Goodbye Trinidad

It’s always the suitcases. That’s when it really hits me that I’m leaving. Not the goodbyes,,the hugs,,the tears..

..but the suitcases.

All packed and ready to go. Just sitting there.. waiting to be whisked away.

hope they’re not overweight!

Something about suitcases has always intrigued me. The concept of just packing up your life in these big bags and just.. leaving – almost as if you were never there (wherever you happen to be) in the first place – always struck me as a little bizarre..in a good way..but bizarre nonetheless. And as I sit in my room, typing this..I’m staring at these suitcases – wondering if I left a mark (no matter how small) on this country in these past six months..

A pretty arrogant thought I know, but if felt different when I left Beirut…like I had left behind something..some sort of legacy. (If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I was living in Beirut before I came to POS). I don’t know..maybe it’s because I’m leaving Trinidad so soon,,maybe it’s because I didn’t reaaallly give this country a chance..Or maybe it’s because you just want to know that when something/someone has touched you, you have touched them in return.

I mean, wow. Has it really been six months already? wow. It feels like just yesterday that I was walking out of Piarco Airport thinking to myself, “Well, this should be interesting.”

And trust me when I tell you, it most definitely has..

But since I believe in being honest, I have to admit that it was a little hard for me to adjust to Trinidad..and to life in the Caribbean in general. Even though I’ve been visiting this country ever since I can remember (I think my first flight here was when I was 10 days old to be exact), I didn’t realize how un-Trini I am until I actually moved here.

I suppose that subconsciously, my approach to Trinidad was very different from my approach to Lebanon in the sense that I felt like I should’ve been more at ease here. I felt pressured almost, to be ‘Trini’…whatever that means – to fit in, accept things for the way they are, and just feel a sense of belonging to this country..After all, this is where my family is from, and where I’ve spent every single summer until I was about 17.. So why was it so hard? (People did warn me that it would be difficult to adjust, seeing as I grew up in Miami).

I know what you’re thinking.. “How could it be hard to adjust to life in the Caribbean?!?!?”

It’s funny..but I never felt this pressure when I was in Lebanon..which is strange since, logically, it should’ve been harder for me (ie. more pressure) to get acclimated to a country/culture I knew nothing about..when truth be told, it was the complete opposite! And since we’re being honest here..when I look back on both of these experiences..I felt more at home in Lebanon than I ever did in my ‘own country!’

……………

That being said (I hope all of the Trini’s reading this don’t hate me), I’m glad that I gave Trinidad a chance..(even if only a brief chance)..as this has surely been a tremendous growth experience for me.

I mean, had I not lived here I (likely) would’ve never experienced what it’s like to live under a ‘State of Emergency,’ what it feels like to be a part of a racial minority, or witnessed how Trinis have somehow managed to turn crime into prime time entertainment. But I also wouldn’t have gotten to know more about my ‘ancestral homeland,’ or learned about Trinidad’s burgeoning artistic community, OR learned how to properly eat a ‘doubles or that it’s almost sacrilegious to eat roti with a knife and fork! (too mention only a few of my Trini experiences..)

…I cannot possibly continue this post without giving a shoutout to my colleagues (the best way to learn about a new country/culture is to work in advertising in that country – I’m sure of it) who took my ‘cultural education’ to another level.

Danielle, today..we’re taking you to a Rum Shop!”

Inside Hereford’s Rum Shop..

And as always, my questioning began…

But, if it’s a rum shop..why are they serving beer? What is the history of the rum shop? How did it come to be? How is it different from any other bar? I’m going to blog about this eventually so I really need to know. Like now.

Thirsty anyone? Inside Brooklyn Bar ‘Rum Shop’

I really do owe you guys a lot..you made my time here so much more memorable. (Thank you for putting up with my endless questions!)

Me and a few of my colleagues..

When I think about it..my only regret over these past few months is not seeing more of Trinidad. It’s true what they say: people in the West never make it past the lighthouse unless they’re going to the airport! In six months I only made it to the East once (and I didn’t even get out of the car!), and didn’t make it to the South at all! ::::hides face:::: shameful I know..but I suppose not having my own method of transportation, and being a little wary about taking public transport alone in Trinidad will do that to you.

What is it about this lighthouse?

And..yes..you don’t have to tell me.. I’m well aware that my blog suffered from this ‘cultural myopia’ as well.

A few of you took the time to point out the fact that I only wrote about what happened in “West Trinidad.” And in retrospect, I should’ve named this blog ‘This is POS’..or ‘This is West Trinidad’, instead of ‘This is Trinidad’. I suppose I never anticipated that I wouldn’t be getting out of the West at all! So to those of you who made those comments,.. you were right,!! and I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to cover more of this beautiful country!

Coming back from down the islands..

