Friends and Graduation


Previously I thought that I’d retire this ‘Happenings’ album after leaving Cam. I didn’t think that there would be anything new to add to the story. But, there is. The break from the UK was far from clean. There’s a sizeable chunk of emotions and feels that remain there, and it’s been difficult thinking of England and the people there as just a foreign blob of land with foreign masses of people. England has come to feel like a second home, not in the least because I’ve grown to feel closer to a few of those ‘foreign people’ than I feel to many strangers and acquaintances in Trini. Also, I left my paint and a pair of shoes there…so, yeah…

I came back to Trini in August and have been working at a cool job in UWI since September. So at least 2 people were a bit confused to see me on the other side of Trinidad and Tobago Immigration and Customs yesterday.

I’ve just returned to Trini from a short trip to the UK. Yesterday I left Cambridge to head to the airport at 2:30am, got to Gatwick at 7:00am, and had to wait until around 11:00am to board the plane…which spent about 9 hours in the air en route to Trinbago. Anyone who spent Saturday evening with me knows how much I was dreading that time waiting around in the airport, and so it was nice when I met a secondary schoolmate (Valini) at Gatwick. She was also on the same flight as myself ^_^. I hadn’t seen her in ages, so it was wonderful to spend the hours waiting to board the plane with her.  When I got on the airplane, I saw another friend who was returning to Trini ( Teocah ). Upon touching down at Piarco I saw yet another secondary schoolmate ( Jamie ), in the Immigration line. I still find it weird to bounce up other Trinis that I know, by chance, in a foreign country….but it’s nice when it happens.

Anywho, I went to Cambridge to graduate…and to visit some lovely people—some of whom I might discuss in future rants. I now officially have an MPhil…yay!! They said all the Latin stuff, I walked up when they called my name, I held the praelector’s finger, knelt down in front of the guy sitting in on behalf of the VC, he held my hands together as I knelt and said more Latin stuff, I stood up and bowed, and then I walked out of Senate house where they handed me my degree certificate.  I didn’t graduate with distinction, but I got the marks for a high pass ^_^ I’m pretty proud of myself.  When next I post a group of grad pics, I’ll be in a PhD gown with Dr. written in front of my name. It’ll happen; Believe dat!!
Picture: The pic in the top left corner is of me when I first arrived at Cam, the other 2 are from after graduation.:)

Caribbean in Cambridge


The sun decided to shine brilliantly today. I think that it’s because four Caribbean people came together to lime: a Bajan, a Dominican, a Jamaican and a Trini. It was quite wonderful to spend some time with some fellow Caribbean students at Cambridge… to hear lively talk about Tessanne Chin and uncanned breadfruit. Hopefully it will happen again some time. 

Trini Dialect


Standing with a smile and a confused look on his face, the nice English guy from upstairs asked “What?”
I replied, “I’ll organise to suit”.
He asked, “You’ll wear a suit?”
I laughed and said “No, I’ll organise to suit”
He asked, “Organise to suit?”
I said “Yes, organise to suit”
He laughed and asked again “What?”
I asked “Ya’ll don’t say that in England?”
He replied, “No, I don’t think so.”
I said “It means that I’ll plan accordingly”
He laughed and said “Yeah, we don’t say that (organise to suit) in England”

It’s moments like the above that remind me that Trini English is not British English. So, in honour of Trininess, and in the absence of a copy of Côté ci Côté la, I’ve compiled a short list of Trini slangs, things and phrases. Please feel free to suggest more or correct me.
Thanks! 🙂

Waz de scene jed?
How are things going?

Buh wham to you boy?
Is something wrong with you?

Steups (referred to by foreigners as kissing one’s own lips)
Sign of disapproval/Kiss my ass

Yuh dotish awah?
Are you stupid?


To Lime (verb. -no relation to ‘lemon’ or ‘orange’)
To hang out



How yuh go see a bess darkie/reds/ting like dat and not hail de woman out?
How can you see a hot woman and not call her?

A rell mad scene.
A crazy event.


Buss a good__________
Do ___________ enthusiastically.

I cyah take he dotishness nah/oui.
I cannot cope with his stupidity.

Buh wah de jail is dis?
What stupid/crazy thing are you engaging in/is happening?


