Monday, January 17, 2011

Ocho Rios, Jamaica photo by Carolina Correa


This is the first day of this year that I've had a chance to focus on the blog again. Sorry for the delay. The holidays were crazy busy. Santa surprised me with a gift to Jamaica from January 8th-14th. Wow! We experienced the country from a local's perspective (thanks, Kenisha and family!!) and then spent days at an all-inclusive resort (with endless theme nights, free beverages and buffets).

Jamaica is paradise, especially in wintertime. I went snorkeling for the first time. The ocean water was crystal clear and cool. I saw some colorful and strange fish eye to eye. I couldn't believe I was lying on a white sand beach in the middle of the week, in January, while NY was being dumped on with yet another snow storm. Glad we missed that one. Nothing like a vacation in the Caribbean to start the year off right (and a nip of Jamaican Rum). Yeah mon, no problem.

We returned home to very sad news. My friend of twenty-three years, Anna Volino, passed away while I was out of the country. I didn't receive word until we touched down at JFK airport seven days later. I still can't believe it.

Anna and I hadn't seen each other in a few years (I live in NYC and she lived upstate), but we always kept in touch through e-mails, Facebook and phone calls. She was like a kid sister to me. When my own sister, and my mother passed away, Anna was one of my first friends knocking at my front door. She always showed up when needed most. That's a true friend. She was such a great person with an even greater, infectious laugh. She loved TV, movies and pop culture. We always had lots to talk about. I'll miss Anna very much.

Anna was only 43. She died from a heart attack. How could this happen? She was too young to leave us this soon. Losing a close friend like Anna -- in such a sudden, unexpected way -- reminds me how important it is to follow our dreams, make time for others in our life and to be thankful for every day on earth. Life is short, indeed.

Make it your goal to live large in 2011-- I know I am -- for Anna and for every loved one we've lost. We owe it to them and to ourselves to embrace life every day. Speak through your art, any way you can. Now. Today. Don't put it off for tomorrow.

That's a message I took home from Jamaica -- a third world country -- don't waste resources, count your blessings, dance to the music while you can and be happy. Good motto.

Have a brilliant new year!

Until next time.