Giving Thanks

November 26, 2006

This week was Thanksgiving week in the United States. I’m not a huge fan of Thanksgiving since I didn’t grow up celebrating it, but I’ve grown to appreciate its significance after having lived in the States for over 8 years now. (Holy crap! I didn’t know that it’sbeen THAT long already!)

I have a lot to be thankful for. My mummy, my sister, my bf, a good job, health, happiness, etc., etc.  However, I rarely take the time to acknowledge what’s good in my life. I get overwhelmed by the small stuff that seems to clutter my mind on a daily basis. I worry about my future and how I’m ever going to save up enough money to buy my dream brownstone in Brooklyn and sweet pad in Diego. I worry about success and if I’ll ever achieve my version of it. I’m an excitable and ambitious person by nature (a wicked combination!), so I often think too far ahead of myself for my own good. I sometimes compare myself to my peers – the ones who are already married, already homeowners, already parents – and feel inadequate and intimidated by the pressure that I put on myself to have the things that they have, even if I don’t want them.

Looking at where I am today and taking stock of my achievements is a healthy habit that I’m yet to develop. I want to though. It’s just that, as I’ve written many times before, “life gets in the way.”

I now look to Thanksgiving, a celebration which brings the family together around the dinner table, to remember and reflect upon the things in my life that are totally awesome – like my apartment, living in the greatest city on earth, Trinidad Carnival, my family, a sweetheart of a bf, Trinidad and Tobago, super duper friends, Trinidad Junction, my health, Maracas beach, a good education, dance, etc. So although my family didn’t necessarily indulge in the excesses typically associated with the season, like a gigantic turkey and other fattening treats, we did come together this year to celebrate life, love and each other. It was a great week and I’m a little sad it’s over.

Tomorrow – it’s back to the grind for all of us.

Advertisements

Dubbed La Nuit Victwa, the final night of the Prime Minister’s Best Village Competition was held on Saturday, November 11th at the Jean Pierre Complex in Woodbrook, Port of Spain.

I was pleasantly surprised at the impressive turnout for and organisation of the event. At the start of the show, ushers directed patrons to comfortable seating while guest artistes, who had competed with each other during previous weeks, entertained the audience with their lively pieces. The stage and forecourt were nicely decorated, despite a few “blind” spots caused by media tents and rigs. Overall however, seamless transitions between performances and appearances of contestants for the the most coveted title of “Best Village Queen” made the show a delight to observe. Congratulations to the management team on a job well done.

Noteworthy performances included:

“MARACAS BAY”

A dance, complete with life guard, bathing suits, beach football and of course de bake and shark vendor. A creative, lively and well executed concept.

“TASSA”

— The drumming was good, the men resplendent in their purple outfits and turbans, buh oh gawd, whey de geh dat lil Indian boy, the chile was like a spring, de boy cud wine.

“IN DE SQUARE”

— Spectacular performance, de lead character cud dance an act, an de singah, de gurl voice sweet sweet sweet.

“LIMBO”

— Energetic, nice costuming, alyuh doh feel one ah dese days, one ah dem limboers go brake dey waise?

“SWEET FOLK MUSIC”

— Though late due to a delayed flight from Tobago, their performance was fabulous. Good medley, professional stage performance, lyrical sounds. Well worth the wait.

The highlight of the evening’s proceedings however, was the Parade of the Queens. Sixteen beautiful young ladies paraded in costumes and later on, in stunning evening gowns.Their supporters were exuberant in their acknowledgement and support.

The tradition of Best Village is that both costume and gown should incorporate local materials and craftsmanship as much as possible in its design. To this end, gowns were: made of burlap, brown cotton, silk, satin and linen; hand painted, sequined, crocheted, airbrushed; or embellished with pigeon peas, sea shells, wooden rings and other indigenous materials. For the most part, they were stunning creations.

Costumes represented The Midnight Robberess, Mama D’lo, The Poui Tree, Perot Grenade, Fancy Sailor, The Coconut Tree, The Indian Marriage Tent, to name a few. Mention must also be made of Brer Anansi who, appearing to be one of the many props used during the evening, was carried on stage on her “web.” To the astonishment and delight of the crowd, she crawled down her web and gave a stellar performance. The queens were also serenaded by the sweet sounds of the group, H2O Flo, who had the patrons screaming for more.

The winner of both best gown and best costume segments, Ms. Katana Ramboodh, also won the queen title and was crowned by the Prime Minister.

