Tribute to a Friend – Sara Frankl (Gitzengirl)


Choose Joy - GitzenGirl

One of my online friends is dying.

UPDATE: Sara died on Saturday, September 24th, 11:14 PM.  Go here to read the most recent posts on her blog (Mourning into Dancing,  Arrangements)

I have followed her blog for over a year and her constant choice of joy in the face of her otherwise insurmountable obstacles has been a great blessing to me.  You see, to cut a long story short, she has had a set of diseases that have literally had her trapped in her own home for years.  She was allergic to or had some reaction to almost EVERYTHING. But I don’t want you to think that her disease defined her – oh NO…. she CHOSE joy where I would have crumbled, where most other people  would have crumbled.  Her strength of character has been unparalleled.

I have linked to her blog above …. I’m not able to articulate all I’m feeling at the moment.  I have posted my tribute that I left on her blog here as well. Please remember Sara Frankl – Gitzengirl or Gitz to her friends – and be inspired to CHOOSE JOY.

I am shaken to my core.  I am not a regular commenter here, but I have been a regular reader for a very long time – I have eagerly looked forward to your posts and your lifestyle of choosing joy….Who would think that the news that you are about to head home would be so devastating to me? I never thought it would be; I mean, I would read your words and go on with my day content, without so much as a thought of contacting you myself, the way that I have done with Mandy or Tam….But …. I am.Sweet Sara, I downloaded your songs that you posted on your blog and I have listened to them in rapt attention as your melodious voice caressed my ears and mind.I have followed Riley’s antics and smiled at every picture.

I have been with you as people come in and out of your life through the pages of your blog and some through the front door.

We have never met.  But yet, we have.

I am in Barbados.  Your life has reached me.

As Gandalf said in the Lord of the Rings, “I will not say, ‘Do not weep,’ for not all tears are an evil…”

My heart is breaking.

But I have to say two more words before you go home.

THANK YOU.

Update:  Here you can listen to one of my favourite songs sung by Sara.  My Soul’s Desire.   You can hear other songs from her on the website as well.
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Bajanisms Deciphered


As promised – I will decipher the Bajanisms I wrote about in my Independence post.  Hope you all have a good laugh!

  • Bajanism #1: Yuh know yuh is a Bajan when yuh know who Joe Monkey is…and when to look fuh he. (Used when there’s nothing to eat –  you are told to  ‘eat joe monkey’ when you are extremely hungry but there’s nothing to eat.)
  • Bajanism #2: Yuh know yuh is a Bajan when yuh know that the “Days” does start at 6pm. (In Barbados, the soap opera “Days of Our Lives” has been showing for YEARS at 6 pm.  We are about 16 years BEHIND the current version of Days that shows in the States, but no one can interrupt the hundreds of Bajans who religiously follow the show.  In fact, in many households, calling on the phone beteween 6 and 7 pm is strictly PROHIBITED! 😆 )
  • Bajanism #3: Yuh know yuh is a Bajan when yuh does lower up de T.V. (Raise the TV volume.)
  • Bajanism #4: Yuh know yuh is a Bajan when yuh know de word “quiet” has one syllable and “worm” has two.

eg 1 “Boy try and keep quet!!”
eg 2 “Looka da Christmas wur-urm.”

(I’d have to attach a sound bite for you to hear how these sound, but they’re basically spelt phonetically above…)

