Tag Archives: Change

Mesi anchay, Thanks a bunch, Merci beaucoup

Thank you for reading movingblack.

Whether you just fell upon this blog today or you’ve been reading since the first posts I published, if you’ve read more than 2 posts, thank you.  The more you’ve read here, the higher the likelihood you’ve waded through the better, worse, more and less clumsy and longer and shorter of my attempts at articulating what makes perfect sense in my head.   Sometimes.  I therefore salute you. Continue reading

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Dominoes à trois, unbridled generosity, and digérer: 10 Things What I Have Learned After a Year in Martinique, Innit

A map of Martinique

A map of Martinique (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Approximately a year ago today, I left London in a hurry.  Not out of choice, that’s just the way things go sometimes.  There was an exciting new job waiting for me and a 4 week notice period in the old one.  Compared with previous international departures of months (as in 4 or 12!) of advance notice, just under four weeks was kinda fast.  There were a lot of goodbyes.  No shortage of tears.  Sometimes the result of lovely things said.  There were no regrets.  This adventure called Life had spoken quite definitively, it was time to rock and roll onto pastures new.  My longstanding undimmed passionate love affair with the Caribbean had yielded a new fruit:  emigration. Continue reading

Caribbean woman from London? Or Londoner from the Caribbean? How the identity/location shuffle made my head spin

The Early Years

I am a South London girl born and raised and proud of it. Forest Hill, Brockley, Crofton Park, Catford and Lewisham made me the woman I am today.   I had a relatively happy childhood there, and made lifelong friends in those schools and on those streets.  Growing up as young black girl there, it was fairly normal to be asked ‘where you’re from’ as my thick South London accent and use of Multicultural London English quickly gave me away as a local. I therefore grew up describing myself as ‘from Barbados and St Lucia’ and had loads of friends who were Chinese, Ghanaian, Turkish, Jamaican, Trinidadian, also Bajan or St Lucian, Dominican, Montserratians, Greek Cypriot, Sri Lankan, Indian, Pakistani, Vietnamese, from the Indian diaspora (you know, East African, South African, Trinidadian/Guyanese Indians rather than Indian Indians) when you asked, but sounded as English as I did, and were also born in the local hospital.

We were all Londoners, but we were from somewhere else too and the only time there was any tension was during the cricket (well there wasn’t any really, no one except our parents really followed cricket, although all the black kids learned to chant 375 and 501 at appropriate and inappropriate occasions).  And again, no one considered it disloyal to back whichever black team made it to the World Cup, be it the Reggae Boyz, Soca Warriors or more recently, the Black Stars. And Brazil cos they had Pele from back in the day.   It was expected.  Football was where the last vestiges of Pan-Africanism could be found when I was growing up.  This was before the 2002 World Cup, when black players en masse got picked for the English national squad; before that it was Paul Ince, Ian Wright and Sol Campbell only*.  We repped them, but not the team.  But I digress, I was from Barbados and St Lucia growing up, until A-Level Sociology.  There, a friend and I decided to embrace our full identities as Non-Practising Afro-Caribbeans and Black Marxist Feminists. I kid you not.  It was a bit of a mouthful, but we finally had a title which reflected our Caribbean roots, and London-based lives.  And then I moved to Thailand. Continue reading

One Day In St Lucia

Toes in the sand and nose to nose with the horizon line, today I tried to contemplate how I ended up here.  When did I become Neo?  I saw The Matrix; I was not enthralled with the nebuchadnezzar.  I could have chosen the blue pill.  Heavy-heartedly maybe, but I would have done it.  That porridge three times a day would have driven me mad and I would have been no use to the revolution.  So which part of my journey through life determined that I would step off the treadmill, out of the rat race, move a gazillion miles away from my beloved London and set up home in the French Caribbean?  Clueless, I retraced my steps. Continue reading

I totally related to the sentiments in this post; the tension in being a tourist but ‘not like the other tourists’ and the acceptance that wherever you travel will impact you, and you it and both are altered for the contact. When you travel, it’s not easy to be a tactful tourist. But I reckon the sooner you realise your holiday destination wasn’t actually created by God simply to amuse you, the sooner you will start to hear the heartbeat of the place.

The Road Less Graveled

I’ve bitten off more than I can chew.

I’ve been working on writing about my favorite place in the world: Kaua’i. In a way, it is a simple essay to write; the scenery is gorgeous, adventures prolific and the cultural history is extremely interesting.

Words fail me.

This place means so much to me that I find it indescribable. The blend of beauty, power and the socio-economic struggles of this place make it more complex than describing the dysfunctionality of your own family lineage, with a touch of racism and politics on the side. There is so much more than meets the eye.

There’s no doubt about it; Kaua’i is beautiful. Over a million visitors pour into the airports of the Garden Isle each year, mostly congregating to areas such as Po’ipu and Princeville. They drive up to Koke’e to visit the Kalalau lookout, perhaps hike to Hanakapi’ai beach

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Travel = a need not a want

I can’t honestly explain what makes me want to travel.  Where my itchy feet come from I don’t know.  I like to think I am part of a great epic of black women moving by force, by choice, but moving nevertheless.  I sometimes think it is the Brit in me.  Raised as I was at the latter end of the times when it was still okay to idolise the great explorers of the nineteenth century.  To think of them as great rather than the imperialist baddies they were.

While the conscious black person in me always knew how morally repugnant it was, the Brit in me imagined myself with that beige hat on head, and cutlass in hand, big grin on my face as I carve out a new route through some hitherto ‘undiscovered’ place obscured by trees.  It’s such a familiar recurring image that I smile as I write it.

I’m smiling because I’ve been able to write what I’ve never been able to articulate.  The need to see new things, the craving to understand the world.  It’s the black person in me, paradoxically, who knows that if I really want to know, I have to ask the people.

Continue reading