Friday, December 29, 2006

What a Year!

Happy New Year, everyone!! As Hogmanay (Scottish for New Years Eve) approaches, I find myself (like many others) looking back. I can't believe how much has changed in such a short period of time. And all of it, forces me grow in ways I never knew were possible. Honestly, sometimes I wish I had a simpler life where I didn't have to accommodate or adjust and learn tolerance so often.

However, it's always been said that nothing precious comes easily.

This year, I faced the potential of losing my uterus, the non-ability to have children just as I found someone who wanted to love me, marry me and have a family with me. I experienced a few near death situations and luckily for me, I had friends, truly soulful people, who were there when push came to shove.
Thankfully, surgery went well; I didn't lose one of the most basic attributes of my womanhood and my people were there to support and celebrate with fervor. Hopefully, I've been just as supportive and loving to them in their time of need. If not, then what are we here for?? What's the point of it all?

In May, I moved to Scotland and my American-centric ways are continuously challenged. (Actually, the hardest stuff for me was suffering through Scottish folk music, bagpipes, and their incessant love of bluegrass music!) It's so easy to get up on your high horse and sneer at others when they just don't fit your understanding of the world. I miss my friends, I miss my black community, and Americana pop culture.
But patience and silence, coupled with open ears and heart, appear to be my best tactics.
In the meantime, I've met some wonderful new people, slowly finding a new black community and making friends, who I hope to know for many years and grow to love as much as I do my people back home.

While trying to wrap my head around new love, new life, I still am writing my dissertation (arrghh!!!) that I must complete in the first half of 2007. But then, bam! I got pregnant!
Along with morning sickness and new cultural adjustments, I have come to understand that there are some people in the world who have so much anger and insecurity with themselves that they will lash out at you. Yet, I am still amazed and how cruel and vicious some can be.
Sadly, I've parted ways with some who I thought truly cared for me but in reality, lived for every moment to slice and hurt me.
Never underestimate the power of jealousy and what it will drive a person to say or do.

But thankfully, there are some amazing people that I'm privileged to have in my life. People who I would travel half-way around the world to see at their wedding.
Believe it or not, I attended a wedding of good friends who are as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside. Some people really do live that sickeningly sweet Julia Roberts wedding movie! Even their friends are almost as beautiful as they are.

As of this month, I've gotten married (only a civil service so I can stay in the country), and I'm feeling my baby kicking and squirming around. Andy and I briefly did a jaunt to New Orleans for that wedding and then South Florida so that he could meet my family. And how they loooooved him. Sickening, really. I bet they'd keep him and not me if we divorced!
Haitians are soooo easy to impress: eat our food with gusto and we're yours! Granted, we do have some slammin' food. And Andy is easy to love. Andy quickly grew accustomed to hearing Haitian Creole randomly dispersed throughout our conversations. Much can get lost in translation and honestly, some things just mean more when said in their original language.

Ah South Florida! It was great to be back in the sun and warmth. There's no place in the US like it. It was wonderful to drive around and hear Haitian Creole, Jamaican Patois, and Spanish spoken on most radio stations! You can really feel like a true citizen of the world there. But in many ways, Miami isn't my home anymore...and hasn't been for years.

Still, it was mighty hard to leave the sand, sun, and warm waters for Scotland again. All this cold weather, dark, cloudy and foggy days can really take it out of you! Not to mention, the depressing Christmas orientated specials on tv (see my previous post for further explanation)!!

Most importantly, this year would not have been possible without the love and support of my man, all my friends, family, colleagues, and professors. It has been a terrifying and amazing life--one that was possible to survive and actually enjoy with their love. Nothing is certain in life except death. However, my people make the future less daunting. While still scared, I can actually look forward to it with a smile.
I am, because they are there for me.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Snowman

When I pressed Andy for any traditional Christmas children's specials, he could only give me this one. This is why the Scots drink so much.

The basic premise: a snowman comes to life and whisks this young boy up into the skies for a night of magical and merriment with Santa and other snowfolk.
After being returned home, the boy goes into his home and up to bed. The next day, he runs past his parents and his breakfast to see his large, frosty friend.

I'll let you "enjoy" the rest.

Can you imagine growing up with this as a child??

Friday, December 01, 2006

November Recap

Hey gang,
Apologies, first off! It's been a hectic, stressful, emotional rollercoaster month and I'm glad it's over. But for those who were curious about all that happened when I couldn't find the time to write, here you go!

Old Friends and Old Ghosts revisted
It gets strange, belonging to so many places. After a while, it starts to feel like you don't really belong anywhere.

As you know, I had to head back to the States to get my fiancee visa. Of course, I met up with as many friends as possible during that short visit.
Traveling back and forth to various places I used to live, to see friends hurts my head sometimes.
I constantly have to re-adjust my reality; speak in American terms again, wait out Sunday pro football and not complain when we head for another chain restaurant to eat too salty, over-fried fatty crap.
Happiness is closely followed by nostaglia and finally, sadness. I love and hate the phone calls from my people, telling me how much they miss me.
It's hard to see them for a lunch or a dinner--maybe once or twice before I leave again. I often feel furthest away from them, when we're out clubbing or I'm sitting across a table, play catch up and "who's seen who since..." game.
I want to steal them and tuck them away like a teddybear. Then, when I'm lonely or miss them or need them, I just bring out and hold them close.

