If you’re like me, you’ve had countless debates with your Jamaican-born family and friends that “you’re not really Jamaican because you weren’t born there.” Well, if one or both of your parents were born in Jamaica, and you were born in China, Timbuktu, Guam, or anywhere outside of Jamaica, you can officially obtain Jamaican citizenship and a Jamaican passport from the Consulate General of Jamaica, and even represent Jamaica in the Olympics. So no more debating, you are Jamaican. Fact is fact.
For the millions of us from around the globe who are of Jamaican descent, there are at least 9 ways we can all relate to growing up as descendants, further solidifying our “Jamaican-ness.”
1. Switching to Jamaican Patois
When your parent(s) got mad at you as a kid they suddenly switched to speaking Jamaican patois and you understood every word!
You know what “food” means when it’s ordered on the side of your ackee and saltfish. (Food = banana, yams, and fried or boiled dumplings).
3. No Street Clothes on the Bed
You know not to sit on the clean bed with your “dutty” street clothes. Why, because your house clothes are separate from your street clothes, and once your street clothes hit the outdoors (clean or dirty) they should not touch the bed.
4. Jamaican National Anthem
When Usain Bolt won all those gold medals but you didn’t know the words to the Jamaican national anthem. Kudos to you for knowing the chorus though.
5. Shipped to Jamaica for the Summer
You got sent to Jamaica for the summer to stay with your grandma (or relative) except you never went to the beach because it was too far, and no one else knew how to swim.
6. Chicken Soup Saturdays
On Saturdays chicken soup was slow cooking in the kitchen whether it was winter, spring, summer, or fall (followed by stew chicken on Sundays).
7. Cold and Cough Remedy
Your parent(s) tried to treat your cold and cough with a mixture of white rum, honey, and a twist of lemon or lime. (That’s after Buckley’s or Ferrol didn’t do the trick, Blah).
8. Condensed Milk
You pronounced condensed milk with the accent in the wrong place, CONdensed instead of conDENSED. This was always in the fridge to add to tea or a hot bowl of corn flakes.
9. Oxtail and Rice
When your mom made oxtail and rice and your friends were staying over for dinner after playing outside, you felt just a little embarrassed.