699. Sunny Child(hood) in Curaçao

1000 Awesome Things about Curaçao was born out of homesickness, but not the debilitating kind, the kind that empowers.

I’ve spent my entire adult life in the US, yet still consider Curaçao ‘home’. It’s where I express my emotions in Papiamentu, hug my crazy family, and catch up with friends who are more like siblings. I’ve come to terms with the fact that Curaçao fits like an old pair of jeans that has adapted to my body for maximum comfort, but doesn’t necessarily flatter the way a new one does.

Our online “Curacao” enclave.

Needless to say, my Facebook news feed is filled with “Curaçao” allowing me to sample ‘home’ from the comfort of my smart phone in New York City. No expensive 7 hour flights needed to see familiar faces, speak Papiamentu, share the latest joke, music, news, photos, it’s all right there.

I choose to live in a city that runs on ‘homesick’ immigrants from all over the world. According to the Census Bureau, 37% of the city’s population was born outside of the US: 32% of the city’s immigrants came from Latin America, 26% from Asia, 20% from non-Hispanic Caribbean nations, 17% from Europe and 4% from Africa.

Most of these immigrants form communities with their compatriots, seeking convenience and moral support, organically forming ‘home away from home’ adding to the ethnic mosaic of the city. A recent New York Times article, Take the A Train to Little Guyana, highlighted ‘the foods and goods’ of 10 newer immigrant enclaves (e.g. Arab, Bangladeshi, Chinese, Ecuadorian, Ghanaian, Guyanese, Korean, Mexican, Polish, Sri Lankan) ‘to provide readers a starting point for exploration.’

Granted, some of these immigrant enclaves exceed Curaçao’s total population size (of 150K) and tend to resemble autonomous islands within my multi-ethnic city… Mr. Lovlu sums it up: “I feel like I’m living in my own country (…) You don’t have to learn English to live here. That’s a great thing!”

Curaçao resembles New York City in that it essentially represents 50 different nationalities who live in close proximity to each other... but not enough numbers to validate creating separate enclaves. And unless you live in Curaçao or Rotterdam’s enclave of ‘Curaçao’ (and the rest of the former Netherlands Antilles), you simply don’t have the luxury of numbers, so we have to be creative in ‘re-creating’.

That’s where 1000 Awesome Things about Curaçao comes in.

This website represents an “online immigrant enclave” born out of a shared sense of ‘home’ and aims to be a starting point for tourist exploration. So fill your Facebook news feed with ‘Curaçao’ by liking our Facebook page🙂

Awesome Online Curacao Enclave. From L - R: Aftan Schoonen, Clifford Goilo, Gina van de Laar, Louis Philippe Romer, Yair Acherman, Marc Castillo, Elizabeth Francisco, Sarina Da Costa Gomez, Marla Gomes Casseres, Carlo Gomes Casseres, Stephanie Hasham, Juan-Carlos Goilo, Kim Duits, Tatiana Radzim, Gaby Lieuw, Mark Griffith, Kimberley Douglas, Carolina Gomes-Casseres, Tarik Kemp, Shanan David.

Awesome Online Curacao Enclave. From L – R: Aftan Schoonen, Clifford Goilo, Gina van de Laar, Louis Philippe Romer, Yair Acherman, Marc Castillo, Elizabeth Francisco, Sarina Da Costa Gomez, Marla Gomes Casseres, Carlo Gomes Casseres, Stephanie Hasham, Juan-Carlos Goilo, Kim Duits, Tatiana Radzim, Gaby Lieuw, Mark Griffith, Kimberley Douglas, Carolina Gomes-Casseres, Tarik Kemp, Shanan David.

————-

This post is an ode to our shared sense of ‘home’ (and homesickness).

Special thanks to poet Heske Zelermeyer (who now lives in Daytona Beach, FL), singer/songwriter Izaline Calister (who now lives in Groningen, NL), designer Stephanie Hasham (who now lives in Atlanta, GA) and Sarina Da Costa Gomez (who now lives Bridport, UK).

————-

Kòrsou

M’a bin skonde

den e skochi

K’a parimi

M’a bin buska

E karinjo

Di mi hubentud

E abrazo ku ningun

Otro parti mundu

Por dunami

M’a bai Kòrsou

M’a bin kas

M’a bin dispidi

Di hende

K’a kriami

M’a bin mira nan kara

Un biaha mas

M’a bin karisia

Nan kabei blanku

Rekorda

Ken mi tabata

Prome ayá

M’a bin

Pasobra na Kòrsou

T’ei historia

Di mi bid’a kuminsa

Un baranka ku ta permiti

Mi Alma un sosiegu

Bou di su shelu

Pa un ratu

Mi por descarga

Mi ansiedat

Curaçao

I came to hide

In the lap

That bore me

I came to search

For childhood love

That warm embrace

No other corner of the world

Can give

I flew to Curaçao

Emotionally I came home

A last farewell

To folks who raised me

See their faces

One more time

Caress white hair

And thus remember

A little girl that once was me

My path

Started on the island

That same rock

Still permits

My soul to find some rest

Beneath blue skies

I always can

Unload some of my stress

by Heske Zelermyer (1988)

————-

Ora Friu Kuminsa / When Cold Sets In by Izaline Calister (trans. by Stephanie Hasham)

Close your eyes, climb Mount Christoffel, and look out… enjoy the view of Bandabou, dushi Curaçao, blue water, rocks, drought and infrou (cactus)

Take a deep breath, savor the salty air of Wèspèn, it’s been so long… Don’t forget the scent of the Plaza, trade wind and flamboyant.

When cold sets in or when life isn’t going your way, thank god you can still reminisce about your youth in the sun… lovely place where I let my dreams take me.

Taste your tears, they’re as salty as the island’s after-work sweat, as salty as karnisá, bakíou, a good stobá, funchi ku piská, guiambo, kadushi or salmou.

Take a shower… let your imagination carry you to a beach with friends around a barbecue… a Sunday filled with sun, music and youth.

When it gets cold or when life isn’t going your way, when money is tight, when rain pours down from the sky or when you’re lonely for a companion, thank god you can still reminisce about your youth in the sun… with love…

Dushi Curaçao…

————-

pa kada dos pida di mi kurason

ku ta kibra manera baranka tormentá pa laman

mi ta korda un sonrisa skondí

entre e streanan, i mi alma

i mi sa ku di aki pa nos isla,

no ta muchu leu fo’i kas

for every two pieces of my heart

that breaks like rocks tormented by the ocean

I remember a hidden smile

between the stars and my soul

and I know that from here to our island

is not too far from home.

By Sarina Da Costa Gomez

Photo by Kimberley Douglas.

Photo by Kimberley Douglas.

About 1000awesomethingsaboutcuracao

I'm Carolina Gomes-Casseres, the creator of 1000 Awesome Things About Curaçao. I live in and love Manhattan, but sometimes miss my first Awesome island...

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: