My name is Bria and as you can see by the name of this blog, I am from the city of Grenville in Grenada. Where is Grenada? Well it is at the southern most tip of the Caribbean islands, right before Trinidad. Since we are part of the Lesser Antilles, we are not know as much as you can say …Puerto Rico, Jamaica or Cuba. But no matter how small the island I am proud to be a Grenadian! I currently live in Los Angeles, California…pretty far away from home you might say, but LA or the City of Angels I like to say is like my second home and I also call myself a native Angeleno!
Update currently in Kansas So I may need to change up the name of this blog !
Now as for what this blog will focus on? Well I like to think of it as a way to vent but I got my inspiration from a great novel called ” Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche , the main character, Ifemelu ‘s blog on her experiences as a Non-American Black inspired me so I may through in some perspectives from that. I also hope to get friends to write their blogs and post them here… Hmmm I don’t know what else to add…
Oh Enjoy this beautiful picture of my hometown Grenville or La Baye as it’s known in French.
Man, this week has been tough, tougher than I expected it to be. Here’s an update
My office is currently in the process of hiring my replacement for the next two years. Some really good candidates so far and I am impressed! It’s been nice being on the other side however zoom fatigue is killing me more than i thought.
I have also had some interviews this week , one for a temp position at a prestigious school and the other at a big state school I am veryyy familiar with.
What is crazy to be is that I did so well in the temp position job that I was called back almost immediately for an interview. Crazy right? Never had that happen
People are impressed with my resume… what? I have to thank Cat for her expertise and help editing me resume and cover letter, I can’t believe that the offers for interviews are coming in as they would.
Lastly I use my personality to seal the deal… mwahahaha
But to the title of this post, I belong, I belong in Higher Ed, I belong in Student Conduct, and I damn well belong at an Ivy league and working there! I am hoping that imposter syndrome doesn’t kick in. The next interview happens soon!
But I also had to take one of my mentor’s advice… I deserve to choose. I had this one school reach out last minute and already gave a time… so early on a monday morning…. I was like wait… I have the option to not accept this! Not sure what I will do yet but I am currently overwhelmed.
Hopefully things work out.. will update as needed !
It is Valentine’s day, it is cold as hell outside. My valentine and I decided yesterday to cook a savory indian dish called Biriyani, and I must say for my first try at this dish… it came out really well, however it was too spicy and fragrant for me and brought me back to why I did not like it in the first place, so I gave my valentine all the rice, although he did not want to take it. Now I mentioned that it was cold, like 0 degrees farenheit cold… and I absolutely cannot deal. So I got some beef out to thaw and make soup later. First I cut it up into small cubes, then season it with rice vinegar, soy sauce, salt, red chilli powder,salt, black pepper, onion powder,garlic powder, paprika, cumin and a bit of yogurt to soften (which helped). I set that aside for a bit and let it marinade, then I proceed with the rest of my soup. My love for beef soup came from Grandmother, on Saturdays if money was right, she would get beef from the meat market and come home and make soup for us for lunch. Soup on saturday was such a tradition for me and yes I know I’m making it on a Sunday but still reminds me of my grandmother.
dumplings (caribbean style)
In a pot, let your beef boil in a bit of water and seasoning, then add in celery, cilantro, garlic, onions and green onions, for me this helps make a stock. Let that cook properly, it may take an hour unless you use a pressure cooker. Later add carrots and macaroni and let half cook. Dumplings are pretty easy to make, in a small bowl add flour, water and salt. Mix that together until it forms a dough then make smaller pieces to your desired size then flatten it or roll till it looks like a stick. Always add this last to any soup as it takes the least amount of time to cook.ince that cooks let it stand by and voila! You have beef soup. My pictures will leave out the obvious dumplings but hey, it’s still soup.
I always say this is my independence day and not the 4th of July. I just happen to feel more akin to Grenada’s! It’s our 47th year of independence from Britain (I find it hard to believe that not so long ago !) and we are still moving and still thriving on through the mess we have had!
Things I miss about independence back home? Oh my goodness where to start?
Dressing up in national colours the day before and going to school was fun, it was really the only times we were allowed to break the rules of not wearing uniform!
During school eating either the national (preparing too while in Seconday school) or whatever was chosen by everyone, usually roti.
Singing independence day songs
Parade and national speech by Prime Minister
Cooking oil down, our national dish that consists of dumplings, tumeric, breadfruit, pigtails, green bananas, coconut milk etc boiled together. I must confess not my favorite dish.
Parties or fetes ( although I don’t do that much)
It is usually a beach day and I love the beach
The diaspora celebrates, in NY and other communities we are prevalent we celebrate to the max! We even have Grenada day in the summer.
Very different from the US I believe and I absolutely miss this about home.
I recently wrote this for a job as a writing sample so since I have not posted as much this week I thought that I would post my thoughts on this here. Enjoy!
