Letters & Opinion, Sounding Off

Happy Birthday, Home

By Rochelle Gonzales
By Rochelle Gonzales

CAN one try to put into words how a six year old feels with their birthday just two weeks away? Or that 15 year old girl anxiously awaiting her advance into “womanhood” with her approaching sweet 16th birthday?

Well, I personally can’t find the words but I think I might share that feeling as my homeland celebrates its 36th year of independence.

Since I began “Sounding Off” in The VOICE eight months ago, I have done my fair share of both the praising and scolding of St. Lucia…well St. Lucians in actuality, but one thing I have made clear is my undying love for the land of my birth.

That love is something that I will shout from the hilltops and brag about every day of every year unlike some individuals who only jump on board the patriotism bandwagon around two or three times a year and then scurry back into their corner highlighting all that is negative about the island.

I look at St. Lucia like I look at my big sister in the sense that, I will laugh at her and tease her when she’s being silly. I will jump down her throat and be all over her like white on rice when she steps out of line and is out of order. I will cry my heart out for her when she is hurting or in pain and I will attack anyone who tries to hurt her like a lioness protecting her cub…I love her wholeheartedly.

You know that feeling you get when talking about someone or something that you’re passionate about and you can barely contain yourself? That’s just how I feel when I speak of my pride of my home…there really is no place like it.

Unlike that advertisement saying that the spirit of St. Lucia is the cheap joy juice of the common alcoholic, in my opinion the spirit of St. Lucia is The Land, The People and The Light…just like the St. Lucian Motto states and the national flag solidifies.

St. Lucia is Petit Piton and Gros Piton, our majestic peaks kissing the heavens. It’s our blue skies, fresh air and award winning beaches. It’s our diverse culture and mixed heritage. It’s our fooood, our yummy St. Lucian food. St. Lucia is Jacquot and finally, St. Lucia is Derek Walcott and Sir Arthur Lewis, our pride and joy who brought home two Nobel Prizes, St. Lucia is Boo, Sessenne, Nina, Lavern, Kayo, Darren, Johnson, Taj, Deredee, Luther, Me, You…St. Lucia is the people.

I was fortunate enough to experience life outside of St. Lucia as I migrated to the UK at a tender age and stayed there for nearly half of my life. This benefitted me in numerous way but one major benefit it gave to me was an even stronger love for my homeland.

Whilst I loved being around my family and friends over there, I yearned for my true home. At one point, at the age of 17, I said enough was enough and was determined to come back to St. Lucia so I quit college and said my goodbyes to everyone…until I was stopped dead in my tracks by my mother who was determined to see me build a solid future for myself so she enrolled me into a new college and forbade me to leave. I decided to stay and built a life for myself, had a great job and even started a family but alas, the urge to leave the dark and gloomy rat race in the UK was too strong and like a siren in the high seas, St. Lucia called and I could no longer resist her sweet song so I came back home.

Although some things about me changed like my accent, not everything did and I wasn’t going to allow them to. Like my knowledge of the Créole language…oh how I love my patois, and don’t let the accent fool you because I can hold a full and decent conversation in patois with anyone including my grandmother from Choiseul who barely speaks English. I am so proud that even after growing up around English speaking people all my life and living in the UK, I can speak and fully understand patois.

It’s not always smooth sailings and goodness knows, times have been downright turbulent here in 758. There are many issues that I would love to see dealt with like…yesterday, but at the end of the day, like a sibling you get the bad with the good so I say, cheers to you St. Lucia…Happy Independence Day.

Rochelle entered the Media fraternity in May 2011 as a fresh-faced young woman with a passion for the English language, a thirst for worldly knowledge and a longing to inform the world of what was happening around them, whether it was good or bad.

She began as part of a small news team at Choice Television, which falls under the MediaZone umbrella. She was hired as one of the original members of the newly created Choice News Now team...Read full bio...


1 Comment

  1. “… the urge to leave the dark and gloomy rat race in the UK was too strong and like a siren in the high seas, St. Lucia called … ” What exactly is the goal of your writing?
    That sentence is a turn-off and shows you as a writer are not focused. Next time, before you publish a piece, read it aloud, audio record it and listen to the play- back. This might help.

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