Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Aim high

Not ready to write anything yet, so I decided that I would pass on one of those inspirational internet stories:

There once was a man who had nothing for his family to eat. He had an old rifle and three bullets. So, he decided that he would go out hunting and kill some wild game for dinner.

As he went down the road, he saw a rabbit. He shot at the rabbit and missed it. The rabbit ran away. Then he saw a squirrel and fired a shot at the squirrel and missed it. The squirrel disappeared into a hole in a cottonwood tree. As he went further, he saw a large wild "Tom" turkey in the tree, but he had only one bullet remaining.

A voice spoke to him and said, "Pray first, aim high and stay focused." However, at the same time, he saw a deer which was a better kill. He brought the gun down and aimed at the deer. But, then he saw a rattlesnake between his legs about to bite him, so he naturally brought the gun down further to shoot the rattlesnake.

Still, the voice said again to him, "I said 'Pray, Aim high and Stay focused." So, the man decided to listen to God's voice. He prayed, then aimed the gun high up in the tree and shot the wild turkey. The bullet bounced off the turkey and killed the deer. The handle fell off the gun and hit the snake in the head and killed it. And, when the gun had gone off, it knocked him into a pond.

When he stood up to look around, he had fish in all his pockets, a dead deer and a turkey to eat for his family. The snake (Satan) was dead simply because the man listened to God. Moral of the story: Pray first before you do anything, Aim and shoot high in your goals, and stay focused on God. Never let others discourage you concerning your past. The past is exactly that, "the past."

Live every day one day at a time and remember that only God knows our future and that he will not put you through any more than you can bear. Do not look to man for your blessings, but look to the doors that only He has prepared in advance for you in your favor.

Wait, be still and patient: keep God first and everything else will follow. Pass this on in order that someone else might be blessed.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Some progress

It is the penultimate day of August and I am trying to take it easy, while I am surrounded by forty-odd books on my desk!! Trying to get a paper done for September so I can do a presentation. Hopefully it will turn into a chapter of the dissertation. We'll see what Silvia has to say about that.

I think I am going to take an early day today and just go and take a walk around town. I have to go home first so I can leave my jingbang and especially so I can leave my debit and credit cards at home. I have been spending far too much and was taken by surprise by my last credit card bill.

Well, with regards to work, I have made some amount of progress and my face lights up every time I find a new or better etymology for a word. Those are MY moments. Still haven't decided how the final dissertation will look, but I will just keep on researching and writing and hopefully by the time I am ready to submit that problem would have worked itself out.

I am planning to do some stuff in September as a way of treating myself after the paper. Time to unleash the party animal...he deserves it. He has been suppressed by the drudge for too long.

Well take care and I wish all of my friends who are going back to school for another academic year a wonderful 2005-2006.

--Knowledge is not something which God holds, it is what He is.

More time
Walk-bout Jamaican bwoy

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

There and back again

I know I haven't written anything on my blog for so long, but it's not as if there are a whole lot of people out there dying to read what I write.

I am now back in Leipzig. Have been back from my US summer school trip for over a week now and trying to do the world of work. My sleeping pattern is not back on track yet. I have been waking up about 10 o' clock every morning and I feel as if I have lost so much of the day. The rest of the day is spent leafing through dictionaries and grammars (as usual) trying to work out a conference paper which will hopefully develop into a chapter of the dissertation.

The time in the US was hectic, but great!!. I got to travel to some places outside of Boston (Plymouth where the pilgrims landed; Maine, etc). The courses were okay too despite many of the boring teachers. But some of them were good presenters. I had a big problem though with the food - Hardly anything which could be called American tasted good, but that could just be my Jamaican tastebuds talking. I was saved by the Asians whose taste and quality could be depended on. I had no utensils to cook with, so for almost all my meals for the six weeks, I had to purchase from restaurants, supermarkets, etc. Good to be back 'home' and in my own kitchen.

The weather here isn't bad at all but it is getting a bit colder, still bearable though.

While in America I took the opportunity to buy numerous second hand books and even found time to read Tolkien's "The Hobbit". I also bought a copy of Miguel de Cervantes' "Don Quixote de la Mancha" so I can read it again, this time in English.