Student Conduct was not something that was ever on my raider when I decided to pursue Higher Education and finding a suitable program. I had a great experience in Residential Life as a Resident Assistant and several of my supervisors encouraged me to pursue this program as they saw my love for it. Interviewing for Grad school I was certain what my path would be, but God had other plans for me. I was offered a Grad Assistantship in Student Conduct, and I did not know what I was getting into but as I went along I began to fall in love with it. From learning about en loco parentis, to Dixon v Alabama and other landmark cases that led to the establishment of a process for student conduct, to learning about KU’s policies and procedures and even facilitating an ethical decision-making workshop, my experience in Student Conduct has indeed been fulfilling and I love to experience more of this as I move further into my career.
When thinking of a philosophy with Student Conduct, I not only think about my office and its mission to foster a holistic learning environment for students through education on our office but to the one phrase when I write my rationale for students when assigning sanctions, ‘ these sanctions were chosen for you to grow and learn from the experience’. As Student Conduct/ Judicial Affairs professionals and sometimes even broader Student Affairs, we want that when students come to us in such a vulnerable moment in their lives that the best thing we can do is pay attention to them, get to know them for who they are and who they aspire to be and find out through our conversation and intervention what cause the incident to happen that they are in your office and gear your sanctions towards helping them to learn and grow from the experience and not be what we like to call ‘frequent flyers’ to your office if they are continuing the behavior. The one thing that I found works for me is that I am transparent and ask the student how they think they will learn from the experience and if they have no suggestions I tell them what we can offer or work on something suitable for them, and if there are mandatory education classes I emphasize the need for these and helping them for the future.
My identity and experience as a woman of color in Higher Education helps with how I work with students and how I see Student Development Theory. I was more mature and developed going through the college system compared to my peers, I had to grow up fast and as a first-generation student, jump through a lot of hoops. I think this is maybe why the theory of Self Authorship by Baxter Magolda really works for me because you see the stages that students go through and how they are presented to you. I constantly see this as I facilitate Hawk Habits, our ethical decision-making workshop. A workshop focused around identity, values and ethics many of the students I see do not yet have a sense of self and are still following formulas or they are at the crossroads. Then there are the few times I see students who have a sense of self and their own ideas and are the author of their life. It just surprises me how students around the same age groups can be so different and I think I have found myself adjusting to that a lot as I work with them.
Finally, being a woman of color in student conduct is rare, and I want to continue to do this job and work in this field because I believe it needs folks like me who would be willing to put in the work and also focus on our students of color in a system that sometimes can be against them. Thank you and I hope you enjoyed my writing sample and learning a bit more about me and why I want to be your Assistant Director for Student Conduct.
Where has time gone? Just the other day I swear I was just starting my first semester of Grad school not too long ago now it’s my last semester? It’s a not a packed one but it is definitely filled with pressure way before it started with job searching going no where at the moment… kinda. I guess I am worrying about it too much to the point I had a stress attack the night before classes start. Although I had not been outright worried it seemed to be catching up to me.
I really want to be able to get a job before the semester ends and I know the rest of my cohort feels the same way and finding it hard to get jobs. I am doing my best and I oray the lord is with me.
Other than that what me as I embark on my last semester ever (for now) of school. Wish me luck! I will most likely do the same thing I did for my undergrad and do a countdown before I graduate.
This past year I have been focusing on my hair a bit more than usual. My hair used to be very long as a teenage and a bit into my early 20s. However I had a bad experience with a hair stylist and since then my hair has been a bit short. I also lost trust in black hair stylist. My hair was thick and difficult to handle so I always depended on others to do my hair. As I got older it seemed that people hated dealing with me and my hair and after a while it did not make sense spending my hard earned money on them. So I went natural and curly but would which between straight hair sometimes. Since I’ve in Grad school I have been wanting to grow my hair and find new products or protective styles that work for me. Unfortunately I cannot pinpoint certain products as recommendation but I can talk about what has works for me currently since I change products so much.
So I dont really have a difficult wash day anymore, I realize as I get older my hair is easier to manage and so forth. In terms of texture I would put myself as 4A so my curls aren’t as tight. Over the winter break I tried to get my hair into protective styles so single braids and cornrows to help it grow faster and then recently I straigthened it with a pressing comb. I also colored it last year because of grey hairs but that didn’t work so my hair is brownish red.
