Sunday, September 5, 2010

Can Jamaican swear words be nouns, verbs, and adjectives all at once?

Hypothesis: Island time actually is a whole space and time paradigm shifts that actually encompasses your entire time. So these past three weeks have felt like 3 months. There is so much to do here and the work load is heavy that the mini personal, social, and professional accomplishments feel pretty huge. Just making friends and making sure you don't run out of butter is a big deal, and when your in the middle of cooking Mac and Cheese what do you do with a butter scarcity issue? Eat Wheat Thins.
But seriously time goes by really slowly here in the longer term. In my attempt to recount my weekend please allocate some island time aside to read this potentially lengthy entry. Since most of the time I get to work from home I break up the day with a power walk to my local cigarette distributor. He is at the end of the main road my street is off of behind a gas station under construction. Cheapest cigarettes in Jamaica, they sell my brand. Anita is proposing I use the electronic cigarette that health ministry's are now talking about. There has been talk of a smoking ban in some outside public spaces. If I'm quitting, which I will, it will not involve any vaporizing fak
e metal tube. I'll just stop :) So cigarette guy has surprised me three times so far! All are new and exciting methods of procuring me my 2 pack of Marb Red's. The first involved my super awesome Taxi driver bringing me to the "cheapest loosey's spot". Meaning loose cigarette (1 or 2 at a clip). So they must have cheap packs. CORRECT. About 4US a piece for my kick it by 25 final habit.
  1. I waits outside the cab after I finally communicate that I wants American cigarettes. guy (will find name shortly) grabs two pack after walking into the trunk of a SUV parked at the end of the lot and I give him 7000JA. Deal.
  2. This time he recognizes me and walks across the street past my side of the fence and gets there from...who knows where? Same price. Deal
  3. Were like old friends now, still no name, I think that's Ok though. Jody says I need to start nodding at people to let them know its cool that I am here. I can only envision the internal experience the person receiving the nod from me would think. I think what I am understanding is that well, "She probably looks a bit silly, but I think she is trying a suggestion that someone gave here, I'll cut her some social slack". I hope. I have yet to try this, but anyways. Cigarette man sees me and he is standing on my side of the fence with a cart out there for once. But still my brand is always an invitation for him to take an adventure. This time he walked away from me to the right and hopped on a piece of iron fencing that now leaned into the building window where he had obviously stored them. It's like a quick game of Clue and cheap cigarettes.
So this is how I break up the work day, I am now researching some alternative housing options here in Jamaica for deportees and drawing up some suggestions. It's really interesting and it is basically bare bones grass roots capacity building. At home we used to comb the human capital for recovery resources to build peer to peer support networks. This is a similar aspiration here and I feel very comfortable and experienced in this type of position due to the work I did at home! Another shout out for CTYF. International Networks would be really cool!! That's kind of what I hope to go to school for, so that is a whole other issue that I am tackling. Applying to grad school and essay/personal statement writing. I also memorized 211 GRE words in 2 weeks, it's the little things that really count when you have big things ahead. Flash cards are like down time activities. So I'm sure your more interested in the suggestions that Jody gave us over dinner on Friday night. But dinner first....

They took us to this super picnic style wing resturaunt on this ladies front lawn and driveway. She makes the best wings ever. She may blow TK's out of the water for creativity. Guava Jerk, Strawberry BBQ, and Pineapple Ginger all spiced with the hot scotch bonnet pepper. Really good, and really hot. So Jody is teaching us the appropriate ways of saying certain things, these updates are necessary things change pretty quickly down here. An equally funny moment was when Anita & I re
counted all of these things in our best ways of explaining them. Which I will incorporate below. We attempted to explain to Anita how these terms could progress from fairly Jamaican sounding to much more American sounding in order to decipher them for her blog posting.
  • "Bless Up" ---to "Blessings" --- to like "Good looks" --- to "thanks for looking out I really appreciate it man". Usually this is accompanied by some sort of head nod peace sign to the chest acknowledgment. Got laughed at the first time I tried this because I am pretty sure I reversed the hand motions. But by the end of the night Holly confirmed my partial attempt at success.
  • A likely response to the above "bless up" is "honor" and at the same time you should put a diamond constructed by your fingers to somewhere up against your torso. This has rasta roots we were told. I have yet to attempt this. Maybe at the 6 month mark. No promises.
  • Also we were corrected about the noise and the hand motion when a good song comes on. It's baap baap baap, sounding similar to gunshots and the hand creates the sign of a gun. Don't "bap" at the wrong time. Not exactly "wooing" just like pan chicken here is not comparable to I-hop. More like... a diner at home.
  • "Big Up Yourself"--- is like "props" ---- or "good work dude your pretty cool" They would also say "kris". Remember lesson 1 in Patois? That means cool and there are only K's I think.
  • We learned the whole lot of swear words. We learned how to use them, if they were nouns vs. verbs, or adjectives, maybe even standalone exclamations, dangling participle?! We learned how to combine them to give them a bit more emphasis. Like if one is not enough, which obviously when it comes to swearing never it, why not make it four in a row? Simple economics make them more attractive by adding a greater end effect and their usage will skyrocket. Agreed. Something is compelling me to leave out the details but if your really interested I'll consider it upon request.

