What’s Wrong With the Taste?!

It has been almost a year since I have been back. There have been challenges, some more than expected. Yet, there is one challenge that was so devious, so tormenting, that I failed to notice. How could this happen to me? I tried so many alternatives to shake this, but I could not.

What could be so terrible and unexpected? My taste! I know. I am shocked too. I will call this reverse food culture shock. What I am about to describe is not like reverse culture shock, which has not left me. I have been craving delicious Chinese food for months now. I had memories of delicious Chinese food here, in Jamaica. I thought that it could not be hard to find a decent Chinese meal. I tried four, ranging from cheap to expensive. All disappointing. I wondered how could this be? How could four different Chinese restaurants do so poorly? How could one of two Lebanese restaurants destroy my faith in Lebanese food? To be fair, the that-which-shan’t-be-named restaurant was likely not very good. Why? That is

I began to wonder why the jerk pork, chicken and other dishes were failing so terribly. I decided to check in with a fellow nomad who had lived in Japan. She told me that on her return to Jamaica, nothing tasted the same, only her mother’s cooking could make her happy. That may be the case for me. Some of the foods I have bought have not impressed me much. The only one, outside my home, that tasted good was the Japanese meal I had at Sora Japanese Cuisine. I still would not put it too high. Once you have had the authentic cuisine of a country, replication abroad does not compare.

Type of food I find myself craving.

At times I wondered if I had gotten covid-19 and the lack of taste was the after-effect of the infection. Still, several other dishes do taste good. Wendy’s provide amazing fast food, Domino’s pizzas is better than Pizza Hut’s, and the spring rolls I had were delicious. Proofs that my taste buds are still working. They just appreciate certain flavours or flavour combinations more.

Now that I may understand what could be going on, I can be more open-minded when eating. Has this ever happened to you? I know that I dislike rice here. I long for Japanese brown rice. Since I cannot get that here, so I buy Jasmine or Basmati rice instead. Most times I mix it with other rice (wild, wheat, rye, and Texmati brown) or bulgur. It is the closest I have to pleasant tasting rice. I have always liked my cooked rice to stick together. This act is an abomination to most Jamaican cooks, but I do not care.

The sticky rice I enjoy eating.

Unlike…dare I say…many Jamaican, I do not enjoy fluffy rice. I also do not like the following:

· Tamarind balls

· Sweet potato-anything

· Cornmeal porridge or pudding

· Brown stew fish

· Saturday soup

· Coconut drops

· Grater cake

· Red Stripe beer

· Malta

· Meatloaf (fast-food version at the patty shop)

· Bulla

· Naseberry

· Star apple

· Ripe banana

· Watermelon

· Soursop

· Sweetsop

· Guava

I encourage you that if you ever get the opportunity to try them, try them. Anyway, these are the ones I could think of. What are some popular traditional foods from your country that you dislike? I have a few Japanese acquaintances who do not like sushi. I have to admit that it surprised me to learn that.

I hope my taste for the food here returns. I know I will continue to try new things because that is, after all, my nature as a foodie.

Share your food experiences, please. I want to read your comments.

Take care.

Finally made the move

What move? Let’s talk about food. My childhood obsession. After studying it in university and interning, why am I not a chef? I did consider it, and I enjoyed working in the industry in the back of the house, where the excitement is. Yet, my skinny frame could not handle the dangers. Dangers? In a professional kitchen?

I don’t mean people were attacking each other, although there were emotional moments. We were all too busy working. Well, I was…because there were some dramas. I worked in kitchens in Kingston, Two Harbors, Highlands, and somewhere in Florida. Working at these places was a wonderful and interesting experience which I am glad to have had.

So why didn’t I end up working in a kitchen somewhere, anywhere? Let me mention what it was like first.

In my kitchen, my first solo cooking experience was at my grandmother’s. The moment she allowed precocious me to use the stove, I grabbed it and never looked back. I tried everything. I watched cooking shows for hours, writing down recipes, creating my own as I experimented.