We always have to talk about the good ole days. And with that, the old ghosts come back to haunt--and they feel just as real as when I knew them last.

I needed to go (back to my new) home and be away from my old life and walk in my new one. It's becoming to hard to distinguish my old friends from my old ghosts.
Both can be so bittersweet.

Entertainment and the N-word
Even I heard about all the hub-bub over Michael "Kramer" Richards. He's a comic who lost his cool during his show because some men heckled him. Even if you want to believe he's not racist, his anger drew upon something he knew would attack and demoralize another human being.
That was conscious thought in action. And really bullshit apology is going to make it better...especially when he chooses to explain the "fifty years ago we would have had you upside down with a fork in your ass" comment.

It's for examples such as Richards that so many people want to banish the word right out of the English language.
Course, that's not possible or even realistic. The erasure of the word won't wipe away the deep-seated problems we (and I meant WE) have with race and racism in the world.

What's most perplexing is that comedy has often been the safe-space to dredge up controversial, explosive issues.

Onto the other side of the pond: Last week, BBC radio called me to participate in a conversation with others,featuring Reginald Hunter having to explain (or defend) his reason for using the n-word in the title of his standup show, I mentioned that I saw his posters everywhere promoting his show in Edinburgh back in the summer.
I did catch the show, which incidentally, had little to do with the title. Apparently, this show title has caused some tensions and the On air, last week, he explained that he sees no reason to hide from the word--that it does not make someone not racist if they still hold such beliefs but choose not to use the n-word.
Here are some of Mr. Hunter's own responses to various questions and complaints from people black and white expressed via phone and email messages throughout the show:

Reg: “I understand. I’m not too surprised. I don’t want that word having power over me. If you want the word to lose its power then remove it from its special place.”

T is in Detroit: “I disagree with the use of the word. Not everybody may have the strength he does to not let it get power over them. He’s from a Southern state – I don’t get it. Not everybody is capable of using common sense. . . .

Reg: “There’s a reason why people can’t use common sense is cos there’s an unofficial reaction we’re supposed to have.”

Reg: “Hearing a word uttered doesn’t give me the right to get with piissy with someone.”

Reg: “I’m not upset with TFL’s (Transport For London) decision. That’s part of your job to keep the peace. My pov is a more artistic mandate, Through comedy I like to point out certain things in society.”

Reg: “There is a thing sometimes about American black imperialism. Anyway, the irony for me is that I know people who are racist but who would never say the word nigger. People think by not saying the word racism will disappear. That’s just not so.”

An email from a listener: “Did you do this for publicity?”

Reg: “It was genuinely an attempt to do a piss-take on Jane Austen. Sometimes you forget other people don’t have your sense of humour. I am quite surprised at what’s come back.”

My First Thanksgiving in Britain
Wow! I didn't think it was going to happen. I love Turkeyday! It has none of the stress of Christmas time. You are simply required to give thanks for what you have and eat as much as your stomach can handle.
But there would be no cheesy Macy's Day Parade to watch as I prepare all the courses. Everyone would be working Thursday and so what would be the point?

Andy, ever sympathetic and loving, demanded we do Thanksgiving to take away a bit of my homesickness. We scheduled it on the Sunday after the real Turkeyday to guarantee patrons.
This is Britain and thus, we hit a few snags along the way. Finding a turkey before Dec. was a chore! But thankfully, a few large chain grocery stores understand that there are 1 or 2 ex-patriots living in the area and stocked 2 frozen birds. We grabbed one and ran! (Well, we paid and all but you know what I mean)
2 snag--Britain does NOT make pies in the same way we do in the US. We searched high and low for the proper pie dish for my sweet potato souffle pie.
Andy was so sweet...almost annoyingly so, trying to track down the right size, shape, and depth for a dish.

"What about this one?" he asked.
"That's a cake pan," I muttered.
"What about this one?" he tried again.
"That's a TART pan," I gritted through my teeth, barely containing my anger and frustration.

He went online to Amazon and found something like a pie dish and had it shipped the next day. A darling of a man.
It was...ok. Not really what we use. But one adapts so I made one in that dish and a larger one in a tart pan.
A success, despite the changes.

We invited two couples and the 6 of us feasted on a delicious free-range turkey I kept in a brine solution for 24hrs. The typical fixings were there: corn, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans topped with hollandise sauce and bacon bits, stuffing.
My stuffing was amazing: brioche base, with carmelized garlic and onions, mushrooms sauteed in Marsala wine, pork and herb sausage.
An amazing combination!

For everyone but myself and one other Brit, it was a first time event for the others. I was a bit surprised how excited and curious everyone was about the tradition and layout of dishes. The dessert was certainly something new for them as well.
What a shame that most Brits just don't know the esctasy of sweet potato pie.

Everyone drank a ton, conversed over intellectual to stupid topics, and stuffed themselves silly!

It was a success. And as exhausted as I was after 2 days of preparing and cooking, I was happy--even more so, cause Andy did all the dishes!

My final word: some of you were told personally by me; some of you guessed; and now the rest of you can know that I'm knocked up. I'm four months along with possibly Britain's first Haitian Highlander baby! So, next up: my 1st wedding!!