Anticipating Island Life

How does one prepare him or her self to move life to a place they have never been before? Lately I find myself walking a line between a complacent acceptance that I don’t really know what Jamaica or life on that Caribbean island will be like for me, and trying to solidify expectations of what my daily activities will be, the people I will meet, the challenges I will face.
Expectations are influenced, of course, by what other people say, and since every single person seems to have a different story, this can be very confusing. But there are some common threads. For example, I am having a very active discussion on an online bike forum about the possibility of riding my bicycle from my apartment to work while in Kingston. Many people instantly and strongly discourage it, describing Kingston as a dangerous place with horrid rodes and deadly traffic. This creates one image in my mind. On the other hand, people have said that to me about biking in DC, and I have done that every day for the past two years.
A few voices, however, are quite encouraging, saying that it is quite possible indeed, though admitting that it is… exhilerating, and one needs to keep their radar up at all times. I can see one author smiling from fond memories when he typed to me “The roads are narrow and rough but I thought the drivers were more aware of bikers and others (scooters, donkey karts, pedestrians) than US drivers… [and it is] exciting when they make sudden stops or turns.” He added, “Just watch it, when they come after you with a machetee, they will use it even for a petty crime.”

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