The Food Network, TLC or Travel Channel’s cooking showswere my obsession. Recipe books were my weakness. These were my hobbies, but I never thought of becoming a chef or any professional cook. It was for fun.

While working in the corporate world, I decided to leave to study Food Service Management. I tried looking at a few culinary schools overseas. I never considered Europe or anywhere else. It was the USA, where attending university meant signing your future inheritance away. In the end, my local university was fine. I enjoyed my time there…graduated, and off I went to Japan to live one of my dreams.

International cuisine at university. My night was Thai cuisine.

Between that, I worked in a variety of kitchens. Highlands, North Carolina. That location was a resort town, it was picturesque, like in a Hallmark movie. I worked in two kitchens. I remember working at Kelsey Place Restaurant at Highlands Inn. The experience was great, the food we prepared was delicious and the experience was nice and not nice. I remember working alongside a lovely lady from Georgia named Patricia. She was funny and informative. I learned about southern cooking there realising that the food was delicious. I sometimes worked with a Mexican lady called Rosa. Rosa and I got along well. I respected how hard she worked and how smart she was about everything. I despised how the main waiter thought he could treat some of the staff in the restaurant. He dared not try that with me. Jamaicans generally don’t suffer from low self-esteem.

Splashing Rock Restaurant at Grand Superior Lodge in Two Harbors, Minnesota. I have to say that I fell in love with Minnesota, and I continued to feel that way until the death of George Floyd. I don’t hate there, but a veil is lifted. I had the most fun working in the kitchen at Splashing Rock because it was an ensemble kitchen. There were fun people to work with and I have the pictures to remind me. I was able to experiment in the kitchen. There were two chefs there, Tom and Craig, theye were pretty decent guys. He would smoke salmon on a wood plank and it was amazing! The crème brulé that we served were so good, that I’d buy myself one at the end of the night and go to my place to eat it. Never steal food from the place you work…buy it instead. Never steal from anywhere. Two Harbors was a great experience, and I made lifelong friends there.

Splashing Rock Restaurant

The restaurant in Florida was not that exciting. It was Bamboo Club, an Asian-fusion restaurant. After my first lobster murder, the guys were always too busy to grab one. I was always the one to go murder the innocent. All in all, it was a good experience. I also worked at a Young Chef’s Academy. It was nice helping these children with cooking and baking. Since my main job was at the Bamboo Club, so I could not spend much time at YCA. Such a place is an excellent opportunity for kids.

The Bamboo Club in Florida

Here is the funny story of how I ended up working in a restaurant in Florida. I did not want to be in Florida. It has always been my least favourite state. It is hot, flat and has devastating hurricanes. I planned to go to Ireland to work in a kitchen. I applied to a few promising places. A helpful Sean Murphy researched if I could work in the country for the summer. No dice, so that’s how I ended up in Florida. I completed my required university internship there.

So why the history lesson? I finally put together a cooking course and posted it, not on my website (www.tnjvirtualbiz.com), but Udemy. The course is Jamaican Cuisine 1 | Udemy.

It took me months to put it together. Filming the cooking part was easy enough, but I had to do the voiceover/narration bit. Then there was the editing of the videos. The hardest part to get done was the videos with me talking about the course. I could not decide whether to film in my busy kitchen and ban everyone from entering. Or, record in a room and create a pleasant virtual background. I went with the second option. Then more tedious editing.

I am surprised but appreciative of the process to get the course on Udemy. I have used Udemy several times to learn other skills for my virtual assistant business. It is a website I am familiar with using. I do hope my attempt at creating this course goes well. I will be working on more courses and better-produced ones. I will work towards providing them on my website soon.

Well, I hope you all stay safe and healthy. Don’t forget to share some of your experiences. How has your journey taken you to where you are now?

Take care.

Appearance Is Important, Isn’t It?

My training and how I was raised has let me to believe that our appearance is important. The importance of one’s look of self, being neat and clean, and one’s property, being clean. Why have I brought this up?

