In my family, to truly understand where we come from and our culture fully, we must go outside the country we call home and truly go home. Home for me is Jamaica. It is very difficult to understand your roots and where your blood came from when being an American is showcased as being the most important thing when living in America. Even though some people might not agree that 5 years old is the appropriate age to travel and experience such a life-changing event; at the age of 5 our right of passage is to take the journey to our motherland and really experience what makes us who we are. Although 5 years old is a very young age, I remember my first trip to Port Royal, Jamaica like it was literally yesterday. I can remember what I felt and what I smelled the morning of my journey. I took my first trip with my grandmother. I can remember having to wake up at 3 in the morning to prepare to go to the airport. Everything moved so swiftly that morning; its like time was moving so fast. That morning as her and I were in the car en route to the airport she told me “this is the beginning of a journey to figure out who you are because if you don’t know who you are they will tell you who you are”. For the remainder of the car ride to the airport all I could think about was what she meant. I would soon find out.

When we arrived in Jamaica, I can honestly say that I was very overwhelmed for various reasons. The heat was extremely suffocating and the area was not anything like I envisioned it to be. I guess I thought it would be more beautiful. I felt out of place and wanted to get back on a plane and go back to the United States. It took me days to really get used to Jamaican living. I was not comfortable and I felt like I was being punished and everyone who lived in Jamaica had to have been banished here for a life of poverty and punishment for all their wrong doings. I can now see how ignorant that sounds but, growing up in the United States …

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