The view from Trinidad & Tobago Yacht Club

As to where I’m headed next..it’s still a secret that I’m waiting to reveal. (Although I will tell you that I’ll be in Miami for the next month, with a side trip to Austin,,woop woop!) When I’m ready, I’ll post it here.. But before I sign off, I will leave you with this video of what Trinidad is most known for: Carnival. (For those of you reading this who are unfamiliar with Trinidadian culture, and the term “wining” (it really is a cultural thing (so I’ve come to accept) which I should’ve explored further on this blog)..I ask that you keep an open mind 😉

And finally, thank you for reading! It was a pleasure having you along! 😀

(For those of you on Twitter you can keep up with me @daniellebaiz)

and now..onto the next adventure…

Goodbye Trinidad! See you soon!

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24 Comments

Filed under Life in Trinidad

24 responses to “Goodbye Trinidad

  1. All the luck in your new adventure Danielle!
    I admire your courage and the effort you do to describe new cultures
    I love your rants and raves about anything & everything!
    Respect!!!!!!!!!

  2. ksha

    Hey I told yoU before here goes again good luck and success in all your future endeavors. Don’t feel to bad about not adjusting to Trini but I’m sure wherever you go the “trini experience” would be most memorable! Oh and thanks for the blog always a good read.

  3. Sandra Scott Farah (Mom)

    The honesty and sincerity of your writing is a big part of what makes your blogs so special Danielle. And even though your time in Trinidad did not affect you in the same way that Beirut did, I’m sure it did have an impact on your personal growth and development and you probably had an impact on those with whom you came into contact while you were there. I personally learned from your blog posts even though I grew up in Trinidad, so thank you for that… and keep on writing!!

    • Mom how can I thank you enough for your continual support..wherever I am or whatever I’m doing! Thank you for always reading, commenting, and being a part of my adventures! xoxo

  4. It’s always interesting to follow your adventures, maybe your next blog should be called “This is Danielle” ?
    Best wishes for your future plans, I can’t wait to find out where you’ll be blogging from (after Miami I mean)

    • Fadi! Maybe you’re right? I should look into creating a ‘This is Danielle’..haha will definitely keep that in mind for the future! As for my plans, you will know sooooooon!

  5. Issa frangieh

    Hey was fun reading your latest post. What’s behind the lighthouse?? Now I wanna go to find out. Lebanon would welcome you back any time. cheers.

  6. Les

    Keep an open mind to lewd, animal-like behavior in a public place???? You’ve got to be kidding!!!!

  7. trinimedstudent

    I must say I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your writing. It has been really interesting, illuminating and entertaining to see Trinidad from foreign eyes! I do regret that you were unable to vizit the Southland, where I’m from. I would have loved for you to vizit Debe for instance! Anyway, I wish you best of luck in the future and hope that you continue writing. Where are you off to next?

    • Thank you Trinimedstudent! And I will definitely make the effort to venture south next time I’m in the country! I’ll be revealing my next adventure soon! Stay tuned!

  8. well, one for the road then!
    “or witnessed how Trinis have somehow managed to turn crime into prime time entertainment.”

    cops… to catch a predator… mob wives… locked up abroad… american gangster… the wire…
    crime as entertainment isn’t such a uniquely trinbagonian thing. at least not one for which i think we’re worthy of recognition. not when you have facts like our cocoa makes some of the most expensive chocolates in the world for example. i’d say you got a raw deal yo! and the car to take you around thing… another fact is trinis are very accommodating, especially if a lime is involved. so i don’t think that caused your problem.

    ANYWAY, good luck on your next adventure. and i’ll side with faddi chammas and suggest a name change that would support your style and perspective. and maybe just talk about what you experience. so bless up!! and if you want to check in on what’s poppin’ (especially under the food scene) hit up the blog:

    http://eatahfood.blogspot.com/

    • Thanks for all of your comments QD..you definitely brought some much needed perspective to this blog! Will be in touch when I come back! You still have to take me to Wings! ;D

  9. Gernot Hirsinger

    I’m sorry you never made it South and East. On the other hand, isn’t that a reason to return one day?
    Appreciate the feelings about belonging to a racial minority. Experienced twelve years of that myself. Even being mobbed out of the school yard with everyone screaming “Nazi” behind me. Still feel a deep sense of belonging all the same. BTW are you a relative of Rhonda’s?

    • Yes I am a relative of Rhonda! I will definitely be back soon – still have family there!..and will make an effort to head East and South! I have to! My Mom has school yard stories of her own! Kids can be so mean huh? 😉 Thanks for your comment Gernot!

  10. Kevin

    Good luck in all your future endeavours.. But do return to our lovely country that is Trinidad and Tobago.. and experience the entire country.

  11. Can’t wait for your new adventure Danielle! Globetrotting is a great way to discover who you are!

  12. Anne

    I just found this blog. I am a Trini who grew up in the US also. It was nice to see a new perspective on Trinidad.

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