Go Back To Where You Came From!
This post is dedicated to all immigrants and children of immigrants. As many of you know, I was born in Grenada. Grenada is a small island in the eastern Caribbean. As a child I lived in Barbados, then we moved to the States when I was about 6 years old. The first stop for many people of Caribbean descent is New York City. I enjoyed living in Brooklyn as a child because of how rich and diverse it was. Everyone had an accent! I had friends of all cultures and ethnicity. Well, all that Kumbayah ended when we moved to Washington D.C. Back in those days public schools were like 99% African American with not one Caribbean child, except for me. I was teased the moment I enrolled. Kids had a field day with my accent and the fact that I couldn't pronounce the word "three" the way they did. Anyway, long story short I spent the rest of my childhood and adolescence pretending I wasn't Caribbean. I would explain away my non-native Washingtonian accent as a Brooklyn accent. I never listened to Caribbean music or had any Caribbean friends growing up (never met any).
Despite all of this assimilation, I never quite felt like I belonged. My African American friends had a different culture, and that became more evident as I grew older. Fast forward to 2015, I was dating an Igbo Nigerian guy and we were discussing our families back home. He asked me when was the last time I went home and I admitted that I had not been back to my country since I left when I was 5. Yes I had siblings on my dad's side back home, but we had never met. We had only chatted on Facebook, BBM, and WhatsApp. So Igbo Guy was so shocked that he told me if I ever wanted to go back home, he would pay for it. All I had to do was renew my passport. Well that was the moment my life changed forever.
During my school's spring break in 2015 I went home for the first time since I left. This was also my first time outside the United States since arriving as a child. On the plane I was still in disbelief. I would finally see all the places my mom would tell us stories about. I kept whispering to myself "I'm going to Grenada," just to make it real in my head. I can't even describe the feeling I felt as I walked out of Maurice Bishop Airport. The air was different, the people were different, everything was different...and I LOVED it! For once in my life I knew exactly who I was, where I belonged, and I was so proud to be from this beautiful little island.
If you have not been to the country of your birth since leaving then you owe yourself the opportunity to reconnect with your history, with your culture. This was the best experience of my entire life. It lit a fire in my heart. I realized just how much I loved MY OWN culture and the Caribbean in general.
(All pics included in this post are from my very first trip home)
|Grand Anse Beach|
|In Town (St. Georges)|
|My old school "Mother Rose"|
|View from Fort Frederick|