God bless them and protect them.

take a deep breath.  Find something that calms you down.  Pray. Have faith.  Keep on loving others even if we can’t go near.  Stay strong.  Life continues.

Life in the Age of Fear

Is there freedom from fear?  Yes, in God alone.  Of course, easier said than done, I understand.  We are in this together, and that’s the truth, but do not panic.  This too shall pass one day.  Today I want to write about how this is making me feel and as a writer I want to convey those feelings to you, my reader.

Life living in these days of virus fear is akin to riding one of my favorite carnival rides, the Tilt-A-Whirl.  Life was going along fine, even for this introvert, and stepping up onto that platform, eyes darting back and forth wondering which car would be the best one.  Which one would bring the most excitement during the precious few moments that I’d have while the ride is running.

Settling on one, I rush over to it with my friends and choose the middle seat, the one where I think I won’t get the most squashed into one of my friends when the car begins to spin.  My heart races in anticipation.  Briefly I wonder if I may throw up at the end but no matter, I love this ride!

Life is like that sometimes too.  Sometimes it makes your heart race.  Sometimes it makes you want to throw up, right?  Fear does that.

As the car begins to move, I giggle nervously, giving the thumbs up to my co-passengers and they smile back nervously.  Okay, here we go as I feel the ride speed up, and I hold onto the safety bar as it lays snugly across our laps.  This is going to be fun!  We hit that first spin and its all feigned shrieks of terror.  This isn’t so bad, I reassure myself, just like the little bumps along life’s path we encounter here and there.  No big deal.  I can handle this, right?

Then we hit one of those spins that seem to go on forever and my stomach falls and I suddenly decide I want to get off of this ride.  I know there is no getting off of it though until the operator puts on the brakes, slowing the ride down until eventually it come to a stop and it is safe to disembark.  Just like this virus, faster and faster it seems to sweep over us, causing terror and panic.  We all want this to be over, to get off this crazy ride and return to firm ground once more.

My eyes begin to lose the ability to focus as we spin crazily as what seems to be out of control.  I can hardly catch my breath as I scream inside my head, ‘Let me off please!’.    I’m now clutching the safety bar as though if I let go of it I’d fly off the ride and die.  The people waiting outside the ride, watching or merely walking by are just blurs.  God, please just let me off, I beg inside my heart.  I question my sanity in wanting to get on and do this ride as I do every time the carnival is in town.  Haven’t I learned my lesson about that yet?

Life, like carnival rides, can be thrilling or terrifying, depending on the circumstances, and right now they are terrifying.  Even as a Christian, I still sense that nagging fear creep inside my mind.  God doesn’t care about you.  He doesn’t care whether you live or die.  Is God really in charge anyway?  The enemy comes to steal our peace of mind, planting seeds of doubt in our mind.  As for me, I do believe that God is still in charge.  He will see us through this.

Finally I can sense the ride slowing down.  My heart is still racing and it’s hard to catch my breath, but I know that the end is near.  As the ride comes to a complete stop, we smile nervously at each other again, wondering who’ll throw up first.  When we get the okay from the operator, we push the safety bar away from our laps and stand.  My legs feel as though I’ve been on turbulent waters and I’m questioning their ability to hold me up.  It’s going to be okay, I remind myself.  And it will be…in time.  We head over to the exit, chattering about nothing in particular, just thankful the ride is over and we decide not to ride that particular ride again.

Like dealing with life as a writer and an Aspie, I have to say sometimes it feels so surreal, everything going on.  Television off, no social media, radio off, it feels normal in here.  I can open up my window and hear the birds still singing, sounds of cars driving by, dogs barking in the distance…this is normalcy.  I can pretend for a little while that I’m just sitting here in my writing room tapping away at these keys on my laptop, sipping away at a hot cup of herbal tea.  But then reality floods over me and it leaves me wondering when this will all be over.  When can we go back to the way things were. Do we really want to go back to the way everything was though?

I’m saying we should learn to get along better.  We need to work on bringing everyone together, and not be divisive.  It’s only when we truly work together can we fix what ails us as a nation.  I believe that we need to return to God.  Hate never wins.  If you already believe, I’d say study His word on a daily basis, and know that the church is the body of believers and not a building.  It isn’t about the showiness of the service.  That’s not what God wants.  He wants our hearts and minds focused on how we can help others.  If you don’t know Him yet, I’d say read the New Testament and decide for yourself if God is real.  If you ask, truly ask, He will reveal Himself to you.  Life is too short, and scary, and we need the encouragement from others to make this work.  We need faith, joy, and peace to rule in our lives.  But above all we need hope…hope that this virus is eradicated…that those infected will be healed…and there would be no more deaths from this.  We need to be thankful as well…thankful for those on the front lines fighting this and protecting us, providing for us.

Let me know how you are coping with this all?  How are you staying sane?  Do you have children at home wondering what is going on?  Do you lie awake at night?  Be a light to those online and speak words of encouragement.  This too will pass.  Blessings.

 

A Writer’s Love of Books

I love books.  I love the look and feel of them.  I do have many books downloaded on my Kindle, but it’s not the same.  I’m a writer who loves books.  Yes, it’s not uncommon.  If you hate to read then you probably won’t want to write either.

My dilemma is this:  I have an addiction.  It’s an addiction to purchasing books, almost all from thrift stores, but still can get costly.  Just ask my husband.  The problem is:  I have only read a handful of them.  I do hang on to read books, the ones I dearly treasure like Pearl Buck’s The Good Earth and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.

Do I collect books to look more intelligent?  To make myself feel better?  Look more informed than the next person?  Will I ever get around to reading these treasures?  I definitely hope so.  So many choices on my shelves. I’m going through them and getting rid of some I’ve already read to clear up space.  But for what?  To make room for more thrift store goodies?  Perhaps.

I will make a vow.  I will read them.  And if I start one and can’t get past the first page or two, then I will take that one and put it in a box to donate back to the thrift store.  I can only hope I don’t repurchase the same rejected book, but I can’t make any promises.

Happy reading, my friends.