A few months ago I had the opportunity to go visit Jamaica! Have you ever been? Oh my word it’s gorgeous. I attended the Eat, Love Sandals Culinary Conference that was held at The Sandals Ochi Beach Club.
I had never visited Jamaica before and was blown away at how beautiful it is. The staff at Sandals was amazingly helpful and the scenery was lush and tropical.
If you have never stayed at a Sandals resort, know that you will never be without a drink in hand. They are so accommodating and friendly. I was lucky enough to stay in a Butler Villa which I can’t recommend enough. I had my own private pool that I had breakfast and coffee by every morning. The view was outstanding.
You can order food to your room whenever you get a craving, which was really nice. But of course there were SIXTEEN restaurants to try, so I didn’t eat in my room that much! The Sushi Bar was my favorite place to grab dinner, but I really enjoyed Le Gourmand, where we dined on our last night. We were only there for 3 nights, so obviously I didn’t get a chance to eat at all sixteen, but I did my best!
One morning we were treated to a cooking demonstration where they made us an authentic Jamaican breakfast.
And we got the opportunity one evening to learn how to prepare Jerk Pork! We all got our hands a little messy but I have to say it was SO worth it. That pork was fantastic!
Oh and did I mention one night there is an endless chocolate buffet? I’m talking tables and tables of cakes, truffles, chocolate waterfalls…
I got to spend some time with my favorite, Kristan. I cherish the trips where we see each other. Friends make everything way more fun.
But the highlight of the trip were the few hours that we were able to spend at a local school.
We all brought school supplies from home to bring to the school. Actually, I talked this through with my boys before I left, so they knew what I would be doing and they really wanted me to take the children soccer cleats. My boys are really into soccer, and wanted to share that with the children there. So I brought some brand new cleats with me and was able to give them to the kids. Of course, these kids were just so happy to have visitors the supplies we brought was just a bonus.
These kids were so full of joy. I made a few little friends while I was there and we had fun taking pictures and playing on my phone. I just love seeing their sweet faces.
The trip was such a blessing. My job is sometimes isolating. I work from home, on the computer and in my kitchen…obviously I feel incredibly lucky to do what I do…but when I get the chance to travel and spend time with other people who do the same “job” as I do…well…I always end up leaving motivated, happy and grateful.
Meeting people face to face who I’ve only engaged with online is strange and wonderful all at the same time. When I was in Jamaica I had the opportunity to meet Joan. Her website is Chocolate, Chocolate and More. She was one of my “internet” friends who I was excited to meet and hug in real life. She was exactly the person that I thought she would be…genuine, funny and full of life. She was ready to tackle the world.
This picture is at the airport right as we were leaving Jamaica. In all honesty I didn’t want to take the photo because I was tired, had no make up on and basically every other superficial excuse you can think of, but Joan insisted and I am so glad she did. We said goodbye to each other minutes after this picture was taken.
A few weeks after we returned home I got the devastating news that Joan had passed away in her sleep. The news shocked me. We were just together. I supposed this is the unfair way life works. I feel blessed to have met Joan, spend time with her and get to know her spirit. She sure was a ball of fire.
I want to thank Sandals for being such gracious hosts, Kristan and Jamie for working so hard at making this event come together and also all the sponsors who spoiled us with goodies before, during and after the trip.