Sushi: The National Dish of Sami-land...
It was the night of October 26, 2013, and I was crying incessantly on the phone to my mother. My Christmas break was just over a month away, and I was slated to return home to Jamaica for a month to await the new semester. The problem was, I did not want to go home—not because I don’t love my home country, but because there was someone in another country I couldn’t wait to meet. She was only three months old at the time and probably wouldn’t know who I was if she saw me, but that didn’t matter. She was my niece, and I was adamant that I had to meet her before her first birthday. Sami was born in Nagoya, Japan, in July 2013 and was my sister’s first child. My mom, sister and I lived in three different countries, so it was expected that we wouldn’t always share in big moments such as the birth of my niece. Despite this, I was eager to be there for my sister physically to share in her blessing, even if it meant visiting months later.
Friends, Lovers and Spices
I grew up in Jamaica, where our national m0tto is “out of many one people.” This motto was coined based on the multiracial composition of our population, which, to this day, is a surprise to many who believe that all Jamaicans are of African descent. Despite having a population that goes beyond the perceived racial profile of the “typical” Jamaican, our culture is homogeneous for the most part. This meant limited exposure to cultural diversity throughout my life except for the times I travelled or lived in other countries. One such experience is my current one– living in Canada. Though I don’t live in the most diverse part of the country, I was still awarded the opportunity to meet and befriend individuals from different countries worldwide. I shifted from having a friend circle limited to Caribbean and US nationals to one that includes folks from the Philippines, Canada, China, Mexico, Uganda, Malaysia, India, just to name a few.
Taste the Rainbow 🌈
As Pride month comes to a close (note that we should be celebrating Pride beyond June), I thought I’d share a few things I made throughout the month that were inspired by the celebrations. Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 and cancellations, I was unable to physically attend a Pride Parade or any of the other festivities typically held in my city throughout June. Instead, I attended a few amazing virtual events, but as you can imagine, it was not the same as connecting in person. Regardless, I had fun celebrating in a different way this year, which included bringing vibrant colours into my kitchen and onto my plate.
Your JEDI Concierge
Justice. Diversity. Equity. Inclusion. These are all buzzwords that you have likely heard at some point in time throughout the years, more so in the past year. I can't say I am not thrilled to see a rise in the awareness of social justice issues that have plagued marginalized communities for hundreds of years. However, it certainly makes you wonder if these "advances" are performative in nature–which would do more harm than good. On that note of "good", this isn't to say that individuals should strive to be good or perfect if they embark on this journey of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI). Instead, aiming to be good-ish yet genuine is a more realistic way of approaching this. Good-ish? I know you might be confused as you wonder what this means. Well, identifying as a good person, means you will likely, at some point, view yourself as someone who is free of bias and mistakes. By thinking this way, you may cloud your judgment and perpetuate the very thing you committed to eliminating. If you position yourself as someone who is good-ish, you'll be cognizant of the fact that you have blind spots and will more likely address them. Anyone who sees themself as being good-ish, would likely thrive in the online community of allies that I wish to create to bring about awareness and collaboratively come up with possible solutions to these social justice issues.
- Third Place in Boss Mom Challenge
Mom: My Optimistic MotivatorThird Place in Boss Mom Challenge
As a child, I was big on creating acrostic poems. Everyone and everything that meant something to me landed a leading role in these poems, including my mom. This interest started when I was about seven years old and continued for at least three years. Once I turned ten and matriculated to high school, I knew I had to step up my game. I mean, these were poems that only a mother could love. Okay, perhaps I am exaggerating, but I've included a portion of my masterpiece below, so you can get my point. This specific poem was dedicated to my mom, Dawnett.
The Land of Dreams and a Cheater’s Paradise
Four years ago, my life was at its pinnacle. I had recently completed my undergraduate degree with first-class honours, gotten my first managerial job at the age of twenty-two, and I was sure I had met the man I would spend the rest of my life with. I met him at work, and despite my rule of never dating a colleague, I fell for him. We embarked on what seemed to be a beautiful romantic journey. After dating for a while, we opted to move in together. That was my first time living with a man, but it was a seamless transition that prompted me even to introduce him to my dad. My father and I weren't and still aren't very close, so that was also a first. Though I didn't hesitate to tell my friends and family members about him, I hadn't declared our relationship at work. He would pick me up and drop me off half a block away when we commuted together. We would then greet each other at work as though we didn't spend the night wrapped in each other's arms. I felt like a teenager all over again and was undoubtedly having the time of my life.
