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Out of Many, One People

“Out of many, one people.” This is the national motto of Jamaica, my birthplace.

This motto fits the mix of many cultures and ethnicities in Jamaica perfectly.

Several years ago, my family hosted a family reunion in Jamaica. Over a hundred family members attended. My cousin Tanya devoted much love and many hours of time to creating a giant family tree with photographs representing each branch of the Levy family. Because of my grandfather’s many brothers and sisters, the tree was astoundingly large.

I was amazed at the diversity in the Levy family. Every color of skin, eyes, and hair was represented—from blonde hair and blue eyes fairer than mine to the darkest skin and eyes. Chinese Jamaicans. Black Jamaicans. White Jamaicans. Jewish Jamaicans. Anglican Jamaicans. It did not matter what you looked like. You were a Levy.

It was so wonderful to see the next generation of Levys playing together at the beach and the pool during the reunion.

As we all posed on a giant staircase for a group photo, I thought, “How lucky am I to come from this? Out of these many people? Out of this Levy clan?”

My family has achieved a lot in Jamaica, and we have given much back to the island and its people. I am proud of my heritage. I am proud to have Levy blood in my veins. I am proud of the cultural diversity my family represents. I am proud of my sweet Jamaica.

Remember, when all else fails, family will be there.

Until next time.



Image courtesy of rickpilot_2000 (CC BY 2.0)

Goodbye, Last Days of Summer

I’ll admit it. I hate to see it go. Goodbye to the last days of summer.

I love summertime. I love everything it represents. Vacation time. Time outdoors with family. Barbecues. Cookouts. Lemonade. Making s’mores by a campfire. The smell of the ocean. The feeling of the midday sun beating down on your skin. Swimming in the ocean. Hanging out by the pool. Watching summer thunderstorms in the late afternoon.

The days are longer and the nights shorter.

Life is good and slow and easy in the summer.

In Jamaica, summer is a special time. Families spend time together, often taking two weeks off to enjoy life. Some businesses close down during this period.

In the fall, we go back to school, back to work, and back to the hustle and bustle of life. Back to reality. Back to stress. Back to clocking in and out. Back to a regimented life.

I’ll admit it. I hate to see it go. Goodbye to the last days of summer.

Until next time.



Image courtesy of Adrian Scottow (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Summer Vacation Plans—Cockle Soup, Anyone?

If you have been reading my blog for any period of time, you know that I often speak about my fond memories of growing up on the tropical island of Jamaica in the West Indies. The Jamaica I grew up in was far different than it is today. I cannot any crime remember there. I led an idyllic childhood for the most part.

During the summer months in Jamaica, people who lived in the cities would often “go country.” By this, I mean you would rent or own a villa by the ocean, pack up the car, and head from the bustle of the city into the green, lush Jamaican countryside. Many of my relatives were fortunate enough to own their own country villas, which included pools, ocean views, and house staff who would cater to our needs. In the 1960s and early 1970s, I think Jamaica had two local black-and-white TV stations—neither offered anything particularly interesting except for a few American shows in the evening now and then.

So family time in the country was really family time. My family spent most days splashing in the pool or the ocean. I remember one day at the beach, my mum, my brothers, and I found a group of cockles in the sand. These are small mollusks in pink shells that have the ability to quickly burrow down into wet sand. They make a wonderful soup. We grabbed our sand pails and dug into the wet sand as fast as we could. The cockles, sensing they were under attack, burrowed deeper as we fought through the ebb and tide of shoreline waves. We scooped up handfuls of cockles and dropped them into the buckets as fast as we could. Some got away, but many could not escape our small hands and our determination. We laughed at our little adventure. When my mum felt that we had enough, we three children marched up to the house and presented the cooks with our catch of the day, feeling proud of what we had accomplished.

That night, we had the most delicious cockle soup. I cannot explain what it tasted like. It tasted something like lobster bisque but not as thick and without the taste of sherry.

So this summer, what memories will you make? Will they be sweet memories at the beach? Will you hike in the wilderness? Will you make s’mores around a campfire? Will you fly off to a foreign land? Or will you perhaps head to a Disney park? Wherever your travels take you, remember to cherish the memories you make not with a cell phone but with your mind. Your mind is the best recorder of all.

Until next time.



Image courtesy of ken wilson lee (CC BY 2.0)

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