Familiarity and Discovery

We have been here in Trinidad for a short 3 months, but it is starting to seep into our bones  in a tip of the iceberg kind of way.  When a friend from home hears that I am taking a self-imposed break from Facebook, she emails me to see if I’m ok.  I email back, “yes, I’m fine.  I’m really good, actually, I am going to Chaguanas today to get a Diwali outfit.”

She sent a newsy email back, and signed off.  But something would have been left unasked if it wasn’t for the post script.

 ps.  What is a Diwali outfit?

(and I know she must also be wondering, what is Chaguanas?)

I think we are finally getting to the point where our vocabulary, while still clearly chock full of American words and accents (well, a little Aruban thrown in here and there), we are finding ourselves saying and recognizing a smattering of words and places that, three months ago,  either we didn’t know existed, or are using them in brand new ways.  They just slip into our brains, invade our Broca’s area and roll off our tongues.

On our way back from our Sunday excursion, we were driving past Maracas Bay,

and stopped for Bake n Shark,

which has become a regular old thing for us.  Still delicious as can be,

but not a first kiss kind of experience.

The newness is starting to give way to a nascent familiarity that, while less exciting than the thrill of first discovering a word or a place,

is somehow pleasant in its own right..

When we first tried Roti, we noticed every nuance, flavor, and texture.

Now it is something we get, slight pepper, when we don’t feel like cooking dinner.

When our neighbors bring by a bag of pommecythere or portugals,

we know they are fruit, not medical supplies.

When we are invited to a lime, we don’t  make the mistake of thinking we are going to visit a singular green citrus fruit,

and we know what frangipani blossoms looks like

and that the leaves of the Frangipani tree return.  The tree doesn’t get vex at the caterpillars for their destruction, they just quietly grow back.


Nicole seems to be actually picking up the Trini accent at times.  “I don’t feel to go swimming, I am fearful there will be a shark in the wattah.”

Luckily, there is still so much for us to discover,

like the wonder of waking up early on a Sunday to go up  towards Blanchisseusse, on the north coast, drive down this tiny dirt road

to find a lovely quiet beach in the morning mist.

 Damien’s Bay was a place to discover, its peaceful air and rollicking waves lent itself quite nicely to surfing,


almost surfing,




and more surfing

which took many





The sand fleas were a bit relentless, possibly because it was such an overcast day,

but rubbing sand on the bites only went so far.

For some reason they found Isabelle especially tasty.

I think she got the most bites of all.

Leaving the sand fleas behind,  we travelled home and on the way, discovered a crimson crested woodpecker enjoying the late morning mist.

The rest of our sunday was spent resting up for the work week,

until the evening took me out into the backyard to witness a few more delightful discoveries as the sunset gave way to the dark November night.






Sometimes the best discoveries of all are the most familiar ones, right in your own backyard.  The ones you thought you knew inside and out, until the light or the darkness shines on them just so and you see them through a completely new lens.

And you begin discovering  them all over again.


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