When meeting someone for the first time, I can always count on two questions. “Where are you from?” immediately followed by “why are you here?” That I’m a non native is fairly obvious. On a good day I’ve been compared to Lauryn Hill – to my immense delight. And when I’m strolling down the streets of Helsinki (let’s be honest, when you have kids you don’t simply stroll) – between the hair, complexion, and extra-large pearly whites, I tend to stand out. So the questions are never a surprise, and to be truthful I quite enjoy the conversation, as Finns are generally thoughtful, deep thinkers. They never ask out of politeness, but rather because they are genuinely interested in your story.
With this in mind, I’m sharing a little about my island. I’m a Jamaican originally from St. Andrew, a parish immediately above Kingston, which is often considered an extended area of the capital. To the east lies Portland, which in my opinion is the most beautiful part. It’s the home of the Blue Mountains, so called because of its tinted appearance from a distance. Fun fact, some of the world’s best coffee is grown here – something I later learned when I found a package at Stockmann’s and nearly passed out when I saw the price. Thankfully I’m awake now so I can share more goodies.
Last January our family had the good fortune to visit. Every time we return I try to explore a new area because the sub-cultures are so vastly different, even in this small island. We took one day to visit Strawberry Hill. And for the first time in years, I was at peace. Strawberry Hill is more a lifestyle personified than anything else. Though it’s raison d’être includes hotel, restaurant, and spa, it’s a popular destination for weddings and it’s not hard to see why. Each lodging is a cottage onto itself furnished with gorgeous 4-poster beds and large louvres that open out to spectacular views of the mountains. And that view? You guessed it – features part of the Blue Mountain range.
Sans kids, we took advantage of the spa. Between the scents, surroundings, and ample kneading, I was completely relaxed. What a way to start the new year.