Wow. Where to even begin. My grandmother was born and raised in St. Catherine Parish, Jamaica. For as long as I can remember, she's always described Jamaica as "a beautiful and fun place."
This summer, my entire family decided to see what she was always raving about. All 9 of us took a trip from California to Jamaica. I never could have imagined that the trip would change my view on life.
We visited some of her family – people I had only heard about in stories and my grandmother's memories. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and fully embraced the island's vibrant culture. We visited Ocho Rios, St. Catherine Parish, Linstead and Montego Bay.
I'll never forget walking through the marketplace in a tropical rainstorm. We were shopping and before we knew it, it was raining. Instead of running for shelter, I stopped, looked around and realized I would never be in a Jamaican marketplace covered in warm rain again.
As I stood there, everything seemed to swirl around me. The shops, the cars honking, the stray goats two feet away from me, the music blaring from someone's shop speakers and the smell of a city I had never imagined I would visit. It was one of the most magnificent moments of my life.
The entire trip was filled with special moments. I'd never been in the Caribbean, and it truly is as beautiful as it looks in all the glossy photos. It's so naturally blue and clear.
I already miss the palm trees and the way the wind blows against your skin before a rainstorm. If you haven't been to Jamaica, I highly recommend you visit at least once in your life.