Sunday, August 19, 2007

So I lied..... (aka Back to the DR # 3, July 2007 - Aug 2007)

And there i was...... lying.
The look in his eyes made me do it. That hardworking Haitian kid who could talk the hip-hop talk. But, how could i destroy that image.

The image of a better life in NYC - better appreciation of life. His question was simple. In spanish and to the point. And innocent

"There in New York, in Brooklyn- that's where all the black people never kill one another- and rally against any racism or injustice."

How could i kill that picture. I didnt have the heart to tell him that NYC was yet another place in this basket we call USA where black on black crime is not a rarity, its expected.
How could i take away his inspiration to leave this home and go there, so he could help those back in the island.

"Yeah, yo tengo mucho friends there in Brrrooklyn. Tu vives in Queens, verdard?"

It was a sad thought- that in my own country- where we know about our history, we have those doing the job FOR the KKK and all those in favor of 'em.

3 weeks in and I'm settling in nicely. I regret not logging down what happened back in this island from Sept 06 to Jan 07. But will do my best to recap in the next few posts. Bear with me, the Rat B. is back.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

May - Aug 2006- Been back in NYC

I've been back in NYC since the first week of May. First day to be exact. In May i'd went dancing at the Latin Quarters (famous NYC club) and gotten my Salsa on a bit, along with Bachata y Merengue (!!).
It took a while to get used to answering in English, funny enough.

I hit my one year loc-anniversary on May 7th. A definite acheivement for me. They really do become a part of you and i can NOW understand what all the fuss is about. Although my family hates them, the outside world loves them, so i tend to hang around outsiders to get that love i would want from home, on that subject that is.

I spent most of my time looking for work, going on interviews, etc. the twin sister of my best friend Jah got married, and soon after she had a baby girl in June.

June came in, and with it came my birthday on the 25th. CANCER Season!!!!! Close encounters with my Ex brought distant memories to fruition.

July brought Independence days and the return of my old rhyme partner to the C.U.L.T. Team, QCN/Q. Silver. I added Shaun CRÓNARI to the beginning of my pen-name, signifying all the change i'd recently been through, the cronic studying, cronic dreaming, cronic solitude, and the all around secret agent in me (think: Cronnery, Sean) LOL - new album coming soon!

I also began a temp position as an office mgr/Site asst., slated to end the last day of August.

At that point i began to run into many opportunities where my spanish was needed. I decided to teach ESL on the side again, volunteering. Met a wonderful 22 yr old woman named Barbara who'd just gotten back from Frnace, doing the same thing i did, but with French. She is my co-teacher for a "basic 2" class.

August... On the 14th of August i had to return to the DR for an interview. I flew out that Sunday night, with help of Kay, a Trini friend since highschool, who worked at the airlines nowadays.
I landed around 3:30am in Santiago, and by cab, reached Sosua around 5am. I crashed for a few hours at a former neighbors apt, then off to my interview at 10am.

I arrived at the school. Parents were in the outdoor lobby with their children, glimmers of hope on their face for a better education then they were being offered in the public system. An hour later I was sitting in fron of Gloria, the Director, and John, the Prez.

In our last sit down, I address all my concerns to Gloria, and was under the impression things would go smooth this time.
So they let me know, in no uncertain terms, i was the pick for the new teaching position. They told me they need me. Told me they could use someone with a passion for language... and then told me... in order to be finally accepted, i would have to cut off my LOCS.
Was i hearing correctly. Did i not ask about this in April????

Gloria assured me that she had no problems with it, but the Prez wants to follow the old Dominican Standards (read: Anti-Haitain). I was on fire. Mad that is.
Here i was in the DR, spent so much to get there, only to hear THAT! You could have told me that on the phone!!!!!!
Well, not being one to waste a day or be pessimistic, i decided to look at some apartments. I found one on my old street in a house i'd barely seen before, and i liked that about it! It costed fully HALF of my old rent, with just a tad less space. No balcony, but a LARGE backyard, and no pool in fornty, but a PC with Internet included. Needless to say i was ecstatic, you can't find deals like this in this part of town, and certainly not advertised. Knowing people down here got me the connection. It pays to network people!

So I've since decided to try to go for 2 or 3 more months, without the new job, and create my own classes, sort of like last time. Just more! I need the time to perfect my spanish more.

Flew back to NYC that night. Yup! One day trip. Got back home. My parents had left a week earlier for their fisrt trip to Europe (France, Italy, Croatia, Greece, etc.) so i had to wait a week before i could ask advice or tell them my plans, buti finally got to, and they gave their blessings (as if they could tell me no HA :P- sorry Dad!).

Since then, the 20th of August has passed and my last days at this job are here. If they do not request me to stay for longer, I'm surely out in September for the DR!!!!! Right after my ESL classes finish out.

