Love this video – I think I’ll be buying my dad the pink suit! xoxo
Love this video – I think I’ll be buying my dad the pink suit! xoxo
Love this song! Been blasting it in the car for the last 3/4 weeks – seriously I’m obsessed! xoxo
I would like to share with you, a piece of writing that my father (above – being attacked by my friend during J’Ouvert) did about his time in Trinidad in 2013. He was born and grew up in Southern Trinidad and left with his wife and young daughter (me!) for England to study Law. He eventually moved over into teaching instead and set down roots in East London with his family. Some 20-something years later, now retired, he returned last year to Trinidad for 6 months – the longest he has been home since leaving over 20 years ago. Here are his thoughts…
My four months sojourn in Trinidad left me with a mixed response. In some ways it was exhilarating and invigorating: in others it was a reminder to me of the reasons I left 24 years ago.
Spending time with family and friends was a pleasure with the usual vacation activities, a New Year weekend in Tobago, trips to Maracas and Manzanilla and even Los Iros (on my own). Having drinks with friends in the rumshops and bars was especially enjoyable particularly in the weeks through the Christmas season and leading up to Carnival.
I loved the local food which I didn’t realise how much I missed. Simple sada roti and chokha, baigan, tomato, okra, carailli, ground provisions, King fish and carite and curry duck and shrimps and all the great variety of local dishes were a treat. I know you could get similar meals abroad but not the same. They don’t have the landscape in them, nor the rhythm and energy of the place.
The most enjoyable aspect of Carnival was the Chutney soca music finals at Skinner Park. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing soca and calypso drifting into sound from radios, taxis, shops and at events. The atmosphere was similar to what I was used to growing up. I did observe however that the racial divide has become more entrenched in the world of calypso. While there are shared appearances between the young soca stars and the Indian chutney singers, the traditional calypso tents and old time style travelling tents were not very popular with the Indian audiences. And the reason seems to be that the politics along racial lines still exist. For example Sugar Aloes and De Fosto were booed and heckled at the calypso semi finals mainly because they were showing an openness and acceptance of the PP as the government of the day. And while the Indian chutney singers had a range of popular melodies, the themes usually reflected were for the males, being free, single and able to drink and make merry. For the females it was about wining and shaking down the place.
On the day to day living and transactional side of things, the slow pace of workers in government offices and banks and other business places remain as they ever were. It took me a whole day waiting in a queue to get an original of the new computer generated birth certificate. Another entire day to open a bank account and differing requirements to be produced on different days depending on who is at the reception desk. It seems as ever the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing.
Crime is still high though concentrated in certain areas like Laventille, Maloney, Diego Martin and other hot spots along the East West corridor. Murder weekends still make the news and in some cases are reflective of the deepening hold of the drug underworld kingpins. A case in point was the macabre discovery of a head on a table at the bar next the Skippers at the end of Pond St. The rest of the body was discovered in the canefield on Dumfries Road. This is clear evidence of a message being sent out to others in that underworld. Both perpetrators and victims seem to know each other and each murder or reprisal seems to be part of an underworld gangs’ battle for turf in the ever escalating drug war.
Police roadblocks are frequent and turn up on weekends and holiday times when drunk drivers and drug traffickers are actively sought out with spot checks and searches. Police vehicles are seen regularly on the road pulling over drivers and berating them for some misdemeanor or the other (for example a driver of a lorry was pulled over for allowing a passenger in the front seat to carry a child on her lap) So I would say the security services are more vigilant. Yet in spite of all this the occurences of crimes such as robbery and shootings still occur on a regular basis.
People still have double and triple locks and alarms and multiple security in their homes. But life goes on. People go the shows in the Bowl and other venues in San Fernando. Large crowds turn up at public events and the happy go lucky atmosphere and attitudes still pervade.
The most invigorating feelings came from enjoying the hot tropic weather. I loved the early dewy mornings and late afternoons. On evenings it was incredibly peaceful to sit on the patio, look out on the Gulf and watch the sunset on the horizon or just see the evening pass into night time like I used to feel sitting in my hammock in Avocat and looking out into the driveway.
