On my last Trini Tuesday I posted 5 questions for TTfootball. She's a Trini living up in Connecticut and I am so glad she asked for 5 questions because I've been wanting to get to know her better. She doesn't post terribly often but I enjoy reading her perspectives on her American experience when she does. She's been fortunate enough to visit Scandinavia too and had some interesting thoughts on that as well. I'd encourage you to stop by her place and read through her archives a bit. I'm also still trying to recover from my trip and start the whole back to school preparations, so with TT's permission I am copying her responses to the 5 questions here.
Ok here we go... I needed some focus since I'm still at soccer camp, there's alot to write about but I can't settle on one thing till i get home and organise my thoughts. So I got these questions from Lime to keep my posts going till then:
1. You are from Trinidad but studying in Connecticut. What made you decide to study in the USA and do you plan to return to Trinidad upon completion of school?
I actually came to the U.S. because I was bored and football gave me the opportunity to leave and get a degree at the same time. I have known many people who come to play for one year just for the experience and go back home. It's the question of my life: to return or not to return...and I keep putting off answering it until I ABSOLUTELY have to. When I completed my BS it was there, then I got accepted to do my MBA so I put off thinking of that for another 2 years (still have one to go) Then what? well after that I apply for Optional Practical Training (thats another year I can stretch it out for hehe) Maybe something else might come up after that. Or maybe I might grow up by then and actually decide...
2. The Northeast USA is said to be a very 'cold' place, not just the climate but the people as well. I loved the warmth of Trinidad's culture when I lived there and found this a very difficult place to return to. Do you find 'cold' to be an accurate description and even if not, how do you cope with the cultural differences?
One of the biggest things I miss about Trinidad, especially my neighbourhood, is the people on the street. And I don't mean like what you see on TV with unemployed people on the corner. But the open doors, the WALKING down your street and saying good afternoon to people as opposed to driving, the way you can just drop by someone's house for a few minutes without calling in advance, "lime" by the front gate. I always thought it noticeable how you hardly ever see anyone on the street even in the more residential neighbourhoods.It is a bit difficult to make a comparison of the Northeast since my experiences here have been filled with people who have also come from other countries. Somehow it usually happens that the "foreigners" gravitate towards one another, I never put thought into whether it was a Northeast thing or simply an American thing.
3. If you were taking a friend on tour of Trinidad, what spots would you be sure to visit? This may include but is not limited to obvious tourist places....(oooh, i feelin' fuh an Aptee's roti or some doubles from by de airport......)
Been thinking about this one since I finally visited my european friends. Definitely they would have to take a ride in a maxi taxi, a main road one at that, not a bus route one. Port of Spain, from the President's House to the Light House; of course Maracas Bay, as much for the scenic drive and the beach as for the bake and shark; Invader's Bay, Chaguaramas, great sunsets; Chaguanas to experience the hustle of street shopping; West Mall for mall shopping and Trinidad White people hehe; Aranguez savannah where I learned to play football and fly kites; Smokey and Bunty, bar and grill (more bar); east coast leatherback turtle-nesting-watching; Asa Wright nature centre; La brea, pitch (asphalt) lake; University of the West Indies doubles vendors; ferry to Tobago: then Charlotteville to pull seine; Store Bay/Pigeon Point, beaches; Buccoo Reef/Nylon pool (clear shallow in the middle of the reef); Fort King George, history, great view;o and we would have to choose a couple good nightclubs ;-)Those were just a few off the top of my head, but I definitely think its important to experience the daily culture and not only the tourist spots .
4. What do you enjoy most about living in the USA? What cultural traits or opportunities/experiences will you miss if and when you return to Trinidad?
Cultural traits... I feel that in spite of the American influence on caribbean society, our way of life and approach to things in general, have quite a British or European flavour. I have always had more in common with other foreigners than Americans. I really don't know what can be identified as an American trait...hmm, you drive everywhere? You like to claim your heritage e.g. Portugese, Irish etc even if you don't know much about it? You like to have parades! That's a good one! Oh and processed food!I will miss most the opportunity to meet so many different people of various cultures. Many Americans marvel at the fact that I left Trinidad on my own, but there are in fact many like myself and such people have enriched my experience here in indescribable ways; great friends. I enjoy the ability to drive for hours and not reach the other end of the island; New York City; visiting my Grandmom; in some ways I enjoy being the novelty, the caribbean girl; coaching, coaching girls; I will miss things being open in the middle of the night e.g. Dunkin Donuts; there is so much more to do here, things to try, I guess thats why its big; I will surely miss skiing (I plan to learn to snowboard this coming winter); sometimes I am afraid I will get like one of my Uncles and be bored back in Trinidad but I know things have gotten very different in terms of nightlife and liming spots in the few years I've been away; as long as I can travel i'll be OK.
5. Now for the question I was always tickled to have asked when I lived in Trinidad....What yuh mix, gyal?
I always say I'm as mixed as they come, the only thing I am yet to discover in my heritage is some Chinese. But i've got the European/African/Indian thing goin on ;-)
Thanks for playing, TT!
Happy Trini Tuesday, everyone!