Homesick

I was born in Trinidad, in the West Indies. I have chosen to make my home in Norwich, England. I don't regret this decision, despite living so far from my family. The tickets have been booked. On the 3rd of April, Boy and I will fly out from Gatwick and in 10 hours, delays etc notwithstanding, I will be home again. It's been 3 years since I've been, and I ache for it.

The Trinidad I knew when I was growing up, no longer exists. It's a harder, more dangerous place to be. But I ache for the warmth of the sun, the sound of crickets and gekkos in the house, the softness of the evenings, the effervesce of the people. Everything is so much brighter, louder there.

The part of me that is a Trini, for most of the time, is unseen. I lost the accent very quickly when I moved here. When I'm in the UK, I'm considered a bit exotic, a little bit different. Over there, I'm nothing special. Over there, I can disappear into the woodwork. No one asks me where I'm from, how long I've been here, the heritage of my parents.

I'm cooking a Trini meal for some friends on Sunday. This morning I did the shopping. On the menu: avocados, salad, stewed chicken, rice 'n' peas Roses style, plantains and pigeon peas. I had to go to 5 different shops to get all the ingredients. My final stop Waitrose. I just needed some Lea & Perrings, avocados, limes and alcohol. When I rocked up to the checkout, the very prim and proper middle aged woman in front of me, took one look at the contents of my shopping trolley, sniffed and pressed her lips into a thin line. I didn't think 4 cans of cider, 2 bottles of red, 1 bottle of white and a bottle of Trinidadian rum excessive for one o'clock in the afternoon. But hey, what do I know?

This afternoon, I seasoned the chicken. Lots of garlic, onions, ginger, chilli (without the seeds), thyme, chives and coriander, lime juice and the Lea & Perrings. Note to self: get a large mixing bowl. I washed my hands 3 times, there are some mistakes that don't get repeated: rubbing eyes after chopping chilli, being the main one. I put the chicken into the bottom of the fridge and then I sniffed the air.

It smelt of home: La Seiva Road. I could see my Dad potter about with my lovely niece; my nephew laughing, as he does from his belly. The grandma from my brother's wife side, chatting with the maid as they cook the meals for the day. My brother heading off to work in his brown overalls and trainers, his gorgeous wife whirling around to follow him. I nearly cried.

Comments

  1. Oh, that marinade sounds wonderful! Do you grill the chicken?

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  2. xl ~ I'm glad you made it back. I wondered if I'd scared you off for good.

    Nope you stew the chicken i.e. you brown the meat, add water, leave it well enough alone until it's cooked. No reason why you couldn't bake it though.

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  3. My sister is flying out in June to go see my mum and get married there! If Trinidad is anything like Tobago then i can understand why youre homesick.
    I went to see mum a few years back and totally fell in love with the place,when i speak to her on the phone every week, i long to fly out and just go spend some time with her.
    I keep hoping things will change so i can take my lot to see where grandma lives now, she swapped england for T&T got married to a great bloke and has never been happier.
    I bet your cooking is amazing, I picked up a recipe for Tobagan chicken from Lem and am always cooking it..His mum ususlly makes the lime/corriander marinade straight from her garden herbs...
    I hope you have a wonderful time Roses, you sure do deserve it.Everyone needs to feel their roots and go home occasionally, you will come back all the stronger for it.
    Will be thinking of you.
    xxx

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  4. b*e*g ~ There is definitely a different vibe in Tobago, it tends to be a lot more laid back. I've never spent much time there, only to go through the airport and have a quick wander around.

    You should go. Definitely.

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  5. Yum Yum sounds gooooood

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  6. sarah ~ hope it tastes good tomorrow.

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  7. The poor chicken ... how could you manage to let it alone in the cold for days! I would have helped the animal to good company in no time, shortly after it was put in the icy drawer of the chicken morgue ...

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  8. When I've chopped chilli (and washed my hands several times) I lick my fingers to see if it's all gone. It never has. But I like a bit of zing (on my tongue, not in my eyes) so I keep licking until it's all gone.

    I never noticed before that this might look a bit disgusting.

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  9. mago ~ I'm letting the flavours of the marinade do their stuff. It's been hard not cooking it up though. It smells yummy.

    z ~ that is a little....strange. But I like you anyway.

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  10. I mean well...

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  11. z ~ you're fine. I don't mind a little weirdness around here.

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  12. That post made me even more homesick for my home and l doubt that l will ever go back until l go in spirit.
    I hope you have a fantastic holiday and not to many changes to your memories :-)

    The chicken sounded great till you got to chilli :-( I can not handle spicy even pepper is a major challenge for me.

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