Hi there, my name is Naomi and I am from the islands of Trinidad and Tobago. I think I would firstly describe myself as ‘a jack of all trades’ and a master of one since I actually have a masters degree in a field of study. I like that phrase because it describes my varied interest in so many things that I have only scratched the surface, yet I adore. I like to think of myself as the sum of the things I love in life. I am a humanitarian at heart, an artist, a teacher by profession and a lover of animals and all things in nature. These are just a few things that make me who I am. In my free time I play as much video games as I can possibly get away with. I will go on to reveal myself bit by bit later on this blog.
My identity, in the grand scheme of things is one shrouded in mystery as I am aware that not many people can pinpoint my country on the world map. I am sometimes obligated to say that I am from ‘an island in the Caribbean’ or ‘close to Venezuela.’ Trinidad and Tobago are two islands we call a Twin Island Republic. It sounds like something out of Star Wars now that I think about it. Extensive ever-green tropical rain-forests cover large expanses of mountain ranges bordering the surrounding cities. If you were to imagine a relatively developed country, the type without many high-rise buildings, but highways linking the north, south and central communities then you might begin to have an idea what Trinidad is like. I suppose Google can also provide you with a good idea. The capital city, Port- Of-Spain is located in northern Trinidad. We have a Pitch Lake which is the world’s largest natural deposit of asphalt, some endearingly call it the eighth wonder of the world.
In my opinion, Tobago is synonymous with quiet country livin’ and beach life. It’s an escape from Trinidad’s bustling traffic and daily hustle. I instantly think of rest and relaxation and the possibility of seeing some beautiful reef-fish when I go diving. I am currently sitting here at my desk thinking about the all the delicious crab and dumpling meals I have eaten at Store Bay beach in times gone by. What I love most about Tobago is its size. It’s not too big nor too small. You can get a good day’s drive by visiting far off beaches such as Castara or Englishman’s Bay yet one can be within proximity to everything happening by staying close to the airport. It makes for a good vacation since you can see all the sites in ample time or just laze on the beach all day. It all depends on your mood. I think simplicity is at the heart of its charm.
The Caribbean sounds exotic and I imagine it can be strange to encounter a mixed-race person like myself when many people have no preconceived notion of what Caribbean people ought to look like. In Europe, I have noticed that many people equate the Caribbean to that of French influence and so, I must be a French speaker. It makes for interesting conversation as I try to recall my Form 1 history, to explain that while my country has also been colonized by the French, it was the ultimately the English who colonized it leading up to the abolition of slavery and our Independence more than one hundred years later.
On another note, I have come to avoid saying that my island is close to Venezuela due to an event that stuck in my mind. One day, I entered a ceramics class in Sevilla, a city in the south of Spain and told the women where I came from. I said, “Una isla cerca Venezuela” to which they replied and began lamenting, “Una pena que ha pasado alli…” which was an expression of pity as they began to think and talk about the current political instability in Venezuela. While the spotlight was off of me for a second, for which I was relieved, I realized at that moment that maybe I needed to stop introducing myself and my island in this way because it made people pensive and sometimes sad.
After a couple years living in Spain, I moved on to untapped territory at the end of 2019, Asia. The Philippines is currently my home. I had plans to move to Asia even before I had even gone to Spain but I thought of Asia as sort of ‘The Final Frontier’ since the flight time was easily fifteen plus hours. But recently, I felt as if I had enough experience under my belt and was capable of venturing further into the unknown by myself. I often likened myself to none other than Bilbo Baggins, one of my childhood heroes, a wee Hobbit who left the comforts of home behind and successfully navigated Middle Earth. He escaped unscathed for the most part and lived to tell amazing tales. I always thought of him when getting ready to go on a journey to a distant land.
The process of moving abroad is one of careful planning and endless errands. I think about the current moment and how it might change when I return. The idea of leaving my dogs behind hurts the most since they don’t get to live very long. They bring me so much joy, I often wonder if they understand that I love them unconditionally and wish they could be with me always. Another difficult part in the process is packing your ‘most valuable’ things into one suitcase. I have learnt that word ‘valuable’ sometimes means an old tee-shirt, the one with a lot of memories, to make me feel like myself when everything else is strange.
While I am aware that this introduction has not focused exactly on who I am, I hope that the collection of experiences I plan to write about will allow you, the reader to get to know who I am and also read about topics that might be of interest to you. I feel as if I have said enough for a first post as I just want to keep writing without end. Thanks for reading my first post. Have a great day.
By NaomiNoble Jan 12, 2020