So we’ve found ourselves in a bizarre scenario. I have imagined myself well into the future telling tales of 'the year the world stood still' and can’t help but wonder just how much of an impact the COVID-19 pandemic will have on our future. A Jamaican proverb I live by is "tun yuh hand and mek fashion" -- which can be equated to the more commonly-known saying 'when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.' How incredible are we as humans? We adapt, we thrive, we fall, we repeat!
For peace of mind, I have used this time in quarantine as an opportunity to reconnect with my Caribbean culture. Since traveling is out of the question we can still pretend we’re on an island…right? Here, I'll share with you the 5 ways I am re-connecting with my roots that you can try during this period of isolation.
1. Acquire New Knowledge
Put your phone down, get comfy by a window, and open a book. I realized my bookshelf needed a makeover when I found myself reading the Alchemist for the third time. I decided to start ordering used books online. I am thoroughly enjoying How to a Love Jamaican, by Alexia Arthurs. It’s actually a book of endearing short stories that take you through several experiences of Jamaican and its global diaspora. It’s so refreshing to learn that many of the experiences I have had and the stories I have been told, are not completely unique to me because out of many, we really are one people.
It's also a great opportunity to learn more about ourselves by reflecting on the trips (big or small) that we've taken for granted and planning out our next adventures. The BVOY (Best Version of Yourself) Journal co-written by Jo and Jen is a travel notebook with built-in prompts for before, during, and after your trip. Just because we can't go anywhere now doesn't mean we shouldn't plan for it.
2. Create Your Version of At-Home Chic
Zoom calls have become the norm, and I can't lie… pajama bottoms are everything. But up top, I like to present who I am through jewellery and home aesthetics. My home office is full of greenery, artwork, and natural sunlight to keep me in good spirits. Plus, wearing jewellery that holds sentimental value and cultural significance reminds me of my roots.
3. Self-Care Everyday
As we are wearing little or no make up these days (or most of us anyway), I have really been taking care of my hair & body. I’ve come to really appreciate Ivy Wild which has been continuously surprising me with new goodies. They’re Hydrating Shampoo and Moisturizing Conditioner set is rich in Argan Oil and Castor Oil, a quintessential Jamaican favourite and has quickly become staples in my #WashDay routine.
4. Foodie Fun
One thing I admire about my heritage is our innate resourcefulness; Jamaicans have an amazing ability to turn what looks like nothing into something great, all while making it look easy. Visiting my grandparents in the Jamaican countryside and using the earth’s provisions to do life is something I deeply miss. So, I do what I can here. Items I must ALWAYS have on hand are Blue Mountain Coffee (The package I brought back from my last visit just finished. I’m gutted..), condensed milk to put in the coffee, and Jamaica’s Poster Child, Wray and Nephew Overproof Rum, which, technically can also be added to coffee (lol).
The list goes on including limes, scotch bonnet peppers, mangoes, ripe plantains -- which one can never have too many of, and flour for dumpling (is anyone else struggling to get their hands on a bag of flour right now?).
If you haven’t guessed it yet, I deeply love food. Here are a few recipes to get you started:
- ‘Cook Like a Jamaican’ is my go-to youtube channel for authentic recipes. I love it because of how special it is to see a Jamaican mum and daughter sharing their love for the Island’s cuisine. No measurements in sight. Get ready do dash a pinch of this and a handful of that.
- Chef Ricardo has a great recipe for a traditional mood-boosting Jamaican smoothie called ‘Strong Back’. It’s an amazingly rich, creamy, nutty concoction.
- This recipe holds a big place in my heart! If you're as tired of banana bread as I, you'll love this really simple recipe for Jamaican Banana Fritters.
It goes without saying, that Caribbeans love their music. It pumps ubiquitously through the islands like oxygen. I love that listening to the right song at the right time can completely take hold of your mind, body and soul. For your pleasure, the Y+P Team has compiled a playlist of beachy island vibes from the global diaspora on Spotify called CUPPA SUGA - Diaspora Sounds.
I hope you have fun with my suggestions. Feel free to share your sources of motivation or your next travel destination in the comments section below!
With Love & Discovery,