You know I have loved you for a long time. When other people write about their love for you, they talk about your rich heritage, culture and food.
I’m only going to talk about how I feel when I’m with you. I can’t capture it all in one letter, but I want you to know how much you mean to me.
When I sat down to write this, it made me reminisce back to when we first met. I believe it was around 2002, when I was still a young thang in my 20’s.
With my little bit of tax return money, I was feeling adventurous and decided that I wanted to get away with my boyfriend.
The attraction was there, but it wasn’t love at first sight. My ability to connect was dulled by my summer cold and my uptight, American mood.
However, even in my stuffed up misery, I could not deny your beauty when I gazed upon you during that 1st sunset on the beach in Montego Bay.
You were so laid back, talkin’ about, “Everyting irie, mon!” I wasn’t ready to fully embrace that feeling yet, but the all-inclusive experience was good enough for a second date a year later.
When I returned, I didn’t know how great vacation could be with you until I was completely spoiled by all-inclusive resorts.
Depending on the property, I could be pampered by butler service, spa treatments and have unlimited food and drinks.
The more I trusted that you would take care of me, the more connected I felt.
Our 3rd date wasn’t until 8 years later in Ocho Rios. That was my first butler experience. It was also my 2nd year as a nurse and I was run down!
It didn’t matter how long I stayed away. You welcomed me with open arms.
When we arrived, the butlers offered to unpack our bags, make reservations at the different restaurants on the property, reserve a romantic spot on the beach, chauffeur us around the resort and make arrangements for a driver to explore the town.
It was wonderful to have the roles reversed and to have someone take care of me for a change.
On the last day of that trip, I was so overwhelmed with gratitude that I cried while waiting for our ride to the airport! I didn’t want to let you go.
So when did I really fall in love with you? It was in my 40s, when I began vacationing to the beaches of Negril.
As I started to travel solo there, I realized that I’m a woman that knows what she wants and how to ask for it.
The more I stepped out of my comfort zone and began to stay at local hotels and rental homes, the more I learned about myself.
My confidence grew, I had the ability to socialize on my own and get to know people from all around the world.
Most would have been threatened by my newfound independence, but you nurtured it.
Sweetness, you have been with me through my greatest moments of love and my deepest time of profound misery.
It doesn’t matter if I’m flirtatious, romantic, adventurous, introspective, studious, peaceful, rich or poor; you take me as I am.
I can come to you when I need to figure out my life or celebrate it! Even if I only have a couple of pennies, you will say come on home and make sure I’m well fed. If my money is right, you show me how to be pampered like a goddess, if I so desire.
Whether I am by myself, with my boo, my family or friends, you just want me to come and enjoy your sandy beaches and calm seas.
People shed their multiple layers when they are in the comfort of your arms. They peel back their responsibilities of work, worries and weariness.
You give them safe passage to experience their joys and passions. You let them know it’s alright to let go and have fun.
When I take a break from life, 9 times out of 10, I’m heading to you. My friends will say, “You’re going to Jamaica, again???” Blushing, I just smile and nod. In turn, they smirk and laugh!
Everyone that knows me knows about our love affair.
Most of all, you have awakened a love of travel in me that I never knew before. Because of my experiences with you, you make me want to explore more of the world!
Just know that no matter where I go or who I’m with, I will always come home to you.
Jamaica, you will always be my first love.