I started my virtual assistant (VA) business while teaching online.. This was after leaving Japan, where I worked as an English teacher, for 10 years. Right, so I chose the VA business (visit http://www.tnjvirtualbiz.com – shameless plug). Why? Because I wanted to use my skills to help others while having some flexibility. It has not been easy. I still have to teach online, so I have not dived headfirst into my VA business yet.

I have noticed that as I reach out to other VAs for feedback and help, I get those who offer sound advice. Not to mention their essential services – coaching. Fine, if I can afford to pay, I will do but I am starting out. I cannot afford to pay some of these prices. Some are as much as $950 US, which is over one hundred thousand Jamaican dollars. What?! No! I can’t. I don’t care how good you are. I do not believe in putting myself in debt…not anymore.

Okay, I am veering off course. Let’s get back on track. So, these ‘coaches’ reach out to me. I am very appreciative, especially if something they suggest works. More often than not, it is common sense. Then bam! they hit with their offer. I am like, girl, why’d come at me like that? In my head, that’s what I say. I see your hustle, though, and I am not hating what you are doing. However, I am not rich. If I did not live with family, I would register myself as ‘poor’.

Some of these coaches do promotional videos looking ‘a hot mess’. You know, hair not done and face seeming unwashed. Sometimes their clothes look like they rolled out of bed. Looking like something you would wear in your home. They may go as far as the local community shop (shoutout to businesses in Jamaica). I am not impressed by this. How can I respect this business model? The person has not taken the time to wash her face, or put on uncrushed clothes and fix her hair. The background should be more presentable. They are relatable to some, but definitely not to me. It does not instil confidence for me.

The impression is more positive if you put yourself together.

Pride in self and your brand should be paramount. You attract what you put out. I am still learning about advertising and presentation. I am not that good at it, but I am not comfortable putting crappy work out there. How can I expect to get high-end clients (shoutout to my future high-end clients, I see you!).

The Delay

This brings me to the video cooking lessons I have been working on for weeks now. I have done the videos, edited them, prepared the recipes and the presentation outline. What I cannot seem to complete is the video with me in front of the camera. My face and my setting are an issue. I hate wearing makeup. Actually, wondering if I should bother to wear makeup. Should I create a virtual background or stage it in my busy kitchen These are my concerns

Miss Piggy was always on point in her appearance.

What do you think of someone selling you something but looking like they do not have their life together? It is not about pretending to be what you are not. Still, it is about respecting your customer/clients/audience to put yourself together.

This is my view. I would love to hear from you. My challenge to you is to share your opinion on this. Am I too old school?

Travelling Along

During this time of COVID-19, it is still strange to refer to our time as the ‘time of COVID-19’. Wow! Well, travel is suspended or completely stopped in some areas. That means there’s not much most of us can do. Lots of countries are still open because their economy is dependent on travel, but they are not open to everyone.

As promised, I said I’d try to post about some of my past trips, not in any order…I think I already wrote a bit about my trips in South Korea, and Germany and Norway. So, let’s jump to 2019. I almost typed 2020. That how confused I am with the dates nowadays. As I type these words, I wonder if I had already written about Italy, Poland and Ireland. Have I?

It all started with football…real football. My love for Italy was solidified with the Italian team…with Roberto Baggio, The Italian footballer. In high school, I loved watching the World Cup. I enjoyed it so much that I missed at least one day of school to watch a match. I cannot remember which what it was, but considering I was a fan of four countries, it could have been a match with one of my favourites – Brazil, Italy Germany or Spain. Yes, I am still a fan of those countries, list in the order of preference.

I ‘met’ Roberto Baggio at the, hmm, possibly the 1990 World Cup. I may have been drawn to his wavy ponytail, serious expression, and the fact that, thankfully he did not make the penalty that could have hurt Brazil. I looked forward to the next World Cup to see film.

