It was late summer of 2016 and we were ready to go. Being Polish I am proud to be well organised, although my husband makes fun of me all the time because of it. Yes, I do have a spreadsheet or at least a to do list for everything I plan, and it saved us many times.
As everything else, I planned our moved to the smallest details. I knew how long will the ship with our life packed in one container take to get to Jamaica. In my company we deal with transcontinental deliveries on a daily basis, so I calculated natural delays (storms) and human delays (bureaucracy). There was no place for mistake. Our belongings should get to Kingston and be cleared around the 20th of August the latest. My husband went first, just with one suitcase to look for a house to rent and for school for my daughter before we got there.
All the rest of personal belongings was for us two to bring. So I ended up traveling with 10 year old kid, 6 suitcases and 4 carry ons… Don’t even ask me about my language when I was packing all of it into airport strollers. However we were still positive and in good moods.
We landed in our new home with big grins on our faces ready for a new adventure. It started pretty quickly. The immigration officer was not very kind to say the least. Later I learnt how many Jamaicans don’t like foreigners, especially with a different skin colour.
This unpleasant man told me that my visa is not valid and he will not let us through. I couldn’t believe it! After all the effort to get that visa it was not valid?
You have to know that even getting to Jamaica was complicated. When my husband arrived he was advised that as a Polish citizens me and my daughter don’t need a visa to enter the country, so we should apply for our resident visa after our arrival. Yet 5 days before our flight they told him that it’s better if we have our visas before entering. The closest consulate was in Germany. We had to really wrap things up to go to Berlin and back and make it on time for our flight to Jamaica. And after all that effort the officer at Kingston’s airport informed me that the visa is issued with a mistake and he will not let me in! I couldn’t’ get it as it’s not me who issued the document but their own consul! But when he started making very bad sexual comments I was done. I pulled out my phone and called my husband. The officer started shouting at me that it’s prohibited to use the phone at immigration but I didn’t care. I knew I can’t just stand there and listen to the guy insulting me in front of my daughter. After another 10 minutes of arguing and calls to supervisors we were finally good to go. What a relief. And what a nice welcoming to our new home…
But it was not all yet. What my husband didn’t tell me, because he didn’t want me to freak out, was that the ship did arrive on time, but the customs didn’t release our container. So we arrived to our new house having nothing but the content of our suitcases. And the situation didn’t change for the next 21 days!
Those three long weeks were filled with hope, fights with the customs, tears and resignation. It was a rollercoaster of emotions. We managed to borrow a mattress from neighbours that we barely knew and slept all together covered with towels.
We didn’t have cutlery, plates, chairs or table. We basically spend three weeks on the floor in an empty house. Our customs agent assured us everyday that our goods will be released the next day. And then the next, and next.
When I saw the truck with a container on our driveway I cried like a child. I couldn’t believe that the nightmare is over. I also was completely fed up with Jamaica and the island pace although my life here haven’t really started yet.
However though life on this island is not easy, it did bring us a lot of joy. So don’t be discouraged by the gloomy beginning and keep on reading.