About Me

Living in the Caribbean is probably like living anywhere else, with the same ups and downs. But it does have its own vibe and flavour and gives me a unique perspective on most things. I'm often sarcastic, mostly funny, always looking for a new adventure. I have not boxed myself into any one category of life. I love a lot of things and dislike a lot more. I write about them all.

A Fond Farewell to 2011, Hello and Welcome to 2012

I think 2011 was a good year. Really. It started off a bit shaky, as I had a bad flu and started the year bundled up, freezing and seething at the St George’s Circus bus stop in London – waiting for almost 2 hours for my bus.

But it was a year of successes and great people and I am happy about that. I had my fair share of stress –with exams in the very first week. Add trying to study with sinus headaches, sore throat, hacking cough and fever, in the dead of London winter, and you can imagine my ultimate joy! Semester 2, while on paper, looked like it would be a cake walk, was probably worse than the jam-packed semester 1. The assignments never stopped and then of course, the dreaded D – dissertation which was a nightmare of epic proportions! But even with all that, I managed to get it done, with Distinction, and will be heading back to the Big Smoke in no time at all for my graduation.

I started the year as a student and end it as a grad – an employed grad no less, which is much better than many others can say. I am beyond grateful for that, on a very serious level, because so many of my friends are still job hunting and scouring the job ads, and waiting. I gripe about having to roll off my bed at 3.30 am each day and about how tired I am, but I am thankful that I have a job to get off the bed for. The car won’t pay for itself. Yes…the end of public transportation came at the end of 2011 as well – a real triumph for the high heeled princess. I do not miss running after the South Eastern, South West or Southern trains, or hopping maxis back home. Nope. Don’t miss it.

The Pavilion, Brighton
Though I did not get on a plane this year, other than between home and London, I did manage to do some adventuring. The UK, while cold and grisly, is a beautiful country and I explored other parts of London I had not yet explored (not just the cocktail bars and pubs) and also ventured to areas outside of London for a change, including WindsorWales, Bath, Bristol, Brighton, Rye and Hastings. If I could sneak in a trip to Edinburgh on my short escape, 2012 would have started off nicely I think – cold but pleasant.

I enjoyed a few great festivals in London as well, like Taste of London and the Wine and Cheese Festival. I miss events like those actually.

Lots of cooking as well - and now that I am back home, I am sure there will be much more.

I also made my debut as tv star, in the T-Mobile wedding ad, though you can only see the length of my dress and not much else. Still it was a fun experience. Met some great people during that experience.

But not as great as the people I met over the year in London, from classmates, some of whom will be lifelong friends, to the oddball adventures, public dating disasters and funny stories, to those who made the cut. Lol. These people brought fun, laughter, support and everythingness. A girl can only be this lucky once, right? Well, I am awesome, so I have it a hundred times over. My peeps are great!

We lost a friend this year but move forward with renewed hope because friendship is powerful and so is forgiveness.

Blog-wise, I have not always been consistent. When I was too busy with school to blog, I then became too busy with work. Balancing a real life with blogging is often challenging. Still, it is a fun outlet. I did my one and only anonymous vlog, as did Pablo. Did a photo challenge, but in the end, I blogged when I could.

So what will 2012 bring? God knows. I am praying for it to be a happy year – more happiness than sadness. Really hoping everyone, including myself, remains safe and healthy and happy over the 366 days of 2012. We can only ever take it one day at a time but I can still have a long term vision!

The lovely Grenadines, West Indies - right next door
While my movements will be restricted for a while, seeing that I have started a new job and thus have no real vacation time, I will have weekends, so there are places I can still go on a time crunch, including St Lucia, Grenada/Grenadines, Antigua, Miami (of course!), New York (not in the winter like last time) and who knows where else. 2013 will see me back in Europe but until then, gonna love my hemisphere as best as I can.

People wise – the year will undoubtedly end with some farse aunt or family friend asking if the husband will come in 2012 and my farse and bright response will probably be, “Find him and ask him”. I will again be forced to defend singledom and my right to life despite not being tied to some loser til death do us part. I have no idea what life will hold for me but guess what…life does not wait. I have learnt a lot about myself in the past year and reaffirmed what I already knew, and I will be having fun and being the fabulista that I have always been.

That being said, I want to wish you all a very Happy 2012. May all the things you wish for yourselves and your loved ones come to pass, and just have fun. Life is short and love is endless – love life.

Drunken Chicken Master: Hosting and Toasting

Cooking with red wine

Well, I had my usual get together of friends yesterday and the lime* was great. Tiring, but great. I love entertaining but Lord, it can be exhausting especially when the catering team is a team of one – moi. On paper, it was nothing too hard – a couple casseroles, some rice, salad, chicken – but of course you want stuff to taste good. Lol. Luckily, it seems like everyone enjoyed themselves and more importantly, enjoyed my cooking (as it should be!).

I tried a new chicken dish yesterday - chicken in a red wine and mushroom sauce, which I was so happy with in the end. Woot woot! The keys to success?

- A good red wine. Most people think if you buy a cheap wine then it is good just for cooking. I think if that crap is not good enough to drink, then it won’t be good enough for your food either. I was trying hell hard to open the cheaper, albeit still perfectly good and drinkable bottle of merlot but my supposedly universal wine opener was not cooperating on the wider mouth of this ridiculous bottle, time was upon me and I needed to grab a shower, and I thus had to use my good shiraz-cabernet. In the end, it worked!

- Don’t drink the wine while cooking.  You don’t want to pass out and have the chicken or the sauce burn do you? Luckily for me, it was red wine and not white, so the urge to pour myself a glass while the apron was still on was not strong. The chicken, the sauce – all survived to make a good and lasting impression.

I was really pleased with my chicken and with everything else in fact. But believe me, the next time I will either not be hosting, or will be making sandwiches. It is not something one can do every day unless there is the added incentive of being paid to do it, à la professional caterer.

I had maybe one drink too many yesterday and I always end up mixing, cause I must have wine and I MUST have a cocktail (or 4) so after the dishes were done, I crashed like a stone on the bed. But all in all it was a good lime. Looking forward to my roti lime tomorrow and not just because I am the curry master. I love Christmas holidays and all but if I have to eat another piece of ham, I may stab myself.

*Lime – (according to Urban Dictionary)
Of Caribbean origin; often heard from a Trini. Closest American translation is "hanging out," but it can be used to describe a party, a planned or unplanned social gathering, or just some people sitting around, killing time together. It's a Trini's favourite pastime.

Christmas Day

I was so tired last night that I was in bed by 8.30. That of course did not bode well for my internal alarm. At 1.54am I was awake, and could not go back to sleep despite my body feeling really worn out and exhausted. My body sucks, man. So here I am. Awake and tired. Lovely.

Anyway, the 4-day Christmas weekend is not done yet. We had family over yesterday and today the onslaught continues. Tomorrow will probably be the worst (lol) as I have friends over and that means I am taking charge of everything. Luckily, it is a two-day work week for me. Don't get those very often. It should really be a zero-day work week. I find it absolutely criminal that anyone should work at all during the last 2 weeks of the year, but it is what it is.

It was a lovely Christmas Day with the fam though. Lots of laughter. Gotta love people who can make you laugh.

Today, Boxing Day, also marks the (un)official start of Trinidad and Tobago Carnival. The party goers have been waiting for this moment all year and now it is here. Let the games begin. The vibes are still mellow as we close the year, but the pace will pick up in 2012.

Christmas Eve

Oh the weather outside is frightful..

Wait. That is not true. I am not in London. I am in sunny Trinidad - well no sun at 8pm but the weather is good. Santa has no damn excuse.

I am actually sitting in bed, waiting for my bread to bake to...hopefully perfection. It is only my second attempt at bread. My first attempt was an easy rolled oat loaf which was probably a 7/10. It was also just for personal consumption. However, Christmas breakfast depends on my efforts tonight so God help me and God help the bread.

Today I did the unthinkable. I went to the mall. On Christmas Eve. I needed to get a few things in the supermarket really - stuff to cook for my lunch party next week. I decided I would go super early, and avoid the parking drama and the rush. So with half hour to spare, I pulled in to an already crowded carpark. Not a good sign. As I turned the corner to hit the store entrance, there it was - the Christmas Eve mob. lol. I mean, I had a good laugh as I looked on at the desperate shoppers, hoping to score a ham and maybe some booze for the long holiday weekend.