How I Scored 8.5 Overall on the IELTS General Test
If you are reading this, you probably already have an idea of what IELTS is and its purpose. In case you are completely clueless, the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) measures one's proficiency in the English language in four sections. These include: speaking, reading, writing, and listening. Each section is scored using bands, with the maximum being 9. The four bands are then averaged to determine the overall score, which for me, was 8.5.
I Will Remember You.
TW// homicide Dear Nevia, Do you recall the first time we met fourteen years ago in the ninth grade? I was the new kid on the block and fearful of being the outcast. I had just transferred from another school, and everyone in our class had already known each other for at least two years. But for me, I knew no one. I dreaded stepping into our classroom that first morning as I did not know what to expect. Was I entering a scene from Mean Girls, or was I going to be greeted by genuinely friendly faces? It turns out that I was lucky; it was the latter. Your face was one of those friendly faces, the kind that made all my doubts melt away. At that point, I knew everything was going to be okay, even before we got a chance to exchange words. Apparently, I am not the only one who felt this level of comfort around you.
Jai, The Soul Food Queen
Public scrutiny. If you have a social media account and a vast number of followers, then you’ve probably been subjected to this at some point in time. Many of us are all too familiar with the concept of scrolling through comments on social media posts about celebrities or influencers and seeing odious comments belittling these individuals. Many can ignore it, but many also fold. Jai Nice represents the former. Despite the unrequested criticisms, she perseveres and stays on her grind. Now, let it not be said that I think Jai is perfect; like many of us, she is far from it. However, I find her determination and ambition to be meritorious regardless of her demeanour or what is portrayed as her “unpalatable mien.” Some may say I’m seeing her through rose-coloured glasses, but I gladly accept that as someone who values female empowerment. In a world where it is the norm to vilify women in the spotlight, I think it is necessary to have individuals who intentionally chose to celebrate the successes of these females.
From Prison Cell to Sales
Imagine being wrongfully imprisoned for two years for a crime you didn't commit because your identity was stolen. Now, imagine that the person who stole your identity was someone you least expected, your best friend. That is Elle's story. She lost everything: her business, her home, her friends and also her dog. This is typically the storyline you'd see in the movies, so it is mindblowing to think that someone actually had to endure this. However, what is admirable is hearing that Elle experienced this without letting it define her. Instead, she came back bigger and stronger than before. Elle's cautionary tale is definitely worth sharing as it might be just what someone needs to work their way out of a rut. If she could transform her life after being betrayed, imprisoned and mistreated, then I promise you, you can overcome anything!
- Third Place in Black in Business Challenge
Blossoming In STEM... And Other SpacesThird Place in Black in Business Challenge
Yamila is a Dominican Republican who relocated to Canada to pursue her tertiary studies in Biology on a full scholarship. Suffice it to say, she has been making big waves ever since. Yamila Franco is a force to be reckoned with, and I don't mean that in a cliché way. I battled with writing this as I tried to decide how to do Yamila's story justice. I felt her list of accomplishments was too long to squeeze into just one article. Regardless, I chose not to pass up the opportunity to use a medium like this to share her achievements with the world. She is just that good.
Lindsay glanced at the clock on her bedside table and noticed it was 5:49 a.m. She was alone in bed, and the sheets on Mark's side were cold and unwrinkled. He was still with his mistress, she thought. Though Lindsay knew that Mark was cheating on her with his brother's ex-girlfriend, Charlotte, she was hopeful that they would fix things. But, she knew her chances were slim. Not only was he with Charlotte, but she was also pregnant. Unbeknownst to Mark, Lindsay had found an ultrasound image in his jacket pocket. Charlotte was twelve weeks pregnant and six months away from giving Mark the one thing he wanted the most, an heir to his family's empire.