12 Days of Gratitude: Day 2

I’m taking the last 12 days of the year to celebrate moments that fill me with gratitude. It’s moments like these that helped me fall in love with Jamaica all over again.

February:

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Golie standing in front of London Bar in my community
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Golie getting her hair braided at my school

Lucky me, more visitors! Golie, one of my best friends, came to visit me in Jamaica at the start of February. We celebrated her birthday and Bob Marley’s – they’re on the same day! We made it to more than half of the parishes while she was here and she came with me to school for a few days. The students were enamored with her and kept asking if she was my sister. It felt right to answer, “Yes.” We only fought once! I’m so grateful that my sis shared so much of her joy with me here.

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One of my students and her tower of words
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Getting morning hugs from a student
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Celebrating Black History Month at school

Once 2016 started, it really hit me that the clock was ticking on my time left at school. When I first joined the Peace Corps, two years felt like forever. By the time February hit, I started to hold moments like these even tighter, to show a little more love to my students and pour extra passion into my work. I’m grateful for moments with my students both simple and great. I’m grateful for students like the young girl who opened her heart to me and brought an eagerness to learn with her to every class regardless of how little she progressed. I’m grateful for each of the dozens of hugs I received every day. I’m grateful for their endless curiosity and for the way they taught me patience. I’m grateful for all that they taught me and for the opportunity to teach them.

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Election time!

2016 saw two elections. My first in Jamaica! We saw a power change from one political party to the other. I am grateful that the change was mostly met with peace. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn how Jamaica does politics (with music, of course!).

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Ari, showing off the peanut butter cookies we baked
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Me and Ashrielle. Isn’t she so big?
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Ari and Rilly love playing dress up!
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Ashriell, wearing a headband and my pants as a head wrap
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Walking Ashriell over the hill to school

Ari and Rilly were my partners in crime. They were my shadows. Whatever I was doing, they wanted to do, too. They brought me lots of joy when I was sad and kept me company when I didn’t realize I was lonely. These are just a few of my favorite moments spent with them in February – dress up, play time and baking cookies together. I love them and they are part of me. I’m so grateful that my path led me to them and that we got to spend so much time together.

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Logan and I ready for Valentine’s Day with his host sister Taylor

Oh Logan. What can I say about you that won’t make my readers roll their eyes? This photo was taken right before we left for our first real date. It was Valentine’s Day and we went to a very Jamaican V-day function put on by one of the shop owners in Logan’s community. There was a performance that went way too long and at one point the MC made us kiss on stage. You know, mek di piipl fram farin hembarass demself (make the foreigners embarrass themselves). That was weird. But it was also wonderful. Logan, you make me feel so loved and understood. I’m so grateful that Peace Corps brought you into my life.

“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice.

– Meister Eckhart

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