I was born and raised in the Caribbean and with the exception of a brief stint in the Netherlands have been an island girl pretty much all of my life. Even though I have not yet experienced each island in the Caribbean, I have come to the realization that we have quite a lot in common. This is mostly based on the different island nationalities I’ve encountered here on St. Maarten or the different islands I have visited in my lifetime.
What makes one earn the title of a true Island Girl, I wonder? I thought long and hard about this question and I came up with a few different attributes and have jotted some of them down below. Whether you were born and raised in the Caribbean like me or decided to make these magical islands your home, you are bound to identify with a few. And if not, you will hopefully at least get a good laugh out of it. There, my good deed for the week is done. You’re welcome.
You may be a true Island Girl if:
- You get inexplicably excited when you hear the words happy and hour used together in one sentence.
- You automatically lift your arms, press your lips together and whine your waist every time you hear a soca song (or any other Caribbean tune for that matter).
- You think it’s completely acceptable to arrive half an hour late for a meeting or appointment.
- You continue eating long after you’re full because leaving food on your plate is a big no-no.
- You stay at a boring party just because they promised that there will be food, cake or rum.
- Your perfect breakfast must include Johnny Cake and/or saltfish.
- You are solemnly convinced that jumbies, malediction and obeah are all viable threats.
- You own and have pride in your flip-flop collection.
- You try to find ways to justify wearing flip-flops to formal occasions.
- You are always “sick” around the same time each year, mainly during carnival.
- You prefer to wear a bikini top rather than a bra even though the bikini probably does not offer any support whatsoever.
- You stop in the middle of the road to have a 5-minute chat with a friend on the opposite side of the street, completely disregarding the dozens of horns blowing you to keep it moving.
- You grab a cold bottle of beer rather than a bottle of water on a hot day.
- You come up with excuses not to meet up with friends on the other side of the island (even if the island is tiny) because you do not want to make that “long” drive.
- You call in sick when it’s raining cats and dogs because honestly, who drives in this weather?
- You have mastered the art of “chupsing” or sucking your teeth and know when to use it to make a point.
- You have an extensive shorts collection.
- You are convinced that the sea cures everything from a simple cold to common STD’s.
- You find yourself explaining to friends visiting from abroad that you were not arguing with your family but merely exchanging pleasantries.
- You used to (or still do) wear a shirt and/or shorts over your swimsuit when you go swimming.
- You are a skilled island driver.
- You get inexplicably mad if at the end of a party or God forbid, a wedding you do not get a plate of food or cake to take home, let alone plates for your mother, auntie and the sweet old lady down the road.
- You refrain from going into the ocean from December till about April because the water is simply too cold.
- You cuss out the bartender that dares using a measurer when making your cocktail.
- You give up making a deposit because there was no parking in front of the bank.
- You try to lose weight without losing your sexiest asset, your butt. Let’s face it, it’s all about the butt in the Caribbean.
- You are fluent in Creole English.
- You are disappointed and contemplate not attending when you find out a party you are invited to is only serving snacks. Where is the buffet with peas and rice and stew goat?
- The sight of cows, goats or donkeys blocking the road (or airport landing strip in some cases) does not surprise you.
- You compare the price against potential lifetime of a pair of shoes or bag before purchasing cause you know it’s going to start peeling in this heat sooner or later.
- The F-word is the most used word in your vocabulary.
- You are simply not OK with lizards, centipedes or roaches.
- You know to block out a whole day when dealing with the census office and most other Government offices.
- You consider slow internet to be annoying but an unfortunate part of reality.
- You are quite skilled in creating a parking space where there are none.
- You eat barbecue at least once a week.
Well, are you a true Island Girl?
If you identify with at least 5 out of this list, you are indeed a true island girl. Congratulations!
If not: Gyal, you need to work on them skills. If you have some more to add to the above list, please don’t be shy and add them in the comment section below.
I can’t wait to see what y’all will come up with.