ISLAND GIRL EXPLORING THE WORLD

Thursday, 8 June 2017

NEW YORK CITY - THE VISITOR

City of Lights Vibes.

So I've arrived! I'm here, in this big bad city... alone... kind of but not really 


To be honest, I am totally overwhelmed, excited, exhausted, almost broke and sometimes filled with intense homesickness - you know the feeling? You know it, man... those "What the fuck am I doing?!" moments.


I am officially the insane 20-something who quit a perfectly good job, left her amazing boyfriend in her well-designed flat to go live in an Airbnb with a total stranger and dog in Brooklyn. Breathe deep. Don't have a panic attack. Breathe.


Still trying to figure everything out. Still


But life is all about learning, growing, adapting to changes and making it all work for you. 

First thing to know about NYC is that everyone is either painfully cool/stylish, beautiful or recently had a mental breakdown. The lifestyle is so fast paced and everything is expensive. You can't leave your house without dropping at least $50. 


London underground trains aka "The Tube/The Underground" are a very polite space. People respect the rules that blast over the intercom in that posh lady accent. They stand on the right and walk on the left. They wait for fellow Londoners to exit the carriage before entering. They avoid eye contact like the plague. 

NYC is SO friendly and talkative. American people will speak to you in the streets/train/queue like you're an old friend. Honestly, my first day here this really nice lady struck up conversation with me about my height and the height of my parents and siblings - so many questions and jokes, we were chatting for so long I missed my stop and had to take 2 trains to find my way again. Rookie error.


Corner shops aka "Bodegas" in NYC do not sell alcohol. They sell salads, sandwiches and useless fattening snacks. Everyone in America says liquor not alcohol, and to buy liquor one has to find specific liquor-only stores. Its not that hard, but I was just surprised by this because England and Jamaica don't work this way. 


The bus system is intimidating and I still haven't even tried it yet. 


A lot of grown ass people in NYC play games on their phones on loud on public transport. Very annoying. 


But at least consistency lies in the fact that no matter where you go in the world when you open your phone on the front camera when you're lying in bed it is one of the most humbling experiences. 





























She's a badass explorer




Just bouncing along folks... we will see what the next few months have in store for me.

Please leave any tips and tricks for NYC in the comments below! 

x o x o

Tasmin

Sunday, 30 April 2017

JAMAICA CARNIVAL 2017 - Do it for the culture

Jamaica is a country of polarisations. 

I thought for a while about how I would approach this post. I could discuss Soca* vs. Dancehall... uptown vs. downtown... inclusivity and accessibility... class, whiteness, browness, blackness... very valid and important topics that mean a lot to Jamaicans, but would probably not mean much to foreigners. Because in foreign white is white and black is black and brown is black, uptown doesn't exist and we all take public transport. 

I decided that's not what I wanted to write about, because that's not what the carnival week meant to me. 

All I wanted from Carnival was revelry, wildness and a likkle bit a freedom.

So leave any badmind at the door and come and have an adventure with me!

*(Please see the end of the article for a quick Caribbean Carnival vocabulary lesson)

If you're not from the Caribbean your experience of Carnival might be Notting Hill Carnival in London or photos of Rihanna & co. *whinin' on Instagram. 


The season long lead up to the big Road March (always on a Sunday) is a whirlwind of *Fetes, *J'ouvert parties and general madness. 


Up to a year before the Carnival week begins men and women are hitting the gym, going *Bacchanal parties and looking out for the next Soca song of the season. People take off time from work, some take out loans (yes, for real), and some save up all year to get on bad during Soca season.


Preparation can include, but is not limited to:

  • Hair
  • Make up
  • Gems
  • Nails
  • Brazilian waxes
  • Spray tan/ Body make up
  • Road March Costume, plus shoes/boots & fishnet tights
  • Tickets for pre-carnival parties (To name a few: Beach Jouvert, Town Jouvert, I <3 Soca, Private Ryans party, Ceasar's Army Party, Sunrise Breakfast Party etc.)
  • Outfits for all the parties you intend to go to. (And we all know how Caribbean people stay, you can't wear any outfit more than once)
You get the idea... you're lucky if you don't need a loan. 

For the first time in Jamaica there were 4 different *Carnival Band options: Bacchanal, Jamaica Carnival, Xamayca Carnival and Xodus Carnival. 