  • Bajanism #5: Yuh know yuh is a Bajan when every thing from yuh hip down to yuh toes is your “foot”.
  • Bajanism #6: Yuh know yuh is a Bajan when yuh know ’bout Tam’brin balls and Sucka-bubbies (Sweets …  Tam’brin is how it’s pronounced, but they are balls of tamarind and sugar; suckabubbies are basically KoolAid in a small plastic bag that is frozen solid,  to use them children bite away a corner and suck the juices through the ‘teat’ that is so created!)
  • Bajanism #7: Yuh know yuh is a Bajan when yuh know that bakes get fried. (bakes are flat pieces of flour and sugar that are fried golden brown; usually eaten with fishcakes (salted fish balls))
  • Bajanism #8: Yuh know yuh is a Bajan when yuh know de word “France” can be used as an expletive.  (Telling someone ‘Go to France! is a common ‘swear’ word in Barbados – dates back to the days when we were colonized by the British and in solidarity with our British sovereign during one of the wars, sending someone to ‘France’ was worse than sending them to hell, because Britain was at war with France at the time.)
  • Bajanism #9: Yuh know yuh is a Bajan when yuh know dat “Cheese on bread” could be a meal, or an expression of frustration. (Usually drawn out – cheeeeeeze on bread, man!!!!!!  – when used in frustration!)
  • Bajanism #10: Yuh know yuh is a Bajan when yuh know dat yuh does “Keep” noise as opposed to “Make” noise.  (You tell children to ‘keep less noise’ when they’re making a lot of noise… I don’t know, I don’t understand it either…. 😆 )
  • Bajanism #11: Yuh know yuh is a Bajan when yuh know how to stupse. (How do I explain this? Also called ‘sucking teeth’, it’s also a sound of frustration or anger – the teeth are clenched together and air is forcibly sucked in between them while the lips pursed together.  Again, I’ll try to get some sound bites.)
  • Bajanism #12: Yuh know yuh is a Bajan when yuh know bout Sun-duh lunch. (yup. it’s Sunday lunch – in Barbados this is traditionally a feast: rice and peas (usually split peas or field peas), baked chicken, coleslaw, tossed salad, potato salad and macaroni pie (which is Bajanised macaroni & cheese which is baked in the oven.))
  • Bajanism #13: Yuh know yuh is a Bajan when yuh know dat “Cuttin’ yuh eyes”, “Cuttin’ yuh tail” and “Yuh belly cuttin” aint got nutten to do with scissors, knives or any sharp objects.  (‘Cutting your eyes’ is when you look at someone disrespectfully, usually by squinting ur eyes at them and looking them up and down in scorn; ‘belly cutting’ is the sensation you feel when you really need to go to the bathroom or you have stomachache (called ‘bad feels’) and ‘Cutting yuh tail’ is getting lashes on the behind specifically.)
  • Bajanism #14: Yuh know yuh is a Bajan when locations in your house include de veranda, de gallery (both euphenisms for the front porch) and de front house (the ‘front of the house’: the living room or family room.)
  • Bajanism #15: Yuh know yuh is a Bajan when you give bad directions. “Guh down past de gas station an’ swing up…” (Bajans are notorious for giving bad directions – you will hear things like, “go straight till u see the third gap on the left – by Mrs Brown cow… DON’T TURN THERE! – Keep going straight straight till you pass a rum shop with a sheep in the front…”)
  • Bajanism #16: Yuh know yuh is a Bajan when yuh know dat “up de road” and “down de road” could be the same direction. (As before, Bajans are notorious for bad directions – up and down are directions like left and right … and what makes it even MORE confusing is that depending on which side of the island you start from, the ‘up’ and ‘down’ are actually reversed, hence they could actually be the same direction!  The ‘up’ and ‘down’ are relative to the direction you are heading toward or away from the capital city, Bridgetown.)
  • Bajanism #17: Yuh know yuh is a Bajan when yuh know dat the phrase “My man” can be directed at males other than your husband or boyfriend. (‘My man’ can be directed at any male you are speaking to, especially if you think he’s an idiot… ‘my man, (tone of sarcasm) I telling yuh (you)  dat (that) yuh  (you) ent (don’t) know what yuh (you) talking ’bout! (about)’)
  • Bajanism #18: Yuh know yuh is a Bajan when yuh know yuh hair does bite yuh sometimes. (scalp itching is called a hair bite.)
  • Bajanism #19: Yuh know yuh is a Bajan when yuh know dat yuh pooch AINT your dog. (That’s a Bajan term for your … um.. posterior. 😆 )
  • Bajanism # 20: Yuh know yuh is a Bajan when ‘boxy’ isn’t a description of a box-like shape. (That’s also a term for your butt.  It is spelled phonetically above, but is usually spelled ‘botsey’ when written out.)

Bajan is a very onomatopoeic language – you would hear about bruggadung (or bruggadown) which is the sound something makes when it falls hard;  many people chant ‘bup! bup! brax!’  when excited (this mimics a gun salute.)

I hope that these  Bajanisms made you laugh and, now that you’ve seen the meanings, given you a glimpse into my culture!  All in fun!

Happy Independence, Barbados!


Recently I went to a fish fry with my good friend Simon and was taken back in time with some lovely Bajan songs that, I must admit, I didn’t appreciate much growing up, but now that I’m older I can really say I like!  The old kiaso really tells some of the political and social history of Barbados (“Boots“, “Emmerton“, “Bajan Fisherman“, “Jack” by Gabby come immediately to mind) and on this 44th anniversary of our Independence I thought I would share some of these songs with my blog friends.

Here are a couple more:  “Hit It” (Gabby), Leggo I Hand (Grynner), Can’t Find Me Brother (Red Plastic Bag), Something’s Happening (RPB), Spring Garden, I Coming (Ras Iley)…. Ok I gotta stop now… I would fill this post with too many songs…

(I wanted to embed the videos, but due to WordPress’ policy that says I have to buy the privilege to embed videos, you’re relegating to clicking on links instead. Sorry….)