Hey maybe i should do this every year?!!!!!!!!!!...... :)

Only time will tell..................


Thursday, April 20, 2006

April> Prepping to leave, Semana Santa (Easter Week), New music

For Easter i shot out to San Fran, to meet up with my sis-in-law's parents. It was a blast, even just to be able to communicate better than i could the last time i saw the San Fran fam, for New Years. Lots of food, drinks, and of course the Dominican tradition of Habichuelas Dulce (Sweet Beans). Its a concoction that tastes better than it sounds. Its more like a drinkable desert, but i dont want to call it soup, because its sweet as hell, like instant oatmeal with sugar.

The week before i went there, i bumped up with an MC named Levi (Leh- Vee), who had a very good music voice and enough Hip-Hop songs and videos on his PC to classify him a Hip-Hop head. He lives in Maranata, the south part of Sosua, and is the neighbor of A. Summaz. A. actually lives with a Dominican family who have become my second fam away from home. More on them later. So Levi, A. Summaz and I headed out one Sunday to Monte Llano to a guy named DJ Anthony's house. To my surprise he had FruitLoops, a PC program i'd recorded on in NYC. He threw on some beats, a few hours later we emerged with a new song. It came out good and even A. had to rap on it after he heard us all. 2 other guys, Nata, and Aridi-O hopped on the track and so its a lot of English and Spanish thrown together in a hot way. The producer wanted to mix it down, so i hadnt had a copy. When i got back from San Fransisco, i went to Summaz crib and as i walk down the block, what do i hear, none other than our song basting at club level in the hood. Felt good. Especially now that the kids over there are singing it like its on radioplay.
Recording in another country has now made me feel officially official in this rap ish and i can't wait to get back and knock out some new material.

The reverse countdown begins...


March> I know u hate me/On stage with a mayor/Capoiera/Final Exams

I have no excuses.....

Well, the PC's at my school were acting up in March and i just didn't find the time to pay and blog out for you guys but....

March week 1:
I'd started to hang out with a fellow student from Boston (A. Summaz) and my other professor, Johan, who are both 19. Summaz is a kid who was born in Peru but brought to the states at a few months old, so he's one of those latinos who'll scratch their head if you talk to them in spanish. We got cool because he's the only student other then me to take this stuff seriously and so we both got pretty good spanish skills in under 3 months. He got here a few days after Xmas. Apparently the school may want us for testimonials and blah blah. Johan also happens to do reggaeton in a duo called Mas Flow and goes by the name Joe MC, so of course being that I'm the Trifle MC, we hit it off.
We shot out to Caberete on a Friday night in a jeep we all rented. Nothing much there but a more "Gringo" type of crowd. Think spring break on crack. Things were going great, considering we seemed to be the only people who could dance that night, when a fight broke out between these 2 white guys.... So being from NY of course i'm in the front rooting it on like its Judah vs. Mayweather. Well apperently one of the blows struck a random Dominican guy and an old "friend" from an NYC house party popped up- a gun. Needless to say we Jesse Owen-ed it outta there and headed back to Sosua.
The following day we still had the jeep, so we went to Sosua Beach for some sun and fun. Johan and i got going on some flips and after a few homemade backflips on my part, this guy approaches saying maybe he could help us. Turns out he was a former Martial Artist on an olympic team and also had done about 15 years of Capoera. He needed some English so we got to planning and for a few day we met up to exchange skills. I could always do a side flip to a backflip with hands but he got me to wear I'm doing a few no handed now, so that was wassup. But moving along...

Week 2 - The Mayor
I'd networked myself around how i do and eventually met a former NYPD detective who's spanish and crazy as hell. They have carnival here just around the same times as Trinidad *but sorry no comparison on the JUMP UP and outfits) so one day i get home around 5pm and there's like 400 people on the street starting at my corner. I walk over and see the Carnival lines heading out in single file, dancing. There was a stage and people crowded around it so i sneak up on the side to see whats up. Lo and behold my NY officer friend is up there grinding some chic like he's making cornmeal. He sees me and pulls me up literally, on the stage. Now i have like a couple hundred eyes on my like "who the f"- but no sweat, i rap, i'm comfortable here. I took a seat behind the band where there were like 6 other heads sitting. He leaves shortly after but i decided to stay and enjoy the show. All of a sudden the sides of the stage are being gaurded by 4 guys with AK 47's and I'm thinking "What the %#^$ did i get myself into". Funny thing is, no one asked me to move. In this country, when you end up somewhere you shouldn't, everyone assumes you know someone BIG, and pretty much leaves you be.
A chuuby looking guy enters with an assistant (think Smithers) and proceeds to sit in the aforementioned group. Bottles of Dewars Scotch Whisky begin being sent up, along with like 8 boxes of pizza and i'm like "ok!!". So i start talking to the guy next to me, a Dr. from Argentina who speaks English and German like a native. I talk to him about EMT stuff and how i might find work in that out here with my NY certs and blah blah. Finally i ask him who is this bigwig at my side. He tells me in a whisper"This guy right here is the Mayor of this town, and i just happen to have stumbled up here, so dont say anything and let's just enjoy!". Needless to say we both did it UP like Dewars was out of style, chatting with the mayor dude, and enjoying 2 different Merengue bands for like 3 hours. It was the ish. A night i surely won't soon forget. The plus side is all those who saw me are still treating me with an undercover respect, and police too. The downside.... the mayor guy lost in an election a few weeks later.

