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 “June, 2013”

Children And Testing – The Bajan Edition

At Grantley Adams International Airport, Barbados 2013 getting goodbye kisses from my nephew Nicholai before I returned to NYC.

At Grantley Adams International Airport, Barbados 2013 getting goodbye kisses from my nephew Nicholai before I returned to NYC.

My sweetheart sister Sancia pissed me off this past week. And if you know me, you know she’s my world. Born on the day I turned 4, I consider Sancia my best birthday gift ever! I’ve loved her from day one, and growing up, even though I was always the smaller one between the two of us, I always felt like her protector, like a big sister. She has always been a darling, thoughtful, generous, bright, one of the most naturally intelligent people I know, highly intellectual, compassionate, she possesses a sharp wit, and just like our mother, is fortitudinous beyond imagination. Like me, she loves a good laugh. Unlike me, she’s tolerant of people and their BS. Whatever our similarities or differences, my mom constantly says we have made her extremely proud. One of us has also made her a proud grandmother – my sister, with her gifted son, my beloved nephew, Nicholai. I’ve previously blogged about Nicholai in “I Got Mail – A Handwritten Letter”  and in “My Little Track Star.” Just like his mother, Nicholai is tied to my heartstrings. There is very little either of them could do wrong by me. Over the years, as siblings do from time to time, my sister and I have had our differences, but whenever it came to her differences with anyone else, be it our mom or Nicholai’s estranged father, or whatever challenge Sancia has had to face, I’ve always found myself in her corner.

On Wednesday, the results came back for the Barbados Secondary Schools Entrance Examination, popularly referred to as the Common Entrance Exam or the 11+. The exam is taken by primary school students for placement at any of the island’s 22 secondary schools and tests their skills in English, math and composition writing. Here in New York, the equivalent (of sorts) to the 11+ might be considered the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test taken by academically and artistically gifted students. Unlike this select group of students, in Barbados, however, every pupil that turns 11 by August 31 of an academic year must take the 11+. The higher their test scores, the better their chances of securing a coveted place at one of the more prestigious schools. Again, for my New Yorkers, consider the competition for and prestige of schools such as Brooklyn Latin School, Bronx High School of Science, Brooklyn Tech, Staten Island Technical High School, and Stuyvesant High School etc. In Barbados, the elite or older secondary schools as they’re called include: Christ Church Foundation School; The St. Michael School; The Lodge School; Combermere; Queen’s College (QC), and the institution that has traditionally been number one – Harrison College (HC) a.k.a. Kolij. Harrison College has produced five of Barbados’ seven prime ministers and its students hold the record for winning the most government scholarships and awards to pursue tertiary education. Nicholai gained entry, or as we say in Barbados, “passed” for Harrison College. He is disappointed. My sister is depressed. Read more…

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My NYC Subway Pet Peeves

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I am 5 feet 2 inches tall (almost) and a meal or two over my regular weight at 120 pounds. I consider myself a big person. My friends say I’m not. But they might be wrong too. If the daily commuters on the train are anything to go by, I’m actually invisible. How else does one explain a 6-foot-2 man standing behind me on a crowded train refusing to remove his backpack and letting it rest less than gently on my shoulders? Or what other reason could a 300-pound woman have for trying to squeeze herself, a life size handbag and an extra tote into the space left empty next to me in those tight two-seaters? And about the chick that stands in front of me chewing gum with such voracity that her alveoli are about to collapse and my eardrums are on the verge of bursting from her loud popping? Don’t even get me started on the youngster across from me who evidently has never heard of earphones and blasts his iPod, while singing and bobbing along to the dissonance. Some days, I swear it’s a conspiracy, like all the commuters are out to get me, like they’re putting on display every pet peeve of mine. Such are the happenings on the biggest entertainment platform and world’s largest rapid transit – the New York City Subway.

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 ~