So, that was the reason I soon fell for Italy, and ever since I wanted to visit the country. Fast forward to 2019, I went and stayed in Rome and Florence for a total of 1 week. It was nice, but I have to say that Rome was not very impressive, because it seemed a bit dirty. Coming from super clean Japan, most places appear filthy.

Now, Florence on the other hand, was beautiful and clean. The architect was different, the colours and feel of the place was different,but pleasant. I actually thought out loud, ‘I could see myself living here’, I really did.

Neptune, Piazza Della Signoria

I was so into taking in everything with my eyes that I forgot to take more pictures. What I will say is that while I may not be eager to return to Rome, I am sure (all being well) that I would return to Florence.

Was Italy what I expected? Well, I didn’t get pick-pocketed, though I think someone tried to do that. I was on hyper alert since I was solo travelling at the time. I did not go there with any preconceived notions. I was open to the experience of being there. Overall, I think my experience was a positive one.

I just realise that trying to remember what I did years ago on a trip, is not going so well. Plus, I take terrible holiday picture, I mean, just terrible. I am the type of person who takes lots of food pictures. I like to live in the moment and not spend half my trip taking pictures so I can show people who may have as much interest in them as a person does looking at beaming parents’ pictures of their kids. Not many people really care…Or, do they?

Pizza made at the Italian cooking class that I took in Rome.
Look, Ma! I made pizza.

I think my trip to Poland, was way more interesting, because of the danger and intrigue…oh, and oh so delicious (to my surprise) food. Let’s get to that in my next blog. What happened? What could have happened to us in Poland?

I leave you to drool over this collection of delicious gelatos. These did not disappoint.

Take care.

What Nomads and Foodies Dream Of

The year 2020 has really tested us all in different ways, some more seriously than others. I will not even pretend that what I am going through or am writing about is anything near what some have had to endure. However, I want to write about something I hope to do as soon as circumstance allows.

So what do your think nomads dream of? Travelling, being somewhere else, new cultures and experiences. The idea of being compelled to stay in one place is like a little prison. As a someone who likes to experience the little joys of eating, not just at home, but outside, in another country, staying in is like having your hands tied. Foodies crave culinary experiences and nomads need to travel.

I came across an article on BBC about Dorothy Bonarjee who lived in Europe – Scotland and France. Her family was Indian, and she was educated in the UK. She was a poet and lawyer. One thing about her life that struck me, was her choice to live outside her country until her death. I thought right away, that is me. I have pretty much always felt like I could…would live in other countries, while visiting my home. Movement is so important to me. I just feel so bored if I am living in one place for too long. How long is too long? From experience, five years. What is the longest I like to be back home? About a month. And, how long have I been back? Ahh! Seven whole months.

I long for new sites, smells, and tastes. I am not one to travel to another country and be off doing only touristy things. I prefer to live as the locals do, occasionally doing some touristy things of course. I have some ideas on where I would like to visit, I do consider the food of the country I visit. After all, what’s the point of being in a country if you do not enjoy the food there.

Learning about other cultures is so interesting. However, I don’t want to learn from studying as much as I want to observe and experience it. I want to walk down the streets, go to the grocery stores, eat and talk with the people, see them living their lives, and have them explain some things to me. I want to share my culture and food with them. This is how we should live with each other. An open mind and an open heart.

Dress up at Little World in Aichi, Japan

Sometimes I cannot visit a country, but I can experience a bit of its culture through another country. That’s fine. The picture above was taken when a group of us spent the day at Little World in Japan. It was huge a cultural park with souvenir stores, foods from around the world, historical sites on that part of Japan and folk costumes from around the world. I could only afford to try on two costumes. I tried on a German costume because I am a fan of the German football team, not a hardcore fan, but a fan nonetheless, so most things German interest me. Which is the reason I visited German three years later.

Having dumplings at a Chinese shop at Little World in Aichi, Japan.

