Achieving greatness away from home
Full name: Mercedes Vanessa Christine Brown
Nick names: Benz, Saidy, Merce
Occupation: Restaurant and bar supervisor
From: St. Maarten
Current home: Aberdeen, Scotland
Born on French St. Martin, Mercedes Vanessa Brown or Saidy as her family affectionately calls her, had a childhood filled with love by those around her. Raised by her grandmother and uncle on Dutch St. Maarten she did not lack anything. Her uncle and his family raised her as one if their own and her grandmother taught her the importance of religion by taking her to church frequently.
I have always been interested in other cultures. From a very young age my parents made sure to take us to cultural events all around the island of Curaçao, and there were many. So when I moved to St. Maarten I was actually surprised to find that most people were not that into the island’s culture. I get that St. Maarten has changed hands many times according to history books and I understand that the beauty of this little rock has attracted many nationalities who have all made sweet St. Maarten land their home. This of course can cause some dilution of the culture or enhancement depending on how you look at it. After all this island changed hands between the Spanish, French, Dutch and English so many times, it is enough to make one’s head spin. I’m sure they have all left a little of themselves behind. For many years St. Maarten was also considered Curaçao’s little sister (Curaçao being the largest of the 6 islands of the then Netherlands Antilles). You know, that one sister you keep back to make yourself shine brighter. I should know, I’m the oldest of four children and did this regularly to my younger siblings. In my opinion, the change of hands and the many nationalities who migrated here in the past have somehow all contributed a little to St. Maarten’s culture.
At the start of my evolution or life crisis or whatever you want to call it, I made some extreme decisions. Yes, there was the drastic haircut, the career move and the change in wardrobe but nothing was more dramatic than the day I decided to jump out of a plane.
It was a Saturday morning. Me and five friends met at the small airport in Grand case, French St. Martin. I made sure to wear the proper attire and I looked the part, I guess. But what was really going through my mind was “will this look good when they pick me up in pieces in a nearby field?” I decided to go with a black ensemble. At least I’ll be wearing the correct color to my own funeral.