An unexpected bout of homesickness.

Copper Lowercase Letter j A M A Pewter Ransom Font I C The NonScarlet Letter, \"A Buyer\

Here I am in Mexico … and all I can do is think about JA.  It’s nearly a year since my last visit, and that’s really much too long.  Of course, with the loss of funding it’s likely that I won’t be going to Guadalajara in November for the INEA training, so maybe I’ll take that time and go recharge myself.  It’s wonderful here, really, but that’s actually part of the problem.  I’m on the Caribbean coast … but from the wrong angle, from the wrong beach, in the wrong country.  I walked in the surf tonight before coming upstairs to start my homework (that water could not have been more heavenly!), and it felt so much like Jamaica … [sigh].

Yes, you’re right: poor me: hanging out in a gorgeous tropical location instead of hanging out in a gorgeous tropical location.  But, as much as I love Mexico and have had a great time each of the times I’ve been here, it’s not Jamaica, not home.

The day before I left for Mexico, a guy sat down next to me on the bus and began eating one of those little beef patties you can buy all over the place in New York.  I first started eating those things when I worked up at City College in Harlem.  There was a cart run by a nice Rastafarian guy that was at the uptown entrance to the campus, and I’d stop there and pick up a patty on my way to class.  I liked the curry chicken patties best, and I was glad for that cart on days when I was running late.  When I got to Jamaica the first time, I was pretty surprised to find the exact same patties on sale everywhere.  Last year, on my first trip to Negril, I followed the recommendation of one of the carvers on the beach and got a patty at the tiny roadside stand across the street from my hotel.  Great suggestion.  The patties were made fresh with really delicious pastry.  I got curry chicken and lobster … and the curry chicken was delicious.  The lobster was outrageous.  I could eat one of those lobster patties every day for the rest of my life and be a happy woman.

I was definitely spoiled by Miss Sonia and her too-yummy, fresh-made patties.  I get patties here from time to time here, but they just can’t compare.  When that guy sat next to me last Friday and started eating his beef patty, I had such a pang of missing Jamaica.  I want to go to the training in Guadalajara in November, but I have to admit that the idea of going to Jamaica instead is so very much more attractive.

My heart’s still firmly on The Rock, but I’ll settle in and enjoy this here Mayan Riviera (as if that were so difficult).

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7 thoughts on “An unexpected bout of homesickness.

  1. It sounds like you need to start planning your next trip.

    I’m glad you’re enjoying yourself, in spite of the longing to be in a different tropical location. How’s the food?

  2. Mmm … the food is yummy. Well, it’s yummy when I remember to eat. Yes, really. A couple days now I’ve come home from school ready to pass out because I’ve only had a cup of yogurt at 6:30 before getting ready for class and I don’t get back until 3 or 3:30 and I’m starving!

    A few days ago I had a tortilla soup that was the best I’ve ever had. And today I had a ‘sopa de lima’ that was delicious, even if I’m not entirely sure what it was. I’ve been loving all the tamarind water and Jamaica water (not just for the name) available all over the place, and I had a great egg and chorizo torta for lunch the other day. Lots of good stuff to be had around here!

  3. Oh, I ‘ve enjoyed reading these posts from the Mayan Riveria! All I need is something else to make me hungry! No patties in Massachusetts! Homesickness is a profound thing, really. Sometimes we remember a place far differently than how we experienced it.

    Anyway, enjoy!

  4. I’m glad the food is good. Food and travel/place are intimately linked for me. You seem to have similar tendencies. (What with all the talk of patties and homesickness.)

    I hope you remember to eat lunch for the rest of your stay!

    What is Jamaica water, by the way? Some sort of juice?

  5. Yes, food and place are definitely linked for me. And those kinds of sense memories are just so strong. (Sorry to make you hungry, Pat, but I’m glad you’ve been enjoying my Mexican posts!)

    Mmm … Jamaica water. Mexicans make what they call ‘fruit water’ … which is exactly that: some fruit and water run through the blender. You can get watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew … And then there are the other ‘waters’ on offer. There’s Tamarind water, which I really like because it’s just the tiniest bit spicy. And Horchata, which is made from rice, of all things. And then there’s Jamaica water, which is really just Sorrel, but I guess that because the Jamaicans are the ones who are big on making drinks with Sorrel, it gets called Jamaica water here. I love to say it. In Spanish “Jamaica” just sounds really good.

  6. Yes, that’s the plant. It’s the flowers that get used to make the drink, though. The drink is a wine-dark red and you need to add something to sweeten it a bit. I first met it in Brooklyn years ago, and then when I first went to Jamaica and then had the surprise of finding it in Mexico as Jamaica water.

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