I saw this meme over at Jocelyn's place and she had her sister who has been in Central America answer it. I've been struggling for ideas for Trini Tuesday lately so I thought this would be a good one to do. About a year ago I tossed out the opportunity for readers to ask questions about Trinidad that I would then use as the basis of a TT post. Since I'm running a bit low on ideas I'll do that again. Leave your question in the comments and I will be glad to put something together.
Onto the meme...(with some specific tweakage)
5 Things I loved in Trinidad
1. Liming! I was born to Lime!
2. The people
3. The music
4. The food
5. The culture
Pretty much all the things I blog about on Trini Tuesday. Go root around in the archives if you are new.
4 Things I missed from the USA
1. Friends and family
2. Autumn. I knew I would too so I took a zillion pictures of leaves and trees the autumn before I left and then when I got to missing it badly I scattered them all on the floor one afternoon.
3. Winter. A friend from the US sent me a Christmas package which included some clingy plastic window decorations shaped like snowflakes. I had them up well into February when a Trini friend came over and asked why I hadn't put away the last of my Christmas decorations. I said the snow couldn't go away until it was time for the spring thaw. She thought I was nuts but she laughed.
4. Certain foods, specifically Italian food (couldn't get the cheeses and the seasonings were a little tough to come by sometimes), broccoli, Doritos, and Peanut Butter Tasty Cakes. My father came to visit me and I told him he had better have lasagna ingredients, Doritos and Tasty Cakes in his bag or else he should just get back on the plane when it landed. (You have to understand the relationship we have...just accept that I was not being rude and demanding in spite of the way that sounds) He came with all the requested items. He had packed the Doritos in his briefcase however, and the bag exploded. Nonetheless, I descended upon the briefcase with a greed heretofore unparalleled (gimme a break, I was pregnant and had the worst craving for Doritos for MONTHS!). Once I had salvaged all the big pieces and put them in a new bag I started munching the broken bits directly from the briefcase. When only crumbs remained I shook them all into a corner and pinched them out carefully. There were some I couldn't reach. I licked my little finger to reach onto the corner for the remnants as my father and husband looked on in horrified disbelief. Shaddup, just shaddup....it was precious as gold I tell ya....chemically processed, high sodium, lacking in any nutritional value GOLD!
3 Things that annoyed me in Trinidad
1. Insects. Mosquitoes buzzing in my ears when I tried to sleep, ants that bit the baby when she tried to sleep, kissing bugs that chewed on my lips when I slept (the fat lips they give are quite the alternative to the collagen induced pouty lips favored by Hollywood...hhmm.....business venture for me?), cockroaches that looked like they could feed a hungry man.
2. Dry season water shortages. Remember that picture of big old pregnant me? It was hard enough being pregnant in a tropical environment when I was not yet accustomed to the climate, it was really miserable to have the sweat pouring off me and only have enough water to be able to take a bucket bath. I used to fantasize about standing in a shower for an hour and just letting cool water run down over me. Yeah, I know cold showers are supposed to END fantasies...
3. The concept of a queue.
2 Things that surprised me in Trinidad
1. When the mother of our closest friend in Trinidad started introducing us to people as her 'white kids.' Flora, dis is Meesh an she husband, dey meh white kids.' His entire family welcomed us as just another part of the extended clan. They had us over for holidays and birthday parties and included us in the mundane parts of life that add up to give you a sense of belonging. When you are so far from all the friends and family you've had all your life you naturally look for something or someone to ease the feeling of being an outsider. It's quite common for expats to cling to each other if they find each other. I really feel we were far more blessed to find our 'family' among Trinis than if we had run for safe haven among the few other Americans we were aware of (and who were much less welcoming anyway). When Nanzo called us her white kids it was a surprising and wonderful gift.
2. The amazing diversity in such a small place. Trinidad is only about 55 miles by 35 miles and has a population of a little over a million, yet it is home to Indians and Africans in nearly identical proportions, large minorities of Portuguese, Chinese, Syrians, and remnants of indigenous peoples. Each group has made its own mark on the culture (in music, food, language, culture, crafts, religion) and yet retains a distinct identity. We speak of the USA being a melting pot and it is, but it's so geographically vast that groups can spread out and never bump into each other, which accounts in some part for the regional differences across America. In Trinidad they all bump up against each other and mingle to a much greater extent. It's fascinating and marvelous.
1 Thing I miss terribly from Trinidad now that I am back in the USA
There is so much...hence Trini Tuesday...and it's obvious for me to say my friends, and that would be true. I miss each friend for all the reasons that make them unique and special. This was true of my friends and family from the USA who I missed when I was abroad so again, it's obvious. But I want to qualify it some and say that I miss the part of friendship in Trinidad that allows for touch and intimacy. It's what made me fall in love with Trinidad and it's what I ache for in the cold USA.