A Year In Review

Another year has come and gone.  It has been a very busy year for me.  Life has been anything but boring since I retired to Jamaica.  The year began with my having tendonitis of the left knee which made it impossible for me to drive my standard transmission car.  Try as I might, I just couldn’t teach my wife how to use the clutch.  The alternative was to purchase a newer car.  This led to my February article about my new car.  What a blessing this new one has been.  We now travel in comfort with cool air conditioning wherever we go.  It has also stopped the bickering between us about my driving ability.  Actually, my driving is fine, but my wife needed the feeling of control behind the wheel.  This works out great for both of us.  She gets control and I sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.  The best part is no more bickering!  An added benefit of this new car was that I sold my old car for the same amount of money for which I purchased it six years ago. 
In March, I answered the many questions about shipping a car along with your goods when you make the move to Jamaica.  As much as  it’s been said that a man can love his car more than his wife this is definitely the time that man and his car should be separated.  It is just plain practical to leave “Bessie” behind and start over for both financial (freight and duty), and safety (we drive on the left) reasons.  It would also be expensive to obtain parts for anything other than a Japanese car.
For the past two years, I have written articles on the Jamaica Christian School For The Deaf (JCSD).  This school has become near and dear to both my wife and I.  It is truly amazing how normal these boys and girls are except for their hearing loss.  The school is staffed by some of the most dedicated people we have ever met.  The building of the Vocational Trade Center is well on its way, thus enabling the graduating students a chance to learn a trade to become worthwhile and productive members of society.  This past year my wife and I were proud to become members of the board of directors of JCSD. 
In 2008 there was an increase in the number of people wanting to make Jamaica their home.  The ages of the enquiring people ranged from young couples to retired folks.  All of their needs and desires were different from each other except for the attraction to this beautiful island and its friendly people.  As many of them found out, there are far more pitfalls moving to a third world country than moving across town or across the country.  Employment was the biggest drawback for the younger ones.  Unemployment is very high with all jobs being offered to the Jamaicans first.  Should they be successful in finding a position that a local could not fill, the fees for work permits have nearly doubled.  The easiest transition is for the retired person with financial stability.
Two of the areas I wrote about are work permits and building a house.  Two other articles dealt with self evaluation to see if you could look past the beauty of the island, the weather, and its people to see what the real Jamaican culture is about.  One really has to take their time before making a decision to give up all they had for this unknown.  It took us several years after the initial pull of this hypnotic country to assure ourselves that this was the right thing to do.  I have been very happy these past six and a half years with my life in Jamaica.  One of the things I like most is the relaxed way of living.  Don’t get me wrong, life is not stress free but it is a lot easier to live with than back in the hustle and bustle of Boston, MA.
The past few months I have given you a closer look at what my day to day life is all about.  My retirement has been far more involved than sitting in a rocking chair on the veranda sipping rum and pepsi all day.  My life is as full as it can be without all the stress.  I still deal with everyday problems but they don’t seem as upsetting as they would be back in Boston.  I’m sure not being gainfully employed with a mean boss looking over my shoulder has helped me mellow out too. 
One of my joys is writing for Jamaicans.com.  It has enabled me to express myself in ways I never knew possible.  The rewards I get from being able to answer the many questions from my readers far exceeds the time in doing so.  Even better than that is the many of you I have met in person.  Some of these meetings have produced many good and faithful friends.  For all these blessings, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I am looking forward to the coming year when I can meet and help more of you.  God bless you all.  Later..

About the author

John Casey