Picture of the Barbados Flag

Happy Independence!

*******

For all my non-Bajan readers:  let’s play a game.

Bajanisms (Bajan Customs, or, Yuh Know Yuh Is a Bajan When….)

I’ve been talking to one of my Internet friends about Barbados and telling her some of our mannerisms and customs, and so I decided that I would steal some “Bajanisms” from my cousin’s Facebook page for your education and entertainment as well 🙂  So …. as my American friends are still possibly sleeping off the effects of too much food on Thanksgiving Day (called “niggeritis” in Barbados (LOL))  you can crawl to the comp, try this and enjoy celebrating with  me – and then go back to sleep again. *wink*

See if you can guess what these things mean if you’re not Bajan by birth or association…..

  • Bajanism #1: Yuh know yuh is a Bajan when yuh know who Joe Monkey is…and when to look fuh he.
  • Bajanism #2: Yuh know yuh is a Bajan when yuh know that the “Days” does start at 6pm.
  • Bajanism #3: Yuh know yuh is a Bajan when yuh does lower up de T.V.
  • Bajanism #4: Yuh know yuh is a Bajan when yuh know de word “quiet” has one syllable and “worm” has two.

eg 1 “Boy try and keep quet!!”
eg 2 “Looka da Christmas wur-urm.”

  • Bajanism #5: Yuh know yuh is a Bajan when every thing from yuh hip down to yuh toes is your “foot”.
  • Bajanism #6: Yuh know yuh is a Bajan when yuh know ’bout Tam’brin balls and Sucka-bubbies
  • Bajanism #7: Yuh know yuh is a Bajan when yuh know that bakes get fried.
  • Bajanism #8: Yuh know yuh is a Bajan when yuh know de word “France” can be used as an expletive.
  • Bajanism #9: Yuh know yuh is a Bajan when yuh know dat “Cheese on bread” could be a meal, or an expression of frustration.
  • Bajanism #10: Yuh know yuh is a Bajan when yuh know dat yuh does “Keep” noise as opposed to “Make” noise.
  • Bajanism #11: Yuh know yuh is a Bajan when yuh know how to stupse.
  • Bajanism #12: Yuh know yuh is a Bajan when yuh know bout Sun-duh lunch.
  • Bajanism #13: Yuh know yuh is a Bajan when yuh know dat “Cuttin’ yuh eyes”, “Cuttin’ yuh tail” and “Yuh belly cuttin” aint got nutten to do with scissors, knives or any sharp objects.
  • Bajanism #14: Yuh know yuh is a Bajan when locations in your house include de veranda, de gallery and de front house.
  • Bajanism #15: Yuh know yuh is a Bajan when you give bad directions. “Guh down past de gas station an’ swing up…”
  • Bajanism #16: Yuh know yuh is a Bajan when yuh know dat “up de road” and “down de road” could be the same direction.
  • Bajanism #17: Yuh know yuh is a Bajan when yuh know dat the phrase “My man” can be directed at males other than your husband or boyfriend.
  • Bajanism #18: Yuh know yuh is a Bajan when yuh know yuh hair does bite yuh sometimes.
  • Bajanism #19: Yuh know yuh is a Bajan when yuh know dat yuh pooch AINT your dog.
  • Bajanism # 20: Yuh know yuh is a Bajan when ‘boxy’ isn’t a description of a box-like shape.

So there you have it!  Guess away!!!!!  The one who guesses the most will be conferred with the title of Honourary (yes, that’s spelt right, WordPress! stupse) Bajan For the Day!

Tomorrow’s Independence Day….


God bless bim on independence day
independence day
independence day
god bless bim on independence day
god bless bim we hope and pray

dis little little island in the middle of the sea
in the middle of the sea
in the Caribbean sea
dis little little island in the middle of the sea
it means the world to me

Barbados land of sun
Barbados land of sea
Barbados means the world to me.

God Bless Bim – Merrymen

Tomorrow, November 30th, is Barbados‘ 44th anniversary of independence from Great Britain, obtained in 1966.

Pretty busy day today, but I have a post all archived for you – with much song and dance, and a game!

Can you figure out what these Bajan sayings mean?

Tune in tomorrow!!!!!!!

Am I My Brother’s Keeper?


