I think at the time that we were preparing to leave the country we had been together almost 3 years, we were friends for years prior though. We had lived together in my hometown for only 1 year at that point so co-existing in the same space was still new to us in many ways.
Initially my boyfriend asked me to move with him to Miami to start a business in Jamaica. The plan was to go back and forth from Miami because it would be so much closer than where we lived at the time, which was Indianapolis. I began preparing for the move first since I was working a 9-5 at the time and in a Masters program. I was excited at the prospect of living somewhere sunny and being able to travel more frequently.
Then one day I came home from work and my boyfriend was in our bedroom and asked me to join him (not how you’re thinking lol). He sat me down and laid out a list of reasons why he thought that it would make more sense for us to just commit to the project completely and move to Jamaica. It sounds completely crazy now that I’m saying it but I felt excited by the idea. I asked a list of questions and I agreed by the end of that conversation. It took me a few weeks to tell my boss/mentor, my family, and my friends but nearly everyone had the same reaction. Disbelief, excitement, questions, apprehension- all of those things filled every conversation around our move. We prepared for months after that conversation, I handled most of the moving arrangements on the U.S. side and he dealt with arrangements for our arrival in Jamaica. We touched down on July 2nd and life was never the same.
In the moment that I said yes, I didn’t feel crazy or even hesitant. I felt excited and ready for a new adventure. My boyfriend and I are both very ambitious and enthralled in our careers, just in different ways. He hasn’t worked for anyone since we were college interns, I work in education and have always had more traditional career objectives. I’ve watched him do some really amazing things with just his will and own ideas, it’s always inspired me. I’ve always felt sure that he was more than capable. I never bet against him or his ideas, I advise others of the same. So, mostly my trust lies in him never our geographic location anyway.
Yes, of course! I love telling this story but there is a lot more to me and my life than this move. I grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana raised by a single mother. My parents divorced when I was young but I always had great support in my family. I went to a predominately white college prep school from K-12. I graduated high school and went to Clark Atlanta University, and HBCU in Georgia. After my freshman year, I transferred to Indiana University where I joined Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and finished undergrad.
After graduating I moved back home to Indy and job surfed for a bit. In undergrad I majored in political science and minored in educational studies and international studies. I had little idea of what I really wanted to do but loan repayments kicked in quick and I started substitute teaching. I left that and went to work in the insurance industry for a bit then I landed the job that truly began my career in education. I worked in admissions at one of the top K-12 college prep schools in Indianapolis. I was able to pursue my Masters in Educational Leadership during that time and I found myself. I grew immensely in the few years after college and experienced a lot of ups and downs. I worked really hard to push through some common young adult transitions and angst, and I’m really proud of that. Now I’m kind of re-planning my life for the next few years. I have some ideas and desires in the pipeline that I’m doing some prep-work for. I know that the next few years of my life will be huge so I’m just trying to get grounded in who I am for now but be willing to completely change for the next chapter.
As a young black woman, I experience life from multiple intersectionality’s. The way that I identify myself enters any room or conversation before I do. I’m also the oldest of 4 girls and that’s an identity in itself. I think for a while I was very sure of who I was and what I wanted to be, then I started to actually experience life. I left a mostly white school to go to an HBCU and a lot of things shifted in me. I experienced my first serious relationship, death of a friend, heartbreak, etc. By the time I was done with college I had no idea what to do or where to go next. It’s so funny because the quarter life crisis, as I call it, has to be the most difficult thing for young women to navigate. I mean like next to motherhood, it’s hands down the largest shift in identity, desires, passions, and direction. It’s this bizarre time of reconciling with your past, your current mess of a self, and your future aspirations.
There were so many things that I thought I wanted this whole time, that I never realized I didn’t actually want until I moved here. People always ask me how I could move to another country for my boyfriend and literally put my career on hold. The fact of the matter is that I did this as much for myself as I did for him. I chose to immerse myself in a third-world country to become the woman that I wanted to be. I arrived here not understanding patois, knowing only my boyfriend, having little business knowledge, and only having left America for the first time the previous year. I’ve grown in ways I never imagined. I’ve expanded my capabilities, I’ve simplified my life by refining my desires and goals. It has only recently become clear to us as a people just how far the Western world has gone to instill these social and cultural norms and expectations on women. It took me leaving that environment to realize that a lot of those norms aren’t my personal desires, or at least not necessarily in those orders. This isn’t to bash the young lady who wants to meet her husband in college, graduate, have a wedding, and start making babies to stay at home with. I commend those women because what they desire truly isn’t any easier or less than what I desire. Personally, my career and individual passion is in education and equity. I am a better girlfriend when I am actively pursuing my passion. I imagine I will be a better wife and mother in the future when I am allowed that space for my individuality. My boyfriend is great at not only understanding that aspect of me as a woman, but also helping me to channel it in the most productive ways possible.
I don’t think of myself as an expert on anything and especially not life and how to live it BUT I will always take any chance to let young women know that they’re totally capable. Going through life with self-doubt sucks so I really just try to be encouraging to all the women in my life. They are the smartest, strongest, most beautiful and resilient people that I’ve come across. I’m grateful to be their peer.