Fiction, Trinidad, Writing

Ode to Homemade Sorrel

You are sweeter than you know.  Special occasions and holidays only, so I waited for you all year.  Christmas was my favorite; Easter, a close second.

I clapped when your daughter tossed plastic packets of the dried crimson flowers into her basket at the West Indian food market.  It was always cold there, big drafty windows overlooking rows and rows of alien fruits: soursop, guava, chinet, pomerac. I played with the heart-shaped pomerac, felt its thin maroon skin give away under my probing fingers.  My mother yelled, but you laughed, like chimes in the wind.

The house was warm, though, as I watched you work.  Water, cinnamon, cloves. The only sound in the kitchen was the sound of bubbling liquid, pockets of air slipping and swirling in swift circles under the closed lid of the sauce pan.  I sat on my hands in anticipation.

“You must wait,” you told me.  I did not understand waiting. I wanted its spicy sweetness now.

“The flowers must steep overnight,” you said.  I sighed.

In the morning you were waiting for me, straining soggy bits of petals from the plum-colored liquid.  You made four bottles.  One for me, one for you, one for my mother, one for my sister.  A cup of sugar went into each bottle.  A dash of rum in yours and mine.  “Don’t tell your mother,” you whispered.  I crossed my heart and smiled.

I did not tell for years.  Easter came the week after your funeral.  I could not drink my mother’s sorrel because it didn’t taste the same.  I told her, “Grams put rum in hers.”  She replied, “You don’t need any rum!”  I only drink her sorrel now after I cut the sugar with an ounce of Old Oak.  She scowls when she sees me pouring rum into my cup, but she always asks for a splash of her own.  She knows it tastes better that way.

 

p.s.  I scheduled this post before I left for Spain. Today makes it eight years since my Grams passed.  I wrote this piece when I studied at the Writers Studio back in 2009. It’s one of my favorites.

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Goals, Yoga

I Did It!

 

YTT

 

back row, L-R: Johnny, Olga, Dana, Tiffany, me
bottom row, L-R: Veronica, Talya, Kelly

 

Y’all get a li’l  bonus post this week. I just got home from my practicum.  I did exactly what I wanted to do. I used the theme I wanted to use, I played the music I wanted to play.  And when I was done, Laurie said, “Wow. I mean…just…wow.”  After it was over, two of my classmates came over and said how good my class had been.

Yup, I did that.

Congratulations to my fellow TTs. We’re yoga teachers now!

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Music, Yoga

Finding My Voice

My practicum is on Sunday, March 17th. Early yesterday morning,  I wrote Laurie a frantic e-mail, asking a half dozen questions about the sequence she assigned to me, then spent the better part of the day worrying because she hadn’t yet responded.  Her response, when it finally arrived, some 28 hours later?

You are so funny, Keisha. You are definitely over-thinking this.
The seated twist in the manual is fine, just remember to mirror the cues. You
can keep it simple for getting out of ankle to knee and your transition from
vira[bhadrasana] I into triangle forward bend is perfection.

You have this down. You will ace the practicum, I have NO doubt.
Xo

Perhaps I am over-thinking this. In fact, I know I am. But now that I have the answers to my questions, I can focus on the fun stuff– the MUSIC.

I feel like I don’t know anyone who isn’t a music-lover. We may not all  like the same kind of music, but most of us love the way music makes us feel. When Laurie told us we could play music during the practicum if we wanted, I immediately became excited. What would I play???  I came up with a brief playlist– the sequence is only 30 minutes long– and it includes songs by DJ Drez, Fela Kuti, Bonobo, Nosaj Thing, Liquideep, and J Dilla.

When it came to Dilla, I chose “So Far to Go,” but I was torn… I didn’t know if I should use the original, instrumental version, or the version with Common rhyming and D’Angelo’s vocals?  I happen to love the second version, and there’s nothing vulgar about it– it’s pretty much a love song.  But I was hesitant. Some people just don’t like rap.  I didn’t want to play anything that would offend anyone.

Then I remembered this recent post by my favorite Twitter yogini, Jessica Lesley.

Part of yoga is finding your truth and trusting your own voice. Finding my voice as a teacher meant letting go of what I think a yoga teacher is “supposed” to be. For me that means making sure the person leading the class is the same person that you run into at the grocery store. I don’t whisper in my normal conversations, so I do not whisper when I teach (no breathy “innnhaaale now exhhaaale” either). If you get in my car you won’t hear chanting or sitar music (well maybe once in a while), so I don’t really play that in my classes. I refuse to feel like I’m leading a double life.

So, I’d say that about clears it up, no?

I listen to rap. I also listen to a ton of soca– I thought about adding it to the list but I couldn’t find anything that wasn’t too uptempo– and all sorts of random electronic dance music, jazz, bossa nova, Haitian zouk and konpa, reggaeton, some dancehall, and let’s not forget that I love me some Beyonce and Rihanna.  I’m fairly certain that songs of all these genres will find their way into my classes. And let’s be real. If you’re focused on the music playing, then you’re really not paying attention to what you should be doing– which is practicing yoga!

Guys…I’m so nervous I could scream!

p.s. I know I’m about eight hours late with this post. My bad. I usually write my posts the weekend before and schedule them to publish at 1 pm the following Tuesday. But last weekend I was studying for and taking my YTT final exam (which I’m pretty sure I knocked out of the park, BTW), so it just didn’t happen. And last night I started removing  my Senegalese twists because I want my hair to be wild and free during the practicum. Forgive me!

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Yoga

Crunch Time

chakra_wallhanger

found on Pinterest, via The Alchemy of Life

My final exam for yoga teacher training  is THIS Saturday, March 9th, and the practicum in March 16th.  I have been studying and practice teaching and trying not to freak out!  I don’t know how much it’s working.  I have to teach– and mirror– ankle-to-knee pose. Which I hate. My hips are tight, so it’s really uncomfortable.  I just want to get through this so that I can go to Spain and eat a lot of yummy food and drink a lot of delicious wine.

Please forgive me–  I just don’t have the energy for a real post this week. So I hope you enjoy this lovely rendering of the chakras I came across on my favorite social media site.  I’m glad I found it because it’s helped me to memorize the order of the chakras:  Mulandhara (the root chakra), Svadhisthana (the sacral chakra), Manipura (the solar plexus chakra), Anahata (the heart chakra), Visshudha (the throat chakra), Ajna (the third eye chakra), Sahasrara (the crown chakra).  I bought a few bottles of orange nail polish   (Orly Melt Your Popsicle and CND Electric Orange) as a reminder that I need to work on clearing out my Svadhisthana chakra.  I think I’m going to wear an indigo polish for the exam (I’ll search my stash for it, I know I must have one), and blue for the practicum.

Ugh, I’m queasy just thinking about it.

Send me love, guys! I need it.  I really want to do well!

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