For the good time I had thanks to:

Audene, Christine, Daidrah, Nicole - the ladies in my academic life

Michele - my academic sister

Victor - who opened up his home, library and brain to me to further my research

Christopher - who facilitated all those trips out of Boston, and made sure to check up on me from time to time (Danke schoen!!!)

Jo-Anne - the Trini who pulled the Caribbean posse together.

Ivor - who helped to solve one of my etymological riddles

Michel DeGraff - who offered a wonderful course and good friendship

Noam Chomsky (in his lectures) - who helped to clarify some things and confuse others.


More time!

Friday, June 24, 2005

Philosophical ramblings...the story continues

'I guess we all have stories to tell and Asafa is doing his bit. In short, we all can tell the story of Jamaica and ourselves ... if we have the will!'
- Janneth Mornan Green

Of course, even over here in Germany, away from the native earth which I have trod for over two decades, I could not help joining in the excitement of Asafa's outstanding, record-breaking performance. It tells the story of a people who are definitely world-class. I celebrated by spreading the news with a broad smile. My Jamaican flag had been pinned to the wall in my apartment weeks before the world-changing run.

For a very long time now I have been concerned with stories. I normally pride myself on being from an age where story books without pictures can turn out to be even more exciting that those in which someone helps out (or probably limits) your imagination. Now I watch television to give my brain a rest from all the work I do.

There is this old man who I pass most mornings and evenings as I go to and from the Institute. He is always sitting there looking around but always says hello when I pass. It seems as if he is a bit senile, but I am sure he has a story to tell, and an interesting one too. But since my German is not at that level yet, I cannot hear his story.

In academia there is a common trend for researchers to theorise about people's culture, trying to fit it into their own frameworks without trying to understand it from the native (there is that troublesome word) perspective. Ask the people! You might be surprised at how much they know/or don't know and how they view the thing.

I see my story as inextricably wrapped up with the story of my country. My story can't be going all that well if my country's isn't. There is a need for more of the positive stories to be written to swamp and counteract the sea of negatives which is threatening to engulf us. The question for everyone at this time must be "what is my story and how does it fit into the bigger picture?"

Philosophising over, I have had a very busy week (that is a cliche now). Plus I am getting ready to fly to Boston (U.S.A.) to attend a linguistics summer school. The work never ends.

The story will no doubt continue there....

PS: I am now understanding the value of Advent Fellowship, Youth Class, Shamrock, etc. - you are all missed!

More time
De Walk-bout Jamaican Bwoy

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Travelling is a bitch!!

Not two weeks ago, I went across the country to Freiburg to do a presentation on the language situation in Jamaica. I had to take the train which cost me something in the region of 140 euro. If the cost wasn't bad enough, someone got sick on the first leg of the journey and the train was delayed for about fifteen minutes so that the medical team could come for her. This of course threw off my schedule since I only had four minutes to connect to the next train. I ended up having to wait about half an hour or more for the next one.

When I got on and we started to move the conductor came around checking tickets and when I presented mine, he said something to me in German. "Ich spreche kein Deutsch", (I speak no German) I tried to say in my best best German which is worse I guess than hog a nyam coco to the native German ears.

Thank God there was a woman who was sitting right in front of me who offered to help; she spoke English. They carried on their conversation and she explained that I had taken the express train and had to pay extra - whole a 30 odd euro (even though the train's delay caused me to miss my connection). I unwillingly forked out the money. Minutes after the conductor returned and gave me back my money. Then I knew I was not in Jamaica. He said the station people could have informed him that there was a delay. He even went further to tell me what train to take in Frankfurt, etc.

Coming back two days later was no less eventful, since I went in and took my seat and had people staring at me. I found out eventually that seats had been reserved and I was supposed to look for an unreserved one. But, no, this lickle walk-bout bwoy neva git up. all I do was to close me yeye every time de train stop and pray dat nobody wudn come for the seat. Prayer does work!!

But then the whole experience made me think about the scores of people who leave Jamaica everyday, tek plane and don't have the slightest clue about travelling. But they seem to get by. It is a case of "Consider the birds of the air, they neither sow nor spin, yet our heavenly Father takes care of them' In fact, when I was coming over to Germany there were two females who were obviously coming over for the first time. They latched on to me. One of them I assume could not read and write at all since I had helped her at the immigration section to fill out her departure form (every last detail).

