The ability to reflect on the past and use it to plan for the future is one of the abilities which sets humans apart from the rest of the animal kingdom. I reflect at the close of every chapter of my life, be it relationships, leaving an old job, ending an academic year and certainly, at the mid point of every year. I’ve been sharing mid-year reviews since 2018 to summarize what I’ve been up to so far and where I’ve reached in my goals. Read on for a few life updates and what to expect from Adventures from Elle for the rest of 2021.
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Closing A Chapter, Starting New Ones
Last year this time, I remember lamenting that I’d lived in the parish of Manchester for a year and had barely done any sightseeing. I got roughly four days off per month, and I usually spent them in Kingston looking for the family and friends I’d left behind 100km away rather than exploring. Well, one year later I’ve explored several new places in Manchester and neighbouring parishes, and I’ve dined at new restaurants from this article.
My favourite restaurant in Mandeville became Naufragada’s Bistro located in Midway Mall, as they sell all my favourite things: breakfast food all day, tacos, wraps, burritos and smoothie bowls. Naufragada’s is a takeout restaurant though, with no indoor dining option available. My favourite sit-down-and-eat kind of restaurant became the Falls Restaurant, which was located just 15 minutes on the outskirts of Mandeville in a district called Hatfield by the John Boscoe Boys’ Home. The food was pretty affordable and delicious, and the menu variety was great. Al fresco dining by a small artificial waterfall was delightful too. The only caveat is that they were only open on Fridays and Saturdays.
In addition to exploring Manchester, I explored the neighbouring parish of St. Elizabeth too. Before 2021, I’d only visited Treasure Beach once and now I’ve gone FOUR times! The little seaside village which seems to operate on its own time zone has stolen a piece of my heart. I visited Pelican Bar and the Appleton Estate for a second time, and went to YS Falls for the third time.
I ventured a bit further west too and checked off Mayfield Falls and Benta Falls from my Westmoreland list. I went parasailing in Negril for a second time and had a blast. I’m glad I got these adventures under my belt while living in Mandeville because now I’m back in Kingston, and I have mixed feelings about it. I’m glad I got to experience life in another corner of Jamaica where the air was cooler, life was more relaxed and the people were friendlier. I love rural Jamaica so much and I’m forever grateful for the friends, memories and lessons this town has taught me. I appreciated the peace that living on my own and solitude brought.
Anyway, while I’m sad to leave Manchester behind so suddenly since news of my new job came with only five days’ notice, I knew returning to Kingston was inevitable. I disliked being far from loved ones, and working at a type B hospital with little room for upward career mobility forever didn’t sit well with me. I wasn’t sure if going back to school right away was the right step for me given how much of a toll medical school had taken on my mental health, but one advice I repeatedly got from seniors was that “the best time to specialize is when you’re young, unmarried and childless.” I currently fit all three criteria, so I submitted a last minute application for residency in internal medicine at my alma mater, and was successful. I’m hoping it’ll be a smooth four years. A part of me worries about how I’ll balance being a full-time student and a full-time doctor, plus if my personal life and blog may suffer as a result. If it becomes too much I can always leave, but I’m hoping it doesn’t come to that. I’m focused on the finish line of consultant physician at 30, and hopefully grit and determination will be enough to take me through.
Travels for 2021 First Half
I’ve been all over the country! The only parish I haven’t stopped in or driven through for 2021 is St. Thomas, and I’m overdue a trip to this parish.
So far, 2021 has taken me to:
- St. Catherine: Worthy Park Rum Tour
- Clarendon: Exploring three waterfalls in Brae Head, north Clarendon
- Manchester: St. Toolis in Porus, Little Ochie and Sea Riv in Alligator Pond. I also drove to see what was left of the Kendal Crash site, and I had the curry goat in Spur Tree to see if it’s truly the best on the island. It was good, but I’ve had better. Perhaps I need to try the other curry joints in Spur Tree though, and I still need to have the curry goat at Murray’s.
- St. Elizabeth: YS Falls, Treasure Beach and Pelican Bar
- Portland: Two waterfalls in Millbank, upper Rio Grande valley. This is the most untouched corner of Jamaica I’ve experienced in a very long time. The roads to get there were horrible, but I must return someday. I daydream about spending a week there to unplug, explore the dozen waterfalls in the area, bathe in the river each morning and enjoy the night sky. Returning for 2021 looks unlikely at this point, so I’ll try for early 2022.
- St. Mary: Johnny Falls with a group of new friends + travel enthusiasts, and the Grove Swimmers.
- Trelawny: Touring the Hampden Estate and enjoying Hampden rum with three other local travel bloggers
- Hanover: Rafting at Lethe, the Tryall Waterwheel in Sandy Bay, Fort Charlotte in Lucea and I spent a delightful weekend at the dreamy Poet Reef luxury villa in Cousins Cove.
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2021’s Second Half?
I foresee myself shoulder deep in work and studying for the rest of 2021, but I’ll try to make time for at least two more adventures. My biggest goals are to remain physically active, publish two new blogs and a video each month, study consistently and to do my best at work each day. I also want to accomplish these without neglecting the important people in my life.
Thanks for making it this far! 2021 has been emotionally draining with a deep loss and family tragedy in April 2021 (R.I.P. to my brother). I also had one of those incidents where your life flashes before your eyes one night after work where a sudden flat tire made my car spin out of control, BUT life goes on. I’m grateful for life, and most importantly for good health. I hope to make use of it for as long as I’m blessed to have it, and I’ll do my best to preserve it with wise choices.
I’d love to hear about your year so far in the comments. Take care! 🙂
‘Til next time.