In spite of all the wonderful moments and activities in Trinidad I have to admit that I looked forward to returning to London. I feel I can have both without having to decide to give up one for the other. Trinidad will always be my home, the place where I come from and to which I still feel a sense of belonging. The people know me and I know them. The friendliness and effortless camaraderie still exists and it warms my heart to feel that acceptance. The disillusion I felt which caused me to leave is still there. It may sound strange but I love Trinidad all the more because I know I can leave it. I know also that it is not going anywhere and what I miss and long for is just a flight away and with more flexibility in my time I can visit and leave at my convenience. But I love London as my adopted home and I feel I belong here as well. So why not have both. That is my position. I am a citizen of the world which for me is a global village.
Perhaps in the future I may look for a place of my own in Trinidad to eventually retire and end my days. But not now. Now I want to enjoy my semi retirement by travelling and enjoying the Metropolis and city life as much as I can.
Happy New Year one and all!
I hope you had a magical season!!!
I’ve not been updating much because I’ve been running around like a headless chicken, seeing friends and attending boozy nights! It’s been fun, but now things are getting back into a routine I am able to calm down.
Just so you know, I’m not one for New Years Resolutions. Yes, as a matter of social discussion I make them and stick to them for about 3 weeks, but generally, new year or not, I swing in roundabouts with the promises I hope to fulfil for myself.
This year however, I have decided to actually form a few resolutions I hope to stick with for a whole 12 months.
The first of which (should be no surprise) is to lose weight. Last year I managed to lose 5 stone or 70lbs. I’ve successfully kept it off. This year I would like to shift 3-4 stone or about 50lbs. I know I can do it, I just have to seriously push to break through the wall I’ve hit.
My second is to cut down on my smoking. I know, I know, you’re shocked that I would engage in such a disgusting habit! I have given up in the past and I chose to go back. Mind you, I didn’t say I wanted to stop, but I do want to cut back.
My final resolution is a theory Jelly-Bean shared with me. She calls it the Lean In theory (basically, carpe diem). We spend so much time not doing things because we try to see where they’ll get us, and if we assume a negative we don’t do it. Even if the initial ‘thing’ is something that appeals to us. For example, going for that job promotion even though you don’t want to be a part of that department for the long haul. Who cares? If you like that job, go for it, don’t worry about where it’ll lead. You worry about getting trapped into a branch of a company you’re not interested in because of the possibility of something you have no way of knowing the outcome.
Plus, who knows, maybe you’ll love that branch, or it’ll lead to other things, or you’ll learn something about yourself.
This theory can apply in other areas of ones life too – per example, I can’t go on a date with that guy, my parents would hate him! Seriously?! We’re talking one date, don’t get in your head and start imagining the wedding seating arrangements. It might not (probably) won’t get that far. So just enjoy it for what it is. Turn your brain off and as Jelly-Bean says to me all the time, “lean the fuck in”. Get out of your head and go try some stuff, take some risks, because you never know what you might find.
Plus, what would you really be losing..?
From me to you…
I hope you all have a very merry, safe and sparkly Christmas! xoxo
In the last 5 years, 3 women that I went to high school with have gotten married and 2 of them have had children. We are all the same age, grew up in the same area and were raised with very similar values.
In my group of friends there are 5 of us who seem to have been in the same boat for the last 3 years.
We fluctuate between knowing exactly what we want and wanting it, to not wanting to give up what we have to get it…
Of course, I’m talking about a relationship.
My best friends and I can, and have talked about this ad nauseam. We never seem to tire of it and each time, although the conversations pretty much go the same way, we seem to uncover a nugget of gold about ourselves, men or the whole process of dating/relationships each time.
We range from 26-34 years and we vary in racial and ethnic background, education, experiences and careers and yet we are at the same position when it comes to finding another. This has been problematic for Jelly-Bean and I as we try to make sense of why we struggle to find someone of value. You see, there being no common thread makes it impossible to figure out. We all look different from one another (in terms of size and physicality). We have all shapes and sizes in our group from overweight and short to athletic and tall. We have sexy and cute, curvy and slim, blonde and black, curly and straight, long and short, yet we all have the same experiences. Some of us go out to very high-brow events in and around London and are culturally diverse while some of us limit our outings to the local pub or church socials. Yet again, we come back with the same results.
Guys and girls alike usually ask us, “what are you looking for in a partner?”
The following list comprises of the things we all agree we are looking for – of course in varying degrees.
-Someone who can meet us emotionally.
-Someone who can meet us intellectually.
-Someone we can have fun with.
-Someone who can navigate family and various friendship groups (by this we mean, he needs to be able to throw down a few pints with the locals and our friends and make a concerted effort with our family).
