Friday, November 22, was my last day as a junior teacher at Bishops; a bittersweet moment to round out my time in Trinidad. I was sad because after three months of learning and growing with my students, I'd have to leave knowing that our relationship would end and that I may never see most of them again. After getting to know the amazing biology, chemistry, biochemistry, physics and integrated science teachers in the science department, it was sad to know that it would be my last day learning about teaching, Trinidad, and their respective subjects from them. As each class went on and I made the announcement that it was my last day, girls from each of the classes hugged me, asked me about how I enjoyed my time in Trinidad, and wished me luck on the rest of my travels. Some of the older girls even asked to friend me on social media.
After my last class, the form 4 (9th grade) biology class that I had with Ms. Gill, she asked me to stay behind and wait for her to gather her things so that we could walk downstairs together. Although she had a lot of items, it seemed like today she was taking longer than usual to pack her bag. So I sat back down at the desk and waited for her, but in the middle of packing her things the chair of the science department came to the classroom door and called Ms. Gill over. She stopped packing her things, walked over, and after a quick chat with a few glances in my direction she headed back to her desk to finish packing her things, As she finished placing the last things in her bag she struck up a conversation asking me about my plans for my upcoming trip to Tobago, and then about what I'll be doing in Norway. She stepped out of the classroom for a moment, still not done with packing her bag, and while I was a little confused I was glad to sit and cherish my final moments in the biology lab.
As Ms. Gill walked out, another biology teacher walked in and gave me the contact information for her brother who lives in Copenhagen. A few days before, I told Ms. Bautiste that I was going to Copenhagen before my next stop in Norway and she immediately told me that I had to visit her brother and that she would put me in contact with him. As promised, on my last day she gave me his address and number, and told me that he was excited to welcome me into his home. Shortly after a conversation with Ms. Bautiste, Ms. Gill walked back in with a fruit kebab that the form 4 girls were selling as a class fundraiser. In Trinidad fruit is often enjoyed in a savory style as "chow" where it is seasoned with salt, lime and other spices. Along with familiar fruits like grapes and pineapple, I got to try starfruit. Once I finished the fruit kebab, Ms. Gill turned to me and said, "I'm giving it away aren't I?" After being momentarily confused, I realized that Ms. Gill was in charge of stalling me while the other teachers finished their classes and gathered in the biology lab to surprise me and say goodbye. Shortly after, the head of the science department and the other science teachers walked in with cake, ice cream and a gift to thank me for helping them while they were short staffed this semester. After enjoying some delicious black forest cake and locally made vanilla ice cream, I hugged each of the teachers, thanked them for allowing me to shadow and work with them, and walked home from school for the last time.
The Monday after my last day at school, I packed my bags and got on a morning flight to visit my friend Leena's family in Tobago. I stayed in Tobago for 6 days and got a chance to explore the island, go to a few of the beautiful beaches, go on a glass bottom boat ride, and experience Tobagonian culture. My Leena's cousin, Anton, and his family hosted me for the week and made sure that I saw all that Tobago had to offer. It was a great trip and I'm glad that I got the opportunity to relax and soak up the sun before heading to the less tropical climates of Copenhagen, Denmark and Tromsø (pronounced Trom-suh), Norway.
Overall, my experience in Trinidad was a great one! I made new friends in new places and saw, experienced and tasted things that most people only dream of. As I head into the next leg of my Watson year in Tromsø, Norway, I am grateful for my experiences in Trinidad because they laid the foundation for all that I will experience in the future. Among many other things, I learned how to be truly independent. I thought I that I had the whole independence thing figured out after being in college for 4 years, but apparently I was very wrong 😂. In just 4 months I've learned so much about myself, and now the thought of tackling these next 8 months doesn't seem so daunting. I'm excited to head to Copenhagen for 3 days before I go to northern Norway for the next three months. In Copenhagen I'll get a chance to do some sight seeing, and visit some of my Davidson friends who are studying abroad. So, I am excited about seeing them and being reminded of home. Although I will be trading in my shorts and t-shirts for sweaters and layers, I am looking forward to all that my next adventures have to offer!
Side note: I'm having some issues uploading all of the amazing pictures that I've taken since I last uploaded photos (they're HEIC images and Wix only takes jpg and jpeg), so I may write another short post once I figure that out so you all know to look for new pictures! In the meantime, enjoy these videos!!