Posts tagged life
Posts tagged life
Recently I started working with a company that offers personalised tutoring to students for all levels of secondary school education in Trinidad and Tobago.. I have already completed a few classes with the company, and I was able to recognise that my students learn VERY differently. I realised that in the conventional large sized classroom, learning may not be achieved by all students. The whole entire concept of personalised tutoring brings about a technical approach to ensure that an individual grasps all the concepts that our national curriculum requires them to learn.
To give a very vivid example, one of my students can recognise the mathematical function in a worded problem with ease, whereas my other student guesses his way through and crosses his fingers hoping that he gets it right. I recognised however that if he gets a mathematical problem where the mathematical function is given… he turns into a superstar! I also was able to pick up the fact that he explains mathematics orally using analogies. When I asked him to tell me what he knows about fractions, he did not use the words ‘circle’, ‘whole’ or ‘part of’, but rather ‘a pie’, ‘a piece of’ or ‘cutting a slice’. Clearly he prefers real life, practical examples rather than technical terms that seem to confuse him.
Today I found myself picking up index cards and cutting them into pieces. I picked up my mathematics text book, and looked at the simplest worded problems and designed them around the index cards. I am hoping he can grasp how simple a worded problem is by figuring out what the question is asking you, clearly writing down his statements and identifying keywords. While doing this, literally use the cards in his hands to divide, add, subtract and multiply.
It really has been a rollercoaster trying to figure out how these students learn. Each one is so different in their own special way. Its amazing to see them so excited to learn when a different method is presented to them. Their eyes usually open widely, they sometimes express relief when they figure out the problem, and sometimes flash a sheepish smile when they know the answer way before they even starting working out the question.
Its the most satisfying feeling ever! I never liked mathematics, and I did not want to teach it. Teaching part time has shown me some serious challenges in more ways than one. It has opened my eyes to how simple mathematics was back in the day. I really had a traumatic experience preparing for secondary entrance exams. If its one thing I know as a budding teacher, I know exactly what NOT to do.
In Trinidad and Tobago the Secondary Entrance Exam is extremely intimidating, frustrating and highly challenging. Many people think that the secondary schools that you go to usually determine how smart your child may be. While this is so far from the truth, the culture still exists and its difficult to break away from a norm that has been occurring for several years.
I am extremely grateful to have this opportunity to give a child the opportunity to learn topics that are catered to their style of learning. Its an opportunity that I know I would always cherish for life…
“Yuh lie!” was the words that I was faced with when I told my cousins last night that this was the first time I was going to the 51 Degrees Night Club on Cipriani Boulevard.
I never chose 51 degrees as a liming option, because of the daunting stories of getting ‘braced’ at the door. I always got the impression that 51 was extremely exclusive to those who were well connected.
One thing that I was really amazed about was the several security checkpoints. I passed at least four bouncers before I actually arrived inside the nightclub. Each eyeing you from head to toe looking for a flaw to refuse your entry into the club. Some of these flaws would include:
1.) Not being dressed elegantly casual (very vague so you always clueless as to what to wear)
2.) Flats on girls are not allowed. In other words girls must suffer in high heels.
3.) Guys must have on decent shirts and a good pair of shoes.
These are just a few of the factors that influence your $185.00 general admission into the 51 Degrees Night Club on a Saturday night. One of the security guards also directed one of my cousins to a small plastic cup on a short banister. Patrons use this cup to dispose of chewing gum. I can’t blame the organisation for this exercise, after all it is a free drinks affair, and with intoxicated people, chewing gum can easily fall out of their mouths and stick to the floor of the club. I was just laughing at the fact that there was a “chewing gum guy” scoping out my mouth to see if I was chewing gum. lol
I am sure that most of us in Trinidad and Tobago who have gone to the 51 Degrees Night Club can admit that the place reeks of exclusiveness. With a VIP line as well as a guest list, there are people who can get into this club faster than you can.
However, going to 51 is AMAZING. At the end of the day it gives you what you want. Great vibes, great music, great people.
On the topic of people. I found out last night that those who patronise this club are all drop dead gorgeous. I never saw so many sexy people in one room at the same time. I am not particularly tusty, but people really do go all out when getting ready to come to 51 Degrees Night Club.
By 12am this morning, the entire club was rammed with people, and we could have barely moved. What more can you want?
Would I suggest this as a liming option for those over 21 years of age…. urrrrrr HELL YEAHH!!! Once you can manage to get in :p
I was really glad that I took the opportunity to go out last night. I have been pretty stressed and worked up lately. If you haven’t gone to 51 as yet… make the effort and grab a couple of friends and go…. It brings liming and entertainment to whole new level.
HOSTING A SOUTH AMERICAN DINNER
I have found a new respect for chefs and other professionals in the field of tourism and hospitality. Last Friday night I had the pleasure of being host to a South American Dinner hosted by the graduating students of the Trinidad and Tobago Hospitality and Tourism Institute (2013). What these students had put together was far beyond my imagination and I was thoroughly impressed.
It must have taken them months of research and planning to put together such an event. The concept, Rove meets Charm Meets Vista, represented the South American countries of Brazil, Chile and Peru. The students served dishes that infused all three cultures which boasted of explosive taste bud combinations.
Thier attention to creative detail was well noted. During the cocktail hour, finger foods were served on sheets of glass that took the shape of the continent South America. The famous statue of Jesus in Rio De Janiero, Brazil was modestly edified at one end of the dining room, while Peruvian wine was sourced at the local embassy.
The organisation of the event reminded me of a theatrical production during my undergrad days. Stage Managers, Actors, Writers and Light Technicians would all work as a cohesive unit to get the show successfully completed. Instead we had Head Chefs, Sue Chefs and a Food and Beverage (F&B) team that worked together to produce an exquisite foreign dining experience.
While everyone did indeed worked very hard, I must say that I admired F&B the most. They were responsible for delivering the food and drink from the kitchen to the patrons in the dining room. They were all in sync, professionally dressed and remarkably good looking, if I do say so myself.
My job at the event was to introduce the dishes and keep the crowd entertained. While that portfolio had its ups and downs, F&B held their own. This was my impression, however when I spoke to one of the students, they told me that they were behind time and the student team that organised this function would lose points.
The dinner should have spanned between 5:30pm-9:00pm, but instead commenced at 6pm and ended at a dreadful 11pm. According to what I heard from the students, the kitchen should have been cleaned by 11, but at this time, guests were now exiting.
It was the only “Final Function”, to run this late. I felt really sorry for them because this student team really pushed for details. These students even organised South American dancers for their patrons such as the Bachata and Kapoeria. At a cost of $400.00 for a fine dining experience, I honestly thought they did a fantastic job!
I got this opportunity through my cousin, she asked me to host the function, and I was very glad that she did. I am so truly proud of her. I did not think that being a chef was difficult work, but after that experience, cooking and presentation of meals takes on a serious challenge of its own. When my cousin came down the stairs at 1am the next morning, after cleaning the kitchen and getting briefed from her lecturers she was dog tired. Having only slept a few hours the night before, and daily preparations during the last two weeks, I do not think it was something that I could have done. Hopefully the lateness of their event does not affect their score.
I would like to say good luck to all the students on the South American Team. I personally thought you all did a fantastic job and you all should feel extremely proud of yourselves.
*The photo depicts Black Bean Soup. Black Beans is a a common staple in all three South American countries that were chosen to be presented at the event”
A new friend
Imagine meeting someone for 5 minutes of your entire life.
You reconnect after two years online.
You speak to each other for two days straight.
Then both of your realize that this friendship might jus be plain awesome!
Shit I hope i doh screw up this one :(
I’m a complete emo and hipster now… I’m just sure of it… where is my hoodie, levis and converse sneakers?
Oh here is a picture of nice things :D I’m radioactive, radioactive
Today one of my friends told me that they are not worried about my future. She is not the only friend who doesn’t. I think the only person I know of who is worried about my future is me. My parents are quite old school, and they are still under the very strong belief that since I completed my undergraduate degree that I will get a job….. As much as their constant assurance that something will be played in my favour.. It annoys the hell out of me. I love to think that I am standing on uneven ground and I can drift into an unpredictable space. A place where I flip burgers and place them between two slices of bread. In the competitive field of work, I think you have to be prepared to do anything.
While my colleagues automatically thinking that my place at the Environmental Management Authority of Trinidad and Tobago is a sure one, I always tell them that nothing in life is a guarantee. For those of you who may not know, I have volunteered and actively participated with this organization for 5 years. I did two internships with them, so logically an application to their organization is more of a personal obligation than a choice. Clearly I enjoy what they do. However, I am not going to apply to one organization and sit like a duck and wait. It is not practical move.
In the mean time, I find myself burying myself with volunteer work and not sleeping before 4am every morning. Its not healthy and I think this is the worst insomnia I have ever gotten. I wish I could have had this level of alertness during my first year at university. God those grades were terrible. I do have a plan though, I have things to occupy myself at the moment. If its one thing that I do hate is having idle hands. I read an entire draft policy! Not necessarily because I wanted to, but more so I had the time. I am glad that it happened this way though, because it made me realize how important it is to be informed of such activities.
I must admit that I did find something that is challenging me. I was recently asked to sit on the Youth Advisory Committee of the Trinidad and Tobago Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (TTEITI). I am working with a lot of professionals and as much as I would like to say its intimidating, I would prefer to say its challenging. I am working with committed people who actually knows what they are doing. It was amazing to see how outstanding objectives and tasks were completed within a couple of weeks after the holiday season in December. I love the efficiency. I am extremely grateful to the fact that they have allowed me to sit on the committee and share my ideas and thoughts as we all progress forward with our plans and projects for youth involvement in the TTEITI.
I guess this is why my friends and they are quick to say that they are not worried about my future, but the truth of the matter is I am. They look at the things that I have done with different organizations, but to me it lends no credit to your future. Yes it may look pretty on your resume, but its not the reason that I do these things for. As a matter of fact my current resume does not even mention that I am sitting on this Youth Advisory Committee of the TTEITI. I do not think that I have made sufficient contributions to even put it there. I know many others may think differently, but I only placed the items where I made the most significant accomplishments.
All of this volunteer work does only one thing for me. It makes me happy and it lifts my spirits. I like being a part of organizations and networking. It helps me survive the challenges of the world. Volunteerism would be admired by employers, but at the end of the day it takes a lot of sacrifice and dedication. I remember getting so much opposition from my parents for lending skills and not getting paid for it. They never got that aspect of me, and I do think they ever will. My father in particular is obsessed with me making a living. I actually placed a cheque on my desk, and my father made sure to notice it, and question me on its origin. It was a stipend for a performance I did. I usually hide these things, cause I prefer not to be asked. It perturbs me that he asks… is that bad?
I have gotten so furious with my dad lately, because he is questioning me constantly about jobs, applications and resumes. I have to keep repeating my plan to him over and over again, until he actually stopped because I threw a tantrum like a 9 year old. You know what its like to be pressured in to getting a job, and know to yourself that there is 10% chance that you would get an interview? The only thing I ever wanted in life was to be happy and honour my parents. Not getting a job by March would devastate them. I already told them that I am settling for minimum wage if I don’t get anything substantial by March. I am dead serious! I cannot stay home and occupy my time with volunteer work. Its not practical when I know to myself I want to start my masters in September.
So when my friends tell me that they are not worried about my future. I appreciate the compliment, but there are a lot of ethical decisions that I have to make. Once I do start working, does it necessarily mean I have to lay off somethings that I am doing, cause at the moment, my planner is filled for the next 8 days. If I had a job, I would be cancelling 2 very important volunteer meetings for the remainder of this week. Am I into deep. You have no idea. One of the projects that I am working on focuses on educating kids on the environment. If you take a look at my resume, I have had extensive experience with kids. I did not even know it, till I formulated the resume properly. I have always sought in educating younger individuals. As a matter of fact I am giving lessons to a person who is pursing Environmental Science CAPE level at the moment. I am just so passionate about giving back.
I find myself so worried. Money is not everything, but you need money to do so many other things. If I do get called for an interview, part of me would be wishing that I do not get the job and the other part would be screaming to get hired. Masters or make a difference Even though getting a masters degree would help me greatly in making a bigger differences in the future. Uggghhh too many thoughts in my head.
Has anyone ever found themselves in such a crossroad. I thought I was lost while doing my undergrad degree, but now lost has a whole new meaning to its name.
Always looking at life,
Shahad the Sentinel
So here I am again. One of those ramblings in the wee hours of the morning. You should see the condition of the bed that I am sleeping on right now. There are chargers, headphones and a set of mobile electronics wrapped up on one part of my bed. There are some clothes that needs to be packed away jammed in another corner and the mere fact that my bed was partly made this morning, should give you the impression of how uncomfortable I am at this moment. Still when I finish this post and nestle myself in to sleep, I am sure I would go way beyond the points or REM despite the condition of my bed.
The new year has kicked off with a bang. There is a lot to do and so very little time to do it. At the end of the day I am happy, and because I am happy, I am sleeping less hours. I know it sounds strange, but the fact is that I do not want to miss a beat. Whether its responding to an important email or supporting my EMA Youth Ambassadors to some serious daring project this quarter, I want to be a part of it all. I cannot seem to convince myself that people do not respond to emails at 4am in the morning. I am currently operating on a 8 hour wake and 6 hour sleep cycle. I have to keep checking that date to make sure. Yesterday I saw the sunrise :D
Despite having a lot of work to do, my odd hours have allowed me to pace myself. This is the type of life I want to be living. A life that makes a different and for the first time in a very long time. I am seeing it. I am getting to be a part of change. I could even be a catalyst to inspire others if I so choose. Its amazing how you feel when you finish your undergrad degree. You revel in your own glory. You can do what ever you want, and finally be whatever you want.
The next 8 months of my life is intended to be mine. I have limitless boundaries and opportunities. While others may doubt me, keeping a positive mind would get you further. My intention is just to keep the positive thinking and push forward to get some decent results!
So its close to 3 am. I am lying down in the darkness of my room and using the light from my laptop to see in the keys on my keyboard. For the past four years I have been making new years resolutions and its hardly any argument that I have managed to stuck to them all. What is my new year’s resolution for 2013? At this point that does not matter, because this year is meant to be unpredictable. The steering wheel that everyone uses to guide their life, is not really fully functional in my car. I am too broke to go the mechanic.
I really wish I could know what is going to happen this year. The endless possibilities that surrounds my actions for the betterment of men and this country. I guess this pondering mode that I am currently in, is not only reflective of the recent New Year, but the fact that I am turning 24 on Monday.
Tomorrow is the party at one of those popular liming locations. A lot of my friends asked me if I am excited. To be honest, I really am not that excited about adding another year to my life, to reflect the fact that I have growing responsibilities. Not showing up at that party tomorrow means that everyone else would enjoy my party and come back and tell me how good it was. I do not think anyone in their right mind is prepared for that type of trauma.
I was always fond of the idea that my birthday was so close to the New Year. When I turned 22 I realized the value of it. It was just after the holidays and after spending it with family that was either over protective or crazy, the majority of friends would crave to lime, drink alcohol and party till the sun comes up. Now at 24 and prepping to have a great time tomorrow with some awesome friends, I fail to feel the hype. I know this would change tomorrow, but for the for the first time I am worried that this party may not turn out as well as I expect it to be.
This honestly has nothing to do with the fact that over 20 guys confirmed attendance and just about 11 girls would be there. Did I foster a sausage fest for my 24th birthday? Apart from that, the girls that are attending are either involved or very close friends. Like I said though, this has nothing to do with the fact that I feel that this party is going to be lacking some serious vibes tomorrow.
I need to save money. These are the only thoughts that are flashing through my head. Green dollar signs. I am not superficial and I do not need material things. I came to realize in the last moments of 2012, that my life needs to be governed by a steady income. Is there a life that doesn’t though? Money makes the world go round, and I am intent on finding innovative ways make some.
A very close friend of mines, once told me that “Why are you working. Machines work. Humans don’t work” These were the words that came from someone who was comfortable. They had many outlets of revenue. I admire her though, because she and her family worked extremely hard for what they have. I know her son really well too. What can I say about her son. He is a star that is about to shine. The decision is made that I need to shine like that too.
Of course, I would follow in the same vain of saying yes to every opportunity. I need to push way harder. Would you believe that 4 days have just passed into the new year, and I am already working with people who has proven to have a much higher standard work ethic than me. Do you smell that…? Its the smell a challenge and I crave it like melted chocolates on fluffy marshmallows.
As much as I ponder, I know that 2013 needs to be my bitch and not the other way around. As much as I am worried about celebrating the creation of my life tomorrow with some very dear friends. I know that I would find it in me, to enjoy myself. Sixty dollars cover charge cannot go to waste.
I hope my followers, had a great start to their 2013! I hope everyone is aiming for a year of productivity and great accomplishments… I know I am…. Its my purpose and a must!!!
Always looking at life,
Shahad the Sentinel
Culture varies from door to door as you go down the very street you live in. You may live in the same community, but in your home, you may tend to live your life very differently as compared to many others. On a larger perspective of the whole cultural issue, we do own up to a national culture, even if its in a cosmopolitan, the majority of us have an idea of what it means to be proud of our respective nationalities.
This blog post stems from a recent practical exam that I had in my academic pursuit of the Performing Arts The course, Asian and African Theatre examined the various forms of Theatre that are not common to the Western World, but rather distinct in the various regions of Africa and Asia. While I do understand that with all theatrical studies, it is important to have a practical feel of the theory examined, I must admit that this was the first time I literally felt ashamed of what I was doing. Not because I was bare chested, or because I felt like a fool on stage. This was the first time I felt as if I should not have interfered with what I had learnt.
Our group was given the topic “Magic in Bali: Ritual vs Tourism.” Bali is a small island in the Pacific ocean that boasts of a unique form of Hinduism known as Balinese Hinduism. Like with most who come across this tiny island, I fell in love with its environment, its people and their cultural practices. Apart from its economic hold on the ornamental fish industry, and the benefits of coral reefs that exist in the surrounding seas, Bali has a uniqueness that is incomparable to its neighbours. Even though Bali has been influenced by Java and Indonesia; from what we have learnt, Bali has remained unique in what it has to offer.
There are many secular dances that take place near temples around Bali. One in particular is known as the Legong which is usually danced by women. This form of dance takes extensive years to learn, with precise movements narrowed to the shifting of the eyeballs against the backdrop of traditional Balinese music. Males are known for the Kecak dance, that illustrates the story of the Ramayana. It speaks mostly of Lord Hanuman and the battle he faced when rescuing Sita from the Demon God that kidnapped her. This dance is normally done in a circle and involves a series of chants or “caks” alongside the bodily movements of the hands and fingers. With a group of 20 or more men, the ‘performance’ can be quite a spectacle.
Our group had decided to re create the Kecak dance as much as we could. However, it was known to us that we could NOT re create Bali. The truth of the matter is… no one can. In order to see Bali, you have to go there and experience the wonder of the country for yourself. We tired making ‘saputs’ which are loin cloths that are checkered black and white. We had to suffice using white tetrex cloth, stale black paint, an old paintbrush and a piece of paper to help smudge the material. We got woven baskets, and picked brightly coloured flowers. I was at least very proud that one of my colleagues and I were able to find hibiscus and frangi pani flowers that are customarily used in the Balinese traditions. For the kecak dance, also known as the monkey dance, we had Hanuman incense. We also had a lota, a taria, and a havan kund to help us recreate the central fire.
The kecak dance itself is physically exhausting. To begin with, it was difficult to lead the group and also to even learn the moves. It amazes me that in Bali the individuals who do these dances are people who have varied professions. The people who dance are the doctors, the lawyers, the construction workers etc. This is their daily life, and its a part of who they are. These rehearsals are done after work hours. Its a part of their culture and EVERYONE is involved. The manner in which our group approached this in my honest opinion, was not done in complete reverence. Everyone seem so pre occupied with attaining the highest mark. At the end of the day, I was more than satisfied with just passing.
I guess I feel this way mainly because of the readings that I was cramming for my final written exam for African and Asian Theatre. I read that Balinese people are very particular about their culture and traditions. In Bali there are different types of dances and some of them require masks. Topeng masks for example are extremely sacred and must be taken good care of. There are even some masks that must be kept covered at all times. In my readings I saw how lengthy the process is. From the moment that the wood is taken from a tree, prays and rituals must be said and done, in order to make the mask what it is. The specific wood used, is left to dry, before it can even be carved. The alkaloids in the wood can prove very toxic for the bearer of the mask, and as such the wood is left to dry for the alkaloids to become absent. Even during its carving and development various prays are said intermittently. Its painting is usually done by grinding various natural elements. Commercial paints are often used, but few mask makers paint it the traditional way, since the length of time it takes to use natural elements is much longer.
Because these people are so particular about their culture. It was very hard to accept my meager attempt at the Kecak dance. During our presentation we talked to each other, trying to sort out last minute details and even at the very last minute, changed our concept. It indeed was a very frustrating day.
Have you guys ever had a presentation go wrong? Or never felt that comfortable with it? Have you ever had to dance in loin cloth and nothing else? Let me know what are your thoughts on the Balinese culture… It truly is amazing!!!
Always looking at life,
Shahad the Sentinel
To all my beautiful female followers, can you answer this question with complete honesty? I need you all to do this because I feel as if I am being redundant having touched on the dynamics of girls and boys in my last blog post. This time however, I present to you a real life example that occurred quite recently.
Attraction is a funny thing. Regardless of your sexuality, we all attracted to each other. Strong attractions can cause the mind to do silly things. These actions can make us embarrassed, and once in that frame of awkward feelings you wonder if you did things correctly.
I have been single for 6 months. I have moved on. Frankly I started liking someone about two months ago. Of course like with the type of girls that I am attracted to, she had intelligence beyond measure and an effervescent personality that I know I would enjoy being around. Even though I liked her, my emotions did not escape me and they were not in a state of disarray. I was no way near being a stalker, but more so barely showed interest in this beautiful girl.
Having invested over 7 years of my life in my last relationship, I must admit that I am rusty and I probably was clueless as to what I was doing. I would try my best to explain the events as accurately as I can. I hope that you all can give me some insights as to what I did wrong. Keep in mind that if we were to tally the amount of “one on one” conversations we had, they would probably amount to 2 hours.
I worked with this girl for probably a month or so. To be honest, she was weird, odd and boasted her dislike for me, in more ways than one. It was of course meant to be a joke, and being the theatrical person that I am, I played along with it. We practically lost contact for a while, until we were able to correspond on a different platform. We had originally exchanged contacts, and the customary hello’s and goodbye’s were the most we ever corresponded However, this time was different we were able to see our personalities as it relates to our professional performance.
I admit that the work that I produced was never close to her standard. What actually hit me though, is that she was never condescending about it, but rather took the time to explain the concepts and the errors that you might have made. While this may be her customary interaction with everyone, it’s a trait that I find extremely attractive, along with her other attributes.
For those of you who have any idea what my lifestyle is like. I am always busy. I never harassed her nor did I ever message her excessively. I just always looked forward to seeing her ever so often during the periods that I was able to. The friendship was enjoyable to say the least. She asked if I was interested in getting something to eat after we had completed our work. Of course, I agreed, however, most unfortunately we did not complete our work on time, and as such I told her she owed me a lime. (Social get together)
We eventually did get around to it, and despite the casual meal, it was fun. I told her that this was my treat and that I am sure we would not get to do this very often. It was very sad that she had to leave early. Her parents had come to pick her up, I honestly did not mind. With her workload and excessive responsibilities, how could she have any time to herself?
Do you guys remember Antigua when I had won the Citizen Journalist Award? Well I did tell her that I won it, and she congratulated me. She even mentioned to get her a special token if I can. Of course I did not forget her, and I brought back a red beaded band with small silver attachments in the middle. She was very happy for it, hugged me and thanked me. Strangely enough, she told me that she was joking about getting her a token. However, I really found her to be an amazing girl, an awesome friend, and a person I enjoyed being around. I gave her the band as a friend, and nothing more!
I decided to take a chance, so I messaged her and I told her that she was making it so difficult for me to know her. She even stated with her own mouth that she glad that I had liked her. I honestly felt she was flirting, but now I think I may have misunderstood her so much. I asked her if she would ever have the time for me to take her to a formal meal. Whether it be a lunch or a dinner. This proceeded with very short answers of negation. She also explained that time is really of the essence and doesn’t think that she would be able to give more of herself. I was not heartbroken, I was not even disappointed. Of all the people in the world, I understand when people do not have time. I really do understand and accept that.
I was so happy and elated that she explained her situation. It was this point; I stopped the very small likeness I had developed for this girl. I did not want it to foster into a monster that would scare her off. Little did I know there was a monster of a situation that was brooding beyond my thoughts?
Probably a week had past between our usual 15 minute conversations. It was about that time to have another. To my disbelief this girl was determined to return the band that I had given her. She told me not to feel bad. That was impossible, because I had given her the band as a friend and nothing more. I explained to her that I gave her that band without expecting anything in return. I tried my best to reason with her. According to her philosophy, she doesn’t like when people assert themselves on to her. After I heard that, I quickly apologized. I was so shocked. She was referring to the time that I had said that she was making it difficult for me to know her. In addition she established that this was common behaviour for her, and that in order to prevent any awkwardness between us, and to maintain the friendship that we had, I had to take the band. I was left with no other choice.
The band was given to me recently. I was perplexed with what to do with it, since this was the first time ever in my life someone had return a well thought out gift to me. It did not take me long to figure out what to do with it, after she and her friend watched me shortly as if they have been discussing this issue for a while; as soon as I had gotten near a bin, I disposed of the red band with ease.
If its one thing that I do not fuss about, is girls. Whether I have a girlfriend or not really does not bother me anymore. I would admit that it use to, but as time goes by, I realize there is only so much one girl can offer. This whole idea about giving someone the world is beyond preposterous and I rather live on earth as oppose to a fictitious cloud 9. I do not mean to dampen the spirits of many who still believe that chivalry is alive, while at the same time fighting for equal opportunities in gender. Of course I have not given up on finding a mate, I just find it too tiresome to deal with it at this point of my life.
For those of you who do not know. I broke off a two year relationship about 6 months ago. My friends, who apparently fell in love with her more than I did, continually beg me to get back together with her. Even though begging was done, and I got brace for not knowing what I want, apparently I did not try hard enough. Six months is more than sufficient to indicate that we are not getting back together. So for those close friends who keep asking over and over again, let me quote Taylor Swift for you. “We are never ever ever, getting back together!…. Like ever!”
Even though we try very hard not to think about the prospects of another partner, it seems that we are genetically built to be attracted to different people. I did have a very small crush on someone. We spoke and I expressed interest in her. I even bought her a small gift while I was in Antigua. We even entertained each other shortly over a very quick casual lunch. However, when I decided to take things a step further by asking her for a much more intimate dining experience, she respectfully declined. I must say that I appreciate that in a girl. Someone who could state that she is not interested in a relationship or even developing one, for the sole reason that her life is occupied and academically driven. That is basically one explanation. Another perfectly acceptable explanation is that I got level BRACE! To be honest, either explanation sits very well with me.
This whole idea about girls leading you on, is something that I have seen all too often. For the girls out there, if you expect that a guy likes you. Do not have him hanging around like a puppy. Establish that you guys are friends, and keep doing it, till he gets the point. I have had so many colleagues tote over nothingness. I am so amazed how they would hang their heads low because a girl that they liked did not like them in return. There are so many fishes in the sea. Move on to the next one. It may sound harsh, but ultimately this is what has to be done anyway. Its simply a logical way of picking up the pace and moving forward.
I hate when guys aim high. I am not targeting anyone’s self esteem or confidence issues. At the end of the day, anyone should be lucky to be with you. I for one would not go after a Victoria Secrets Model. Apart from that skeleton body structure not being my type; its really not someone who would fit into my social circle. I know it sounds very prejudice and I’m probably depleting my egotistical storage tank inside me, but I do not see myself measuring up to the standards of an internationally acclaimed model. I would more so aim for a model who has graced the cover of a local low budget magazine, rather than aim for the glitz and glamour of an international catwalk. You guys look for brace when you aim too high.
Hot guys and hot girls were meant to have sex. I hate myself for having this stereotype in my head. However, I cannot help myself when I see a good looking couple. The only thing that runs through my mind is the ‘fact’ that their sex life is healthy. This may be far from the truth, but in my over active mind, it stand strong in a court of law. People say that sex should not be the main relationship bond between a guy and girl, however I beg to differ. The stories I have heard, people make it seem like sex is major role. I always thought you shared sex with the people that you love. Isn’t that suppose to be the pre requisite for having sex anyway?
I saw a meme on facebook the other day. It read:
Ring Leader : Who are we?
Ring Leader : What do we want?
Gang :We don’t Know
Ring Leader: When do we want it?
Gang : Right now!
When we speak about the stereotypes of women, this one really hits the nail on the head. From the fine, beautiful and sexy ladies that I have interacted with, the majority of them simply do not know what they want, and whatever it is, they must get it now! Have you ever been around an indecisive female? Wow, you know how many hours they can decide on what to wear. To me that’s the major problem of all girls… What to wear?… Its the most complicated thing that they all have to deal with. Even getting ready to go somewhere always takes such a long time. Have you ever heard a female’s defense being that they take so long to get ready in order to make themselves look beautiful for you…-_-….. I don’t know about you guys, but when it comes to girls, I go for the natural beauty, not the one that is artificially enhanced.
The old saying seems to take precedence that you can’t live with them and you can’t live without them. I still stand firm in my current decision that I am not particularly looking for anyone, I am more so like on the internet, I’m just browsing, hoping that something would just ‘pop up’.
What do you all think about girls and guys? Anyone agrees or disagrees with my points set forth… let me know… drop me a line or two!
Always looking at Life,
Shahad the Sentinel
Wow is the only word that I could use to describe by schedule for November. I think its generally understood by my peers that I have a relatively active life. For the month of November it seems very overwhelming, but I would be lying if I said I hated it. The next 7 days in particular its going to be very hectic, but honestly they are all activities that I want to be a part of. If I do not live my life, who on earth is going to live it for me. Recently I got an email from a colleague who is warped in his studies. At the end of the day I would not oppose your wishes to delve in your books, but my advice is to get out there and breathe the living air. Get the experience that you need in order to have that competitive edge over someone else.
The youth of Trinidad and Tobago need to realize that we are not competing with just ourselves. We are competing with the world. I have had the privilege of meeting some of the most outstanding youths of the Commonwealth nation, and no one that I knew in Trinidad and Tobago could even begin to measure up to their expansive successes. They have built their lives on sacrifices and dedication and worked towards what they believe in. I can’t deny that I had such a deep admiration for each of them, and I think the reason why November is about to be a beast to me, is primarily because of the impact these refined successful individuals had on me.
In just a few hours, I would be walking into the Hyatt Regency Hotel to cover an event for giemagazine. This event is hosted by Anime Caribe, a festival that is held every year in Trinidad and Tobago celebrating our local animation. This festival brings together some of the brightest mind in the international industry, from individuals who were involved in Harry Potter and animators from cartoon network as well as Nickelodeon. They would be discussing the business of animation. I would imagine that the economic side of animation needs to be developed and budding students need to have the foresight to market their future products. I would love nothing more than to be a part of this, the 11th edition of this festival. Its something that is new and fresh and I have been following it for 3 years. I have had the pleasure of meeting the CEO of the company, Ms Camille Abrahams. I always remember her name well, mainly because of how well she answered my questions the first time I interviewed her. One of those questions circulated around the craze of Japanese Anime in this country. She told me it was of her belief that it was okay to be influenced by something else. Every since she told me that, its hard to ever see something that is 100% original. There is either always a source of inspiration or an envelope of what was before. That statement really opened up my eyes.
Apart from event coverage, which by the way I have a lot of this week. I also have the usual assignments to complete for school. I have a 1500 word essay to do that I am completely ecstatic about. I am currently doing a course called African and Asian Theatre. Within this course we were able to study Balinese Theatre Forms. In Bali there is somewhat of a debate between ritual and tradition against sustainable development and tourism. I guess I’m overly enthusiastic about this essay, because it crosses over my three main interests. Journalism, Theatre and Environment. I went to the library today and sourced some books to support my essay. The material I found just gave me chills. There is no reason why I should not get total in this essay. There is actually a sustainable development plan for Bali as it relates to their cultural traditions that has become so globally popular. I cannot wait to get started, but sadly there are other assignments that are due sooner than this one.
This week I also have to do a photoshoot. I would refrain from saying why I have to do this photoshoot. Let’s just leave it as a surprise. Some may say this whole idea is a huge conflict of interest, but at the end of the day, this idea did not come from me, it came from someone who was above me. Who am I to disagree? I would go along with the idea, and we would see how it turns out.
I am also showing my support for my alma mata. They are staging the production of Ti Jean and His Brothers at Little Carib Theatre, this Friday 2nd November and Saturday 3rd November, Showtime 8pm. If you guys are interested in attending, you can get tickets at the administration desk at Trinity College in Moka, Maraval. I would admit that apart from supporting my school in this venture, there is one other reason why I am going to this show. There was this young boy by the name of Lindon, who was apart of the class that was assigned to as a prefect in Trinity College. To this day I remembered wringing his ears for being a bit unruly with me. Today he is a young man, and is taking on the role of the devil in this production. For anyone who is familiar with the devil role in Ti Jean and his Brothers, its a role that fits an actor who has the capacity to change into many forms or characters quickly. In other words, its one of the more challenging roles in the play. I give Lindon loads of advice on life, I am not sure how much of it he takes though. At the end of the day, I cannot describe how extremely proud of him I am that he took an interest in the performing arts. I have not even seen him perform on stage, but I just have a strong feeling he would be dynamic and explosive.
I was also invited to attend a Youth Advisory Forum that is going to be hosted by the Trinidad and Tobago Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. Yes I know the name is a bit to swallow, and trust me when I say a bit technical to spell when you are up at 1:30am in the morning. It more or less focuses on the transparent usage of extractive industries in Trinidad and Tobago such as Oil and Gas as well as Mining. The Youth Advisory Forum is to hear our thoughts and how we could possibly contribute. I honestly think that this is a great initiative for our voices to be heard on such a pertinent issue. Trinidad and Tobago is the fossil fuel hub of the small island Caribbean states. It is a forum that I am looking forward to, and you can bet that I would be blogging about the outcomes of this event.
In the mean time, The EMA Youth Ambassadors have been so active. It amazes me how many invitations we get to work alongside many organizations as well as attend conferences, meetings and forums. Its been so much, that its not at all possible for us to entertain everyone, even though we would love to. After wining the national award for best community group 2012, it seems that for a group of 58 individuals we have been making massive milestones. We work towards all our goals and we have the backing of a formal organization to make sure all our goals and objectives come to pass.
Yes I am very excited about all of the above, but I do not think anything can really compare to the invitation that I got from Cropper Foundation to attend an EcoServ Workshop that would be based on the Caura Valley. My heart nearly skipped a beat when I saw my favourite lectures name at the bottom of the document. Yes I am talking about non other than Dr. John Agard. A man who has a passion for teaching and making everyone understand things on such a comparable level. He is nothing short of amazing. The EcoServ workshop is meant to equip journalists to better report on Ecosystem Services etc using Caura Valley as an example. I remember reading the Northern Range Assessment 2006 that fully evaluated the ecosystem services of the Northern Range. I also remembered Dr. John Agard who gave me the conceptual background on ecosystem services. As such it was natural for me to be driven to attend this workshop. Its something that I cannot wait to be a part of. Did I mention that this is going to be done interactively and also includes a field trip in the Caura Valley… What more could I possibly ask for?
I beg of you not to worry. this is all happening in the space of 7 days. I haven’t even begin to talk about the rest of November, which is as just as ram pack as the first week. At the end of the day I am going to disappoint a few people and I am not even sure how they would take it. I love this life. I really do. I am loving what I am doing! I am tired. I am exhausted. I just want to drop. But God knows that I love it so much. I always tell people to do what they love. Do what you love and all the opportunities would follow you.
These days there is nothing that is going to stand in the way of my happiness, even if November wants to be a beast to me… I’m so ready to battle u…
Always looking at life,
Shahad the Sentienl
While the many problems that circulate around the University of the West Indies may be funding, student’s grade point averages and continued international accreditation. Student based problems have not been seriously addressed. These large overview issues affects a student learning in more ways than one. This blog post is not meant to be vague, but give my personal real life examples of how learning at the University of the West Indies has always been a challenge. These include but are not limited to, hands on learning, proper administrative processes and the lack of concise learning objectives.
The concept of learning at the University of the West Indies for an undergrad student is quite simple. Learn the material that is given to you and regurgitate as much as possible during the exam. While application is necessary in some cases, regurgitation usually suffices an impressive grade. At the end of the day, I do not take any initiative to do anything outside my scope of ‘learning’ unless I am awarded sufficient credits. While each students is awarded for assignments done, taking initiative is rarely awarded, and as such we have a bunch of students who are just not keen on learning. I honestly include myself in this bunch.
As a matter of fact, I have a friend who is scholarship winner and did the same degree program as I did. She recently graduated and I am extremely proud of her for doing so with first class honours. She openly admitted to me that she never did the assigned readings for any course that she did during her three years at the University. Essentially she took key terms from the power point slides, contrasted with the objectives of the course and was able to suffice a constant ‘A’ average during her stay at UWI. I ask then, What are the point of these additional readings?
One of the major issues that I have with my degree program is that there are very little hands on approaches to learning. The reasons for this mainly stem from a lack of funding to the University. Tertiary education is free to those who prove themselves worthy of this privilege and as such our classes can be as big as 100-400 students. In some courses labs are omitted because there is not enough material for all the students to use. Instead a tutorial usually takes it places. While I was in my first couple years of UWI battling with courses on soil and soil management, there were no practical approaches to learning the material. Instead I battled with chemistry and physics in order to attain a passing grade, despite my academic weakness in these areas.
I must admit though, that there are indeed a few environmental courses that mandates practical approaches such as Marine Ecology, Caribbean Island Ecology and Tropical Forest Ecology. I was able to try my hand at Marine and Forest Ecology and for both courses my comprehension of each was very clear. While the material was expansive to learn, I understood the crux of the information given. Everything that was learnt came to life in a realistic setting. I am now doing Tropical Aquaculture and while we are doing scenario planning, I feel as if I am doing these just for the purpose of a grade and not necessarily with the accurate intentions of setting up an actual tropical aquaculture pond. We had took a visit to Sugarcane Field Centre, a farm that produces talapia. The class is so incredibly huge that I did not get a chance to see the hand sexing process of the fishes. We were all barely able fit in areas where they were having discussions with us. Needless to say the apparent difficultly in ‘learning’
As many of my readers would know, I pursue a minor in Theatre Arts under the faculty of Humanities. I must admit that the Department of Life Sciences is efficient in administrative communications with respect to your courses and changes in timetables for the week, the Theater Arts program operates on word of mouth when it comes to administrative issues. This should not be the standard for any University. While we still do use the noticeboard, this form of communication should be eventually eradicated. When my brother attended University back in the day, the notice boards were key to valuable information on campus. I still do check it from time to time, however the information is not as important as the ones I receive via email.
The majority of the times, I am confused. Some lecturers are not very clear about what they want from us. While they are there to just simply guide us, how is it possible that you can guide an entire class into the wrong direction. Case in point with this current aquaculture course I am taking. We were given our 2nd Scenario to do. A four page document that seem to require a host of information. We produced as much as we could, because to fight for that 2.5% of our final grade is always a dirty battle. After the assignment had been corrected, we had a full two hour classes on what we should have done. I was shocked! Why was not this guidance given to us before. The answers were meant to be quite simplistic and not as complex as we originally envisioned. There was only one group that did extremely well, and as such would be treated to lunch because of their expert analysis on the scenario.
I must admit though that this lecturer is actually feeding us a lot of information and taking the time to guide us. However she confused me so much this time around. I would have really appreciated the guidance before rather than after. Our entire group was a bit disappointed. We have 2 more of these scenarios to do and we plan to kick some serious ass!
These are just some of the many limitations that the uwi student has. While these are quite obvious and are probably known, if we continue to mute our minds to the issues, they may never be heard. I would admit that I cannot remember the majority of my academic work since year 1. The style of learning is very different.
I on the other hand seek my on the job learning experience outside of the walls of UWI. I was recently invited to a workshop that explores ecosystem services as it relates to the Caura valley. When I read the invitation that was also meant for journalists, I was more than elated to attend. It even discusses scenario planning in an entirely interactive manner, including a hike to the Caura valley. In this two day workshop we would be given a skill set to work with in our journalistic approaches.
Do you think I have a case here? Do these problems really affect the life of a tertiary student? I’d love to hear your views on this issues. Drop me a line or leave me a comment!
Always looking at life,
Shahad the Sentinel
There are very little words to describe my excitement when I realized that I had won a trip to Antigua. I was doubting myself ever since I got the news. Like with any travelling experience my eagerness is only truly felt when I am on the plane. It is really amazing though that ever since I started travelling, I never had to pay one cent for any of my expenses. This time around, I was sponsored through a Caribbean based competition hosted by the Caribbean Agriculture Research and Development Institute.
The competition was based on young reporters of the Caribbean that expressed their sentiments on the issues surrounding Climate Change and I successfully emerged the winner. There were different types of awards and as such I saw winners from Jamaica, Belize and Antigua. I was actually fooled by what I thought this award ceremony really was, but more of that later.
Upon arrival in Antigua, I was escorted to the VIP lounge of the airport. All my immigration details were quickly sorted out while I just simply relaxed in a luxurious room. There also sat two other individuals fitted in jackets and ties. The awards ceremony is actually a part of the Caribbean Week of Agriculture that was organized by a multitude of regional organizations and sponsors. I assumed that these two fellows were dignitaries from different countries.
The lady who escorted me to the VIP room was speaking in her creole English tongue and it was quite melodious to hear the French ‘twang’ in her voice. She was calling my driver to come pick me up and carry me to the Royal Antiguan Hotel, My driver was quite pleasant, but it did not take me long to realize that all drivers in Antigua are of the same kind nature. There are numerous taxis on the island. Seeking transport to anywhere is not difficult. However their rates are very expensive. I realized that anything close to a 10 minute drive can run you about US$15.00
The driver who called himself ‘Butters’ marvelled at the fact that he was able to provide a movie experience for me on my way to the hotel. He kept asking me if I was enjoying the Pursuit of Happiness which he had placed in the DVD player. The drive was nice. Antigua is very rural. The green pastures are extensive and the infrastructural development is limited. There were cows, sheep and goats roaming the area. I was told that Antiguans do not thief livestock, and the majority of the owners allow them to graze freely
Upon arrival at the hotel, I nearly had a heart attack when I heard the lady at the counter asked if I wanted to pay by cash or card. My accommodation was covered. Why were these people asking me for money? I called on my host who quickly sorted out the situation. She told me that they were informed of my arrival, but clearly their intention was to scare my poor soul. I got my room an entire hour after I arrived. It did not take me long to realize the bad reviews online were all true. I could tell you that the hotel is very classy, but the service is ridiculous. I heard from a taxi driver that this hotel used to be the best on the island, but ever since a Trinidadian bought it over things began going awry. He told me that this hotel is used for delayed LIAT flight passengers, and it was only then I realized that my stay here might not be as good as I thought it to be.
Do not get me wrong I am extremely appreciative of what the organizers have done for me. Not in a million years would I ever be able to afford a trip to Antigua. The cost of the ticket alone was TT$4000.00. I really do not have that kind of cash. This hotel had a lot of issues.
I was so hungry at 3pm in the afternoon, so I went to front desk to find out my options, I learnt that all their restaurants were closed and that room service was not operational at the moment. I was so shocked at the response. They told me that the only option I had was to go into town and get something to eat. This is advice that I should have never taken. I went into town and bought a subway sandwich as we well as some Antiguan Creole food. It cost me close to US$50.00 for everything. The subway sandwich alone was US$15.00. To live in Antigua you need to have money!
When I came back to hotel I ate, and enjoyed sleeping between the quits and fluffy pillows. This was the majority of my evening. I learnt from the organizer that I was not mandated to attend all the events of Caribbean Agriculture week and that the only thing that I needed to attend was the Awards Ceremony. I was happy. I had an entire hotel to play with. There was cable T.V, so I decided to relax and watch some television. It took me a couple hours to get a hold of myself and realize that I was in Antigua and that I have cable T.V at home. I took a shower and headed downstairs to the lobby bar. Things were active. A few of the guests were having drinks as well. This was something that I could get accustomed to. Alcoholic drinks were probably the only thing that is equivalent in cost locally. I could have actually afforded drinks. A Johnny and coke was $US6.50, which was not bad, considering Hyatt Regency charges you close to $US10.00.
The next day I decided to check out the water activities at the hotel. Would you believe that no one was on the beach nor was there anyone at the pool. I had both to myself. Many people seem to be at the hotel for business and not so much pleasure. Apart from that, there were not many youths on this trip. I saw some fellow UWI students from the Agribusiness society. One was kind enough to call me out recognising me as an EMA Youth Ambassador. After that fiasco of spending so much money to get into town for expensive food, I realized that the lunch buffet at the hotel was not badly priced. The food itself was not as flavourful as it would be locally, but it did taste really good. The dessert was fair and the service was crappy. However I was extremely glad to be here and I was trying to make the best out of the situation. It was not a surprise to hear everyone complain about this hotel. Imagine asking someone for something to drink only to be questioned about the possibility of when and how you would be paying. It was annoying and very tacky for a so called 4 star hotel. I felt as if I was begging people to spend my money.
Wednesday night was the Awards Ceremony, and I was ready to do what I had come here to do. Receive the Citizen Journalist Award as a youth in media. At this event there were top governmental officials from the Prime Minister to the Minister of Agriculture from Antigua and Barbuda. There was also a representative from each participating organization. In addition there was also a representative from the Food and Agriculture Organization who sat at the head table and was clearly the best looking. He mash up d dance! It was only then I realized that I gave his wife my computer when hers was giving trouble in the lobby. They spoke Spanish, and obviously I told her that I spoke very little. His wife was so nice; she always flashed a smile at me, whenever we crossed paths. The proceedings touched on a variety of issues with respect to agriculture in the Caribbean. The start of such featured a pastor who shared a pray in a very evangelical style. He preached very affirmatively that today was not about long speeches and boasting of intelligence. That was the only thing that stuck in my mind, because I found it to be very insulting. The Minister of Agriculture to Antigua and Barbuda did just that. His speech lasted no longer than 3 minutes. I wanted to die! I was awarded by the governor general of Antigua and Barbuda, a very sweet and gentle matured lady. The event had interludes from cultural dancers. My colleague from one of my affiliated organizations made me want to laugh so hard at one of the performances. So what if a dude performed something that could have been more fitting of a female performance. Does that really mean you must snicker at me? Forcing me to use my paper \programs to cover my face in such shame and stifle my laughter? LOL!
What followed after was really great. I was able to meet up with the representative from CTA and he gave me his contact card and told me to email him as soon as I get home. Of course I am gonna thank him profusely and send him all the links to the current projects that I am working on and see how his organization can help my organizations.
My last night in Antigua was memorable. What was supposed to be another casual night at the lobby, turned out to be a heavy drinking session with my fellow colleague. We had some serious fun. I know it was fun cause I found myself in the pool at 3am in the morning and unsure of how I was actually able to see to get to the pool and back into my room. It was fun and crazy at the same time. We would have gone on the beach, but rain started to fall pretty heavily, and somebody was bending, while all I wanted to do was just relax in that water. I
t was so funny how I got back up the next morning. My colleague told me to call him for breakfast. Breakfast was two hours away. I set my alarm and fell asleep. When I woke up, my alarm was off, so naturally I assumed that it was before 8am. When I looked at my clock I saw 12pm. Check out time! I jumped up to organize myself quickly and yes my toothbrush is still in Antigua -_-. At 10 US dollars for each additional hour, I did not want to increase my expenses. I grabbed lunch and headed straight for the airport. I bought what I could have, because things in Antigua are really expensive. Yes I did bring back a few souvenirs, and I have a lot of friends. So sadly im gonna give these on a first see, first to get basis. LOL Life is tough deal with it.
I had a blast!!!! The experience was one that I would never forget!
Always looking at life.
Shahad the Sentinel