Not forgetting the woman in the supermarket yesterday who took full advantage of Hi-Lo's $199 Johnny Walker Black special by filling her trolley with not one, not two, but 15 bottles of the stuff. When she noticed the sign that said "Customers limited to 4 bottles per person", she then "rented" friends and asked random people to pay for the surplus. Who says Christmas shopping is not amusing. Nothing quite like that today, even though there was a small mob around the Riccadonna special.

Having survived that, I then decided to stroll through the mall. I mean, I was already there, so why not? Laughed again as I observed all the last minute husbands and boyfriends outside the jewellery stores, waiting for the doors to fly open and save them from a sour, sexless weekend with the missus. I got my dad a new cell phone, which is funny since the person who needs a new cell phone more than anyone else in the family is me. But tis the season of giving, right?

Laughed some more after seeing the girls in the pharmacy dressed as elves and Mrs Claus...street walker versions if you ask me. Their boss bought all the outfits in NY and made them wear them today. Scary.

My bread just came out the oven and it is a 10/10 from all who have sampled it thus far.Yaaay. I am excited about that.

I am excited to be home with the family this year. I wish you all a very merry Christmas. Do enjoy the weekend!!

The 411 on Trininista: December Edition

I know I have been really scarce on the blog and you are clamouring for updates. Well, maybe not clamouring. Okay here goes:
- Started my new job last month. I had a few immediate offers and chose this one. How has it been? So far, so good. I don’t blog about work so this is all you are probably gonna get for now.
- Got my new car last week after a month of hustling public transportation. Oh my God. P2* life in Trinidad makes me truly appreciate TFL in London. It is truly a nightmare trying to get around without a car, a friend who works close to your office or in your office, or a dedicated driver. I got home angry every night after braving the unreliable bus system, the life threatening taxi system, dark streets (I leave the house at 4.30am and got home nearer to 8pm) and the roaming pot hounds trying to be Rottweillers. Nightmare.
- I have been so busy and/or tired that I forgot honestly about single life. Not that it makes much of a difference. The proposals so far have ranged from slightly amusing to downright annoying or scary. I had cause to give one guy my phone number for a totally professional reason and he just took the opportunity and ran with it. Blowing up my cell phone with useless calls – useless in terms of him having nothing important to say and only “called to say hi” and also, useless in terms of me not being presently, or ever will be interested.
- My birthday has also come and gone and it was lovely. I have a few more grey hairs than I did last year and it was my first birthday in Trinidad in a long time but it was a good one.
- As for Christmas, well, I have not really gotten into the whole Christmas thing really. I am at the office while people are out shopping and doing other such ridiculous Christmas things. I am listening to Muse and other non-Santa related music all day so no vibes there. I have literally not put on my tv all week out of sheer exhaustion and also for fear that I will unfortunately encounter some silly, sappy, feel-good Christmas movie or special. No. Not interested.  
- I miss London still. Not the weather, but some things. Like my cocktail bar. Cider. Wine on sale. Hmmm…seems like there may be a trend here. The great restaurants and the very diverse cuisine. The sights and sounds. Not missing the mass of tight-lipped, sour people, but I do miss my friends. But I will be visiting in early 2012 for graduation. Looking forward to it.
- As I mentioned in a previous  post, we had Secret Santa at the office. My Secret Santa got me chocolate as part of my present. Never a good idea. Dark chocolate to boot…my favourite. It’s already done. I am so fat it is scandalous. And yet I am not slowing down either. After work yesterday I had the best lamb gyro.  It is the season to eat and drink, not so? Sigh. I foresee some type of post-holiday boot camp. 

So what’s next? Survive the Christmas weekend. Get loads of rest. Host my friends next week, which means some level of cooking and preparation, which means I need to get the rest well before that. Start working out next week or face asking for the seat belt extension on the plane. Lol. And prepare myself for whatever 2012 brings basically.
*P2 – Cars in Trinidad have licence plates which indicate whether the cars are private, heavy, hired, or rentals. So an example of a private car registration number would be PCS 3452. P2 suggests you are a private commuter… but by foot. Lol. 2 feet – get it?

Attack of the Air Wick!

Besides the Muse H.A.A.R.P. - Live at Wembley CD, I really wanted a Burberry Body Gift Set, or even just the single bottle. It's a bit pricey for me at the moment, but then, who needs Burberry when one can smell like frickin' Air Wick!!

