I just recently experienced that sweet feeling of successfully accomplishing something I’ve been wanting to do for a while–meet my family who remained in Barbados. And also to do more research on both sides of the Bajan family.
My journey started off a bit rocky–the fog delayed my first flight and the pilot. Naturally I missed my connecting flight, by 15 minutes. I was rebooked on an evening flight which also was delayed due to bad weather. After many gate changes and a host of angry New Yorkers that had been given the runaround swarming the airline employees, I was finally on my way. I reached the hotel by midnight and found I’d been upgraded to a penthouse suite with a welcoming bottle of champagne. Just like that my adventure turned on a dime. Already it was beyond my wildest dreams. My view of the ocean was postcard perfect. Actually the entire island is postcard photo worthy. The scenery, from the beaches to the hills, from the countryside to the cliffs, is amazing.
Not much went as planned for me during my stay. From a completely unexpected bout of seasickness (never had a problem before), arriving on a week when there were two public holidays, and the Archives closing early the day I went to do my research, I just rolled with it all. In that hour I had to look through volumes of microfiche I found the nugget I’d been looking for related to my great grandfather’s side of the family. I still have more to go as I haven’t found the families of his sisters but having a starting point feels like success. Next up: meeting the descendants of my great grandma’s younger sister.
The first thing I noticed about my cousins was how tall they were. I sure got shortchanged on the tall genes on both sides of my family. I must be all recessive genes! My older cousin was such a charming gentleman who took me around the interior of the island and showed me the homes of our family. His son was a nice young man, the kind you want your daughter to bring home. I hope they enjoyed my company as much as I enjoyed theirs. I marveled at how we all spoke English, yet it was different. I wondered if I sounded as foreign to them. And tried not to use too much American slang.
Learning that I am a history buff, my cousin taught me a lot about the history of the island. I went to all 11 parishes in my six-day stay thanks to him. He also took me to Codrington College which was started by his line ancestors. I guess my connection to education and universities is my fate. It is after all the family business and my career for several years.
I still have much more digging to do into my Bajan roots. For now, I relish the connection I made to one of my homelands and for all of the experiences I had while there.