One of my regrets of not staying in Japan longer was that I never got to visit any of the countries in that region that were on my list. I always thought I would have enough time. I visited one country that never made it to my list – South Korea, and the only reason I went was because it was easier and cheaper to visit. One day, I hope to visit Thailand, Vietnam and Australia. I really, really like the Australian cricket team.

Still I was able to visit my beloved, very beloved…to the point of obsession, Ireland, and Norway, Italy, Poland and dear sweet Germany. All were very nice experiences. Some were very pleasant surprises. I was surprised that the foods in Norway and especially Poland were so good. The Norwegians were kind and the country was on par with Japan in cleanness. But, let’s talk about these visits another time. I cannot travel now, so let’s reminisce in my next post.

For all my nomads out there, trapped in our boring homes, figuratively holding our passport, visas, and very little in our pockets, but ready to go as soon as the borders are open. Ready to be trapped in any other country but our own. Willing to recklessly risk not being able to get back home. To ignore being called crazy or stupid by family and friends for daring to dream to see any other part of the world, but home. Let’s keep that dream alive, as we careful prepare for the gates to be open!

Take care.

Restaurant/Food Review

On December 9, 2020, I conducted some business in St. Andrew, and I decided that since I was out, I would make the most of it. I wanted to go to my old favourite Japanese restaurant, East Japanese Restaurant, and pick up some Japanese grocery at Hanz Mart. Both were supposed to be at the Market Place off Constant Spring Road. I was excited, and I did not want to take a bunch of public transportation because of covid-19 and I really did not know which buses to take. So I decided to walk. I actually walked from New Kingston, stopped at some book shops, then continued walking to the Market Place. I was a wreck!

I found Hanz Mart, ravaged of Japanese goods by covid-19…Imports from Japan were have been greatly affected. After picking up four items, I settled on two, because one was expired, and the other would soon expire. I took a bottle of ponzu and natto (fermented soybeans).

Natto (fermented soy beans)

When I asked the shop attendant about the whereabouts of the restaurant, she told me it had relocated. What was I to do? I was surely deliriously hungry now. I saw a Mediterranean restaurant. Now, looking back, I should have walked around some more to see all the restaurants. I stepped in, there were not many people there. Well, this is the era of corona, of course restaurants are not bustling with life. I got seated, by the hostess/waitress/server. I quickly looked over the menu, calculated how much I was willing to spend and how tasty it sounded. I ordered the Arayes and baklava. The picture and the actual arayes were not twins, they were more like kissing cousins. It looked and bit dry and actually tasted a bit dry.

When I checked the google map picture of the restaurant’s Arayes meal, it really looked quite different. You can see the onions, tomatoes and maybe parsley, mine was just dark. I forgot how much it cost, but it was not cheap. Anyway, time was running out, so I had to stop eating and get home quickly on public transportation. Let me just add that the service at the restaurant was good. I had no complaints until…

So I ask the hostess for a to-go container, and I informed her that I would have to take my much anticipated baklava to go. I got my container, put my food in, and waited for my JM$800 dessert. It came, and I checked it…

To be honest, I it had to be a joke! I was being charged for sweets that should be given out at the cashier as ‘service’ as the Japanese would say. I was extremely disappointed and in shock. You can see my review on Beirut Mediterranean Cuisine here. I am just still in disbelief. If I had any presence of mind, the dessert would have been refused. You live and you learn. I will not return or recommend this restaurant. I am still hoping for a refund or to hear that it was all a mistake, and “Here’s you baklava.” A foodie can hope.

A few days after that ordeal, I made some curry chicken and had it with rice on one day, and home-made rotis another day. I used the worst part of the chicken. I am sure you guess which part? Yes, you guessed it, the breast. I am so not a fan. The texture killed my curry.

Curried chicken with rotis

So there you have it, a bad dessert experience, a great find, and a somewhat delicious home cooked meal. I have not been out since, but I have another mission next year, so maybe I will use that time to do another solo dining at a favourite restaurant.

Take care, all.

Are you interested?

Quick message.

Are you a foodie who is interested in trying a Jamaican meal?