Cheers (if I reach back to Trinidad and anyone hears me say ‘cheers’ instead of ‘tanks’ then I’ll have to give you permission to tap me on the head and steups)

Bus (pictured) or Big Maxi

Organise to suit
Plan accordingly

Dog of no specific breed

Transportation van with two coloured stripes reflective of region (north, west, Tobago, central, etc)

Ways!/Way sah!
Additions based on comments. 🙂
you nuh fer real- Are you serious?
is diss yuh dissing me or wah- Are you trying to insult me?
I doh know na- I don’t know.
wha de jail is dis – What manner of nonsense is happening here?
well look at dis bachannal here- Notice the drama that’s unfolding.
yuh too wotless -You are too lazy/nasty/perverted/bad (usually said in a positive way/not as an insult)
None ah dat! -I will not accept that response.
relax yuhself nah-Calm down!
dat ting rell dread- That’s really cool!
I dey, wham boss- I’m okay. What’s up with you?

Trinis in London


It was so nice to hear another Trini accent, to see a familiar face and to hear someone talk about “crossing the road like a Trini”….all things which are so common in Trinidad and Tobago that they go by without any notice. Last weekend I went to London for the first time, and also, for the first time in England saw someone I had studied with previously. The guy in the picture was in my Psychology year group in UWI, and is now studying music in Bristol.

It actually was a bit weird seeing him in the UK, because although I knew that he was there, the world seemingly shrank when it hit me that we’re meeting in London and not St. Augustine. Apart from Trini linkages, London was really an experience. It’s quite different from Cambridge, and I plan to visit again some time. I jotted:

“From Coldplay (Cambridge) to The Heavy (London)”

“London is dirtier, grittier”

“So grand”

“London feels like the real world” Cambridge feels like the past.

“There’s a nonsensicalness about the place that’s extremely alluring”


Still though, when I got back to Cambridge late in the evening, I felt the most unexpected sensation. My heart began to beat slower (until then I hadn’t realised that it was beating kinda fast), I suddenly felt more relaxed, and the strangest thought came into my mind: “It’s so nice to be back home!”. Somehow, somewhere in my mind, Cambridge has become associated with homely comfort. Cambridge, this city that seemed so foreign, so weird, so different just over a month ago has now morphed into somewhere that I feel somewhat at peace in. I looked at the multitude of old buildings, leaves on the street, and emptiness of the place (as compared with London), and I smiled. The tree with low hanging branches that annoys me when my hair sometimes hooks up on it felt like it was patting me gently on the head saying “Welcome back Kalifa, I missed you”. I had probably the most relaxing walk that I’ve ever had since coming here that night… because for the first time I think I felt like I belonged to somewhere in the UK. In Cambridge I’m just an alien, in London I’m an alien squared. Still though, I like London…


**written about a week ago…also I hate how I look in the first picture, but that’s the one my friend was smiling fully in so yeah…J**

White people…everywhere!


I’ve been asked several times since coming here, “You must have to get accustomed to so much, what’s different?” I usually say the weather, or the manners of the people…never do I mention how odd it is for me seeing so many, and such a wide variety of white people. I mentioned that last week to a white guy though… he replied that where he’s from he doesn’t see much else but white people. I’m pretty sure that I look a bit strange to him in some ways. I know that my hair certainly is strange to some. There are white people with dreadlocks, straight hair, in gothic apparel, in bohemian clothes, in suits. It’s all very new to me, and ensures that a day walking, or just sitting and looking around would be absolutely fascinating. From an artistic point of view, everyone seems like a character, and I more often than ever feel like painting. The painting (with this note) was inspired by a lady living here in Cambridge for example… how can you not want to paint or sketch when you see someone who looks as interesting and cool as she does?

White people raking leaves, driving garbage trucks, white people doing all manner of things and from all manner of backgrounds. It’s outlandish to me, overwhelming at first. Ah mean, you probably could live your entire life in Trinidad and never meet a white person. Not only that, but the white people in Trinidad often have those office and managerial type jobs…not anything to do with manual labour and serving. I figure that in a country with a majority of white people, like England, someone has to do those jobs, but I don’t think it particularly occurred to me before I came here that many white people do those things. I know that it sounds naïve; but all my life I’ve been seeing the vast majority of white people do high paying work, having authoritative jobs, working in offices, living in the posh areas, being privileged…so it was weird having a white lady come in and clean my room. It just looked completely odd.

In a fair world it wouldn’t at all seem strange….but.