Monthly Recap: May 2015

May 31, 2015

At the beginning of this year, two very important people in my life relocated to California and it threw me for a loop. It felt (and still does sometimes) feel like a very amicable break up; no bitter feelings whatsoever, yet a very uncomfortable feeling of getting used to a new situation and life without them in it all day, every day.

Since their departure, I noticed that my life to work ratio was slowly declining to 20:80. I've thrown myself into various projects and traveling meant I was missing out on birthday celebrations and other events with people I care about.

You know it's bad when you finally go to a party and people are asking you if you still live in Barbados...

This past month I spent a lot of time reconnecting with important people in my life and socializing a bit more. It felt so great and reassuring to catch up with friends old and new, almost like putting myself out there as a single person going on nice dates.

A friend of mine once posted that "Your Vibe Attracts your Tribe" and it's so true.

I've really resonated with this feeling of surrounding myself with people who are positive and make me happy, but also motivate me to be a better person, whether that's by making me aware of something about myself directly or by inspiring me with what they do. This seems so obvious, yet so many of us don't really assess our friendships or connections in that way, but I'm making a conscious effort to surround myself with the right 'tribe' for me, whether they're friends, mentors, acquaintances or role models. So far, it's been a pretty great process. 


This month also saw J and I finally move out of our cottage. This has been a very arduous process for both of us, mainly due to the amount of stuff we [by 'we' I mean 'HE' but he'll get annoyed if I write that] both accumulated over time, but we finally did it!

Let me tell ya, there's nothing as 'cleansing' as doing a mammoth spring cleaning! I got rid of bags of clothes, which prompted me to schedule a post about local charities and initiatives that will gladly take your stuff and distribute it to people who need it.

This also contributed to the lack of social life, as we ended up spending weekends packing and relocating said stuff. We lived in a cottage located on the corner of his parents' property, and we've moved alllllll the way to the other side of the same property into a converted barn that his parents' use as a guest house. The plan is to renovate the cottage over the summer and move back in in (fingers crossed) a few months, but everything in Barbados works on 'island time' so we'll see how it goes...

Stay tuned for 'cottage diaries' or something equally as dramatic as this new adventure into the unknown world of construction unfolds.

All of the chaos mentioned above also means that I've been a pretty terrible blogger, though this isn't anything new. I'm keeping my promise of blogging when the time is right! 

Here are a few things I'm looking forward to in June:

1. Getting in shape: Kadooment countdown has begun!
2. Getting my feet wet with a new charity project that I'm working on
3. Making more of an effort to keep in touch with my friends overseas
4. Confirming & sharing travel plans for the rest of the year

Island Diaries: BLU Barbados

May 29, 2015
On Sunday we attended a diabetes fundraising event, which was the first of its kind in Barbados. My friend and former classmate Krystal, a Type 1 Diabetic, is the Ambassador to the Youth- Diabetes Association of Barbados and the North American and Caribbean Youth Regional Representative for the International Diabetes Federation. Krystal works tirelessly to raise awareness on the diabetes epidemic in Barbados and the BLU Barbados event creatively brought attention to the amount of sugar we consume at parties [through drinks and food] and offered healthier alternatives that still tasted great! There were different cocktail bars offering reduced sugar cocktails [all under 200 calories], a diabetic ice cream parlour & tonnes of yummy food. I can't wait to see how events such as Blu Barbados will change the Public Health and Fundraising landscape in Barbados.

The Fair gives back to Music in Schools

I was lucky enough to photograph two very inspirational ladies this morning, as they presented a cheque for Bds$100,000 (US$50,000) to the Music in Schools programme on behalf of The Multi National Fair and The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation.

Sharon and Sharen spearheaded The Multi National Fair Goes Green. 
This Fair was held in November 2014, under the auspices of Be the Change Barbados, a nonprofit volunteer-run organization committed to turning the tide of the future of Barbados. I was Coordinator for the Community Service Centrer at the Fair, which you can read more about here.
Over 5,000 people attended The Fair and the event raised money for various charity initiatives in Barbados. The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation pledged to match the amount raised for the Music in Schools Programme, which follows the Foundation's objectives of nurturing and encouraging young artists and musicians of all backgrounds and abilities to give them a start in music and instills life skills of confidence and collaboration that will be so important for their future development.

The strings program was started in 2001 by Joy Knight-Lynch in conjunction with the Ministry of Education and the National Cultural Foundation. To date, 1500 children have been exposed to playing either violin, viola, cello or double bass. Due to lack of replacement instruments and funding for repairs and additional tutors, numbers have fallen to approximately 150 students in five schools playing strings. Training of these young musicians not only gives the children a feeling of self-worth, but also provides an outlet for expression of their wealth of talent while honing that talent to be enjoyed by people who love music.

To see the hard work of every single person who was involved in the Fair pay off [literally] was pretty amazing, especially when surrounded by hundreds of adorable faces who will benefit from this programme. 

It was a pretty great way to end the week! 

Here's to old friends!

May 28, 2015
Straight after getting my rally on, I hurried down to South point to catch up with old friends as the sun was going down. I had driven past this spot so many times throughout my life, but I had never stopped to watch the sunset from here.....I can't wait to go back! Scott is one of my oldest friends, thanks to our mums befriending each other during a baby play group back in the day. I somehow managed to forgive Scott for encouraging me to burn my finger on the candle of my first birthday cake. 

What a guy!

Island Diaries: Scrutineering

May 27, 2015
Right after gobbling down some souse, I met up with my friend Carrie for an afternoon of cars, cars and more cards.

Rallying is the largest spectator sport in the island, with annual international events bringing in major foreign exchange. The 'rally' industry in Barbados has grown exponentially in the last decade and competitors from as far as New Zealand came in for these events. Our annual rally season was well under way and my friend Carrie's boyfriend is a rally champion driver who needed a hand with some promotional stuff at the scrutineering event [scrutineering is the final check that rally cars have to have done before they enter into a rally the following day. The cars are all on show and people can come and view the cars and meet the drivers] I'm not rally fan by any means, but it was a fun afternoon spent taking photos of kids who thought that sitting in Neil's rally car was the best thing since Christmas. 

If rallying is your kinda thing, you can see more photos on Neil's team page.

Island Diaries: Souse!

May 26, 2015

Pudding & Souse, known simply as 'souse', is a traditional Saturday lunch for many Barbadians, also known as 'Bajans;. The souse is essentially pickled pork and the "pudding" is steamed sweet potato. Traditionally souse was made using all of the 'features': the pig trotters (feet), ear, snout and tongue. I prefer to use lean pork meat instea with very little pepper. The pudding is traditionally served in a casing of pig intestines [similar to British Black pudding] but these days that's pretty rare to find. In general, I prefer to eat pickled octopus personally (as I find the pork a bit too 'meaty') and wash it down with some rumpunch! 

Since leaving the island over 3 years ago, my Dad has become pretty obsessed with eating as much as souse as possible when he comes home!

This weekend was pretty hectic, in a 'full-of-great-people' sort of way, thanks to a Bank Holiday [Whit Monday] and plenttyyyy things going on!

My Dad and stepmum were visiting from Brazil so J and I hosted them for dinner along with my brothers and my aunt. Unfortunately, I didn't take any photos of the epic grilled sausages & burgers that were consumed, but I make an effort to put away my phone when sitting down to a meal.

On Saturday I met my Dad & the fam for a final 'souse sesh' [a family tradition at this point] before they jetted back to Brazil. 

This photo was actually taken a couple of months ago, but I dug it up for this post!

#Paradiseproblems: Centipedes

May 25, 2015
Following a random conversation questioning what centipedes eat today, this 8 inch monster decided to join us for dinner tonight. He continued to casually munch on a lizard as panicked ensued with Jus and I freaking out about how best to get rid of him. We settled on a large kitchen knife & a long wooden pole to pin him down, which seemed to work. [Obviously I had to pause to get a photo before we did anything.....I was pretty fascinated by all of this] 

Nothing like a visit from the spawn of the devil to remind you of the joys of living in paradise.