I just posted, on my website, the recipes (English and Japanese) for a traditional Jamaican Sunday dinner. Please try it, and let me know how it turned out for you. My plans are to write a recipe book…some day…soon.

To Corona or Not to Corona

I am telling you, this is the year of ‘do I have it or don’t I?’. Every time I feel ill, a tickle in my throat, a headache, a cough, a sniffle, tiredness, or no taste to food, I wonder ‘Is this covid-19?’ ‘Should I isolate from my family?’ ‘Will I be the reason for my family member dying?’. I am so paranoid when I have any of these symptoms or if someone has them. It’s like we are in a movie. Who can we trust?! Looking suspiciously at others…well, I do, I’m not sure the others do.

Honestly, I thought I had the virus about eight months ago. I had some of the classic sypmtoms. At the time I was living in Japan. I had been out a lot, working online, but doing volunteer work. Still, I had begun to avoid being around people as much as possible. I had basically become somewhat antisocial with my friends.

Then on…hold on let me check the date I started posting my symptoms on my Instagram…[10 minutes later]…Oh, it was on March 22, 2020. So, I started feeling off some days before. I did what I usually do, that is take care of my health at home. my delicious chicken soup, ginger tea, garlic, vegetables…OTC medicine. When that does not work, I resort to the professionals.

My home remedies did not work. I lost my voice, cancelled my online classes, went to the clinic, was diagnosed with laryngitis, and was given a prescription. Now listen to this! I take my sick self over to the pharmacy (drugstore). Submitted the prescription and my health insurance card…Wait let me type exactly what I wrote on my Instagram:

Why do I have coins in a container? Well, it turns out I have laryngitis. So I went to fill my prescription. While waiting I noticed a pharmacist or assistant pull her mask down, use her hand to rub or wipe her nose. Then she pulled her mask back up and stood there waiting for the next customer. Needless to say, I was horrified, horrified!
I got my prescription, then went to pay for it. Who did I see waiting to cash me out? Ms. Nose-wiper! She took my money and gave me my change. Well, I immediately sanitised my hands!
Now, I’m home, coin purse in the laundry and my coins washed and sanitised. And, drinking some homemade chicken and vegetable soup so I can take my meds!
I went to the doctor with laryngitis, I may have left with Covid-19. Ugh!

So that was it. From that day on, my health went down hill. There was the scratchy throat, the low-grade fever and a bit of coughing. Then a persistent headache, stuffy nose, persistent coughing that robbed me of my ever-loving sleep! The pain in my throat to just swallow. Then one night I really had a fever that was 37.9 degrees celsius (100.2 degrees F). This was on March 25th. The good thing is, think I still had my appetite. For a foodie, for me that’s a good sign. I went to the doctor…a different doctor.

They separated me from the general patients, did a blood test, and prescribed a tonne of medicine. But no diagnosis of covid-19. Mind you this was during a time when Japan was not eager to test anyone. The 2020 Olympics was still on the table… So, draw your own conclusion. This was my feeling six days later:

Day 6: So sick of feeling sick. Feel like no progress has been made. I don’t know which of my current symptoms is worse, the coughing that won’t let me rest, the having to get up to remove stuff off my chest, the occasional blowing of my nose or the need to be medicated so these blimey symptoms would just chill so my body can get the rest it needs to heal. I wish they’d test me so I know if this is really ‘laryngitis’ or covid-19. If these symptoms don’t improve by Monday morning, I’m going to insist on getting that horrid test, so I can know what I’m dealing with.

So of all the things that coud have bothered me in during this sickness, this is what got me! Foodie through and through, right?

