Five Things Only Caribbean People will Understand

I’m a proud individual who hails from the Caribbean, specifically from Haiti. Growing up, I have experienced a whole different world that I realized only people from the Caribbean will understand. These are the hilarious, fearful and wonderful experiences that I have realized made me who I am.

1. Sundays were the days everyone looked forward to

There was Chicken Sundays for regular families, and then there were “Caribbean Sundays,”  a mini Thanksgiving which made our Sundays 10 times more exciting because my little brother and I knew that straight after church, a feast was waiting for us. If we were extra well-behaved that day, then desert would be whatever we wanted. This particular experience taught me the importance of having family time. It was a time where we sat down, talked, laughed and ate. The connection I learned through food and family brought us closer together.

2. There was never enough family

For some reason, I’d be with my mother at a random store—say Walmart or Publix. She would strike up a conversation with someone I had never seen before than all of a sudden—BAM—that initial “stranger” is introduced as my cousin, aunt or uncle who once held me as a baby and even changed my diapers which is something I usually have no recollection. (Maybe it’s because I was a baby). Although it was often hilarious, I definitely walked away with a lesson, which is to treat everyone with kindness because you never know who they might turn out to be.

3. You were expected to know what the “thing” was

No Caribbean child ever knew what it was. It was an ever changing piece of material that you were expected to know right off the bat. If my dad told me to go get the “thing” from the kitchen, I had to go to the kitchen and spend the next couple of minutes deciding what food or drink justified as the “thing”

4. Saying hi to all family members no matter how long it took

If you stop and talk to one family member then you have to stop and talk to all your family members or you were branded as the “disrespectful one” or “the one who shows favoritism.” One thing about Caribbean people was that once they had a grudge, they held I forever, the same goes with nicknames. In the end, it did teach me to treat others with respect and courtesy so that was a plus.

5. Defrosting the meat

One of the most stressful jobs of a Caribbean child’s life. If your parents went out for date night and your mother instructed you to take out the meat at a specific time, then that meant she trusted you and you wouldn’t dare let her down or the whole family will know in less than five minutes. If the meat wasn’t defrosted in time, well let’s just say that no child ever wanted to find out. This experience gave me a sense of responsibility and time management. I had to learn from an early age that there’s either rewards or consequences depending on how well you do your tasks.

Whether you’re from the Caribbean, these are some of my hilarious experiences that I thought would be pretty cool to share. I would definitely encourage visiting local Caribbean restaurants around Gainesville such as Reggae Shack or Caribbean Queen to understand why I was so excited on Sundays!

Photo source: Giphy, neighborhoodpreservationcenter.org