The first (and last) time I went to a competition in Kingston was back in 2008. It was one of my very first meets of the year and I was excited to be going to an exotic location. Meets are always that much funner when you get to throw in a mini vacay on the side. So, I get off the plane looking for the nearest Sandals resort, some nice shops to buy my rastafari necklaces and such, and all the beautiful locations I was going to photograph and add to my scrapbook. And then I was quickly introduced to Kingston. Kingston is not the Jamaica of postcard notoriety. I had stupidly assumed that the whole island would be one big, happy all-inclusive resort with Bob Marley playing in the background, and people eagerly handing me a rum punch to enjoy at the beach. But no. That Jamaica is a 3 hour trip from where I was, and I quickly took in my new surroundings. This side of Jamaica couldn't be more different than where the resorts are located but I appreciated it for what it was.
Now…about the competition. Like I said, it was one of the first competitions of my season. Unfortunately for me, it was also the beginning of my downward spiral that led me to surgery and the end to a season I had such high hopes for. During the competition it seems that a couple pieces of cartilage broke off in my knee and lodged in places they shouldn't have. The crazy thing is, your brain doesn't know such a thing has happened. One minute I could run and jump, and the next… I couldn't even walk. It was a bizarre thing that I would come to understand better in the week that followed, but at that moment all I knew was that my knee would all the sudden not be able to bend and be excruciatingly painful, to almost normal, and back to excruciating again. All I could do was cry. Obviously.
So now I feel extremely blessed to be going back to Jamaica a completely healthy jumper(relatively speaking). I know this is going to be an exciting meet with an electrifying atmosphere and an opportunity to really compete well. I think it's important to take note when life brings you full circle and you find yourself in a place you've been before but now can have a whole new perspective on. I try to take nothing for granted when it comes to opportunities like this. I had tried to get in to another meet this weekend and was a bit bummed it didn't work out, but then I remembered my last trip to Jamaica and I decided to appreciate fully my opportunity to return and make new memories there. And hopefully eat jerk chicken.