Day 7 (I think I’ve mixed my days up): Last night was rough…no, no fever or anything like that. For the 1st in a very long time I had 0 appetite. That worried me. The last time I can remember losing my appetite was when relative said something to me over ten years ago. As a foodie, losing interest in food is a terrible thing. I felt like I was 8 again being forced to eat whatever unpleasant healthy food my grandmother had put in front of me. 
I made it through, I finished the dinner, because it was the only way I could take the meds to calm the symptoms. Of note, I haven’t had a fever since Thursday, and the crazy temperature was only on Wednesday. Anyway, the loss of appetite and coughing bothered so much that I called the covid-19 number… apparently my symptoms don’t really warrant concern. I guess if we weren’t in the era of ‘Covid-19, the pandemic’, I would just think it’s another one of those colds I get each year. I had been pushing myself for about month now, and not getting enough sleep, so, I was bound to get sick. So, what am I going to do? I’m coming after you, rona/cold/flu! Whatever you are, taking away my appetite is my last straw! You are dead! I shall destroy you!

Apparently, a few days later, Iwas feeling better because I posted a video of some pickled or salted lemon peels that I made. These are delicious, by the way. Oh, no, I am wrong. So as I scroll up my Instagram post, I realised that I was still feeling lousy. I want you to also note that during this time I was supposed to work at an English camp where the money had been deposited to my account, and because I got sick and was not sure if I had covid-19, I returned the money. #screamedinmypillow moment, but how could I keep the money when I hadn’t done the job. My post on March 29 was:

Day something: I have stopped counting. I had hoped to see/feel some improvement, but nada, nein, nothing! I had the 2nd week of English spring camp, and I do not think I could risk it for myself or others. At this point, I don’t know if I just have bronchitis or covid-19. While, there’s no cure or treatment for it, at least if one knows, then one can safely stay in to not cause any harm to others. I will call the health ctr responsible for my area to request a test. Ugh! The test is murder! The process is similar to how they test for the flu here – stick something up your nose and scramble your brain around. Well, that’s what it feels like. My symptoms at this point: dry cough, a couple of mornings ago the cough was so violent I almost threw up, actually I did. There’s also pain in the chest from the coughing, but I can feel a heat/pain radiating from the centre out – I feel a little like Iron Man with that thing in his chest. Plus my heartbeat is just been pounding away.
Now, I know that finding out won’t help me because there’s no vaccine, but I think it’s very important for accurate reporting of what’s really going on in Okinawa. I can’t even speculate where I could’ve picked this up from, if I even have it (drama queen much). I was quite busy out doing volunteer work (thankfully solo) 2 weeks ago, plus I was fatigued, which made my health vulnerable… I was still able to do what I love, cook.

Well, I have drawn tthis out long enough. My doctor did give me the letter to take to the hospital for the test, because I INSISTED. When I went to the designated hospital, I was made to wait outside until they were ready for me. They interviewed and ran some tests, except the covid test (what an absolute surprise there). My lungs were X-rayed and blood was drawn. I guess because I had not been overseas or had contact with other foreigners, I was low risk. However, many Japanese HAD the virus, it was already IN the country. So, go figure. #facepalm

I went back to my apartment, and a few days later I began to feel better, but not great. It took a month or two for me to feel as whole as any imperfect human can. Coincidence or covid? I still do not know. So why did I bring this up? Ugh, this is already too long, so I will talk about that another time. Ciao!

‘Sounds Like An Adventurous Move’

Doing a lot since being back in Jamaica. Yes, this covid-19 pandemic has changed the goal post for a lot of people. Some persons have lost their jobs, others are working from home and still others still have job that they go to, but wish they could work from home instead. The cases are rising slowly in Jamaica. As I type this, we have a total (since the first case) of 12,039 cases and 283 deaths. We are ranked 115 among the nations battling the virus.

Overall, Jamaicans are being carefull, but even I am beginning to feel pandemic fatigue. I wonder how many people are experienceig that, and how they are coping with it. I read and listened to the audio on “How to Beat Pandemic Fatigue“, it was very eye-opening and helpful. I promised to pick up one of my hobbies that I haven’t done in a while – reading. I have so many books. As I had mentioned before, I am starting my virtual assitant business (shameless plug, TNJ Virtual Biz). That has been a task, and creating my own website is a learning experience for me.