Fun fact: Jody & Holly showed us the wing place and we were able to tell like four other people about the wing place. It's official our first time that we knew a Kingston restaurant before a resident is huge news. M
assive social points.

The deal is work all day and earn your night off, if you don't earn it off, sucks. Get back to work. But it is a pretty motivating method of work, living with as equally determined ladies creates for a ridiculously intense work environment. The hours slip away as we all start getting sucked deeper and deeper int
o our laptops. Until like meal time, or necessary eye closing breaks, or regulated grocery store walks to boost mind endorphins, like the one this Sunday afternoon when we woke up at 1:45 pm after a night of partying until 5 am. We do everything pretty strategically here. We are always on our toes, makes for a way more hilarious way of doing things. The plans we all come up with give us a good laugh.

So we worked hard enough to deserve a Saturday night out with Kam & Gregg at Christopher's (the bar under Quad), and then to The Building, known as an indoor street party. Now the building is a fairly serious da
nce party that doesn't even start getting warmed up until roughly 3am. We arrived at 2. Obviously too early. I am napping till 1am next time. Then the dancehall music, like Vybz Kartel, or Mavado, takes over the international rap and pop phenomenons and the dancing gets crazier. It's pretty common to see Japanese tourists or residents out here, they are internationally known as a Dancehall loving culture. They can dance pretty much just as well as the Jamaicans. The dress here is very trendy, potential shopping trip necessary. So we danced till about 4:30, got pan chicken and passed out till 1:45 Sunday.
Planned grocery trip walk, work, brownie baking for movie snacks, and then the movies to see a T.I. produced film. All of the above an adventure. Particularly watching the ridiculous ending to "Takers" only truly seen because according to Anita & I, Paul Walker is in it, and he is worth the $J860. Jamaican movies also have intermission so you can buy more snacks. Not really my thing, messes up the movie flow, and they don't let you go outside! Its to make more money for the theater, it totally works people restock like crazy. Unfortunately the movie got castigated out-loud for its remainin
g 30 minutes. Sorry T.I. who in the movie ironically gets out of prison and in real life he just went back. I actually do find that pretty unfortunate!

Talking about famous artist's, it is also rumored that Jamaica's most popular dancehall artists Beenie Man, Vybz Kartel, and Mavado are all deportees. N
ow wouldn't those be some sweet interviews. Jazz is determined we will meet them and we are always on the lookout for Usain Bolt. Anita has a great Taxi Cab story about if Usain Bolt were posted on a water bottle Jamaica would not be lifted out of penury.

Speaking of poverty, there are people that erect shacks in the garbage littered gully's a few streets away and it is pretty sad. Also the dog's are all sordid and neglected. We also also asked out apartment custodian where the recycling is and he replied, "This foolish country would never implement something as responsible as recycling". One thing on our goal list is to get our apartment building on some sort of recycling program before we leave.
So the above photo pretty much sums up this post. Heres Mavado, a rumored deportee, and his group giving the honor hand signal while standing inside of a gully in front of a strategically erected shanty.

Jazz's birthday tomorrow! She turns 23. Back to work, gotta earn it. Or maybe we will just make Jazz's birthday a Jamaican holiday!

1 comment:

  1. Castigated: hmmmm I think it means to punish or to yell at someone... wow what is the word I am thinking of........ chastise! its like a tongue-lashing!
    Sordid: dirty, but it always has more of a dark connotation to it... like a sordid affair is a dark and dirty affair

    Big up yourself! (hahahahaha)
    <3 love you!