Wednesday, July 15, 2009

May 31

Sunday was scorching hot, but somehow it was still a beautiful day. The sky was blue and there were enormous fluffy clouds; the kind of clouds you wish you could take a nap on. We all slept in a little later than usual and when we woke up Tevaughn was there. Tevaughn is the cook's, Ms. Pauline's, son. Tevaughn is such a cute little boy and I really wanted to hang out with him. He was a little shy and he made me work for his attention, but soon enough we were drawing fish and rainbows and playing hide and seek in the yard. I couldn't get over how adorable he was. We played all day while everyone else did their school work. I probably should have been doing work also, but who wouldn't rather play with a six year old for the day?

After running around all morning, Blacka summoned me over to the fence. He told me the funeral starts in about an hour and that he is calling a taxi to pick us all up. With that he handed me a drink and told me to go get ready. Figuring out what to wear was difficult because I really had no idea. Blacka said, "wear whatever" but you can never trust boys to tell you how to dress. So, I put on pants and a tank top and sweater and asked Ms. Pauline and Hyacinth if it was appropriate. They said I really could wear just about anything, but no matter what, my shoulders should be covered. I felt uncomfortable at first, knowing that I was going to a funeral and wearing white pants and blue shirt, it felt so wrong to not be in black.

We walked over to Blacka's yard and met his friend Bawfi who was also attending the ceremony for Germaine Fyffe. Blacka and Bawfi looked completely different from how I have ever seen them. They were dressed in their best clothes and they definitely put my outfit to shame. We all walked to the main road and Blacka told us his friend would give us a ride. He had to go somewhere before the ceremony so he said he would meet us there. Now Alex and I felt really uncomfortable. We were complete outsiders crashing this man's funeral. Everyone kept reassuring us that that wasn't the case, but we had a hard time looking past our own customs and recognizing this new culture's practices. We also felt uncomfortable because Blacka's friend was driving us to the funeral in a BMW. Obviously BMWs aren't the norm in Jamaica and I just felt like I was trying to show off or something. Blacka reassured us that we weren't imposing or being rude and then closed the car door behind us.

We arrived at the funeral and felt really out of place. Not only were we obviously not locals, we were still feeling bad because we didn't know this man and we only knew his young daughter as of last night. We linked up with a friend from the nine night the night before and he kept us company most of the time. We didn't want to restrict him from talking to his other friends, so we worked up the nerve to just do our own thing. Most of the time I stood back and studied everyone's dress. All the men looked ridiculously gorgeous in their Sunday best and the ladies were all in dresses and high heels. Some of the ladies were dressed conservatively while others looked like they were goin' clubbin. I really couldn't get over how classy all the men looked; I was content with just standing and starring at all of them.

When the ceremony started, we walked around the side of the church and stood by the open windows. The church was packed and there were people crowded near every window. The ceremony seemed more joyous than the funerals I've been to. I also realized that I may be thinking its joyous because I don't have a strong connection with the deceased, but all the songs were sung with such a spirit that you had the feeling everyone was celebrating a life instead of mourning a soul. When we were outside the window, someone tapped Alex and I on the back; it was Germaine's daughter. We exchanged hugs and then we talked for a little. Of course she was terribly sad, but when we showed her the surprises we brought her I think she cheered up a little bit. The night before we were asking her what her favorite treats were and on our way to the service we stopped at the gas station and bought her a ton of candy. I also gave her my pin that Blacka gave to me. All the friends of Germaine made pins in his honor that depicted their friend and his date of birth and death. After we hugged her goodbye, we spotted Blacka across the street.

It turns out the item he had to stop for before the service was rum. All the men were across the street drinking rum and coke while the service was being held. Alex and I were the only two females and again we worried that we were being disrespectful. After voicing these concerns, Blacka basically said that I'm crazy and worry too much and he got me a drink. So we chatted with all the gorgeous men (really a Jamaican funeral might be where I find my husband) and got tipsy before walking back through Yallahs square. Everyone else was heading to Morant Bay for the burial, but Alex and I decided we should skip the intimate and highly depressing part of the service. So we walked to Yallahs and had patties for lunch. I bought some extras to give to Mr. Dunkin, Ms. Pauline, Hyacinth and of course my new best friend Tevaughn. He even wrote me a little love letter after I brought him home a patty, so if I can figure out my scanner I will include it in another post.

The rest of that lazy Sunday was spent reading and lounging in my favorite bed swing below the Almond tree. To tell the truth, I didn't really get any reading done that day, I did ponder a lot of things though. Here is the view from my bed swing that soon became where I would sleep each night. The Coconut tree is in Blacka's yard. There was a fence running between the two properties so we would always talk while standing on opposite sides. Our relationship reminded me of Wilson and Tim's from the show Home Improvement.

Below is a picture of Alex pushing Tevaughn on another swing that hangs from an Almond tree.

And finally, here is a shot of my little babe Lily in her school uniform.

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