Don’t Worry About a Thing

by Ellen Oliver (United States of America)

Making a local connection Jamaica


The feeling was more euphoric this time around. Third time is said to be a charm and this happened to be my third trip traveling abroad. First Amsterdam, then Barbados, but this trip was a little different. I didn’t leave the states with anyone that I knew this go-around. Instead I flew to a third-world country alone to meet a friend there. Now my friend happens to be a doctor who lives in Trinidad but studied in Jamaica. Therefore, during our entire trip we were always accompanied by a...local. After landing safely, my taxi driver awaited barefoot to take me to the Airbnb. It was the most comical thing but I slowly lost interest in seeing the driver’s toes on the pedal as we made our way into Kingston. The city sights were so captivating, at one point I hopped out of the taxi to take a picture of a random goat on the side of the road. After safely arriving to the Airbnb, I took a look around the townhouse as I waited for my friend’s arrival. Shortly after I walked in, so did she but she was accompanied by two men. I embraced my friend then immediately went into shy mode as she introduced me to Gawaine and Derval. I was told both of them studied with her at the University of West Indies. Derval then went to hand me a hand-woven bracelet with the native flag on it and in his Jamaican accent he said “This is for you!”. I’m pretty sure I melted on site and my doctor friend re-built me right away to avoid embarrassment. He was so handsome but what really intrigued me was his spirituality. It was so refreshing being around a group of people who were my age but still felt the need to pray for traveling grace as we made our way around the entire island that week. One of the most memorable moments was a night in Negril. We travelled there to experience what is said to be the best place to watch the sunset in Jamaica; Rick’s Cafe. After being a tourist and jumping off a cliff into the ocean, I dried off and gave all of my attention to Derval. In my mind, I had met my husband. We talked over dinner by candlelight and even though others were close by I was entangled in every word he spoke. My time on the island unfortunately came to a close and on the last day after hanging with only the girls; Derval reached out to invite us to karaoke night. I expressed my passion for singing a couple nights prior, so the invite swept me off my feet. We left Frenchman’s Cove and headed back to the Airbnb. Pretty sure I was in the mirror about an hour and thirty minutes attempting to achieve that perfect look. It was my last day on the island so of course I had to go out with a bang, boom or bow! My friend and I arrived to the karaoke place with Gawaine and her other friend Rakeema. Derval was no where to be found. We all ordered food and everyone cracked jokes about what song I should sing. Eventually, Derval reached out saying that someone he knew was involved in a car accident. Being the caring individual he is, he tended to that friend and on my last night on the island, he never showed up. My heart was broken but I still got up on that stage. I was still in the presence of some amazing individuals so I didn’t want his absence to take away from that. I sung through the disappointment and enjoyed my last moments on the island. On the way back to the Airbnb that hand-woven bracelet was removed with strict instructions to be returned to the owner. I’ll never forget the time I fell in love down the street from Bob Marley’s house.