Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 8th 2018 Contents I love this city's ener y, but it's
An early lesson, is being comfort-
able with aloneness. New York-
ers seem to be scared of physical
interaction. Passing someone on
the street in Trinidad, hopping
in a maxi, entering an elevator,
require an audible "Good Morn-
ing" greeting. Not here. There is
no eye contact, no speaking nor
smiling. People sway numbly on
the train, blankly staring at the
ads above the windows. Even
though there are hundreds of
people around you, you feel like
you're riding solo. Even banking
here is so impersonal. You don't
even need to step into a branch.
Everything can be done online
with certain banks. No tellers, no
breathing down your neck from
the creep standing behind you in
the queue. Actually, this limited
contact thing can have its perks.
But it isn't silent. You hear people
talking, seemingly to themselves.
Enter the Bluetooth headset. Per-
sonally, I'm not a headset type
of girl (yet) but almost everyone
has a device stuck in their ear. It's
some Black Mirror type scene,
seeing people talking, nodding
and laughing while they stand on
the side of the street smoking a
cigarette. Last week I stood next
to a girl on the train with an ice
cold expression on her face. I
was close enough to her to be
able to hear the dutty Dance-
hall she was listening to. It was
so weird to me! How does one
listen to Alkaline and not move?
They're like robots. Music pump-
ing in their ear drums, while
their toes remain untappable.
They're obsessed with Insta-
gram; it being the centre of many
conversations. They love to DM.
They love text of all sorts! Yet,
when there is an actual human
person standing next to them...
I once wrote on my blog that I
hope I don't catch their coldness.
Caribbean people are know for
their warmth and their vibrant
expressiveness, and I have held
on to that with desperation. But
I can see how this place hardens
you. The day runs at high speed.
They don't call it a New York
minute for nothing. The sun is up
early, and down late, but with to-
do lists a mile long, it often feels
like you're toting 3 heavy grocery
bags through 5 blocks, and up 80
steps to get to your door. Wait,
that's not a metaphor, that was
my actual Thursday. There are
so many rules for everything. I
mean, this is great. I love order,
but I come from Trinidad. You
think you like rules until you
become a non-resident, legal-
to-work alien, trying to secure
a lease with a 2 week old Social
I knew it would be tough. They
say getting here is half the battle.
Wouldn't that have been nice?
It's actually just the preface. I've
barely begun the rst chapter.
I've barely gotten to step two. I'm
on Step One and one eighth. Just
getting started. And I'm tired.
People are complaining that I'm
bailing on them, and not sticking
to plans to meet up and lime.
But it takes at least 30 mins to
get anywhere. And with things
being expensive to begin with,
then taxes being added, and then
the ever so nagging custom of
tipping everyone for everything,
liming is no longer a top priority.
One thing that stood out to me
the rst time I was here, was how
much people spoke about mon-
ey, and not having any. I would
look at patrons pull out coupons
for free drinks at restaurants,
and walk an extra 15 minutes to
avoid the $2.75 Metro ride. How
quickly I have become like that!
Adulting here is on a whole new
level. What I was doing in Trini-
dad was not adulting. Even when
I stood in line at FCB for 2 hours.
A born and raised New Yorker
once said to me that I had Grit. It
was an amazing compliment, not
just that it came from him (he
who once told me I looked a bit
fat and tired. These are the men I
date, ladies and gentlemen). Grit
is the best word to describe what
it takes to make it here.
Many times I feel overwhelmed
and near defeat. I have seen
strong people crumble under the
pressure. You need to be twice
as strong, twice as persistent and
twice as diligent as you ever were
They say if you can make it here,
you can make it anywhere, and
I'm so up for the challenge.
Stephanie Ramlogan is a NYC based
Trinidadian Fashion Stylist and
Writer, mostly known for her wildly
popular blog NoMoreFashionVic-
tims.com. You can reach her at
or check her out at StephanieRam-
Photo by Merideth Morgan
Sunday, April 8, 2018
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