#ILiveWhereYouVacation

It’s kind of funny when people ask where I’m from (“YOU’VE GOT AN ACCENT”) and follow it up with something like “I want to have my honeymoon there.”
Like. Ok? Good for you? Do you want me to hook you up with hotel deals?

Ooh, or you know what’s worse? “Why are you here then?? The weather is terrible!”

Of course! If only my simple island life had afforded me the opportunity to use Google to investigate the climate of the UK! Then I would have known to stay where I was!

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Well that's put me right off higher education

Ok I’m being a little facetious. I get it, I really do. It’s a tropical island, the kind of paradise shown in music videos where people dance sexily under waterfalls, or sexily on the beach, or sexily while drinking a coconut. It’s usually idealised in songs as being this relaxed, laid back place where people just, like, chill man. Smoke a blunt, maybe eat some jerk chicken and plantain, and work on your tan. And this is why the hashtag #ILiveWhereYouVacation is so popular. People do go there on vacation. Much of our economy depends on tourism. I just think that people forget the “I Live” part.

Because people do live there. As in, they live in houses. With actual electricity and plumbing that needs to be paid for. We work and pay taxes and have insurance on our property and go to school and put gas in our tanks just like everywhere else. That’s kind of how a country’s economy works.
I left there when I was 16, and just like most 16 year olds in the world, I spent about 12 of those years in education. My school wasn’t on the beach or in a cave under a waterfall. I wasn’t taught how to frolic with wildlife or catch fish with my bare hands. I was taught Math.

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Pictured: the only house Caribbean people live in, obviously

“Ah but you went to the beach on weekends!” Yeah, when I didn’t have homework or chores, sure. But I was going through my emo phase as a teen and I was( and still am) a nerd so I spent a lot more time playing videogames, reading, hanging out with my friends and watching the Harry Potter movies while pointing out subtle inaccuracies (I still want to know where Peeves went). I had a walkman, then a CD player, then an MP3 player which I used to listen to Paramore and anime opening songs. I wrote fanfics and read comic books. Occasionally I would do those things on the beach, but the last thing I wanted was sand in my Gameboy. My life was no simpler than any other Western teen other than the absence of a cinema in the north of the island for a few years (we had a cinema that showed pirated films for a while but it was shut down, probably because people complained about the quality).
It would be fair to say that I grew up “middle class”, and I had much more opportunities than some of my other classmates. Poverty is everywhere, and the Caribbean is no exception. Some people lived ten a side in a one bedroom house. Some people didn’t have indoor plumbing. Some people washed their clothes in the river and grow their foods not to be organic but because they had to eat. Is that the sort of simple life you’re looking for? Because you can be poor in your own country too, it would just be less hot and with hopefully fewer hurricanes.

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How traumatic

Now I live in London and I love it here, despite everyone assuming that I want to leave. There’s so much to do and see and it’s so easy to travel to other places and your transport is so reliable. Some of your buildings are 200 years old! We’ve not even been independent half as long as that (your fault, but still). And yes I still have to work and study and pay taxes but I honestly do not know what I’d be doing if I hadn’t left. Our unemployment rate is higher than yours (20% versus 5%) and there isn’t much in the way of scientific research (which is my ultimate career goal) so who knows?

This isn’t to say that the UK is without fault (Hunt, what’s good??), or that the Caribbean is a desolate wasteland of despair and bananas. Both places have their good parts and their bad parts. I’m just saying that to idealize a place is to ignore the people in it and their daily lives. Perhaps it’s worth taking some time to learn about a place where someone lives before you choose to vacation there.

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Though we're not called 'Helen of the West' for nothing

2 thoughts on “#ILiveWhereYouVacation

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