Curaçao is the very equivalence of color. Whether you are familiar with this beautiful Dutch Caribbean island or not, it is most likely that you have seen a picture or two of its colorful “Handelskade” in the heart of its capital Willemstad. You know, that row of colorful buildings by the harbor. Now, what if I told you that since recently, the color has spread all over the the island, concentrating in Willemstad itself, and that this time it was by the hand of local artists?
Papiamentu or Papiamento, the language I grew up with, my first language is only spoken on the so called ABC islands: Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. This fact alone makes me a proud Papiamentu speaker. It means we, the ABC islanders are kind of special. Just imagine; a language that is spoken only on three tiny little dots of islands in the Caribbean and nowhere else in the whole wide world.
His story inspired me, enough so that one day I sent him a message via social media telling him exactly that. After all, we come from the same island of Curaçao, where most people’s travels take them as far as New York City, Miami and the Netherlands. At least, that has been my observation.
I too have always been afraid of stepping outside of my comfort zone. Blame it on my island upbringing. We were told from a very early age never to venture too far from home, not to travel alone, and above all else that the world could be a very mean and dangerous place, especially for little island girls. Perhaps that was only my mom or most island moms. My dad however, made sure to encourage me to see as much of this world as possible. Thank you, dad.
So when I stumbled upon a fellow “Yu di Korsow” (like we Curaçoleneans call ourselves) that has not only talked about wanting to visit far away and exotic lands but has actually done it, I just had to meet him.
Be True to Yourself!
Name: Germaine Celeste Gibbs
Nick name: “GG”
Occupation: VP Business Development and Marketing at IBIS Management Associates
Current home: Curaçao
She is a gorgeous island girl. There is no denying that and glam shots taken of her for popular brands during her modeling career prove that. What these glam shots fail to show however, is her inner beauty and strength, her passion for animals and her kindness. She is a super woman that achieved her goals with sheer determination. She may look like things were handed to her on a silver platter but you have no idea how hard she worked for it all. She is beautiful, funny, kind and strong. She is Germaine Gibbs and this is her story.
When I told my bff that I would be visiting Curaçao last October at the same time that she would be there for work, she insisted I stay with her in her condo at Palapa Beach Resort, her family’s hotel. Knowing about this project from when we were little girls I was more than happy to accept this generous offer. How could I resist? After all I had spent most of my youth looking at the plans, which her dad had hanging on his office wall way before the first block was ever laid.
Home. It is a word that means the same to most: a place where you live permanently. To me it has different meanings. St. Maarten is my home in the most traditional meaning of the word but when used referring to Curaçao, it means where I am from, where my family is and where my roots are. “Mi dushi Korsou” or my sweet Curaçao is a magical place full of culture, history and beauty and I am honored to have come from its land.
I had the chance to drop by Curaçao to see my family a few weeks ago. It is a trip I try to make at least twice every year. Each trip home used to be the same: visit mama and papa, see some friends and family, drive by places I used to frequent when I still used to live there and of course stuff my face with all the delicious food I miss while living away. I decided that this trip should be different. After all, I am different now. I realize that I hate routines. Routines to me are lethal. This trip I wanted to explore and see places I haven’t seen in years or ever and accompanied by dear friends I did exactly that. This is Curaçao Unknown.