Friday, March 30, 2012

Happy Spiritual Shouter Baptist Liberation Day!

(photo courtesy the Trinidad Express)

It's a holiday in sweet T&T! Have I told you why I love this place? Oh, that's right. I have.

Today is Spiritual Shouter Baptist Liberation Day, a holiday celebrated only in T&T which commemorates the day that those of the faith were finally allowed to worship in peace (61 years ago). As with most of my discoveries about local history, I was surprised to learn how recently such a freedom had been granted. Not to mention how recently it was recognized as a significant historical event (just 16 years ago). These occasional reminders of the nation's relative youth help to temper my impatience with the place - for a while, anyway. Still, the contrasts between the development of a society intended for long-term colonization and one meant strictly for the production of resources is sometimes jarring. There's a lot of make-it-up-as-we-go-along going on here and I suspect that it's at the root of the much of the ad hoc nature of things.

On the bright side, today also marks the first of 3 consecutive short weeks, so YAY! I intend to celebrate this holiday like I do most others; reading, writing and maybe I'll find a movie to mock- I mean, watch. There isn't much else to do since everything except KFC shuts all the way down on a holiday. No worries, though, I started Catching Fire last night and - just as with The Hunger Games - any time spent not reading the novel is occupied with ruminations of what's going to happen next. Yes, I'm obsessed with a novel meant for Young Adults. No, I'm not the least bit bothered by that. Still hoping to catch the movie this weekend; with all of the buzz, I'm hoping I'll be lucky enough to grab tickets.

Well, I'm off. Happy Spiritual Shouter Baptist Liberation Day to my local readers and to those based abroad: I'll do an extra special bit of lazing about for you. :)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What's Worse Than a Fight to the Death in an Outdoor Arena?

Because it’s no secret that the internet loves nothing more than to crush the spirits of fangirls like myself, I knew it was only a matter of time before something attempted to tarnish my pristine new love affair with The Hunger Games.

Then a friend linked me to the Hunger Games Tweets Tumblr, a compendium of the bigoted perspectives of those shocked by the black actors playing Rue and Thresh in the recently released movie.

I was not prepared.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Lost in "The Hunger Games"

I’ve been living in Panem for the past two days; catching up on the latest YA literary craze to sweep the globe and daydreaming about running through the woods during those unavoidable moments when I was forced to tear myself away from the page. In fact, my brand-new obsession with Suzanne Collins’ gripping dystopian coming-of-age tale is why today’s post is late. Mea culpa, I was completely unprepared to be so charmed.

I’d originally intended to let this one pass me by. The end of the Harry Potter saga and the sparkly juggernaut that is Twilight seemed to signal an end to my love affair with well-written young adult fiction (though, at 26 years old, that might be for the best). So when I heard about The Hunger Games trilogy and the subsequent movie, I naturally figured that more overwrought teen angst was on the way. The merchandising blitz didn't help matters, either. I did plan to eventually give the movie a chance, but only because the Twilight movies have turned out to be such comedic gems.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Once Upon A Time ... A T&T Fairy Tale (Part III)

And so we come to the conclusion of our story.

When last we met, I was inching ever closer to home... the little yellow light on my BlackBerry had just started blinking and I was praying for enough battery power and inspiration to conclude our tale.

When we last saw M, she was in exile; sent away as a result of her big mouth and her know-it-all attitude. Seems like a little distance and perspective was just what she needed, though. That last letter of hers was a doozy.

Act Three: And So it Ends (Wait for it ...)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Once Upon A Time ... A T&T Fairy Tale (Part II)

When we left off with our tale, your humble narrator was beginning to worry about the sudden off-route turn the taxi had taken (was he trying to avoid the traffic or should I tweet an S.O.S.?). Meanwhile, back in the fictional Kingdom of Port of Spain, the plebs were languishing, the elite were living lavishly and there was a potential heroine on the horizon:

Act Two: Out of the Frying Pan and into the Fracas

Monday, March 19, 2012

Once Upon a Time ... A T&T Fairy Tale (Part I)

Once upon a time I wrote a fairy tale on Twitter.

Let me set the scene:

It was the end of a very long Friday a couple of months ago. I had survived a harrowing journey filled with twists and turns, successfully battled fierce (if dimwitted) opponents and was looking forward to the peace of the weekend (even though I had to work that Sunday). There was just one hurdle left to cross. 

