Holiday Celebrations – From Mountains to Sea!

(Amy and Jazzy at Copper Mountain)

I feel particularly blessed this holiday season! After months of keeping my nose to the grindstone while writing my dissertation, I finally had time to enjoy life!

(Dad, David & Scott)

First stop, Colorado, where I met up with my entire family for a lovely ski trip. We had a great time, hitting the slopes during the day and enjoying quality time together in the evening.

nieces and nephews
(Sami Amir, Ben, Maia and Jazzy)

Yet, nothing brings me more joy than seeing all of my nieces and nephews together in the same room. Maia and Jazzy are inseparable – the two often in their own little imaginative world.

(Maia & Jazzy)

And Sami Amir and Ben are finally at that age where they are interacting and playing together, too!

(Padre, David, and I hitting the expert terrain)

But the highlight was being on that mountain! After spending years in tropical lands, I had forgotten just how much I love to ski – not to mention, the crisp, clean mountain air, the beauty of the landscape, and the feel of snow flakes falling from the sky.

(David, Sami Amir & Siham)

And as an added bonus, one of my friends from high school, Brad Allard and his girlfriend, Cate, drove to Copper Mountain (from Denver) in order to spend the day with all of us! It’s always wonderful catching up with high school mates, reminiscing about the ‘old days’. And as someone who has moved around considerably, I reveled in the nostalgia of a shared history.

(Sami, Me, Brad & Cate)

I sadly said good-bye to my family and basically flew directly to Jamaica on Christmas Day (with a short stop-over in Austin).

Tower Hill Friends

(Daisy, Rashima’s sister, Rashima’s Children and Rashima)

Omar from Treasure Tours met Everett (one of my best friends) and me at Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay and drove us to Tower Hill (where I used to live as a Peace Corps volunteer prior to moving to Treasure Beach).

(My ‘kids’: Trudyann, Troy & Andy)

My only friend at that time, Rashima – a 13 year old girl who basically lived with me – ‘got pregnant’ and had to drop out of school before she reached the age of 14.

(Everett & Amy @ Jakes)

A lot of my naiveté of the world vanished as our lives became more and more intertwined. As a young Peace Corps volunteer, one is so idealistic – yet, Rashima’s plight opened my eyes to a darker reality. I’ve never lost my drive to try and make a difference in people’s lives – but I am now more realistic in my approach.

(Trudyann and Amy)

Whenever I return to Jamaica, I make it a point to visit Rashima and her three children in Tower Hill. This year I came bearing presents…after all, I did show up on her doorstep on Christmas day!

(Dennis’ Shallow Bar Boat)

Ironically, Omar was incredibly nervous the entire time we were in Tower Hill. He kept saying, “This is a bad place”…and I would respond, “Oh Omar, quit being so paranoid – I used to live here.”

(Bozzy and Amy on New Year’s Eve)

Meanwhile, a few days later Tower Hill made national headlines in The Gleaner, as there was a shootout between the police and gunmen in the area. Looks like Omar’s concerns were justifiable.


Dougie and Rosilie
(Dougie and Rosina)

I’m grateful that I left Tower Hill in exchange for the peace and solace of Treasure Beach fifteen years ago!

(Kristen, Jeremy, Amy & Josh on New Year’s Eve)

Treasure Beach holds a special place in my heart. My Peace Corps days were magical and remain some of the best years of my life. But what makes Treasure Beach so unique is the community. I can honestly say, the kindness, the warmth, the generosity, and the caring nature of the people is what brings me back year after year.

(Super Cool)

However, I have a special bond with three ‘kids’ in particular, Trudyann, Andy and Troy, whom I have known since they were 2, 3 and 6 respectively. All three lived down the street from me on Fisherman’s Lane – and I have had the joy of watching them grow up and turn into beautiful adults. I love each of them so dearly.

(Black River Safari)

(Andy jumping off the rope swing in Black River)



We all had an incredible time – ten days of hanging out at Jakes, dining on delicious jerk shrimp, garlic lobster, escovitched snapper and pizza at Jack Sprats, gathering at Smurf’s Café for Dawn’s wonderful roasted coffee, and sipping Red Stripes at Eggy’s Bar on the beach.

(Eggy of Eggy’s Bar)

Guilty & Tommy
(Guilty and Tommy playing guitar at Smurf’s Cafe)

And no trip to Treasure Beach would be complete without a boat tour up the Black River, followed by fresh fish at Pelican Bar!

(Pelican’s Bar at Sea)

One night, Jason treated us on another outing to Pelican Bar for sunset and for the full-moon rise! Not bad, if I do say so myself ☺ Thanks again, Jason!

(Giuliano, Liz, Jason & Amy)

(Jason, Amy & Eucal)

I loved having Everett with me, too! It’s always nice to show others everything that you love about a place. I took him to YS Falls – followed by lunch at a quintessential Jerk Pork stand, which we washed down with an ice-cold jelly!

(Everett @ YS Falls)

(Jerk Stand)

(Ice-Cold Jelly)

And it was great to introduce him to all the people that I’ve grown to love, especially Miss Ruby! She’s played such an integral role in my life, truly my second ‘mom’ (and Miss Ruby refers to me as her ‘daughter’).

My other mom
(Miss Ruby)

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat on Miss Ruby’s porch, having heart-to-heart conversations, drinking sorrel, eating rum cake, or just watching the passersby. Miss Ruby always makes me feel safe and secure…and it helps that she has the most infectious laugh I have ever heard. One can’t help but smile when you’re in Miss Ruby’s presence!

(Andy, Trudyann, Everett and Amy)

Most of my days were spent walking up and down the street, catching up with old friends. Each time I return, it feels as if I’ve come home, in every sense of the word. In fact, I’ve found a little piece of land in Great Bay that I’m hoping to purchase! It’s 1.25 acres approximately 1.5 miles from the beach but located on top of the hill, affording beautiful views of the ocean as well as Pedro Bluff.

Great Bay
(Beach @ Great Bay)

(Sunset @ Pelican Bar)

The owners of the land (who also happen to be good friends of mine) and I have already agreed on the price, and now it’s just a matter of working out the logistics with the lawyers, ensuring that all the documents are in order before any money exchanges hands.

My land - fingers crossed!
(My Land – Finger’s crossed)

It may be years before I actually build a home but it’s comforting to know that one day, I’ll be able to retire to this land that I love.

(Malick, Racine, Andy and Amy)

I’m back in Austin, enjoying my final days in the states. I leave for Vietnam on Sunday, January 10th! I’m looking forward to this next chapter in my life. Hopefully, I’ll have many visitors throughout my stay! As always, my door is open to anyone who wants to come to Hanoi.

(Being silly on the beach)

Wishing you all the very best in 2010!

(Amy & Guilty)

Much love,

1 comment to Holiday Celebrations – From Mountains to Sea!

  • Awesome Amy!

    Glad you had a chance to relax and enjoy love of friends and beauty of nature before your next BIG adventure!

    LOVED the TB pics and seeing everyone.

    One Love,


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