If Ya Know,Ya Know pt. 2

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So I had to continue we ¨If ya know ya know¨ gyaff because I undoubtedly enjoyed reading the experiences of others like Terrence´s cousin, who went to the shop to buy brief when the shop man only had ´buktah´ and Lucrecia who tried to explain it´s ¨tomatoes¨and not ¨tomadoes¨ at Subway´s counter. As Guyanese, we aint deh down hay!

While I was in the US, shopping for a pair of jeans, I asked the sales guy to assist me with a particular style but when he returned he told me that they didnt have my preferred style available and suggested another. When I said, ¨No, that one too damaged¨, he quickly started checking the jeans to see where it was ´damaged´ and I realized immediately that I needed to say ripped jeans instead of damaged jeans. Both laughing, he asked me where I was from.

Guyana, of course!

In all our different stories one element stays the same. That is, the things which distinguish us from others are the same things that remind us of how similar we are; things as simple as chicken curry vs. curry chicken, referring to every toothpaste as colgate, every nail polish as Qtex and not having to explain words like ´dog ears´ or ‘balambi sour’. More than that, a gentleman travelling on the bus in New York spinning around because he recognized his people by their speech or the Guyanese woman selling avocados in Barbados calling out for the GT crew passing by.

In the end, what matters most is if ya know, ya know. I´m so proud to be Guyanese!

Please continue to share your stories.

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If Ya Know, Ya Know

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Some things are really ¨If ya know, ya know and if ya don´t know well..¨ Let me tell you about some of those moments for me.

Sometime in 2018 while I was in Trinidad for Carnival I went to the grocery store (a lil shop on the corner). Apart from ¨Inside!”, how do you summon the seller? I kid you not when I say I said that more than ten times with slight variations like ¨Hey Inside, Good morning!¨and ¨Hello, anybody Inside?¨and nobody came. I stood there hoping another customer would come and trying to think of another way of calling for the shop man or lady. Finally, after a few more ¨Inside!¨, the shop lady came out and had the audacity to ask me if I´m Guyanese because only Guyanese say ¨Inside!¨.

Fast forward to Colombia and living with persons from other countries.

One evening, while I and two other homemates were in the kitchen Guillame (from France) told me he wanted to ask me a question and without hesitation, I said, ¨sure¨. You won´t believe his question. ¨What kind of English do you speak with your family?¨, he asked. Still in awe, Madisson (from Canada) chimed in, ¨Yes, I wanted to ask you the same thing!¨. As if not enough at this point, he told me I sound very Jamaica. (Not even West Indian?!) What in the ´hasty cultural generalization´is that? I told him that nothing could be further from the truth but I understood his train of thought.

Anyway, we´re moving on because if ya know, ya know and if you don´t know well…

Today, my homemate Fritz and I were conversing. Fritz has Haitian heritage so he is au fait with creole and he understands most- if not all- of what I say so we chit chat ever so often. We talked from one thing to the next and I used the word ´deh´. His exact words were, ¨wait, what´s ´deh´? and I gave him the ´you don´t know what deh means?´look. I tried explaining the different ways of using deh such as position- it deh deh, relationship- dehing with somebody and behavior- you just deh. I think I did well with definition and context but it reminded me that some things are just if ya know, ya know and if ya don´t know well..

Have you had similar experiences? If you have, share them in the comments below.

The Burden Of Unforgiveness

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Like many things, the act of forgiveness begins and ends with us. Whether we seek or express forgiveness, it can be a lot easier in theory than practice. I’m not going to lie; I am guilty of holding a solid grudge against others and myself. I am guilty of excessive lamenting over past actions and wondering if I’d been forgiven by those persons my actions affected.

While my actions were never ill-intended, certainly it has been the reality on many occasions. Similarly, we sometimes experience hurt or grief by the unintended actions of others with whom we may never have the opportunity to discuss. Forgive yourself and forgive them, too. The opposite is the burden of unforgiveness; a hefty and unnecessary weight to carry.

Forgive yourself as many times as you need to. Let go of the guilt you carry for everything that happened while you were learning, creating and defining yourself. Let go of the negative emotions you harbour that were intentionally or unintentionally caused by someone. It is not an excuse, it is a reason. It is the only way to make peace with your past and space for your future.

If you ever need a place a start, this was mine- The Burning Letter Ritual; a good place to reflect and release. http://intothesoul.com/burning-letter-ritual/

Sending you love and courage to release the burden of unforgiveness.

Learning. Being. Becoming

Daniella-Enough

All Things Colombia: Quarantining

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CORONA VIRUS! IT’S REAL! (Cardi said it first)

A little more than 3 weeks ago, I was hesitant to abandon my travel plans. Being in Tunja- a relatively small place, I felt safe. I certainly didn’t share my family’s anxiety or foresee that within the next three days Colombia’s number of confirmed COVID-19 cases would soar from 3 to 151. Currently, more than 3100 confirmed cases. By day five, airlines were announcing service suspension, countries were announcing border closures and we were reading through the new lockdown measures- all of which would directly affect my flight scheduled for two days later. Ultimately, I could not return home.

In the days that followed, I was completely out of it.

I cried, slept, journaled, cried and slept before eventually accepting my reality.

While I may be stuck in Colombia alone; the whole world is sticking through this pandemic so I am really never alone. In the meantime, I’m making the best of these moments with Netflix, new books, some exercise here and there and of course hearty laughters with the entertaining Facebook dancers. According to my friend Latonya, “Rock and come in, baby”. Each new day brings as much hope as uncertainty but there is much to be grateful for and grateful, I am!

Oh yeah!

Then there’s social media with scores of messages giving advice on how to cope during this time. There are those messages that tell us we should come out of quarantine with new skills, more knowledge or complete the things we’ve putting off while others encourage to us practice more self-care, self-love and relaxation. With all of these, it is necessary to simply take what resonates and ignore what doesn’t. Do not give anyone the power of telling you what to do in this time and how to do it.

Corona Virus is real. We are collectively experiencing its effects and we collectively share the responsibility of helping to flatten the curve as well as protecting those who are risking their lives to protect us. Let us stay home so we can stay safe and encourage others to do the same!

I’m sending you lots of love, wishing you good health and praying this will be over soon.

Daniella-Enough.

How are you coping during the lockdown? Share in the comments below.