9 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”

“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”  (Gen. 4:9)

In the wake of the passing of Tropical Storm Tomas that I blogged about earlier, I wanted to pay tribute to the public spiritedness and neighbourly kindness portrayed by my fellow Barbadians.  We Bajans are (or can be) one of the most caring, compassionate people on the face of the planet.  Time and time again before the all clear was given, people risked their lives to help their neighbours:  people scaled the walls of their neigbhour’s houses to nail back down flapping roofs; went in groups to clear roads of fallen trees; been the voice of help for those who lacked water or electricity and needed help by calling the radio and tv stations to report what was happening.

Of particular note was the phone call to the merged stations of the CBC (Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation – our lone tv station, with three radio stations under that corporate umbrella)  where a woman reported that one of her neighbours needed help urgently as they were out of electricity and water – as most of the island was at that time – but also, there was a gas leak!  At any time that house could have exploded as the gas ignited for whatever reason.

Another one of note was of the neighbour who reported to the CBC that someone’s cow was neck deep in water as the rains poured down (Barbados was fully water logged by this time, especially since only a few weeks ago we experienced torrential rain that had already flooded the island. (I myself had to drive through what seemed to be small lakes to  get to my house, but that’s another story!))  Many farmers lost livestock and poultry in this storm…

Trees were removed, food was prepared, people who lost possessions were taken care of – a great testament to the caring nation that is Barbados.

Another testament to our caring nature is the flood of national support as we buried our late Prime Minister, the Honourable David John Howard Thompson Q.C., M.P. (Dec 25,1961 – Oct 23, 2010), who died two weeks ago at 48 years old after succumbing to pancreatic cancer.  The state funeral was on November 3rd, 2010, held at the Kensington Oval.  Thousands of people crammed into the Oval to witness and pay final respects to a great leader, who remained, in the eyes of many, a man of the people.  Dignitaries and the ‘common’ wept openly, and hundreds more lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the procession as it made its way to the final resting place – St. John’s Parish Church.

May you rest in peace, PM.

Luscious…


True to my name, I decided that I’d post a poem just off the cuff … inspired by the conversation I had with my friend Leah, and a personal experience – I present – “Luscious”.  It’s free flowing, and I’m rusty from not writing in a couple months, but I hope someone is inspired…

Luscious  … An Ode

Caresses …

Luscious curves held in gripping passion;

Scent arouses animal desire,

ravaging hunger deep within …

mmmmmm……

Inhale that ….

pheromones making body tingle

Longing making desires mingle

with dripping tongue
kiss that pauses time and space

freezes passion into that

instant..

as love bites into waiting flesh…

nibbles, teases, makes you sweat –

tasting the gods’ ambrosia,

bringing longing lips to the brink of

ecstasy……

orgasmic flutter

Cheapside chatter

As  luscious curves

Satisfy my hunger

for the best Bajan

hamcutter….

(Notes – Cheapside is part of downtown Bridgetown where there are vendors close to the bus terminal;  Bajans call certain sandwiches ‘cutters’ – ie. a ham cutter is a sandwich made of ham stuffed into a Bajan salt bread and sometimes garnished with lettuce and tomatoes, with hot sauce to taste.)

Tomas – Unwelcome Visitor to the Caribbean


Tropical Storm Tomas (now Hurricane Tomas) passed over Barbados in the early hours of Saturday morning.  

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Here are some of the pictures I took on my way to work this morning – I was in too much shock to take pictures directly after the storm’s passing on Saturday – but I passed at least 4 uprooted trees, bent and twisted galvinise fences,  branches strewn across the roads, at least one road has a huge crack in the middle of it.

In the news we saw a wall that fell onto an empty car – the car was smashed as the bricks fell on it;  pictures of a church that has lost its roof.  In fact, several houses have lost roofs as well…. water and electricity are still being slowly turned back on throughout the country.  My parents did not have electricity nor water up to this morning (Monday morning!)

Here are some articles about the devastation in Barbados:

http://www.nationnews.com/articles/view/thunderstorms-gusty-winds-expected/

http://www.nationnews.com/articles/view/all-is-lost/

http://www.nationnews.com/articles/view/rooftops-blown-away/

http://www.nationnews.com/index.php/articles/view/water-light-still-a-problem/

http://www.nationnews.com/index.php/articles/view/tomas-batters-st-peter/

http://www.nationnews.com/index.php/articles/view/coast-guard-cutters/

Once Tomas passed Barbados, it devastated St. Lucia and seemingly gunning through the Caribbean island chain.  I personally have friends in St. Lucia and need to find out if they are alright – especially after hearing that about 4 people have died in the onslaught of the storm.

Tomas is heading toward Haiti‘s direction now, I believe… please keep us in your prayer