Travelling home. 

Now, the journey from St. Clair to Chaguanas is harrowing on a good day. This, however, happened to be a rainy day. Those who work in Port of Spain know what happens to the evening commute when it rains. Those who don't should imagine what it would be like to travel home in a place where 15 minutes of continuous rain causes moderate flooding - which in turn causes all commuters to panic - and there's no reliable public transportation system to save you. Oh, and it's rush hour. Sound hopeless? No? Then you're not imagining it right.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Greener Grass

Just one of many pieces of Trinidad-themed merchandise I'd been known to (proudly) wear on Labor Day.

In the last 6 years, I've found myself on the receiving end of all sorts of interesting questions from a wide range of people who are honestly curious about me, my upbringing and – most importantly – the fabled land of opportunity in which I was raised.

The curiosity is usually genuine, so I try to ignore the fact that I sometimes feel like a Martian when folks ask if I’d ever had roti before I came here (of course) or a psychic when they ask if I know some random person who also happened to live in Flatbush once upon a time (of course not). The fact that most of the questions range from the amusing to the absurd keeps me in good spirits while I explain that driving on the left is not a problem for me because I never learned to drive on the right and that I am never ever going to learn the metric system, no matter who says it’s better. (The Queen can kiss my 10-inch foot)

The question that bugs me, though, is the one I seem to get most frequently (and usually from those who don’t know me well enough to know why they shouldn’t ask): “Why would you EVER come back here?” This question is usually followed by a declaration along the lines of “If I lived abroad, I’d NEVER come back” and a list of all the reasons why America (or any other country, really) is a million times better than T&T.

Leaving aside the fact that most of these folks get their impressions of the US from episodes of the “Real Housewives” series and “Kim and Khloe Take NY”, there are several reasons why this makes me want to grind my teeth:

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


I am clumsy. Not in a cute, Zooey Deschanel kind of way, but in an I-trip-over-anything-and-everything kind of way. Combine that with the fact that I bruise like a leukemia patient and you’ve got the makings of great comedy, which also happens to be my real life.

This predisposition towards self-injury and the resulting evidence is a great conversation starter. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had the pleasure of explaining that, no, that’s not a hickey or no, I am not a victim of domestic assault.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Fear of Failure

I read recently that one of the many ways that New Year’s resolutions fail is when we announce them to everyone and then promptly fail to follow through. The rationale is that we declare them in the hopes that the specter of public humiliation will motivate us, feel fulfilled in the announcement (as if it was a step in the right direction) and then do nothing. I’ve been doing that for more than a year.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Daring to be different (like everyone else)

I was the most boring teenager ever. No exaggeration there. I had friends and we’d do the regular teenaged things like hanging out at the mall and watching movies, but my real passion in life was reading. I spent hours alone in my bedroom curled up with books. I also got good grades, rarely went out after dark, held a part-time job and gave absolutely no trouble when it came to guys. That last part wasn’t really by choice; before I grew breasts I couldn’t get a guy to look at me and afterwards all I wanted was for them to look away. I was awkward. (<--- recurring theme)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

“Secrets are things we give to others to keep for us” ~ Elbert Hubbard

I am bad at secrets. Always have been.

I remember, when I was a little girl, getting a talking to about private versus public things. You know the talk your parents give you when you’re 4 or 5, right after you tell the neighbor about daddy’s special magazine collection (the one he keeps under the mattress). Your parents sit you down and explain that some things, while true, are only to be discussed with family. Or, in the case of Daddy’s girlie mags, not at all. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Marching to the beat of my own drummer

I’ve always been a little bit different. Even “back home”.

If it wasn’t the fact that I wore my hair natural until the age of 14 (unheard of in my generation), it was the fact that I was six feet tall and a high school freshman, or the fact that I was still playing with Barbies when other girls were discovering fun new games like “Seven Minutes in Heaven”. I never did anything when or how anyone else did.

The earliest memory I have of just being strange was back in elementary school. It had to be first grade, because I remember the teacher involved very vividly. Let’s call her Mrs. R. (because her name began with “R”). Mrs. R was my favorite teacher for many years. She was kind and encouraging and she had the most innovative ways of teaching every day subjects. She was also relatively laid back, so long as you weren’t disrupting the class. (I think you see where this is going.)