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5 Tings from Jamaica🇯🇲

Just returned from a beautiful vacation in Ochos Rios, Jamaica! Yeh Mon!!! It was truly a dream come true!!!! As I spent a week immersed in a rich culture with people who look like me, I certainly picked up a few things. As I spent time observing, listening and probing, I experienced so much joy and love. I want to share 5 Things I was reminded of during my incredible vacation.

1. There is BEAUTY in everything- During my beautiful Jamaican baecation, it rained non-stop for two days. While here in the US, the rain can often be depressing and mood dampering. It slows down people, cities, and all things that would normally occur fast-paced and with action. On a beautiful, tropical island such as the Caribbean, the rain was breathtaking and exhilarating. As I sat on the balcony of our beachfront suite, I couldn’t help but notice how beautifully the rain illuminated the scenery before me. Palm trees swayed, the waves crashed against the rocks and soaked deeply into the sand. There was so much life going on. Life didn’t shut down, people were still walking with umbrellas and enjoying themselves. It was the same thing off the resort and in the city. I literally climbed a waterfall in the rain and it was packed with people. Moods weren’t altered, the land smelled of lush greenery and everything was alright. There is is indeed beauty in life, beauty in everything and beauty in the rainfall that occurs.

2. We are ALL connected-As I travel to other countries and places, I am huge on interpreting the energy that these places give off (ask me about my NOLA story). Jamaica is truly an island full of LOVE, culture and connectedness. The people are not only kind but they’re absolutely proud of their heritage and culture. They live amongst each other peacefully while embracing their individual differences. As we arrived at our resort, we were greeted with “Welcome Home” by several people. At that very moment I was unaware of how “at home” I felt there. I felt so (soulfully) connected to our people. I could easily say this as an African-American woman but I honestly feel like “other” tourist feel the same. It’s the people and the energy of love and connection they effortlessly give off. As I immersed myself in various conversations with the locals, I always felt as if I’ve just shared a conversation with a distant relative. It’s truly something powerful to experience. I love our people!

3. You are what you EAT- As if we don’t already know this, right? The diets of others in other places will surely point out your very own poor eating habits. The food was absolutely amazing. I mean I am completely jerked out but being able to enjoy some of the freshest food was nothing but pure bliss. Lean meat, veggies and fruit was always the staple. My favorite dish was of course the lobster and greens. As we step into this new year, let’s all commit to making some new changes in our diets. Cutting out processed sugars and drinks and replacing it with tons of fresh fruits and veggies and we're certain to change our energy levels. I know why everyone was so happy and polite...they were high off of life and void of the “processed junk” that we consume more than enough. You are what you eat, so be FRESH (get it..LOL).

4. Have fun with your FRIENDS- As if the locals there weren't already extremely nice and happy, they were also having some of the BEST fun. We noticed that our resort staff, the entertainment team and all the people who worked there, absolutely loved being amongst each other. They were just as turnt up as we were. I mean from dancing, singing, drinking, eating and simply enjoying each others company. This island full of love and hope and prosperity was also a constant reminder to “have fun and laugh often”.

5. Don't ever stop BUILDING- Jamaicans are thee ultimate grinders! Despite their circumstances, they go hard in the paint. From fruit stands on the side of the road, to herds of goats, souvenir shops, jerk chicken shacks and everything in between, the grind never stops. While many were business owners and out to sell their goods, others worked in agriculture, transportation, farming and hospitality. As we walked through the CraftsMarket (with tons of vendors), we were bombarded with persuasive lingo and calls. I got so many “hey my beauty, come see my shop” or “hey, beautiful girl, come on in”. While very intriguing, I’m also from Detroit and I know about boundaries (I ain’t coming inside no dark corners bruh). What I noticed most was the hustle of it all. Despite whatever the economy is going through, despite what we currently lack, I’m going to get out here and grind and make a way. This was the mentality. Dreamers don’t sleep, they keep building. My entire stay was truly an experience like none other. I can't wait to return Fall 2019!!

Until next time,

Peace & Sweet Dreaming,

Kiylise Crutchfield, Chief Dream Engineer

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