I joined Jamaicans.com in 1997… unbelievably, fourteen (14) years ago. I was member number 400 and mash (can’t remember exactly now). My motivation was a strong and driving need to reconnect with my people and my culture. After living first in Europe for a number of years and eventually ending up in Maryland, USA – I felt like I needed a shot of Jamaica. Never did I think that Jamaicans.com would be the place that I would meet a romantic interest, much less someone who would ultimately turn out to be my best friend and husband.
He joined the board in 2000 (I think) well at least that was when I first noticed him. First thing I noted was that he had a great sense of humor… and he was a big flirt! LOL.
There was no attraction to him as anything other than a board friend… At that time there was no way to post your pictures on the board as there is now and we used to have picture sharing moments when pictures would fly through email (kinda like the call-a-thons we have today). In order to share pictures people had to exchange email addresses and for the most part, most people participated and it was great fun. (Eventually someone had the grand idea of signing up for one of those family websites to share pics – but that’s another story). Anyway – it was during one of those picture sharing frenzy’s that we exchanged emails and pictures.
For a while we were part of an email group that became a subset of the board and we would interact, laugh and chat with each other as part of that group… additionally we would interact daily on the board. We were platonic board, email buddies for a while, then one day out of the blue I got an email from him that said “so are you ever going to tell me your real name or will I forever know you as Jazz”
Well that sparked a conversation and the next thing I knew – we were having one on one conversations by email, we kept that up a while until one day I had a rough day on the board (I was moderator for Dear K then and let’s just say some people thought the K stood for Kinky and they had some choice words for me after I deleted a post – lawks the board used to HOT dem days deh) so he emailed me and said if I want to talk about it I could call him… I sent him my phone number, he called me, and the rest you could say is history.
We lived in different states so we would spend 3-5 hours every evening on the phone (and this was before the days of free long distance so yuh can imagine how dem phone bill deh used to high! **eek**). Six months after emailing, chatting on the board and via the phone we finally met each other face to face. After the looooong phone conversations I really felt like I already knew him and the meeting was almost a formality, but still had to make sure he was as real in person as he was via phone and email. Also, we did live in different States (3-4 hour drive) and neither one of us was ready to jump into a relationship that could possibly be a dead end due to the distance between us.
So we dated long distance for about 2 to 2 1/2 years – not too serious at first then more seriously as time progressed.
Then he asked me if I would consider moving to his state. It was actually a pretty good time for me to consider moving as I was on the verge of switching jobs. So I started job hunting in his neighborhood and landed something two months later…
I moved with the mutual understanding that we would still just date and see where things took us. (Neither of us was in a hurry and really wanted to take our time)
So we dated for another four years and on December 31st, 2006 – on the stroke of midnight (also the anniversary of the day we first met face to face) he asked me to marry him.
We were married on July 3rd, 2008 and celebrated our third wedding anniversary this year… and eleven years of friendship.
I remember when we started dating and people would ask us how we met – we used to say through mutual Jamaican friends because we were kind of embarrassed to say we had met through an online bulletin board (even though it wasn’t a dating site… back then people thought everybody on the internet was either a stalker or a murderer lol).
It was hard to describe the kind of place Jamaicans.com truly was unless you experienced it for yourself. A stroll down boardlane was an exciting thing – just like walking through a Jamaican district. You have the preachers, the gossips, the food shop, the verandah weh yuh stop and have a nice glass of coconut wata and pop two jokes. The flirting, the local contests, the bickering, who malice who… our own little piece of Jamaica online.
I can’t imagine what life would have been like had we not decided to join jamaicans.com – being with someone who understands you, where you are coming from, with whom you can laugh , and share your culture, a common love of Jamaica and all things Jamaican… well that is the best feeling in the world!
Jamaicans.com – not only gave us each other but a group of the best friends one could ever want in life… these are the friends who have known and supported the friendship almost from day one, the laughter, the tears, the relationship, the engagement, the wedding… they were there every step of the way. They encouraged, cajoled, pop joke afta we and just generally insult we in all the ways real Jamaican friends do… IGLAZ CREW you know who you are – big up oonuself – the best group of friends anyone could ever have, and whom we are proud to call FRIENDS FOR LIFE…
Every day I thank God for giving a man the vision to create a space where we could all come together and celebrate our culture and being Jamaican.
Jamaicans.com provided a place for us to grow as friends and celebrate our love of Jamaica at the same time. To this day it continues to nurture that craving which we have for all things yawd.
Thank you Xavier Murphy!
Jazz and Jahlive