As many of you know from my social media posts I have made it back to California. Let me finish the adventure where I left off…waiting in the jungle.
I knew that it was important for my story to be put out there in case, God forbid, I was found by the Jamaican immigration authorities. I wrote as quickly as possible about all of the details leading up to the eve before my flight back home. Well, almost all the details. There were a couple of details I didn’t release that I thought might possibly help ease the attention that was already coming my way.
The first safety measure I took was at the United States embassy. When I went to the embassy I registered my emergency passport under my current name…not my birth name because my passport and the name that the authorities and news outlets had was my birth name. Now, don’t get me wrong, I was not trying to outsmart anyone. Rather, I was just taking all measures possible to make sure that I was getting home safely.
“I was not trying to outsmart anyone.”
The second measure of safety I took was booking our flights out of Kingston. The complete chaos of my immigration story took place in both Falmouth and Montego Bay and so I was making sure that we were steering clear of these locations.
As soon as the passport was issued and the tickets were booked, Mr. X, Wayne and I headed straight up Blue Mountain. Wayne, at this point, was our unofficial bodyguard. He waited patiently outside of the embassy with all of our things and made sure we were looked after. We didn’t have a plan but at this point there was some deep need in each of us to get to the highest point of Jamaica to be closer to the heavens. We drove up a winding rode, passing school children playing in the rain puddles and goats grazing in the grass. The mountain was steep and we had no destination but in my heart I knew that we were on the right path. A sign read, “Strawberry Hill” and I knew this is where we were supposed to be. The security at the entrance called up to see if there was availability at the estate and we entered within minutes.
– At this point let me tell my story as I felt during this portion of my adventure. –
The views at Strawberry Hill are spectacular and the grounds are filled with exotic flowers that I have never seen before. This may be our last night in Jamaica and possibly my last night of freedom so without hesitation Mr. X requests their nicest residence – Birdshill. We part ways with Wayne and he wishes us the best.
The front desk attendant seems to recognize us but can’t quite put her finger on it. But when she realizes who we are (I am still using an alias but Mr. X’s credit card gives his full name), she pulls me aside and asks, “Would it be more helpful to charge the card tomorrow morning upon departure due to your situation?” I smile and respond, “Yes, madam.” She nods her head and whispers, “Now you two just relax and enjoy yourself.” And we do. I am completely present to the gorgeous rolling hills and open-aired suite where I am now able to put down my story in words and be at ease until my flight the following day.
“A cup of Blue Mountain coffee
is in order as well as a cigar.”
A cup of Blue Mountain coffee is in order as well as a cigar. Time is of the essence and in this moment I am here as a soul in a human body not a fugitive on the run. I write, post and turn off my electronics. I am one with the jungle. I am connected to the sky. I tell myself that all is well in my world because my angels are with me, as they always are.
The morning comes and I take my time getting ready for the unpredictable day ahead. I say a prayer and consciously accept my fate as I load myself into the back seat of the taxi. I concentrate on my breath as the wind rushes in through the window. I allow myself to absorb the world around me with a loving heart. In this moment I am at peace. Mr. X puts his hand over mine reassuring me that it is all almost over.
My breath starts to fade away as we enter the airport doors. Stay calm. Keep your head down. My large hat covers my face as I approach a Kiosk to check-in. Both Mr. X and I check into the flight and head towards security. My heart begins to race. This is it. This is the last stretch. I hand my passport and ticket to the authoritative figure. She says, “Alisha?” F**k. She recognizes my name. “Yes,” I reply. She then smiles and says, “This is my name too. Only I spell it with an ‘e’ instead of an ‘i’” while she shows me her badge. Breathe. I nervously smile and am relieved that we can continue on. I put my belongings through the monitors and walk through slowly. We make it all the way through security. Just get on the plane. All is clear once you are on the plane. And we enter onto the plane. The door closes and we smile. It’s over. I am on my way home.
“In this moment I am at peace.”
While it may have felt over at that point it wasn’t exactly. We flew into Miami and took a taxi to Fort Lauderdale to catch our original flight that we booked weeks ago only to find out that our flight reservation was canceled. The cruise ship canceled our tickets without any explanation. It was like a stab in the back after all we had been through. Four phone calls to the corporate offices and over two hours later we finally get our reservation back. I am appalled but at this point I just wanted to get home.
We made it back to San Diego, California late last night…still fiercely optimistic.