Week 4
So after studying my arse off in week 3, i had my final exam at school. Ended up getting a 94, which i'm happy about, but i changed a couple answers that turned out to be right, so for that i was mad at myself. Sorry i'm a perfectionist with tests. So i'm just awaiting my certification for Intermediate level Spanish cuz they sent it to be signed and pretty up by the school prezi, etc. and generally feeling gleeful, because i came to the school for the Beginner Certificate. I cant wait to return to NY and try to apply it to a job now, phew. Mission accomplished.


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Heading back out...

Things accomplished in NYC and I'm back on my way out 2moro. Back to two last months of education and paradise. Back to learning more about myself and others, & about this world....

Back to THIS....

I can't wait.

Remember: The world is YOURS.

Trifle MC

...See you on the otherside...

Remember the gecko?... I put up photos here

I re-edited my earlier post, but to those who don't recall, go to December archives and click on the post:

"Sak Pase', Dread Disasters, and one Mondo Gekko"

His photo and story can be found there

Saturday, February 18, 2006

.....On vacation in NYC....!!

Faster than a speeding pellet out of Cheney's gun.......

I'm back in New York in a flash.
Lights all around me,
cops who surround me.
It's all the same game and nothing has changed. All except me and the way i feel strange.
Stranger anyways....
but its good to be back.

Shortly after adjusting from 80 to 30 degrees, quite unwillingly, i sat down with my father in my parent's house and had a nice traditional American breakfast of eggs, turkey bacon and toast. My usual nowadays being Yuca (Cassava) with fried eggs or chuletas. Mom was at work.
I'm only here shortly, handling things. Seeing newborns. Seeing my loc-lady. Hugging family.

Speaking about family, my OTHER big news about my brother Dre': He got engaged this past Wednesday!!!!!!
So him the beautifully Southern Fried Vanessa gon go an' git hitched shawty!!!!

That leaves just one us 3 brothers left........ ME! Catch me if you can ladies LOL
Just kidding!
No really, those in the know, know i was pretty close to that myself last year... but things trangress, and i digress....

New York:
I've been here for only 8 hours... and tired of English that fast... and hungry. I keep having to stop myself from responding to everyone in Spanish.

One funny thing about the airports down there is I slid past like 3 or 4 security checkpoints with my carry without even trying to purposely do it, but i get held up at the last on for having an older face than in my passport. Now i know i'm looking different with the locs as my hair now but sheesh, you might of thought the Customs Officer spotted Osama Bin Laden. He looked no less than 10 times back and forth between me and my passport (longer than one second each), with a face like he was either working out a formula to turn plaintains into hydrogen fuel, or taking a really big dump. Or maybe both. Then he asked me for "other i.d." Upon receiving this he looked even MORE perplexed, mumbled something in Martian, and then proceeded to wave me thru.

New York:
Undercover cops eye me as i go to the bank, i wonder if they know their kids copy my style. Cornerstanders peep me wondering where i've been, i wonder if they know its not in jail. Same ole stuff. My mother came home and we got to buss it up for a few like we do. Planned to visit the new baby, my brother's wife and fam tomorrow. My brother actually stopped by coincidentally, too, so altogether i'm feeling content.

I miss the disorderly slop that they call a roadway and the deathbikes they call moto-conchos. Walking seems further here in the York city, possibly because my face fell off in the wind earlier.

I finally have a chance to put up some photos, so make sure and keep an eye here and on my photo blog as well.

Within the week... speak to ya soon.


Thursday, February 02, 2006

Trinidad is in my blood, and so is Spanish

Here's a fact i ran across today that i sort of knew, since the country was owned and named by the Spanish after Columbus pillaged his way through.

"Spanish was spoken in Trinidad from the 1500s until the middle of the 20th century, and there are still some speakers of Trinidadian Spanish (as opposed to Venezuelans resident in Trinidad who, of course, speak Spanish). There has always been so much contact between the Trinidadian Spanish community and Venezuela that likely never deviated into a separate dialect."

