Requested by Boogie

What I Remember From Growing Up In Trinidad

Thanks @Boogie for this request from 5 years ago. I am by no means an expert in my own homeland and that is sad. I distanced myself from my home for various reasons and I am now eager to revisit and learn more.
  1. I was hoping to have photos that would help share my home, but I couldn't find much. I have two photos framed, one when I was a baby and another at age 5 taken with my sister.
    These were taken at a studio because we didn't have a camera like most families in Trinidad. Due to the cost there are only those photos taken. There were two other photos taken at my relatives' home that I've only recently seen. I love that this list made me find them (love you @Boogie for this)
  2. Photo 1
    Photo with my sister. My nickname was Mickey growing up. My aunt still calls me this. I get upset when she doesn't.
  3. Photo 2
    Same day as the photo above with my mom.
  4. I remember playing cricket. I remember knowing the rules. I do not remember what they are anymore. Fortunately or unfortunately.
    Cricket was a big deal. My dad played in a league and continued to do so in Canada.
  5. I remember the only other game we played was Kick The Can. Again, for kids with no money it was the best game in the world.
    The neighbourhood kids would play in the streets trespass onto other people's property whenever possible.
  6. My neighbour was an amazing woman.
    The racial politics in Trinidad was something I was aware of early on. Our neighbour was a black woman (we didn't say black, we said creole) who was like a second mother to my sister and this was a big deal. No one said anything overtly but Indo-Trinidadians were in a position of power and Afro-Trinidadians were not. We were both slaves in the country but the ascent of one group was over another created a hostile environment.
  7. My other neighbour was scary
    All the kids were scared of her but she liked me. She was an old woman with no family and I would visit her and she would spoil me with sweets. The night she died my cousins and I sat with a oil lamp lit and told ghost stories while the adults did whatever they did.
  8. There was a serial murderer who killed kids in the cornfield near my school.
    Maybe this was an urban legend but I don't know enough about it. We used to dare each other to run into the corn fields and hold our breath if we were running or waiting.
  9. The beaches
    The stereotype is entirely true: island people don't swim. This is Maracas Beach Look Out Point.
  10. Shark and Bake
    Yeah we eat sharks.
  11. Doubles
    Another street food. Curried chick peas and fried dough
  12. Being my paternal grandfather's favourite for a brief time before he moved to Canada.
    It's my only claim to fame in the family. I don't think my grandmother liked me.
  13. My other grandmother's house
    She's my step-grandmother as I would learn later. I never met my mothers parents and the stories I heard of what she had to go through as a stepchild when her father passed away convinced me that she is Cinderella who never got to meet her fairy godmother.
  14. The disportonality of wealth
    We didn't have a lot of money, but we did okay. I don't remember going hungry and that really was the important benchmark for wealth. We had electricity and running water (we had a water tank that had to be filled up weekly. We didn't have hot water, the sun would warm the tank itself). My cousins did not have either. My other cousins had a fridge that dispensed water AND ice.
  15. Trinidad carnival is epic
    It was tied into a darker holiday, something akin to the Day of The Dead where jhumbies (ghosts and spirits) roamed the earth. As a kid I was terrified. But then people would dress in colourful costumes and I would get my hair braided with beads and it was all good.
  16. Pagwah Mas, which is like Holi. I think.
    We would wear all white and go out to wherever the even was happening and strangers would get each other wet using coloured water. I think there was coloured powder too but I got to use water guns so my memory is of that.
  17. We celebrated every major religious holiday. Ramadan. Diwali. Christmas. Independence Day is like a 5 day weekend.
    We love NOT working. It felt like an inclusive culture. My family was a mix of Christians, Hindus and Muslims and I never felt out of place in any religious setting. I was taught respect and to share in the religious holidays of others. I turned out to be an atheist but I strongly believe that I am a respectful atheist as a result.
  18. The music! Soca, chutney, calypso, reggae and Indian music.
    My favourite were reggae mixed tapes by a sound crew called FPM. I still have a few cassettes somewhere. There's also a genre called "parang" which is a calypso/Christmas music which is the worst thing in the world. If I were in Dante's inferno my circle of hell would be Parang music all the time.
  19. Tassa music
    Tassa music is pure drums and if you are lucky enough to be at a Trini wedding where there is tassa music being played (live or recorded) get out the way and let the ladies OWN the muthafuckin dance floor. Twerking ain't got shit on our moves.
  20. Thank you again @Boogie for asking for this list. I have so many questions now that I wish to explore and learn more about my culture.