This is my current nemesis.

Mr Air Wick Freshmatic Max!

The Airwick Freshmatic Max Automatic Spray. You place this bad boy wherever you want some air freshener loving and set the timer - anywhere between 9-36 minutes - and it freshens your room automatically with a single spray of your preferred air fragrance.

This is all well and good...until you realise that this Air Wick thing-a-ma-jig has it out for you. Mr Air Wick is sitting innocently in a corner of the caddy over the loo. However, it seems that he waits for me to come in before he unleashes his lavender goodness all over me. I have been attacked in the eye, the back of the neck and the forehead. Burberry it is not. I do not see my knight in shining armour being enthralled by my alluring lavender fragrance. Hardly.

Now I enter the loo with one eye looking over my shoulder, hoping to not get attacked by air freshener!!

Secret Santa and Secret Loathing

I have now managed to survive not only a slew of parties but also the team Secret Santa nightmare...I mean...exercise. Not being a Christmas elf myself and bordering more on the Grinch side of life, this was not a fun task for me. At all. Especially since I just met everyone and have no idea what they like and don't like. But luckily I got the one person I do know better than most, and who happens to be my boss, and managed to get him a present that was a-okay - an Italian silk scarf and an autobiography by a guy he lists as a hero. So job well done, me!

This week will be harrowing I am sure. Have you started Christmas shopping? I have not and I won't. It is a pet peeve, this Christmas shopping nonsense. Traffic is a nightmare. My parents always get an IOU when it comes to Christmas but I will risk death to get something for my nephew.

I am also hotel hunting. I have started my graduation trip planning. Back to London I go. I never did the whole cap and gown thing the first time around. So this time, it means a lot - I suffered through winter for that degree, dammit. You better believe I am walking across that stage to get my reward!

Thursday Tunes

The awesome and sexy John Legend - my life!
I am sitting here listening to weekend music because in my awesome world, the weekend begins on Thursday. No. Really.

So some of my tunes tonight (posting for the benefit of one fan in particular)

John Legend

Muse - Matt Bellamy may not be the cutest but he is the greatest
Muse (Oh, Matt Bellamy...)

Fiona Apple 
U2 - old but not cold



Yeah. It is a very mixed bag isn't it? But that's me - a bag of fun. So what are you listening to?

Christmas Party Pooper

So I survived the Christmas parties - and without having to resort to hitting the bottle.

The first one was the staff children's party - an event that in past jobs I managed to avoid like The Black Death but fate caught up with me and I was mandated to be there. I could not even take my nephew which would have at least made it relevant somehow. But in any event, it was painless. The children were not as annoying as I thought they might have been. The magician, however, was a hot mess and could not even sway the kids much less a bitter Trininista, and the snow man was scary even for me, so I was not surprised when one little girl bawled her lungs out when he appeared, out of sheer terror. No lie though - the snow man was beastly! Poor kids.

I also managed to survive the adults' party which in past jobs I had usually been excited about. It was the one time of year I could really shine my swag and go full glam, but this year, I really could not be bothered. I took the decision to recycle an old dress and took it to be ironed at the dry cleaner's the day before. Then later that next evening, when I realised that unforeseen circumstances made wearing this particular dress impossible, I literally threw on a dress I grabbed out of the hamper, without even ironing it - a dress I have worn quite a few times, but noone cared. I didn't. I was glad I had not spent money on a new dress cause it would have been a waste. The party was alright but my heart was just not in the whole thing. Between hormonal rage, exhaustion, and a bitter, biting flu bug, I was not the smurfiest butterfly on the Christmas social scene.

The major highlight of the evening was probably the one guy who had to be wheeled out of the party cause he took "free drinks" to a whole new level. I kid you not. Wheeled out. In a wheelchair. Too drunk to walk. Too drunk to even be conscious. How embarrassing. If that were my man, I would let him go for being such a daft knob.

There is still the small matter of team lunch/gift exchange. God. I should really publicise my memo about not being a Christmassy type but it might be too late, or too soon depending on how you look at it. In any event, in the immediate present, I am now battling a really awful flu which has been kicking my ass now for days but which I intend to beat before the weekend! Hope everyone is well.

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