Recently, I was asked 'If you love Trinidad so much, why aren't you living there anymore?'
It's not the first time someone broached the subject but, this time it was different. Maybe it's the hormones acting up in my ol' age or perhaps it's that damn Carole Baskin (are we still blaming her for everything?) or perhaps it's everything we've been through the past couple of years when-we-all-thought-we-were-dying-for-sure. Whatever the reason, I felt the need to respond. In writing. In this blog.
I left Trinidad (and Tobago), my HOME...okay, let's pause for a minute to acknowledge the people who have trouble understanding the concept of a twin island Republic. Whenever I explain this I use Turks and Caicos or The Bahamas or Ben and Jerry ice-cream (they almost always connect immediately to the latter. There's something about ice-cream that soothes even the most incomprehensible idea). Like we are one but we are also two delicious flavours. You dig? Back to the story. When I left, I did so upon the request of my 14yr old son. He did his own research and saw an opportunity for him to grow as a competitive swimmer. The truth is we had tried migrating before, for different reasons back then, but he hated it and I loved him for giving me good reason to haul ass back home. My mantra was...I can find another husband; I cannot just find another son (Oh, I have since learned finding another husband is also not an easy feat).
I left Home in tears. My heart beats to the riddim of Home. I walk and sway to the silent beat of soca playing on rotation in my mind all. the. time. It's TRUE! We all do! I NEVER imagined leaving my family and friends behind. Gosh, I never wanted to make new friends. I left my DAD. I can still see him looking at me as I packed and arranged and organized. He stood there with me so full of courage, strength and compassion. He knew I needed to draw from him. I knew he didn't want us to leave. Well, maybe he could do with a lil break from me (geezanages...I would go to him with EVERYTHING!) but I knew his grandson was his world. I grieved. Boy did I grieve. I cried for years. In fact, I still do.
I didn't leave Home because I hated it. I didn't leave Home because I felt it wasn't good enough. Coming to think of it, I feel like I never really left Home. I love Home; I boast about it all time. I love almost everything about it (ah mean, come on, there are things and people we can do without). In fact, when I left the plan was to return.
But life happens. Life is always happening. That's why it's called life.
It's the same with leaving the family home. We do so for different reasons, both good and bad. We leave because the time has come. Or maybe our dad, and by our I mean mine, told us (me) it was time to go and create our (my) own space (eeeek). Children leave the family home to explore, to have different experiences, to learn lessons (that their parents taught and continue to teach but they rather hear/see/feel it from someone else!). Children leave the family home because life....and sometimes they move to a place that's close by and other times not. Sometimes they leave home never to return but circumstances dictate otherwise and the family home is their safe space. So....they return to upset the algorithm and disrupt the flow of peace that passes through the house since they left. They return to block the light of happiness parents feel when they leave. They return forcing the gym/studio to be converted back to 'their bedroom'...but what yuh go do? (Besides pray that it doesn't happen to you 😆?).
Here's the thing, I never forget what Home means to me. I always remember and cherish the people who made Home feel homely. I think about the delicious food ALL the time. I think about the trees, the beaches, the traffic, the music, the richness of the soil. I think about the good and the bad. Sometimes I laugh. Sometimes I cry.
No matter what...Home will always be Home. You can leave and you can return. It's Home. It's where the love is (according to my son 🥰)
So to answer the question. I left but I didn't really leave. I am sharing bits and pieces of home with everyone I encounter.
PS. Trinidad is my HOME! People leave home for different reasons. Sometimes it's because of abuse. Some people leave because it's overcrowded and they need some space. Some people leave because home is in the Tropics and they've always wanted to learn to ski and ah doh care how talented you are...nobody can ski down the hills of Paramin.