On another note, I'm pretty proud of J for handling the situation with more composure than he did the last time we faced a centipede together [it involved him running out of the room and waiting for me to get rid of it!]

*Warning: There are graphic, gross images in this post!

Mix Nutz Band Launch: Sundance

May 18, 2015
Our friends at Mix Nutz launched their j'ouvert band over the weekend and these photos are testament to the great time we had!
The Crop Over season has officially begun [for me at least]
Band launches seem to be getting bigger and better every year, and Bajan bands are being criticized for taking a leaf out of Trinidad Carnival's books. I don't see what the big deal is really, especially considering they're all upping their game to compete with each other as a result. The Mix Nutz guys hosted this at the derelict Earth Station and they did a fantastic job of transforming the space into a pretty epic party spot.
On another note, when it comes to my hair, I've had my fair share of paint party disasters - blond hair just loves to soak up paint! - so I tried to have the upper hand this time by coating my hair in hair oil and baby powder (this is why my hair looks grey in the 'before' photo below) Unfortunately it didn't work out this time, and 4 days later my hair is still as bright as a pack of skittles.

Before: Looking squeaky clean
My hair situation 4 days later! 

Note: all photos marked 'Sundance' are property of Mix Nutz, and were taken from their Facebook page. My blurry, paint smudged photos didn't quite do the party justice. The Mix Nutz J'Ouvert 2015 Band Launch was photographed by Andrew Browne Photography.

Green Market, Santa Cruz | Trinidad

May 13, 2015

This was only my second time visiting Trinidad & Tobago, and there's just something about this place that draws me in.
Perhaps its the energy, or the 'developed yet Caribbean' feel to the environment, or the fact that people seem more racially integrated than they are in Barbados. Whatever it is, I kinda like it and I have a feeling I'll be back there sooner rather than later.
Our days at the Forum were pretty long, so I didn't get to do much during the week. I was staying with my friend Danielle, who was the best host and also so patient and accommodating when it came to figuring out what my schedule was on a day to day basis! (Answer: no idea) 

We rounded off the Forum week on Thursday night with take out sushi for dinner and way too many drinks on my fellow Shapers' balcony overlooking Port of Spain. The view was breathtaking and the company was a result, Friday was one of the most painful days I've had in a long time. 

We were finally able to hang out and visit the Green Market on Saturday, after attending a really nice yoga class at Yoga 4 Youth.

Green Market is tucked away in the hills of San Antonio, with a similar vibe to Brighton Farmer's Market in Barbados, yet far more 'earthy' and low key. There were so many different stalls serving different breakfast options, from shark and bake to homemade ice cream, that I wish I could have sampled a little bit of everything.

We settled on some cheese empanadas followed with a bowl of famous pineapple chow. (Chow is a Trinidad salsa of sorts, using mango or pineapple as the base and adding lots of fresh herbs & pepper)

The pineapple chow chef reminded me of the department store scene featuring Mr.Bean in Love Actually, when he takes his cool time to wrap the perfect present:

Thankfully we weren't in a rush, because Mr. Pineapple Chow Man painstakingly crafted each bowl as though it were a personal work of art, all for TT$20 (US$3.20)

The final result was heavenly to look at and eat.

We polished off our pineapple before grabbing a few jars of local peppersauce, honey and organic chocolate as gifts. 

I would highly recommend visiting this market when you're in Trinidad! As expected, the produce is more expensive than in the supermarkets but it supports local farmers and local organic initiatives. The experience is definitely worth the early morning wake up on a Saturday.

This trip was short but sweet and I can't wait to be back in TT for new adventures soon! I'd love to explore more of the country outside of Port of Spain, especially since meeting an environmentalist who was telling me all about the turtle conservation projects that she works on along the North coast of the island. 

Until next time 'Trickydad'!