-Varied interests (by this we mean, he needs to be able to appreciate a foreign film/theatre production as much as he would a gig).
-Someone who is content with himself (we don’t want someone who needs us, we want someone who wants us).
-PERSONAL BONUS: Someone who can make me laugh! (funny, will get him far).
Now, that sounds like a lot – but that’s not to say he must do or love those things, just that he is able to appreciate them and pull them out when the occasion calls for it.
I used to know someone, who, whilst agonising about his own singledom, would say to me, “but if you really wanted a boyfriend you could have one… your standards are just too high”.
I tried to explain to him that it’s not about having someone, it’s about having the right someone. I mean, let’s face it. It’s a lot of effort to get involved. Time is no longer yours. You are required to put a lot of yourself in it. You are required to commit yourself (even on a dating level).
Of course he didn’t understand exactly what I meant and blew me off with a “well you obviously just don’t want it bad enough”.
But that’s like saying to an overweight person “you know, if you really want to be skinny you could just become anorexic… clearly you just don’t want it bad enough!”
The problem my 4 friends and I face is not that we don’t meet men, but rather we don’t meet the right men. I could take that one step further and say that we don’t really meet men but we meet boys. When I say boys I’m not talking about age but maturity and value level in terms of a partnership.
Just as there are Boys vs. Men, there are also Girls vs. Women. The things a Man or Woman look for in a partner will be completely different from the things a Boy and a Girl look for. Interestingly – this is where my friends and I fall differently. 2 of them are self confessed Girls, 2 are Women and 1 is somewhere between the two. This is something I plan on writing another piece on so I won’t go into it too much.
Anyway, this brings me to the current problem of one of my friends.
She met a guy. Let’s call him John.
A really great guy. A Man, who ticks every one of the attributes listed above and even presented a few more really wonderful qualities. He likes her back and has shown equal amount of interest. He came into her life just as she was ready to believe someone like him simply didn’t exist.
He just got out of a serious relationship (when I say just, I mean 2 months ago and when I say serious I mean, 3 years. He had introduced her to his family, he was getting ready to propose to her).
She broke up with him before he could propose, citing no other reason than “she needed to be single” – which begs the question, if she ever turned around and said “I’ve made a huge mistake, I love you and want you back” would he have any reason to say “no”?
Obviously there are two problems there – he’s probably still in love with his ex and he could be rebounding…
The other problem – he’s going away for 3 months to travel. He had expressed to my friend that he wished he had met her before and that the timing of this really sucks as he wants to get to know her better but I told her, maybe the timing is perfect and what he really needs is to get away and clear his mind of his ex and come back fresh and ready to possibly start something new.
But of course, the risks are:
Not wanting to place all her eggs in one basket (that possibly still belonged to another) she met someone else.
Let’s call him Daniel.
Daniel is a nice guy. He kinda ticks some of the boxes and they have a few things in common. He has shown a lot more interest in her than she has in him and he seems respectful and caring but he’s not who she wants. He’s not who she imagines introducing to her friends and family. Now, obviously this is all a little pre-emptive. She doesn’t really know Daniel that well to shoo him off, but I have noticed that she talks about them very differently.
From my side of things, I can see a definite attraction. A chemistry between her and John, but with Daniel, it’s more like a quick spark. The girls and I have encouraged her to give Daniel a chance especially since the next three months will be without John, but when we say this to her she looks slightly deflated and we feel like we’re telling her that “it’s the taking part that matters, not the winning”. But, of course, she wants to be encouraged that she can win.
Personally I prefer John for her but I don’t want her to close herself off for three months especially when she doesn’t know if or what John will come back to.
If this were a Hollywood movie, in the end (through some sort of difficulty) we would all be routing for John and in fact he would pick my friend – perhaps he’d cut his trip short and appear on her door step. He’d probably say something like, “you’re all the adventure I need!” and they’d live happily ever after as the credits rolled. But it’s not a movie. And John is leaving and Daniel is staying.
Of course she can’t string Daniel along. Daniel is very sweet, kind and he’s quite smitten with her. His biggest draw back is that he’s not John. Poor guy, it’s not his fault. By all accounts he’s done everything right. I think if she had never met John she’d be thrilled with Daniel.
So this is the dilemma that is before her and the group.
I guess all that remains is the question – what does she want more? John or a relationship?
I came across this gem a few days ago. It’s pretty amazing how awesome this kid is. We could all learn a few things from him! xoxo