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Doing U a disservice....and a lot of Good News

Hola mi compadres,
Desculpame! Please excuse my lack of blogging this month- it has been a big one mentally, physically and emotionally. Even professionally. So...

I'd first like to announce the new addition of ANOTHER BOY to the family, my new nephew Jayden Victor the newest little Trini-Dominican on the block. Born on the 17th. My brother Kev and his wife Odalia have there hands FULL right now, but that's wassup! He has my fathers middle name Victor(go ahead and smile Dad- i hear you've been ear to ear all week!), so it looks like i might get "the girl", one far far day away. So many boys born in this fam...
get your daughters ready LOLOLOL

As much garbage as i had spewed about finally getting some headway in this language that i desire, i feel like every 2 weeks i realize i wasn't doing sh%&$%t. I say this because, as much as i had begun to have conversations, they were still quite difficult for me. I can't explain how or why, but sometime around Jan. 15th i woke up... and spanish has been flying out my mouth. And my comprension has been unbelievable to me. To the point that even my close neighbors were like "What happened with you, have you lost your nervousness or something, or been drinking" LOL. I mean literally i've been on a rampage and i guess they are right, i finally have lost my fear of flying so to speak. I've been doing car rentals, utility payments and all type of things with an ease that i didnt have before. Even translating "live action" for other tourists who need to speak with a person but can't. and so I've decided.... I AM STAYING until APRIL, give or take, instead of my original February return date. Hey- i figure screw it, I'm so close to my goals now that i'd be doing a disservice to mySELF if i left right now, personally and professionally.

Tired! I finally had a VISITOR from NYC-side, my best friend BK Jay. He came down to celebrate passing the Series 66 and 7, and also because he's about to start classes for his Microsoft Office Certs. (Ya doing big tings der bwoy). He came down on the 20th to the 27th. That same week i acquired a kickass cold which left me with no voice (coincidentally at the same time i was talking more daggone spanish). But that didn't stop me from a few laughable attemps at the Karaoke bar. I also began Salsa lessons that same week (sheesh) so between going out at night bcuz my boy was on vacation, doing the dancing lessons, nursing my cold, and waking up like 9am every morning for my school and SOMETHING else, i was beat. I'd went days going without more than 3 hours of sleep while Jay slept nice and comfortably each morning (son of a #!$%#$%$%!). To the point where i couldn't even drive the jeep we rented one night cuz i was so tired. Mind you, after dropping him to the airport, i was halfway home when i realized HE DIDNT GIVE ME MY HOUSE KEYS back!!! He would have them while i was at school usually. Had to bust the U -turn and gun it back to Puerto Plata, and by the grace of god, a security gaurd got it for me DURING last call for boarding. It was my luck bcuz i was not allowed in the area and so i had to rely on my description of him being clear enough in spanish for the gaurd to find him! It worked (!), and i got 'em (phew). Jay will be writing his own report on the trip which will be posted here for the day to days of the last week. His spanish grew fast in 7 days as well. We took a lot of pics which will post as soon as i recieve them.

That SOMETHING else that i've been waking up for... last week Monday, my school officially HIRED me to start last Tuesday to teach English 5 days a week for 40 business days (40 lessons). I'd been giving a few lesson around the 'hood on my own, but now i am official!!! It's funny bcuz to keep people out my financial biz (people want to know how a 25 yr old could just pick-up and live here) i'd been saying that i work and teach at my school. Here's to self-fulfilling prophecies!!
So i take my lessons for 2 or 3 hours in Spanish, and immediately after i teach for an hour. My salary is based US dollars AND comes to at least half my rent each month so kudos to THAT! The thrifty Cancer strikes again!
My student, a young Dominican woman, is actually learning FAST, and i'm glad because i don't teach from a book really. I have books but i always end up doing things my way and so that coupled with a fast learning student makes the lessons glide by, at the students pace.
In a very lucky turn of events, i came into work today (or school LOL) and there was a Russian woman in the office. A quick "Cak Dela" to her and a "You speak some Russian?!!" to me in spanish (I dont, just some phrases- Thanks Dad!) and i found out that this lady needed to learn English and fast. She said word for translated word "I want a teacher who doesn't rely on books all the time, i want to speak WELL, not just read and write". How perfect was that! Sounded like ME she was talking about and so.... now i have ANOTHER official student,, although in the evenings, so now I'll be closing the school down at night like an actual employee (which i suppose, i am :-D) and with that extra income, my rent is paid in total, at least for the next few months.
I thank God for smiling at me this month, and sending us Jayden. God bless

PS- More BIG news from my other and oldest brother Andre' in Georgia soon!!!!!! I would mention it now but there are certain persons who need to remain clueless for a short bit. Until next rhyme,

Shaun, the TRIFLEmc