These are in no particular order and any one alone could probably push me over the edge.
1. Days with no water - This is probably due to my paranoia/obsession on the topic of water. I have always worried about a water shortage and could be in, on, or under the water 24-7. It IS our lifeline - or at least one of them. The upside is that I have really surprized myself at how adaptable I didn't know I was. I remember Lowell and Ann Benson telling us about Scott not having water often when he was serving in the Dominican Republic - my thought then was IMPOSSIBLE. Now I would just say buck up and take your shower with the water stored in your Clorox bottle. I'm pretty much a pro at that now.
2. Smoke - Not cigarette smoke. Almost no one in Jamaica smokes. The smoke, which comes in many different flavors comes from bonfires - all the time - everywhere. From huge fires burning sugar cane fields to across the street weed burning (usually when I have hung a fresh batch of laundry out) it really becomes annoying. There don't seem to be any regulations and it seems to be as integral to Jamaican life as loudspeakers on top of cars and potholes.
3. Clicking Ceiling Fans - Which Jack doesn't even hear. It comes and goes, inexplicably, but when it's going you can hear it all the way outside. One day I was hanging clothes and thought it was the landlady's washing machine banging out of balance. No, just the ceiling fan in our office.
4. Black Plastic Bags - Totally irrational, I know, but there you are. Most stores use them and they are so dreadfully ugly and seem to have been designed to keep whatever you have purchased a big, black secret.
5. Car Alarms - Put this in the same category as smoke. OMNIPRESENT You can't escape them - they are everywhere, all the time.
6. HUMIDITY - This actually should have been at the TOP of the list and then listed as a subtitle line to every other listing. It makes anything that is on the floor stick to it, it makes you stick to yourself, it makes your clothes wet just from sitting on the sofa, it makes your hair curley or straight - naturally opposite of what you want it to be, it grows mold on Jack's suit and makes closed cupboards and drawers stink, it makes all fruits and vegetables mildew and/or rot. I hate to admit it, but it also makes your skin soft. Drat!!
7. Rust - Our washer spews rust - mainly on nice white shirts and blouses, but has also generously peppered our best white sheets and pillow cases. The white things can be soaked with lemon juice and put in the sun to dry which does a fairly good job of erasing the rust but I'm afraid to try that on the colored clothes because I think it will bleach out the color. The landlady has committed to do something about it - we just don't know what or when.
8. Microscopic black bugs - These breed and grow in thin air and then congregate on counters and walls pretty much everywhere in your house. Usually they are enmasse but on my desk they race around one at a time which makes them harder to catch. They are about the size of this dot . and move about in crazy circles at the speed of light. The most maddening part is when they are on your arms or hands - especially when you are fixing food
9. Cheap, Broken Umbrellas - On our first night in Mandeville we were in the drugstore picking up some essentials and saw these perfect umbrellas - perfect size, automatic pop-up, nice wooden handles, good price. They lasted not quite four months. The real tragedy here is we can find huge beach size, or tiny pocket size but nothing that will guarantee to disintegrate in less than four months. I defy you to make some sense of that.
10. Waiting - Right now for a wonderful talk that Elaine Dalton gave at the churchwide CES training seminar a couple of weeks ago. Our CES Co-ordinator for Jamaica, Kevin Brown, wanted to show it to our Seminary and Institute leaders at our island wide training meeting this Saturday and then have me lead a discussion on how we can use her message in S&I classes. We check the internet two and three times a day but it is not yet available. So we'll see what we can pull out of the hat at this late date. Yagottaloveit.
To counter this rant and outweigh my negative vibes are the people we deal with almost every day. Our wonderful mission president and his darling wife - The incomparable Kevin Brown, our boss, who is
possibly the coolest person in Jamaica - Our really boss, Kent Rappleye, who is the coolest person in the Caribbean ,always so graciously complementary- Our friends, the other senior couples in the mission - The dedicated elders and sisters who keep us young - this is an example: Last night we were driving home from Kingston with three elders. Elder Mackey, who has been out about a month, told us he had decided to adjust very quickly to Jamaica so that he would have more missionary time. Jamaican neighbors and strangers who smile, help, respond, joke, offer you a guinep or a pass into the traffic.
Our testimonies, our love for each other and all of you. Our gratitude for all the Lord has blesssed us with not the least of which is your love for us and your wonderful support. Thank you for all you are and are doing to make this mission experience possible. We are trying to make you proud of us. Love, Frannie