My parents are both from Jamaica. My dad initially left Jamaica when he was 16 and he went to New York to join my grandma who was working as a nurse there and sending money home to raise the kids. My parents actually maintained a long distance relationship. They broke up at first, they met at like 13 years old, but they would write letters. My dad had sent my mom an engagement ring by mail when she was still in Jamaica. She ended up coming to America with her family. So it all started like that. They built a base. My dad went to the army. My older brothers are army brats.
Growing up, my parents’ life would look completely different from my own. My parents have lots of siblings and they grew up in like 2 bedroom houses. It’s funny because whenever I heard stories of their lives, it sounded like they had the best childhood. I was like, what? That is amazing. You guys had mango trees, like anything you wanted would be right outside, just walking around the countryside, go to the beaches, fresh food. I was envious! I lived in the suburbs. I could ride my bike down the cul-de-sac and my parents would tell me to come back. My parents’ life sounded so fun. As I got older, I started to see the difference and comparing. Yes it sounded fun, but at the same time, how they grew up, looking at that from here, our perspective would be poverty. But they loved it! It made me appreciative. There’s a reason why they came to America, there’s a reason why they brought their family over. They came for opportunities. – Franzene