I recently came back from a wonderful vacation in Trinidad & Tobago. During this Holiday I got to experience my first family reunion. I met family from Grenada, London, Canada, and California who I did not know about until now and reconnected with family in Trinidad.  Every night something was planned for us to do. We visited Tobago and swam in the Buccoo reef, enjoyed bake and shark on the sandy white beaches of Pigeon Point, had church service where two of my cousins embraced the word of God through their dance, competed against some relatives during Family Fun Day and danced and mingled the night away during our formal and final night together as “The Marcelle’s”. Through this experience I got to view my family tree of 7,000 family members around the world, thanks to my grandparents for having 16 children and my grandfather coming from a big family as well. I got the chance to hear the most beautiful accents in the world, eat the most exquisite foods, some strange, and learn about people who I am related to whom come from a completely different world.

     Growing up my parents didn’t shelter us from a world of hate or prejudice. They told my siblings and I everything we needed to know about worldly things and what life would be like when we got to be the age to have our own responsibilities, but at the same time they let us be children. Since I was 8 we traveled to Trinidad to visit relatives every 5 years, they took us on a cruise to Mexico, Barbados for Christmas, Disney World for acting auditions, and Jamaica for our birthdays. As a young child this was all in fun for me, as a late teenager and in my early twenties it was just a vacation to get away from school, but now traveling and seeing the world is an educational experience. I see things that never caught my attention while traveling when I was younger.

     I remember back when I was 12 visiting cousins in Trinidad; it was fun just to hang out in our hotel and go to the pool every day or go to grandmother’s house to watch cartoons and eat something besides hotel food. Now that I have visited my birthplace at the age of 25 I have noticed how the island and the people are different from the place I grew up. The streets are not divided with yellow lines to distinguish north and south bound traffic, there is only one electrical unit in all of Trinidad and if current were to blow out the whole country would be in darkness. Everyone says good night and good morning when they pass you by and people who have very little have the biggest smiles on their faces than those who have a lot. The things I would never take for granted is having hot water to bathe with every day, there were days where we had no water and we couldn’t bathe at all. I would never take for granted a toilet that works and a sink that doesn’t have plumbing problems. Mind you these are the conditions I was living in for 10 days where in order to get the water out of the sink, so I could wash my face, was to use cups to take the water out.  I even witnessed other hotel residents taking baths in the pool just to get clean. I thought to myself that this is what other people in this country are accustomed to. Not all, but most and this only accumulates to some of the conditions some of the people in this beautiful country live in.

     The reason I’m writing this is because I had been away from my phone and internet for two weeks, for as much as I missed Facebook and seeing what was going on in my friends lives, I was too busy learning about my new relatives and what their countries were like. I uploaded beautiful pictures of the island and of my family member’s to share with my friends in the U.S. I read my wall and all what my friends had been up to while I was away and out of touch only to realize I had missed the VMA’s and Miley Cyrus’ talked-around-the-world twerking on Robin Thicke and to only see one post of many about America’s talk about war on Syria. I realized how empty our minds are on what is truly going on in the world. We say how passionate we are about things, but no one really seems to go about what their passionate for. I have realized that we can’t just expect to become educated in what is taught in schools. I have realized that these social media sites are only here so that we can become distracted from what is truly going on in the world. It’s sad and sickening at the same time. There is soo much to learn, see and experience.

      2014 is my trip to London with a few cousins and my sister. I’m hungry to learn more about another part of the world I have never been. To see how these people live their daily lives. I hope to learn how to love more and hate less.  How to not take for granted where I come from… the land of the “free”.