It was a wonderful evening – and to think that I almost did not go. I will definitely be in the 3rd row by the big screen again next year.

tamikasmall1.jpgA little less than a week ago, I received an email from a young woman named, Tamika Phillip, titled “A long overdue website.” The first line of the email, which read, “I discovered your site a few weeks ago and I was so excited – its a revolutionary grassroots idea that is desperately needed to promote our region’s talent” represented a bit of validation that I’d been hoping for, for some time now. As I read it, I thought, “Finally! There are people out there who understand and are excited about what we’re trying to accomplish with Trinidad Junction.” Clearly it’s not about the money, because I’ve done nothing but spend money since I first thought of the idea behind the site. I’m motivated to continue reaching out to artists because I think that Trinidad Junction has the potential to eventually become a key resource for T&T artists, corporations, event organizers, etc. in the future. So when someone, especially someone whom I’ve never met, discovers the site, immediately gets the idea, and feels a connection with the Junction’s mission, I can’t help but feel good. It means that I’m doing something right.

Tamika, an emerging freelance documentary filmaker, recently returned to Trinidad after having studied at St. Francis College in New York and spent time volunteering in Ethiopia. Her most recent documentary short film, entitled, “Ethiopian Journals: Tilahune” centers around Tilahune, an Ethiopian young man who is determined to educate himself, against all odds. The film is essentially a part of what Tamika refers to as her “personal video diaries”, filmed in 2005, about the people she met while volunteering in Ethiopia. “Ethiopian Journals: Tilahune” also accompanied a short film that Tamika made about the school where she was volunteering.

(Her most recent film, which is called “Stepping Up to the Future“, explores how a scholarship program is helping a group of high school students in Ethiopia. The film will soon be on her MySpace page after she receives final approval from her sponsors)

On her MySpace page, Tamika says that she is “moved most by humanitarian stories of international development, culture, music, education and struggle” and that as a native of the Caribbean she has “yet to see our stories open to the world”. As such, she is “on a mission to film and produce inspiring, thought- provoking, rare and unexposed stories of Caribbean peoples”.

The real purpose of Tamika’s email to me, however, was to share an idea (for Trinidad Junction) with me.

“Some time ago, I started to interview Trinidadians abroad through MSN messenger with hopes of creating a series that would capture the experiences of Trinis in unique corners of the world while capturing the spirit of cross- cultural adventure. I have four saved print interviews and they were to be posted on a friend’s website but I believe with further thought and development- this interview series may be a good addition to Trinidad Junction. I’ve called it -Island Tribe- the series.”

As you can imagine, I was totally into the idea and got back to her as quickly as possible. I encouraged her to set up Trinidad Junction page (click here to check out Tamika’s Trinidad Junction page) and said yes to the Island Tribe idea. Although details are yet to be discussed, I’m sure that Island Tribe will fit in nicely with the other components of Trinidad Junction.

Click here to see Tamika’s Documentary Film “Ethiopian Journals: Tilahune” (courtesy of her MySpace page)


Add to My Profile | More Videos

I wonder…

November 13, 2006

I wonder how stuff works, how a network grows, how a message goes, from person to person to person, until a story, once a secret, becomes a household name…

How can I get people excited about the Junction when I’m way up here and the folks I want to reach out to are way down there?

Check it out!

[odeo=http://odeo.com/audio/2342366/view]

OFFICIAL BLOGGING HOURS

November 5, 2006

When friends whom I haven’t seen or heard from for a while ask me how I’ve been doing I almost always say that I’ve been busy, not busy bad, but busy good. Between my nearly full-time day job, my part-time teaching gig and Trinidad Junction, I have little time left for the small stuff in life, like lazing around and doing nothing, one of my used-to-be fave pastimes.

Still, I couldn’t be happier with the way things are panning out right now. I’ve ditched my old, slightly impatient attitude for a brand new, slow-and-steady-wins-the-race outlook. If I can’t get to something during the week when my days are full, I wait until the weekend when I’m able to dedicate more time to the issue. I now have “Trinidad Junction Office Hours” too, thanks to my sister. She suggested that I designate specific hours during the week to everything Junction and stick to them no matter what because I was beginning to spend every second, from the time I got home from work till just before bed, working on the site with poor Dan sitting right next to me. I know, it’s completely pathetic. Trust me, I didn’t like it, but I was so driven, so obsessed with making the site the best that it could be, that I was blind to everything around me. I wasn’t eating (thanks for cooking D.) and falling asleep was hard to do too because my mind was always on TJ mode. Thank goodness things have changed!

Earlier today I was at Mile 12 of the NYC Marathon where D.’s band, Shank Bone Mystic Project rocked the socks of all the runners. It was mostly awesome. I’m completely pooped from all the pre-marathon decorating and cheering so I’m SO ready for a nap. Getting up at 7:00am on any other day than a weekday is just not cool! Plus, all this typing is making my eyes heee—aaa—vvvvvvvv—yyyyyyyyyyyyyy……

More blogging in a couple hours when I wake up!