28 July 2008


We're an hour away from anything: internet, grocery store, hardware store, etc. You name it and we don't have it. BUT, I believe we're in the most beautiful part of Jamaica. Here are a few shots. I've been writing, but I'll post those later. Suffice to say, you won't see us on the internet much. However we just found a Marina in town that has wi-fi that it's going to give us for free so that rocks.

We'll be back in Kingston next week for the week and then back here for 2 weeks (and then back to Kingston for a week and back here for good).

Anywho, later. (These are all in our front yard, except for the waterfall. That's down the road and my first project is to build steps to it.)

(that's junior. he's the 4yr old we live with. what a pill.) (jess is making a funny face. i'm not sure.)

(that's our "dad," Donovan)

(those are the Blue Mountains)

It's so dark out where we are. The stars shine like I haven't seen in a long time. This is a 5min & 15min shot I took outside the house while we hung up laundry.

Also, we need movies! We live with a four year old and all he watches is Dora the Explorer, so we need something else for him (meaning something that WE like to watch too) (I'm thinking Pixar stuff and whatnot). AVI files on a DVD (that's what their player reads). Send them freely. Blockbusters/Action and kids stuff. That and music. I'll put the address up later.

17 July 2008

We Are Here

View Larger Map

So this is where Jess and I will be for a while (I have the actual address but not on me). We're in the mountains. More specifically I believe we're in a valley. Needless to say, we're going to be rural. Big time. I think we're excited about it. It will be cooler up there, but I'm anticipating not having internet for... well, I can't imagine there's internet up there. Not sure about there. So go ahead and expect to not see us online for two weeks. We'll be up there for the next two weeks and then we come back here to our current dorms. I'm nervous and super excited.

The bottom line is that there's no reason to doubt this any more than we've doubted anything else. God's got it under control. So maybe we won't have internet, things could be worse. We've got electricity and water (possibly running?). I'm no more excited or nervous than I would be if they told me I was going to the beach. (Well, maybe a touch more :) )

So anyway, you might not see us on here much for a couple weeks. But we'll be back... for a week. Our phones should work though. You can dial it just like a long distance number (i.e. there's no country code).

Josh: 1 (876) 368-6685
Jesse: 1 (876) 368-6579

Inside the Actor's Studio: Hellboy

Billy sent me this the other day. Hilarious...

12 July 2008

How a Jellyfish Sting Feels

We went to the beach today. It was fun. The sand was nice and we threw a lot of frisbee.

However, during my stay in the water, I was struck by a sting. I was standing in the water and all of the sudden I felt an intense shock to my ankle. I believe this sting to have been delivered via jellyfish. Now, I don't want to understate how this sting felt, so I'm going to lay it out like it was. Two words best describe it:

holy shit.

Aside from some internal rupture or breakage, this was the most intense pain I've ever felt. For about 5min, it absolutely burned like hell. Like something was continually stabbing me with needles. Thankfully it got better after 5 or 10min. And it's okay now. But seriously. It was the most intense non-lethal pain I've ever felt. Unbelievable.

(HINT: It's the red mark that looks like a Wu-Tang symbol.)

11 July 2008

My Day in the Jamaican Environment

I wake up and get in the shower. The shower isn’t hot or luke warm. It’s cold. It’s very similar to a garden hose coming out of the wall. I’ve grown accustomed to it, but it still takes my breath away some mornings. It’s really an exercise in controlling your breathing; like running or something, if you let it get away from you you’ll struggle through it. (It helps if you try and think about your day and not the cold water.) I get out and dry off (although I don’t stay dry for long). Then I get dressed and head out to breakfast. Breakfast generally consists of some combination of rice and peas (beans), some sort of saltfish, toast, maybe a fruit, some cornbeef medley, and callaloo (some sort of spinach-type greenery). The food is obviously different than what I’m used to but it’s actually pretty good. I mean, rice and beans and fish? And fruit? Yes please. So I feel like we’re eating well.

(This is our dorm. Kind of looks like shipping crates.)

After breakfast we either go to a training seminar, language class, or a health sector class (because Jess and I are in Environmental Health Sanitation). So from 9 to 12 (with a 15min break in there somewhere) we sit in a class and learn as much as possible. Then we eat some lunch. This is either a patty (essentially a better version of a hot pocket) or a peanut butter & guava jelly sandwich (from supplies we purchased). After then it’s back to class for 4-5 hrs and then dinner (which is remarkably similar to breakfast). For some reason, the sun goes down here around 6:30. 6:30! We’re at sea level. How can that be?? Anyway, it’s totally dark by 7:30. I didn’t expect this.

The real kick in the pants with this whole thing is that it’s all outdoors. Imagine getting ready for a church-like situation and then going to 8hrs of class, but the whole thing is carried out in open-air buildings in the middle of summer. It’s tough. It’s tough physically and mentally. I wear khakis, a button-up shirt, and leather shoes from 7am to 7pm. Then I take another cold shower before I go to bed. I can’t wait any later than 7:30 to shower because the water in our building shuts off around 8pm and stays off till 5:30am. Not to sure about why that is. Then, every other night we get the fan in our room. The oscillating fan makes a HUGE difference. It makes noise and it keeps the warm air moving. It’s awesome. Unfortunately, tonight is not our night for the fan. We share it with Dave and Molly (the married couple from Denver) (they’re good roommates).

