Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Gold Medal kind of day!

Each year that we have lived here Renee has been in the Jamaican Cultural Development Commission competition. Art, dance, or her violin. The first year her art won an Award of Merit and the piece went on an island tour. It was on display in cities across the island and then at the end of the tour the pieces go up for sale. Her piece sold, much to my dismay, being new we didn't know the details, I would have purchased it!! On Thursday she was in the second round of her two violin pieces. Her music teacher at school accompanied her on the piano and she played two Jamaican pieces. At the end of the day she received a gold medal for her pieces. Renee said there were probably 50 participants and only 5 gold medals given. Big Day!

...graduation time...

One year ago we were in PA enjoying all the festivities of Ryan's college graduation and this week we began the process for Renee! Renee's Jamaican high school experience is much different than that of a stateside teenager. There are not the events that we all grew up with like yearbooks, proms, special assemblies, and the like but one thing did happen this week that surprised us. On Thursday someone came in to take the graduates pictures. One person robed up and got their picture taken and then the gown was passed to the next person! But at least they had their photo taken with the cape and gown! I am just so happy for Renee. It is a great time in her life for sure...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A RE-DO Kind of Weekend!

This past weekend was one I would love to experience again! It was a "violin" kind of weekend! Renee's school is a "sports" centered school, although it has lovely Christmas programs and such. So many talented students. However in our four years at the school, this was the first "recital" that has been planned and executed. Jamaica has a rhythm/musical culture, lots of musicians, dancers and talented performers but sports take the forefront. This sometimes leaves no platform for the artsy students. Thanks to the music teacher at Belair and the cooperation of the administration, A SHOWCASE OF THE ARTS, was scheduled for last Saturday evening. It was phenomenal, so good in fact, the principle is thinking about an encore performance! Singers, Trumpeters, Violins, Guitars, Recorders,Piano, and a Drum solo were showcased. Renee played "Concerto No.5 in D Major, Op.22,3rd Movement" and she did it successfully. Daddy and I were so very proud of her.
Then on Sunday we rushed from church to go into Kingston for her Jamaica Young People Symphony performance. Calabar is a school in Kingston that was celebrating their centennial with a Musical Performance. It was fabulous! Choirs from all over the island participated. The symphony played 6 pieces, including the school song! It was a great night.
Calabar High School was founded by the Baptists. The first three Olympians from Jamaica were graduates of this school. They won their medals in 1948. Two brothers that designed the Jamaican flag and also wrote the National Anthem are Old Boys of Calabar High School, Phillip and Hugh Sherlock. I love that name, OLD BOYS! Anyone who is from Calabar is called an Old Boy. This picture shows one of the choirs with "chipper chapper" hats!
This picture is the Jamaica Constabulary Choir.
These little drummers are conducted by the man who actually makes each drum and is the teacher.
This picture shows the Nexus Performing Arts Company. They have won many awards.
Some weekends are the best and this was one of them. We are going to take wonderful memories from this country!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

tight squeeze!

There is something so unique about third world countries and that is the way they just fit whatever they are doing in the smallest of places. As we walk downtown, or drive through small communities,even large ones, you come upon legitimate businesses in tight places.

Fruit vendors use the back of their truck, odds and ends are sold in a space on the street real close to where the cars drive, shipping containers are painted pretty and a hole cut in the side for air to sell sweeties and bag juice. Businesses set up shop right on top of the next business. It amazes me.

This little shop made me chuckle, I really need to remember moments like this when we return to the USA. I don't want to forget everything I have experienced and the places I have been.

It is very difficult to find an Internet cafe here in Jamaica, I should say here in our town, maybe it is easy in Kingston and Montego Bay, but here in the country, quite unheard of. When I saw this one, I didn't even notice the beauty shop sign. Really cool what you can do with an unused shipping container!

cum n get it!

I love to have my camera in the car. One never knows what they will come upon. Yesterday we went downtown to get the car appraised for selling and I looked up from my puzzle book and there it was, right in front of me.....dinner!

I'm glad he was nice, he didn't mind his picture being taken!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Grab a Bag Juice!

Here in Jamaica you don't grab a Coke, you grab a bag juice from the market, from the man at the red light, or a beggar boy downtown. It just depends where you are. Usually they are frozen but after a full day pedaling your bag juices they may be liquid by the time you get it!

They come in all flavors. You break the corner with your teeth just like you would a McDonald's ketchup pack! I prefer to use 2 hands or scissors if I'm home!

A Lover's Leap...but we didn't jump!

The other day we did something we haven't done in a very long time! Renee was on school break and we woke up and said, "Today is a beach day!" No work today! We drove the hour to the South Coast, had a great time at the beach, ate pizza and started the ride home. On the way home, we had remembered seeing in the newspaper that Lover's Leap had been refurbished and was open. We drove that direction which is a beautiful drive and indeed the government has opened Lover's Leap once again.

Legend has it that a Mr. Chardley, the plantation owner to over 100 slaves had his eye on one of the slave girls that did her work in the house. Being a "house slave" meant that she smelled prettier, dressed nicer, and had more of a comfortable style of living than the outdoor slaves. Her name was Mizzy. Her slave boyfriend from another plantations name was Tunkey. Mizzy and Tunkey found time to be together and they always met at the same little spot. Mr. Chardley had his spies and whenever the two slaves were together, Mr. Chardley would be informed. Sadly to say, they were betrayed by Mizzy's brother. One day Mr. Chardley told Tunkey that he didn't want him to see Mizzy ever again. If it were to happen Mr. Chardley would beat him and kill him. They did get together and Tunkey indeed was whipped on his naked body but not killed.

Since love cannot be stopped, Mizzy and Tunkey did meet again and suddenly they heard the horses coming and Mr. Chardley's footsteps. Mizzy said to Tunkey, "I would rather die together than live without you." And then they leapt.

Lover's Leap is a 1700 foot drop down to Cutlass Bay. It is absolutely exquisite. The beauty the water and the mountains is just breathtaking. The guide names the trees and points out facts about the flowers. And then you go to a balcony to look out over where the lovers leaped. There are two tree stumps with markings on them to show the actual spot.

There is a lighthouse on the property and it is famous for two reasons. First it is the most recently constructed lighthouse here in Jamaica and secondly it is powered by three sources, generator, electricity, and battery.

I am so very happy we took the time to be tourists.

Monday, April 9, 2012

some pics of the retreat..

The MK office was so gracious to match AJ's plane ticket with Renee's once they hit Miami. This is AJ. So grateful for her. She helped to ease this mommy's mind!

And while she was in the air we were monitoring her trip!

and the best moment of all! She came home!