Thursday, August 19, 2010

Island time? I think not!

Ok so, island time... I am fairly confident everyone knows about island time, perhaps this only exists for native islanders because I have not experienced a minute of it within the 3 days we have been here. I have done more in these 3 days than I have done in the last 3 months! Up at 7:15 am, which by the way I have not done in about a year (seriously that is not an exaggeration). Straight off to UWI this maanin (translation: morning) for the International Student Orientation!

I met about 60 international students from all over the world. The majority of the students were from CARICOM countries. CARICOM is the "Caribbean Community" made up of 15 nations and dependencies. By far the largest student population other than the Jamaicans are the Trinidadians and don't forget about the Tobago part of that country. The Toboggans will immediately correct you. I am not even sure if you call them Tobaggans, when I say the word out loud I feel as though I am referring to an Olympic sledding team. Anyways enough about sleds. There are also students here from outside CARICOM such as Germany, France, Canada, Sweden and The U.S. Every student has a different story as to how the ended up at UWI. It varied from biochemist's taking a semester studying fungi or whatever the hell they do anyways, to linguist's studying creole and student who just wanted to do there undergrad in JA.

So we were told to "Hush" today which was fairly out of context for the conversation. We were asked to introduce ourselves to the large group of students and one from Grenada made some sarcastic response which probably would of came out of my mouth; and the women leading the discussion told him to "Hush". Everyone in the CARICOM nations laughed very loud and the others (including myself) had these blank stares. We were then told that "Hush" means nevermind and that if we were ever told to "Hush" we were NOT being told to shut up! Getting used to Caribbean terminology is going to be difficult. Even amongst the CARICOM nations certain terms may be offense in Trini but are playful in Barbados. Moral of the story, I'm sure I'll inevitably offend people, which is not uncommon for me back home!

I also learned a ton about the history in JA. An Archeology professor spoke to us today about what Jamaica has to show for its rich history... the answer is RUINS. If you want to know about JA and is colonial counterparts just admire the ruins. The UWI campus is actually an old sugar plantation from back in 1655 when the English took Jamaica from the Spanish. Ironically enough the English did not want JA they originally came for Hispanola (Haiti/DR) but were promptly blown away by the Spanish and then settled for JA. Both the Spaniards and the English exploited the populations of JA. The original inhabitants, the Tainos, were killed off by disease brought by the Spanish during there mad search for "El Dorado (gold)". To there dismay JA had no gold to offer but they did have people they could exploit! Shocker! So the Tainos died off due to disease and being overworked. When those cats died out the English came in and brought African slaves with them, hence today's Jamaican's ancestry! Another cool fact about UWI is that during WWII the campus was a refugee camp for displaced peoples from Malta and Gibraltar.

Alright now for the brief hilarious language course. Patois sounds like shitty English.
Now this is an example of an unwanted attention conversation!

Stranger: Yu riili luk laik a nais liedi duo. So we yu a du ya so bai yuself?
You really seem like a nice lady. So what are you doing here by yourself?

You: Dat a no non a yuur bizniz sar.
That is none of your business sir.

Stranger: So ou yu a gwaan so?
Why are you behaving like that?

You: Bikaaz yu a distorb mi an mi a get opset. Mi no waan taak tu yu.
Because you are disturbing me and I am getting upset. I do not want to talk to you.

The above conversation was in a manual given to me from UWI on how to start participating in the Jamaican language. Ironically enough they also taught us how to get rid of creepsters! GREAT! Or in case you haven't checked refer to my Facebook and watch the video of Craig Stewart showing me how to scare people away in times of crisis!

So I also found out that I start my job a FURI on Monday! Yep there's no time like the present! But also here is the deal about my job and where its located. So in Kingston if you look on a
map, such as this one, you will see a big M made up of four main roads. The "A" bubble is right about at the middle of the M. We are told "Hey, best you should stay out of the M!" So when work calls, I ask where I should go and they tell me this street called Windward. So I pull out my handy dandy map and see that Windward is... IN THE M! Like just to the right of the middle of the M! Awesome. Can't wait. More on that adventure on Monday for sure!

Anita and I also settled on an apartment tonight and we get to sign our lease tomorrow! So very soon some rocking photos of our proper apartment in New Kingston will be posted! Oh yeah and in case your interested I french braided my hair today and it still looked like shit so day three hair sucked as much day one and day two. Every time I skype my father he insist on telling me my hair looks like shit, thanks pops. On a happier note the house we are staying at has a pool and I promptly got home from orientation and jumped in and pretty much fell asleep on a lounge chair in the Jamaican sun. Yeah I know tough life, it gets even tougher just wait! Kim and the girls got home tonight from Canada and they are SUPER GREAT! The girls Katie and Sarah are so bright and mature for 6 and 8. We went out to dinner tonight to this place called StarApple and the food was great, again there hospitality was amazing and they REFUSED to let us pay!

So here we are back in our tiny cozy room blogging and laughing at how crazy the past three days have been only to wake up tomorrow have our second day of orientation and move to New Kingston! Hope your not bored yet cause this is just getting started.


  1. Yay! Sounds like you're not wasting a minute! I love reading this!!! Be safe in the M

  2. Wow! sounds like you are having crash course, JA style... how exciting. love reading about your experiences. will let Craig know that in addition to his safety lessons you are learning to tell fresh men to F-off in their own language.

  3. hahahahahahhaha best language lesson ever! I am sure the lesson will come in handy as you are getting rid of the creeps in the middle of the "M" lol.... oh boy... I love you