(This was our sweet hotel room at the Westin in Maimi.)

On top of all this, we have a TON to read and learn. Like, ridiculous amounts of info to absorb. Virtually everyone in Jamaica speaks English fairly well, however, they also speak Jamaican Creole (commonly referred to as Patwa). At first the language seems like broken English; like the person who documented it had no idea how to write English but only speak parts of it. However, as you learn more and more about it it starts to take on serious complexities and can be as confusing as English at times. The language is starting to grow on me (unfortunately, I generally feel like a doofus speaking it because I don't understand it and end up just talking in a Jamaican accent). These days are very busy and rather exhausting. But they make me super excited to get out into our community.

(Flying from Maimi to Kingston I got the window seat!)

It should also be said they we’re sharing this time with an amazing group of trainees. Everyone is so motivated and determined to do their best. They’re intelligent and fun and all together make up quite a resume of travel and experience. I’m honored to be a part of group 79.

10 July 2008

The Day I Couldn’t Photograph

Saturday we finally went into Kingston. For the last week, all we’ve talked about is how dangerous Jamaica is and how careful you have to be and what to do if something awful happens. Not that none of this is warranted, mind you. Last year Jamaica had the 2nd highest murder rate in the world. However, the majority of this is due to drug and gang violence. So in a sense, it is a very dangerous place, but in another, it’s not so bad if you’re careful.

So after days and days of scaring the crap out of us, we get to go downtown. I was nervous. Really nervous. I didn’t bring wallet or bag or even a camera; just some cash and my cell phone. The funny thing was, as we got closer to downtown, I started feeling more at ease. (We’ve been living at a school and the only people we’ve seen so far have essentially been us (and the Jamaican staff). ) When we finally got out of the taxi and started walking around I just felt this huge sense of relief. “Wait a sec, not everyone on the street here seems to have a gun pointed at me. How bizarre!” In fact, most people didn’t seem to care at all that I was there on the sidewalk. It was lovely. Now I know lots of people DID notice us, but the majority did not care one bit.

We spent the next 2hrs walking and bussing around Kingston. We stopped for some Jamaican patties (which are kind of like hot pockets with fresher ingredients). Then we went through this giant market that would’ve looked incredible from a plane, I think. It was made up of huge dilapidated warehouse structures and little shacks with tarps covering every walkway. They had fruit, clothes, pirated DVDs, etc. You name it; they had it. It was quite a sight. Thousands and thousands of people filled the streets and shops. Just going every-which-way. You just made a path and went for it and somehow it all worked. There were cops is riot gear at every intersection. It was like something out of a movie. We finally got out of the market and took a bus and taxi home. It was fun.

All in all, the day really put some fears to rest. Again, I know this place isn’t the safest, but not every Jamaican is out to get us. In fact, they’re an extremely warm group of people. They’re very outgoing and very anxious to help you. Very cool.

09 July 2008

Keeping Up with Me/Us

Hey guys

Okay, so Jess and I both have our own blogs, but we also have a Peace Corps blog. I'm afraid if I don't make a disclaimer I may lose 3 or 4 of my 15 readers and I just can't afford that. SO... Let's do this...

I'm going to start posting most of my Peace Corps related things over on our "Welcome to Jamerica" blog. However, most everything right now is related to our Peace Corps service so for a little bit I'm probably going to be posting more on the Jamerica blog than on this one. I'm going to give that a whirl and see how it goes. I might change back.

BUT I don't want to lose any readers by my lack of posting here, so if you would (and haven't already), just add this/both blogs RSS feeds to whatever reader you have. Then you don't have to check back and get disappointed everytime there's no new posts (and you'll instantly know when I post to either).

The RSS feed is the little "wi-fi" looking button up in the address bar (or you can find it in the column to the left). If you can't find it, just ask someone younger than you where it is and what the crap I'm talking about.

Okay... Thanks a lot. Posts and pictures to come. I promise.

UPDATE: Wordpress's picture-posting-thing has frustrated me for the last two days so I'm not going to bother with it. It's taking me too long to try and switch over and I'm wasting what little time I have on the internet trying to learn. So yeah, I'm gonna stay here for now. I'd still add our RSS feeds, but here's where you find me. The Worpress blog is still going to run at full speed but Jess will be handling the majority of it as she has thus far. Thanks.

03 July 2008

We're Here

...And I'm more than slightly overwhelmed. we got up at 4 this morning and headed out to the airport. Honestly, it's like going to college again and I'm the noob. (I HATE being the noob!)

But seriously, it's very pretty here. We don't have AC, hot water, or running water from 8pm to 5am, but we have wi-fi outside our dorm. So I'm sitting out in the grass checking my email. Go figure.

And I haven't stopped sweating yet. I hope my body adjusts. Otherwise, I'm in for a long 2yrs.

Happy 4th.