Island Soul City Dreams

I love New York, but my heart has a Caribbean beat. It pulsates to the traditions of my people. Attuned to the rhythms of this City, I stay West Indian to the bone. I reflect. I analyze. I speak my mind. ~ I Keep it Irie ~

Archive for the month “April, 2012”

Love That Iron But De Man Ent Easy

This past week I fitted comfortably into a maxi skirt I bought 13 years ago. I distinctly remember being on vacation in New York, May 1999 and seeing a cute grey skirt with an A-line cut, posing in a show window. It whispered, “Buy me, buy me.” The skirt was fashionable at the time. But even when it went out of style, I couldn’t bring myself to part with it and as I packed to move to New York a few years ago, I resisted the temptation to leave it in Barbados. There’s just something about that skirt. One day, I could match it with a strapped-top and go for sexy.  Another day, I could pair it with a business-like button down shirt, add some pumps and wear it to the office.

Since I’ve been living in New York, there’s hardly been an opportunity to wear the skirt, so I practically forgot about it. Then last spring when I was preparing to go to Israel, I went rummaging through my wardrobe in an almost hopeless attempt to find “very conservative attire.” I came across my trusty skirt and sure enough, it was a perfect combo with any number of sweaters for my visits to synagogues and other holy places of the Jewish and Muslim faiths. The first time I wore that skirt I weighed about 110 -113 pounds. Today, I am about 10 pounds heavier and feeling FAT. As flattering as it is to be able to fit into clothing I bought more than a decade ago, it’s also revealing the areas where the fabric is clinging much closer than before. More so, it brings to light the issue of diet and exercise and the importance of maintaining a healthful lifestyle. Read more…

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Sometimes A Girl Gotta Use Her Hands

I have always been a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) type of girl. Perhaps, it’s my adventurous spirit or the fact that I just love a challenge. I remember visiting the woodwork room at secondary school during my junior years and beholding the most magnificent sculptures created by the senior boys. Marveling at their works of art, I often asked a few of them to teach me. But they refused, saying that a little girl like me would be better off taking a home economics class. I had already completed the mandatory year of home economics. And with a mother who was boss in the kitchen from whom I was already learning, I thought it silly to invest any time over the school’s stoves.

I wanted to get my hands on a piece of wood. The very thought excited me. I imagined holding it and going to work till it took shape in my hands. You know, something big. Memorable. Like a bird. I mean, after all, what’s wrong with a girl learning how to take a piece of wood and turn it into something useful? Read more…

A Part of Me Died Today

I had today’s blog post all planned. Over the past couple of days I had been preparing another product – Caribbean-style to share with you. And while it’s not exactly a culinary treat, I’d hoped it would have brought some cheer. But this morning, I awoke to the sad news of the death of my Uncle Moses in Barbados. As my mother asked the words over the phone, “Are you sitting down?” I started screaming, “It better not be my Uncle Moses, not my Uncle Moses.” It’s no secret to anyone in our family that among my mother’s 10 siblings he was my favorite. He was my grandparents’ third son and the child born just a few years after my mom.  Had he lived to see his birthday on May 9, my Uncle Moses would have turned 52.Google Images

I struggle to find the words to write as I eulogize my Uncle Moses. My tears today could fill an ocean. Whenever I think of my Uncle Moses, his perfect smile first comes to mind – glistening white enamels against pretty pink gums and a dimpled cheek.

Yes, he loved to smile, especially when he saw me. I’d walked into a room and from the moment Uncle Moses noticed me, he would exclaim, “My niece. My beautiful niece, come and give me hug.” Read more…

Of Spooky Caribbean Easter Traditions And Hot Cross Buns

Putting the final touch on my freshly made  hot cross buns.

There was a time when I could not reflect on my childhood Easter celebrations in Barbados without getting the chills. Of course, there are many joyful memories too. Still, there’s a specific recollection of an Easter tradition in the Caribbean that is beyond spooky. As a little girl, my Sundays were spent at church and while I don’t recall the exact age at which I first heard about The Passion of the Christ, I know that for many years whenever Easter came around, I cried when the story was retold. It was hard to fathom such suffering.  Obedient to my Sunday school lessons, I accepted from early on, that I had to be very special for someone to die for me.

Bajans like to boast that we have a church on almost every corner and given our predominantly Christian nation, Easter is indeed a most hallowed occasion. As thousands of congregants are reminded of the crucifixion, we traditionally adhere to certain observances like not going go the beach on Good Friday (due to a belief of higher chances of drowning); avoiding meat on the day, eating fish instead; wearing black to Good Friday service and white to church on Easter Sunday; and kite flying for both children and adults. But, clearly, those aren’t the things that evoked fear in me. Read more…

I Am Looking For A Man

I have been trying to find a man. I’ve also been trying to find a job. Not necessarily in that order and not just any man or any job. I have them both on my 2012 to-do list as: Find My Dream Man and Land My Dream Job. Little did I imagine how similar these two searches would be! On the job front, since completing my masters last spring, I have been doing whatever freelance work I can discover in this ultra competitive job market for journalists, while persistently seeking that elusive full-time position. This past year, I have been blessed with the opportunity to work with and contribute to The Root at The Washington Post and I am currently freelancing at Black Enterprise Magazine on a special project – reassuring me that I still have something to offer the field of journalism. While I am at the point where I desperately need a full-time job, benefits etc., I am much more patient in my search for love. Read more…

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I love New York, but my heart has a Caribbean beat. It pulsates to the traditions of my people. Attuned to the rhythms of this City, I stay West Indian to the bone. I reflect. I analyze. I speak my mind. ~ I Keep it Irie ~