Once upon a time, not too long ago, there lived in the land of wood, more wood,
weed talented people and sunshine, a belle called Shawna Kay Williams.
Being bright, beautiful and 24 years young, one would think Shawna Kay had everything needed to be happy. But, she was miserable — and tired.
Shawna Kay was tired of living in a paradise she could no longer afford and she was especially tired of teaching — investing her energy in helping students who did not want to be helped. She needed a plan, something to rekindle her passion, she needed rescuing.
The problem with this whole rescuing idea was the fact that Shawna Kay lived on an island where princes were busy slaying their own dragons and knights had traded in their shining armors to the scrap metal trade. In this contemporary fairy tale, Shawna Kay knew if she needed rescuing, she’d have to rescue her darn self. So, the sentence therefore should read:
She needed a plan, something to rekindle her passion, she needed to escape!
She chose a path, mapped out her journey and on May 1st, 2014, she fled Jamdung and headed straight for a place far-far from sun, sea, and coconut rum.
Now, here is where Shawna Kay would want me to tell you she left taking her talent, her skill, and her best pieces of clothing. And, if I she’d sworn me to secrecy, I would. But, she whispered something to me, something I am going to now whisper to you. The sentence therefore will read:
She left taking with her, talent, skill, her best pieces of clothing and the secret hope of finding love.
Yup, Shawna Kay had hopes of meeting a handsome Chinese fella, getting married, making babies and returning to open a chain of wholesale stores in Jamaica. That’s what she told me off the record.
Now, back to the story. Where was I?
Shauna Kay loved Songyuan, China.
She loved how safe she felt walking the streets late at night, confident in the fact that she would make it home unharmed.
She loved that the food was affordable and that regular servings of fruits and vegetables caused her to shed extra pounds!
She loved that in a town dominated by Chinese residents, her blackness was pronounced, yet she was never discriminated against.
She enjoyed the instant celebrity-like status when people stopped to ask where she was from or ask to take a pic with her.
She loved her new found bestie, a Chinese lady close to her apartment who never spoke a word of English, but always had some tomatoes or melons or pineapples or bananas to give her.
Shawna Kay couldn’t help thinking her fairy tale had come true.
Young, naïve soul.
Nobody warned her that it is very easy to fall in love with ‘newness’.
Nobody told her that once you settle into the rhythm of work and day to day routine it’s very easy for newness to wear off.
And, as Jamaican singer Tanya Stephens puts it: When the newness gone, everything loses charm.
It didn’t take long for Shawna Kay to start noticing little things.
Things like the shop attendant moistening his finger-tips with saliva just before counting out her change.
Things like the chef at the restaurant who didn’t wash his hands after using the restroom.
Things like people wearing the same outfit — sometimes for an entire week without laundering.
Things like people spitting everywhere! On the road, grocery stores, airports — restaurants??
In fact, when she noticed the woman in the restaurant who cleared the mucus from her throat, spat it on the ground, then used her feet to make it less apparent, Shawna Kay became really disturbed.
She began to reassess the whole living in China thing. She began to give serious thought to packing her suitcases and heading back to the fastest nation on earth, but then something unthinkable happened. Something she never saw coming. Shawna Kay Williams fell in love.
Forgive my usual dry ending. This time, it’s done in a deliberate attempt to whet your appetite.
Join me next time when I present part two and tell you how Shawna Kay’s fairy tale ends.