The three of us walked into the plane together. When I reached my seat and turned back round there was the other one complaining that she could not find her seat. I took her ticket and showed her that her seat number was 25K at which point Miss Mum tell me "No, the K is for kilogram". Gentle persuasion finally won her over in the end.

So why do I worry about travelling? Massa God will continue to tek care of what me don't know bout.

By the way, those of you are used to my usually comical "first-time-I-tried-to-find-the-SDA-church-I-got-lost story" will be glad to know that that was not the case yesterday. I found the street okay. It was just a problem of deciding whether the church was at the east end or the west end of the street. It amounted to over half an hour of walking.

More time!!
De Walk-bout Jamaican Bwoy

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Quarter century! I could join the West Indies

Even though it was several weeks ago, I am now just getting the chance to reflect on my last birthday when I finally made quarter century ( may the Life-giver be continually blessed). I have normally just passed over birthdays just thankful that life has been spared but not really marking them as such. No wonder my parents had to call me in 2003 while I was in Cambridge to remind me that I was born on such and such a date.

This time was different. I thought this birthday must be marked in some special way and so I decided to make up a "birthday registry" of the things I wanted. Some of you got tired of my reminding you since about January about what was on that list. I am so grateful to all my friends that they thought IT (I am not sure what you think about ME)was special too. The things on my birthday registry which I got, were:

Bible (Kendrea)
Hymnal (Nicole)
UWI watch (Lindy)
Rasta belt (Denise)

I also got several other things which were not on the registry:

UWI frosty mug (Avagay)
Nail care set (Kaydene)
Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey (Nadeen)
A Life that God Rewards (Virginia)

And let me not forget how cluster Shamrock's plan to surprise me (almost) failed since I am a very busy and slippery person. This means that you all need to inform me when you plan to surprise me so that I can be there. The little party was good though. Thanks to all my cluster sisters and brothers who went all out to make the big 2-5 special!!!!

The good thing about celebrating a birthday on Friday is that it always spills over into Sabbath and so in addition to calls and e-mails from far and near (of course , Calbert included, from way in Japan), I had happy birthday sung to me at Adfel on Friday night and next morning in Sabbath School class. Plus, lunch at Janneth's on Sabbath afternoon evolved into cake-cutting, happy birthday wishes, and a combined farewell.

In addition my parents called me very early in the morning and sent me the usual birthday greetings by radio, which I did not get to hear by the way since they had carried home my things (radio included) by then.

Thanks a milllion guys for making my birthday special. I was touched.

More time.

De walk-bout Jamaican bwoy

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

I am finally in Leipzig

I am finally in Germany and the reception has been wonderful. My temporary apartment is lovely and I am trying to get through all the relevant paper work so they won't deport me. Knowing my luck, of course, my arrival could not have been uneventful.

Last night when I was unpacking my stuff, I realised that I did not have my (old and new) passports. I thought that probably Susanne, my supervisor had taken it out of the cart at the airport when she came to pick me up. She might have taken it up just before we went on the train to go and catch the taxi to take me to my apartment.

This morning I found out that she had not taken it up and we had to call the airport. Luckily they had found everything. We had to go all the way back to the airport to pick them up.

I am now writing to you from my own desk in an office shared with two other people. The Institute is absolutely wonderful. They really take care of you. I am happy - as is my supervisor - that I am finally here. The weather is bearable, and I hope it will either stay this way or get better.

More time!

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Germany, here I come


In late January I went over to Germany to do a seminar and interview for a Ph.D. fellowship I had applied for in November. I left Germany feeling that I had not got it, but an e-mail a few days after proved me wrong. I would be spending the next two years in Leipzig, Germany doing research on the West African vocabulary in Jamaican Creole.

The past three months have been full of anticipation and excitement, saying good-bye to old and new friends and trying to reassure my parents that I will be fine all the way over in Germany.

I will fill you in on the stress and drama of trying to get to Germany at a later date. This was just a little note for all those people who didn't know and will soon start cussing me out.

More time.