So, the a few weeks ago I was speaking with an old friend and she said the above title of today’s blog. Why? You may ask. I told her her about my travel hopes before the pandemic showed its true intentions. Travel right? So overrated these days. Let me add, right here, I started writing this blog a week ago, then stopped, wrote and published another one. My mind has really been elsewhere, and it has been hard to focus. Anyway, you may notice that the pattern may seem a bit off…

I do miss the freedom to travel. Every week, I think of being somewhere new and interesting. As you can guess, if I thought about it everyday, how ungrateful would I seem.

Trip to South Korea.

While in Japan, I had said I’d visit South Korea one more time…I never did. I wanted to visit Australia, one of my favourite cricketing countries (I don’t care how my family and other Jamaicans feel about them), to try the food and see the landscape…avoiding the fauna, of course. I also wanted to visit New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam. Did I ever go to those places? No, I did not.

Super-healthy and delish lunch at Garamanju in Okinawa, Japan.

However, I still have the memories and experiences of places I’ve lived in or visited.

I am just going to stop here, because I don’t feel my heart is in this one, but if I pause it again, I may never finish it.

Unhappy or Danger in Your Own Home

Ever felt great discomfort or unhappiness in your own home? For a moment I want to just let out what feels like a knot in my chest. Since I like to express myself in writing and cooking, well, I thought writing would be the best option.

My return from Japan has been a major depress de mode (what does this even mean) for me for months now. I mean full on greyness around me, crying spells, claustrophobia, lack of control (and I like to be in control), moodiness and anger. Sounds about right, right? I put on my face, because that’s what everyone expects. These are the feelings that can be associated with reverse culture shock.

Throw in pandemic protocol, and an unexpected entity, and you have these feelings intensified. So I have had to be dealing with a person (this is the entity) in the home that just contributes to the grey mood for everyone. This is something I have no power to change, and I have adjusted my attitude, or rather I am working on adjusting my attitude to the situation. Still, observing this person being manipulative, aggressive, lying, stealing and making absolutely no improvement in attitude has not been helping the family. No matter what the family does for this person, there is no change. It is such that I sleep with my door locked, and others have on at least one occasion hidden knives because of a ‘fear’ this person may ‘do something’. I am left wondering why this is continuing 6 months in!

So what do I do? I lock myself in my room or I go out of the house to run errands, anything to limit the interaction. Plus, I reminisce about Japan…living alone, in a clean, quiet, healthy environment, free of chaos. I think my mind or mental health is affected by what I perceive as chaos. And, chaos is what I feel I am smack dab in the middle of now. So, there is the feeling of wanting to escape. To escape to anywhere. However, I think I am fairly logical, so I do think and analyse my decisions and feelings over and over. So for now, I am staying put.

What would you do in a situation like this? Now, what would you do if the ‘entity’ is an underage child, NOT an adult? And, what would you do if you were not the decision maker in what to do about or with this child? Visions of the movie ‘The Good Son’ flash in my head. Anyway, I digress. You see we are all dealing with different things, particularly, during this pandemic. Some persons’ situations are much milder than mine, others are exponentially worse. What do we do? Well, if at all possible, get out of it. If we have no power to change it or remove ourselves from the situation, then we have to adjust our attitude towards it until we can find a way…a legal and ethical…way out. Please don’t resort to illegal or unethical solutions.

My trying to adjust includes my faith, so I do what I can, but I pray…a tonne of prayers. Sincere, honest praying Does it help? For me it does. But, for some things one may also need professional help to deal with deeper issues. This pandemic experience may dredge up buried things. It’s like the ‘new norm’ went to a cemetery and dug up several bodies, and now we have got to deal with the stench. I like to analyse myself…my thoughts, reactions and overall behaviour, and try to work on them. I hope persons do the same for themselves. We are living in unusual times.

My post is both my creative rant and message. I will continue to work on me, because that is what I have control over. Take care.

%d bloggers like this: