Monday, May 17, 2010

Adventure... Graduation... Travels

Note: I started writing this post on Saturday 15th May, 2010... it's only now being posted though...

"We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand - and melting like a snowflake." ~Marie B. Ray

I write this post whilst sitting up in bed in our room at the Doubletree Hotel in Mahwah, NJ... fabulousness on all levels... I find it somewhat amazing? exhilarating? just really great - that one day I can be in Trinidad doing everyday work ... life... being... and the next day be with my family (all ah we) in Mahwah... having champagne and dessert and celebrating my brother's graduation.

This post shall highlight the day before and the day of  my brother's graduation... my brother's graduated! From college! So many emotions to sit with just because of this event... Pride - cuz is mih brother and he's super-awesome. Magna cum laude ... Honours (spelt Honors here in America) with Distinctions... Happiness cuz is mih brother... and all of us (immediate family unit) was here to celebrate... witness... be a part of the event. Sadness... time passes... who knows what the future holds... Excitement... for that same reason... There's always the good side and the shadow side to every eventuality. In the past few days I've been super-happy and super-frustrated and it's all ok... it's the little moments and the big smiles that remain in memory. 


Day before Graduation 2010 (Thursday 13th May 2010)
Mom and I arrived at JFK sometime in the early hours of the morning... 6 am? maybe.. we were both sleepy cuz neither one of us sleeps well on planes. Customs and immigration and whatnot was a breeze - maybe we don't look threatening? We got through pretty quickly and then waited for dad to arrive. He came... along with taxi driver Michael Ng... who then took us all the way to New Jersey... much blessings to you taxi driver... for graciously dealing with semi-sleepy-hungry-directionally challenged Trinis... :) 

Met up with mih brother on campus... Hugs... ole talk... some quarrel... food & drink... walked around campus... Observed that they'd already set up tents and seating for Commencement / Graduation the following day... Got to visit the Honours Lounge... cuz my brother is an Honours student... am both inspired and mildly

Back at room... Tried to figure out how to put on his gown and hood and cords and whatnot (A trial run - who wants to figure that out the morning of the graduation?)... My brother and I came up with the theory that the original person to design these graduation outfits probably had something against graduates... How else can you explain the tassels and strange hoods? Later I found out that the outfits are based on what monks and such wore... oh well.. lol.. 

Took a nap. Sleep is important... especially as we had to go to a formal dinner that evening and a Graduation ceremony the next day. What I've noticed about these events? Trinis like to dress up more.. lol.. We'd only been told a few days before that we'd be attending this dinner and when I asked my brother what the dress code was... well. "formal", he said, "dresses? I don't know what women wear!" *sigh* It didn't matter that much anyway as we were covered up.. Have I mentioned that it's cold? Uncomfortably so for a warmth-loving girl from the islands... And being told that it's a mild spring day really doesn't create any kinda warmth.

Went to the formal dinner... "Champagne at Sunset"... Yes, we had champagne... there was dinner... there was a toast to the graduates. We were fairly pleased with our table as we got served in the first group of people... Random seating? The Universe was obviously on our side. Desserts galore and time spent together... yay! Lots of photos taken .. by dad, by myself... some by mih brother and mih mom... we've got pics to last a lifetime.. lol...

Day of Graduation 2010 (Friday 14th May 2010)
Parents wake up at a totally unreasonable hour (ok.. maybe it wasn't - I've got a policy though - when one does not have to wake up early one should be allowed to sleep late..). They'll say that they didn't wake us up but when there are people talking loudly in the next room and moving around and wondering about lord-knows-what then I don't find it easy to stay asleep or in bed. There were squabbles... typical family thing where parents say we not telling them what going on... brother says he done say all he have to say and is we who come up to see him graduate... I get stuck as peacekeeper a lot of times... I'm not quite sure I'm suited to it or if they realise that's the mode I fall into [am forced into].. peacekeeper and ruffled-feathers-smoother extraordinaire... I should put that on a business card. 

Eventually.. brother is with rest of graduates - we get told that his hood and gown looks pretty good (a.k.a. d way it supposed to look) - of course this means we rule! lol ... and of course amongst all the squabbling I've forgotten the camera... Can I just say that walking distances in hilly areas in high heels is not fun? Luckily for me (my feet!) - as I'm walking back to get the camera I find parents & brother's friend William on their way to be seated and yes... my dad's got the camera. Race back to my brother (still in heels) to take pics before the processional... hang out with him a bit and macco (eavesdrop) on other graduates-to-be and their conversations. Feel overwhelmingly... OLD. Snatches of conversations about parties and school and who's gonna do what now? *sigh* Hug brother and tell him I'll see him after he's graduated. 

Escape from throngs of graduates-to-be and head over to where parents are (18th row from the back according to my dad's text)... As I make my way across the lawn... raindrops. Umbrellas sprout up all around me and I reach my parents in time to magically whip my umbrella out of my bag and hold it over my mom. Not only is it cold ... it's now rainy as well. This was expected though and graduates-to-be were provided with two complimentary tickets for indoor seating where the ceremony could still be viewed. Where were the tickets? My dad's left them on the table. In the dorm. Who is the one able to move quickly and who actually knows the direction to go? Once again, I race off towards the dorm... in heels... uphill... and without my umbrella. 

First thing I do on entering the room - kick off heels.. my feet were revolting by then. Am lucky they were still functioning... Flip flops on feet... tickets in bag... I get my mom and she and I make our way to the indoor seating. Guys can fend for themselves. There's a huge screen where the ceremony is being projected and so we're able to see all that's happening on stage. Ceremony is beautiful... my brother is amongst the last groups of people to be called up on stage... my brother has graduated! And, we smuggled in (ok... I asked nicely) my dad and my brother's friend William so we all saw the graduation bit from warm, dry seating. 

After, it's all about food... for me anyway... for everyone else it was photo-ops and meet and greets and introductions to friends/professors/police guards.. Finally, we got away from the hordes of people and settle down to lunch. I must say thanks to William... Billy. Friend of my brother who came and spent the day with us, who helped my parents find where they had to be whilst I was with my brother, who carried us to the train station and our hotel later and who did not go crazy (at least there was no outward show) from being stuck with a bunch of Trinis.

Wind down at the end of the day and there is packing, planning, photo-take-outing...So much to do .. so little time to write about it..  so much to experience... so much time to just be. A different phase... shift... change. Where will we go now? How will we become?

My brother has graduated!



Anonymous said...

and congrats renee brother man on the graduation!

Anonymous said...

yay!! love it, all of it, love that food is your purpose and that everyone never gets tired of the trinis. How could anyone get tired of you!!? now that you guys didnt look threatening....they just dont know you lady.