Yesterday night was amongst one of the most delightfully spontaneous days I’ve had in some time. Sera had invited me to meet her and her daughter Naomi for dinner in one hour’s time, and since I wasn’t sure if I’d get another opportunity to meet them anytime soon, I decided to go. After a 35 minute walk, it was lovely hearing a Trini accent. I haven’t heard another Trini accent in the UK since I got here in September… and it always makes me smile when I realise how comforting it is to hear a voice, in person, that sounds like home.
We spoke for a while about illustrations I had to complete for them, and also about life in different countries. I was just finishing up eating a naan (which looks fairly similar to sada roti) and something that looked like a weird mixture of shrimp and bhaji, when they invited me to watch Star Wars with their other friends. I’d never seen any episode of Star Wars before, but I ultimately decided to go. It was entertaining enough, but well, I quite honestly don’t understand why it’s such a big deal (maybe I’ll end up regretting that statement >_< ).
When the movie ended, I joined Naomi and Sera for a drive back to their place to get some Pastelles which Sera had very kindly brought back for me when she returned to Cambridge from Trinidad a short while ago. I also got some Trini green seasoning, pepperpot sauce, and mauby bark before they dropped me back home.
What makes this all especially lovely for me, beside having the opportunity to lime with cool people, is just the affirmation of how warm and welcoming Caribbean people are when you meet them in foreign lands. I’ve met a few Caribbean people, who were previously strangers, during my time in Cambridge— from the Psychology Department graduate secretary (a Guyanese woman named Rita who crafted packages of ground provision and callaloo for me after she came back to Cambridge from London trips), to the friends of my mom’s friends who lived on the outskirts of Cambridge and made me pelau 2 years ago, to other Caribbean students. I’ve been met with such kindness from the few members of the Caribbean community I’ve met during my various times in Cambridge that I actually long for days when I can pass that kindness on to someone else who longs for a sense of community and homeliness in a foreign land.
It’s different, and a bit sad for me, being away from home for Christmas. It takes a bit of getting used to; but it’s a wonderful thing to be able to meet great people, and get homely food >_< 🙂 , that makes you feel a little less far away from home during the holidays.