1. I know that you're a proud Trini, but is there anything about Trinidad that could stop you from going back there?
Well, actually I am only a Trini at heart, but my Trini friends tell me that is sufficient. Much as I love Trinidad and her people and culture I have to say the rising crime rate is a bit of a deterrent to my return. I understand things have gotten worse and worse since we have left. Being a white American increases my chances of being targeted for crime. There is definitely a dark side and it would be foolish of me to think I am not vulnerable. I've visited several times in the last 12 years but if anything would keep me from Trinidad, aside from the price of a plane ticket, it would be the crime.
2. If you had to sell Pennsylvania to an outsider, where would you start and why?
Well, for ages I have actually had a post in drafts titled "My 10 Favorite Things About my State." Before I get to that let me say I am going to be really selective about who I sell my state to. Where I live has seen a massive influx of city commuters. Many who have moved here have really gotten involved in the local community in a positive way and have been a true asset. They've gained an appreciation for what makes our area beautiful and special and they want everyone to enjoy that without destroying it in the process. Many more have merely brought all the urban blight they sought to escape riding in on their shoulders and dumped it in our backyard. Then they complain about the lack of infrastructure and amenities in their distinctively demanding 5 boroughs manner. I will welcome all the people who want to be a part of a community that has trees and open spaces and who want to work toward genuine solutions to honest problems (I do not believe the lack of a Starbucks on every corner is a genuine problem.) The demanding, carping set of malcontents in the second group can go right back where they came from.
Stepping off the soapbox. Ok, so if you want to be a Pennsylvanian in the best sense of the word I'm going to sell you on the natural beauty of the place for starters. We've got gently rising mountains that folks from Vermont and the West coast may laugh at but which I find comforting and peaceful. Our name means Penn's Woods, after the founder of our state and our thick forests. If you read my post on 'The Woods' you know what the forest does for me. I have really enjoyed sharing a hike in the woods with visitors from other places. I also think the rolling farmland all over the state is just about one of the most beautiful things. Old stone farmhouses and bank barns with hex signs affixed and silos rising next to them are part of what makes this state 'home' to me. I think I'd also be selling you on the history. From Philadelphia as a cradle of liberty to central PA's agriculture to Pittsburgh's place in industrial history we've contributed greatly enough to the founding and growth of our nation to be given the nickname 'the Keystone State.' (Gees, why does that sound like something straight out of a tourist board advertisement? Yeesh, they ought to pay me.)
3. Looking back at your life, what would you say was a true turning point? How so, and in a good or bad way?
Hhhmm, hopefully this come across correctly and not as a pining away for something that has passed...Moving to Trinidad was, at the time, a major turning point because I figured we would be raising our family overseas. I never envisioned myself as being a middle class American housewife complete with minivan. I signed my name on the dotted line to go do something different and make a difference away from the bureaucracy of the American school system (Mr. Lime and I are both certified Special Education teachers). We sold off probably half of what we owned at the time, maybe more, shipped a bunch down, put a little bit in storage and off we went. I endured the mystified grief of my family for my eagerness to leave and take the first born grandchild away. Once in Trinidad, I became a student of the culture in every way I could. I threw myself enthusiastically into learning Trinidad and functioning well within that culture. I held back nothing because I figured I was going to be there for many years, and if not there, somewhere else that was not the USA.
It was a complete mind bender to go through all that and only a year later have no choice but to return to the USA due to severe administrative problems. Readjusting to my home culture was far more difficult than adjusting to a new culture in the first place. Dealing with the people who wanted us to fail and their glee that we had was spirit crushing. As hard as that was I was still certain I'd not be staying long in the USA...until Mr. Lime looked me in the eye and said he had no intention of ever leaving American soil again for more than tourist purposes. That was quite the shovel to the forehead. It meant reorienting my thinking about EVERYTHING and every goal I ever had for the sake of marital harmony and not living in bitterness. Yeah, that was a turning point. It doesn't keep me awake at night anymore, hasn't for many years, but now and again...I do wonder what life would have been. Good and bad comes of every turning point, that's all I'm gonna say on that.
4. Where do you see the Limes being in 2020?
Wow, that's a good question. It will be a little more than 12 years from now and that means, barring disaster, all three Limelets will have graduated from both high school and college. If Diana's goals are seen to fruition she will be in a Third World nation somewhere working as a nurse. Calypso and Isaac have made no real indication of what they want to do with their lives but hopefully by then they will have settled on that and will be doing something that contributes meaningfully to the world and gives them joy to do. Mr. Lime and I will both be in our 50s...gees, I am already unhappy at next year being the big 4-0 and you're rushing me to past 50! Hhhmm, what will the two of us be doing? Hopefully, we won't be those empty nesters who stare at each other wondering who the hell that stranger across the dinner table is.
5. What skill or talent would you like to master that you don't already have?
I truly wish I had some skill as a musician. I will never be a singer because my voice is about as melodious as a cat fight. I do wish I could actually play the guitar I own. Since I mangled my arm I can't play it in the proper position anymore. Yes, Keyser, I know I need to practice those other techniques we talked about. I more or less have to start from scratch because I had only taken lessons for about a year and a half before my accident and I forget most of what I learned. I've got some hang-ups about starting over. Yeah, I need to get over that.
I would also very much love to develop some other artistic skills, take a drawing, pottery, or photography class. I have a need to create. I do so in other ways but there are so many ways I still want to explore. I also have a real fascination with dying arts like spinning and weaving, and Pennsylvania Dutch arts and crafts. I'd love to brush up my Spanish and French and be much more conversant in those languages as well as learn Greek. Long enough list to keep my busy huh? And that's just the stuff off the top of my head.
That's all for this round folks. If anyone wants to be interviewed just say so in the comments and I'll generate some questions for you.