All my friends were *jumpin' with Xodus Carnival - A new Carnival experience, a merger between Jamaica's own Dream Entertainment Ltd. and Trinidad's premier Carnival Band Y.U.M.A. 

We bought the costumes online via their website, but you don't receive the costumes until a few days before the big event.

How it all works is that you buy a 'package' that includes: 
  • Your choice of around around 14 different Costumes (front line = more feathers, gems & money, back line = less feathers, gems & money) 
  • Premium drinks included all day 
  • Lunch (choice between Italian, Jamaican, Chinese) 
  • A cute goodie bag with some treats like mini rum bottles, gum, chocolate, one sippy cup with straw for maximum drink mobility etc. 
  • Fresh coconuts on the road
  • A day long party, starting at 10 am and finishing in the night
So now for the photos!


Getting ready = My Victoria's Secret Moment


Finished! Costume name = X-ctacy Back line. 






One Appleton rum and coconut water, please!












(Not me or my photo, but it was too cool not to share)



video

Video from @xoduscarnival Instagram


video

Video from @coreymus Instagram


MY FAVOURITE 5 CARNIVAL SONGS:







CARIBBEAN CARNIVAL VOCABULARY
  • Soca Music - Genre of music for Carnival, not going to give a lesson on this one, wikipedia is free. 
  • Fetes - Soca parties
  • Carnival Band - the group of people you are jumpin' with. You will all have costumes provided by the same company, drinks from the same trucks and will have lunch at the same spot. 
  • J'ouvert - Large street parties during the Carnival season, usually involves colourful paint being thrown over the revellers.
  • Jumpin' - Participating in the Carnival Road March, meaning you got the costume/ t shirt  
  • Whinin' - Caribbean way of dancing, like in the videos above. NOT twerking.
  • Bacchanal - A large party or celebration
  • Tabanca - Feeling of forlorn sadness and longing when the Soca season is done and you have to go back to real life. 


There you have it. The Carnival tabanca is so real!


x o x o


Tasmin


Wednesday, 29 March 2017

SPRING FORWARD

Renaissance and rebirth, the earth comes back to life, the flowers bloom and the migrated birds come home…

After months of darkness everything begins to get better and brighter - it's spring time! 

It is difficult to write an uplifting spring time post today, as I am sitting in an office in London it is very grey, very drizzly and very cold outside this window. But although it doesn’t feel like time to put away my trusted puffy winter coat, the clocks went forward last weekend and the season has officially changed.

Perhaps as a reflection of these changes around me I too have decided it’s time for a ‘rebirth’. 

Last Friday I officially handed in my one month notice of resignation – that’s right - I took the plunge!

I decided that I have done my year with this company, and while I’ve had some amazing opportunities and learnt SO much, it was time to move on.

For the past week everything has been business as usual, but as April approaches my insides have started to get occasional ‘anxiety butterflies’ and I’m beginning to get both so excited and so terrified.

I decided – I’m moving to New York City! I haven’t figured any thing out just yet, there’s no big plan or system that I’m sticking to. All I know is: I’ll find an apartment in Brooklyn and as of May I’ll be there.

I’m feeling so optimistic about the future, and as a continuation of my 2017 vibes:

"It's never too late to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you're proud of, and if you find you're not, I hope you have the strength to start over"
http://islandgyaldiaries.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/new-year-movements.html


SPRING WILL BRING:

London cherry blossom



Long days of sunshine

The sun is shining when I wake up for work, and its still shining when I leave the office. This is big news guys. The sadness that is spending your life in darkness is almost over! I feel like a Game of Thrones character – the Long Night is ending!



Spring wardrobe – skirts, dresses, sunglasses!

Ask any Caribbean girl and she will tell you how much she hates wearing clothes all these layers of sweaters, scarves, thermals blah blah blah. 

Spring time in London is a very "in between" season. Leather jackets/trench coats/light outerwear, tights and umbrellas are still essentials. 

CHECK OUT MY WISHLIST PAGE FOR SOME INSPIRATION

Image result for spring time gif

Easter treats – Chocolate, Spice bun, carnival


You know you're Jamaican when this pic makes your mouth water - searching google for a photo of bun and cheese makes you realise that bun is not photogenic 


Disclaimer* That Carnival body and chocolate/Easter bun + cheese definitely do NOT go hand in hand.


P.S

Guys, my carnival blog post is ‘bout to be lit. Stay tuned!

Tasmin

x o x o