As I’m far from home and much-loved traditions, I wasn’t sure how to feel about Christmas 2012. Although I refused to accept the fallacy that Christmas couldn’t possibly be Christmas without snow (have you seen a map of the world recently?), it still took me a while to get into the spirit of it. A night of enthusiastic chanté nweling which included copious amounts of Christmas ham, followed by a Saturday morning wake-up to a pile of presents and cards all with my name on (thanx peeps!!) got me thinking…
1) Family. I’m from a stereotypically Caribbean family as a Trini friend enlightened me once. I thought she meant in reference to raucously loud get togethers of very loving, proud black people convening for any occasion; Christenings, birthdays, graduations, weddings, or funerals. But according to her, it was having more than 20 first cousins. ‘Have them?’ I can name and tell stories about growing up with them!! Continue reading →
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.
When you grow up in a temperate (read: COLD) climate, a first date which includes watching a multicoloured sunset under palm trees, dinner (albeit top brass takeaway pizza) on a secluded white sand beach and a midnight swim is the stuff of your most unabashedly romantic fantasies and the holiday romances of your wildest dreams. They’re not actually real. And it’s unrealistic expectations like these that are the reason for the divorce stats they say. But when you are located in the tropics where palm trees abound, sunsets are breathtaking and you want to impress somebody, what else says ‘What you saaaaaaaaaaaying?’ or ‘Wha gwan rude girl’ with quite the same je ne sais quoi? And when pennies are not dropping out of those scene-setting palm trees, this is a cheap and cheerful night out. Continue reading →