Christine, our international student, is back in Jamaica from her studies and gives us some insight on how she is adjusting.
Culture

The Christine Report "Adjusting"

I’m sitting here today wondering how things have changed so dramatically for me in the past 7 years. Back then, I would roll out of bed half an hour before class started on a warm day, or not at all if I could see that the weather was not conducive to waking up. Snuggled warm in bed was preferable to getting up and hitting the cold floor. For four years in Canada I did that and the only similarity between then and now is that I had to wear shoes then, with socks. Four years of wearing shoes, no boots, and big heavy socks and layers of clothing. But it also came with good friends, laughter and having fun. That seemed to be the mainstay in the seven years I’ve been away from home.

Then came the two years I spent in Barbados. Gone were the shoes, thank God, and I was able to go back to slippers which invariably gave me a couple of extra minutes in my sleep schedule. I don’t think I actually owned any close-toed shoes while I was there. I did, however, have three pairs of sandals, for various outings. There were the sandals for the beach, daily sandals to wear to class which were sometimes replaced by the beach sandals and of course the dressy pair. I knew they were the dressy pair because like all dressy shoes they hurt my feet. This was the two years that I got to see the kind of life I wanted to lead. Professors walking around the building barefoot, I learnt how to SCUBA dive and I sculled class one day to hop on a boat because I heard a dolphin had been seen in that area a week before. Who cares about the fact that dolphins move on a regular basis, one had been sighted there. Sadly, I did not get to see one but I was hit on the head by a pole getting out of the boat so there was some excitement after all. I even got to travel to Negril and the Turks and Caicos Islands with my boyfriend for six weeks at a time to SCUBA dive “for my thesis” and it was there in Turks that I finally saw my dolphin. Never mind that the weather was too rough to dive, it wasn’t too rough to jump overboard and try to spend some time with a wild dolphin that had a history of trying to kill people. Life was good, I couldn’t complain except a stupid dog ate my dressy pair of sandals in Turks and now I only have two. Let’s not forget the actual writing of the thesis which really didn’t require changing out of my pajamas and the only problem with staying in the apartment to do that was CBC. Now, I don’t know if any of you have ever watched Barbados’ national television station but I think there should be more to it than the 1980s version of Days of Our Lives. Sammy was a baby and Jennifer was in high school. It makes you wonder if Days of Our Lives was the only job they could get and you get to laugh at their clothes. Did you know Carrie used to be force ripe? Anyway, after months of watching only this had to be remedied and we installed cable. I knew what my priorities were.

But that was then and this is now. The sandals are still here but rarely get worn because I have to work and wear shoes that hurt my feet. I am once again, as I was in Canada, locked in buildings with air conditioning and no windows watching other people go out on boats. That is no longer a part job requirements. Just today I watched two friends go to Mobay, to the sea, while I stayed. No worries, for I think I’ll have to find a way to make it a job requirement as well as mandatory to wear sandals. I don’t think they’ll allow pajamas any time soon but I’ll work on it. It’s been a little difficult adjusting to being at home and not being as independent as I used to be, as I’m sure it’s difficult for my parents to realize that I’m not 17 anymore and can’t be told what to do but we’re working on it. I would, however, like to know if anyone has a croaking lizard remedy I can use for I must get them out of my house, that, I would appreciate greatly.

About the author

Christine