'Twas the flight before Christmas - Holiday travel brings mixed emotions
Smiles and laughter among scores of persons who arrived at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston yesterday in time for the Christmas holidays seemed contagious, spreading to persons who had come to meet them. They were home.
This happy feeling, it seemed, evaporated before it got to Nikita Walters, who was rushing to catch a flight back to the United States. For her, it was a feeling of regret.
Walters, who was born in Kingston, bemoaned the fact that she will not be able to celebrate Christmas in the island with family and friends, but took the time to convey best wishes for Jamaicans.
"Unfortunately, I am leaving now to go back home. [I'm] not loving it, but I have to report to work tomorrow morning," she told The Gleaner.
"I really wish it was the other way around (arriving), but you just have to do what you have to. I want to implore Jamaicans to appreciate what you have, cherish your family and country. Jamaica is a blessed island, and nothing supersedes being around family during this time," she continued.
Walters added: "I am a grand-market kind of girl. I really wish I was here for that, in addition to going to the country. Let me take this time, however, to wish all of Jamaica a merry Christmas and a wonderful new year."
Danella Galimore, on the other hand, was among the arrivals, and the joy was all over her face, having missed Christmas with family for the last 14 years.
"I haven't seen Christmas in my country for a long time, and it's a wonderful feeling to be home. You know how it go when you get di likkle work. You have to try and secure your job, so I didn't get the chance to visit over the years. I couldn't miss another year, though," she said, laughing.
"I am overjoyed for this opportunity to visit my family. My two children, friends and my mother are all waiting to see me," Galimore said.
Similarly, Claire Garrick is anticipating the time of her life.
"I will be partying, because I am determined to enjoy myself for the time that I am here. I didn't get the chance to be home last year, so I am overjoyed. I am waiting to see my grandchildren and other friends," she told The Gleaner.
Ryan Kelly, another arriving passenger, was eagerly waiting for his driver to take him home to see his family.
"My wife, children and friends are all waiting to see me because I haven't been here in two years. It's really a good feeling to be home," he said.