You thought you were done with this blog, didn’t you? Ha! No! No, you’re not!
I don’t know where God will take it from here, but I hope you can spend a few more weeks with me. That’s because I’m going back to Jamaica in a roundabout way; JEXIT is an indirect endeavour, so please stick with me on my travels for a little longer.
As I was planning JEXIT, I was thinking about all the people I want to see on my way back to Jamaica. Plus, as with birthdays, my nuclear family doesn’t really make a big deal about Christmas – I’m usually the Christmas-crazy one, since I love it so much – and I don’t want to have a boring Christmas like I did last year. Also, I want to set the tone for my new year by beginning in the way in which I would like it to unfold – travelling. With all that in mind, I gave myself a few weeks to meander my way back to Jamaica. So when I left Jakarta last Saturday, I didn’t jump into a big transatlantic adventure.
Jakarta is less than 2 hours by plane from Singapore and that’s where I headed for my first JEXIT stop. Remember that back in July when I was planning my 2-week vacation, I had to stop in Singapore to get my new visa for Indonesia. But, being a city, I didn’t expect it to be anything special so I didn’t give myself enough time to explore it. Lo and behold, I really liked the place. So I had resolved that on my way out of Southeast Asia, I would stop in Singapore again to give myself a proper chance see the sights. Also, I’ve kept in touch with The Jamaican pilot and his family, and when I told them that I was planning on stopping over for a few days on my way out, they invited me to stay a little longer than I had originally planned, and to actually stay with them for the duration of my visit.
On JEXIT morning, Toto and I left the centre before the sun was even a glimmer in the sky, and the coolness of the night had not yet burned off the city when I was flying out of Jakarta. I didn’t cry on the plane; instead, I slept for about an hour and a half then spent the last few minutes of the flight contemplating the last year of my life. As tired as I was, and having slept for only about 4 hours the night before, I was glad to get that short rest.
The Jamaican pilot and his wife picked me up from the airport right on time, as promised, and took me back to their place, where their lovely daughter welcomed me as warmly as they did at the airport. We spent the afternoon having lunch (pizza! That tasted like pizza! Also, basil lemonade – delicious and refreshing), admiring the Singapore skyline from atop Marina Bay Sands, and seeing a little of the downtown area.
Later in the evening, the pilot’s wife and I went for a walk in a nearby park. As we walked, we chatted and bonded. As it was back in August when I met her for just a few hours in the Singapore airport, it wasn’t like I was meeting someone new; it was like catching up with an old friend. They made me feel so comfortable and welcome in their home, and I said a special prayer of gratitude as I lay my head down on my pillow that night.
I was grateful for so much on my first JEXIT day: the outpouring of love I had received as I prepared to leave Jakarta; the warm welcome from the pilot’s family; their generosity in welcoming me into their home; the clean floors of their house, where I could walk barefooted and my feet stayed clean; the hot shower I had before bed; the western toilet; the very comfortable bed; the air conditioning; the critter-free environment; the relative quiet of the city.
The first day of JEXIT was a nice, easy day filled with travel, food and the company of new friends. The most important thing that happened that day was that I was reminded of all the things that I hope never to take for granted again in my life. All in all, JEXIT has gotten off to a pretty good start.