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.
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).
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!”
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.”
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!)
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.
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!
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!