One year of marriage certainly goes by quickly when you are having fun. Nash and I took an anniversary trip to Jamaica and spent a wonderful two weeks there.
Our first week in Jamaica we stayed at Forres Park Nature Reserve and Spa in Mavis Bank which depending on your bus driver is about 30-40 minutes away from Papine (Kingston).
Forres Park is a charming little place mostly frequented by bird watchers. It is surrounded by trees and flowers and we had a gorgeous view of the mountains. The many fruit trees including avocados, oranges, grapefruit, mangoes, ackees and more were the perfect backdrop for the countless species of birds which make their home at the nature reserve. Nash and I enjoyed some beautiful sunrises and sunsets during our stay and I even noticed some birds even though Nash often had to bring them to my attention!
I remember one afternoon Nash was on the gallery and I was in the room and he called me. I am so glad he did and this is how he describes what we saw.
“It was beautiful as I watched the sunlight fading on the side of the mountain. The sun behind us was going down and the warm orange sea was slowly disappearing on the side of the mountain. I wanted Shelly to see it so I called her. Then it was all gone and it got dark for a minute. Suddenly the whole atmosphere changed and we got a surprise. We watched as this big glowing ball peeped from behind the mountain casting its silver coat over everything. The moon seemed so close that I could have reached out and touched it. We sat there for quite a while basking in the glow as the moon slowly took watch from the sun.”
Forres Park is a quaint and cozy little inn with a main house and four cabins. We had no television or telephone in our rooms. We would leave for the day and upon our return we would meet all of our large windows open and the curtains flapping in the breeze. As advertised ‘we were experiencing the other side of Jamaica.’
The staff were very friendly and willing to provide service. Nash and I felt very at home and safe there and in fact for one night of our stay we were the only guests in the main house.
Meals were cooked to order and we could enjoy them on the open deck downstairs or privately on the upper deck beside our bedroom. We had some wonderful meals including snapper, shrimp, festivals, bammy and more at very affordable rates.
Nash and I chose to stay in Mavis Bank so we could be relatively close to his family. Living in Anguilla close by is usually at max a 15 minute drive, not so in country side Jamaica where factors like bad roads and availability of taxis to take you to less frequented areas must be considered. It was lovely visiting all the family in Mount Charles and Minto. My extended family are all so lovely and open. I love Nash’s Mom, uncle, his grandmother, his brother, step sister and his cousin Omar who all extended such warm hospitality to us. There were so many others who were all so wonderful and I look forward to visiting them again.
Nash thought the narrow roads, sharp corners and steep drop offs on the journey leading to his family would have made me nervous but I was perfectly at ease the entire trip. Life in Anguilla is still ‘slow’ but life in the country is deliciously indulgent. Most people seemed to enjoy life’s simple pleasures and I did too. I enjoyed sitting for hours talking and laughing with family members with the view of the Blue Mountains in front of me. I ate and relished every morsel of the huge meals of ground provisions picked from the family farm. I embraced the feeling of technology independence while disconnected from my phone, tablet and computer for long periods of time. I loved hearing about Nash’s childhood as his family reminisced. I participated enthusiastically in customs such as ‘Grave Digging.’ Literally everyone in the community came out for the grave digging and I met loads of people plus saw other persons whom I had previously met as we explored.
Nash and I also visited his old primary school and spoke to the principal and some of the students there. The students were all giggly and friendly as they observed us. One of the male students on passing us on the road a few minutes later stopped to ask Nash if I was his wife. On learning that I was, he stated I was pretty and that he liked me. I could only smile at this. I remember when children used to be shy!
Nash also took the opportunity to go visit his old house and to walk further up the hill to take pictures. but I chose on that day to sit and enjoy the view of the Blue Mountains and the breeze.
Our first Valentine’s Day and wedding anniversary fell during our first week stay in Jamaica. On our anniversary, we attended a church in Mount Charles frequented by some of Nash’s family members. I smile as I think about the message which encouraged members to stay away from the Obeah man as God fulfills our every need. I will always associate this church with the phrase “Shall we praise the Lord” which was repeated about 200 times during the service :). The rest of the day was spent visiting other family members. We did a lot of walking on our anniversary and I am sure I will always remember it!
It was a wonderful first Valentine and first anniversary as I was with my hubby and we were with family and God was in the midst of it. What more could we ask for? Thanks to all our family in Jamaica for making our first week stay so wonderful.