I usually choose saturdays for wash day. I begin by adding apple cider vinegar to wash out any dry scalp or irritation I may have since I have a history of dandruff. After this I use an anti dandruff shampoo, Sulfer or any other shampoo I may have such as Cantu Texture with Castor oil, in my hair, wash about 3 times then I deep condition. I used to use Shea Moisture castor oil deep condition but I switched to Hask Thickening conditioner and adding mayo, egg yolk, essential oils and whisking that together then adding the mixture to my hair and letting that sit a while. It leaves my hair feeling soft and smells great! I always try to let my hair air dry especially if I am not going to press it. I leave it in the towel to get rid of excess water then I proceed to spray it with a leave in conditioner and oil my scalp. I have been using recently Hask Argan Oil leave in and Hair Ors Coconit and Baobab oil (smells great). Then I proceed to braid the hair or put it in a bun (whatever works at the moment). I have been using Marc Anthony curling cream for the curls if I leave them out and it works so well. Eco style gel no longer works on my hair so I had to give it away to a friend. I have not mastered laying my edges becauase I feel like my edges dont want to be laid (no pun intended) but if you have recommendations on how to do this I will gladly look into it.
If I am pressing my hair I quater my hair and dry it with a blow dryer and braid it to keep sections in tact. I allow my flat iron and pressing comb to heat up and carefully section by section I straighten each quater until I finish everything. I also never press my hair bone straight because I don’t ideally find it necessary for my hair. Other than here’s my routine! It’s not the perfect one but it works for me! See pictures below.
So whenever people ask me what is my favorite dish I usually say curry chicken and rice…. and it still is till this day. Very basic of me but what can I say.. I like it simple and flavourful. Now you might be wondering like… why does a black person like you like curry and how is that possible? (I’ve had indians ask me this) and it is simple, Grenada had indian influences from the indentured slaves that were there and the mixing of cultures caused us to appreciate each other’s food. Maybe in another post I will rate the restuarants in Lawrence and talk about the food in the Midwest for a change. Anyways so I definitely like to start by seasoning my chicken. I used chicken wings since they are easier to cook and not as fatty. Chicken drumsticks are a close second to cook for curry. My seasoing technique is simple, I start with a vinegar base (any but I have been using white wine vinegar), then I add lime juice, old bay seasoning, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, dried parsley, soy sauce, green onions, onions, crushed garlic, red and black pepper. I rarely use actual salt unless I ran out of the other seasonings
Chana (Garbanzo beans) canned
curry powder (I have Madras)
So I heat up the pan and add some oil, when that heats up I add onions and curry power and let that ‘burn’ a bit. As that happens add your meat to this and let it brown with curry powder a bit on both sides and then cover so it can simmer and bit. Cut up your potatoes, carrots and drain your garbanzo beans. Uncover the meat and check it a bit, it should have had some water come about from simmering, if not then add some warm water you have on standby. After about 5 minutes add your potatoes and carrots and let that cook for a bit, like 10 mins or more. As it comes to the end of cooking, since this is chicken wings, it will cook really fast so just quickly add the garbanzo beans and let that cook a bit then remove from heat. Hopefully you remember my rice recipe from the last post. I also bought some Kashmiri paneer and spinach, not as good as I thought so if you want to make garlic spinach along with this go ahead. I made this with dahl the last time I cooked it so that works too and I may do this recipe soon. See pics below!
So these results came back wayyyyyyyy faster than I thought it would. I checked my email and saw that my results had been available. I was… shocked, I wondered why it was available so darn quick? In my mind it had to be that it easy to trace my ancestry and it was not as hard as I thought it would be. I must say something about the results bummed me, it did not pick up anything indigenous like I thought it would, so it had me wondering, was I told a lie about my ancestry? I decided that I may do another DNA test with 23 and me to confirm or see if there is a bigger difference. Most have said that 23 and me is much better. But atleast I can say that where I thought most of my ancestry would come from actually did! So here is the break down :
Nigeria – 28% , was expecting this to be higher but this confirms everything based on what I thought and knew about our culture. Now for me to figure out am I Igbo, Edo, Yoruba or….?
Benin & Togo- 16%, not surprised to see this either, close relation to Nigeria and the Kingdom of Benin or Oyo Kingdom.
Cameroon, Congo & Western Bantu People- 14%, This one I was not surprised by either with Cameroon near by !
Mali- 12% , This I was surprised by immensely. Like what? MALI!! … like the kingdom of Mali.. had me wondering if I do have Fulani or Mande ancestry… ooooo!
England & Northwestern Europe – 10% , not surprised, my Dad’s side confirms this all the time
Ivory Coast & Ghana – 6% , Not surprised at all, however was told by an East african I looked very West african.
Scotland – 6%, was expecting more but I was not surprised.
Spain – 3% , how in the hell did I have an ancestor from here? Growing up I loved spanish and wanted to visit Spain but damn…
Ireland- 2%, expected more of this and not the English but hey….
Norway – 1% , what is this and how did it even get here ? Mom I need help….
Eastern Europe & Russia – 1%,I really need help… how? why? My brother said maybe indigenous ancestry here with this but whattttttttt of all things I did not expect to find.
If you have done an ancestry test let me know how your results were and what company you used!
It was overwhelming too, DNA matches with other people brought new questions about who I was and who I was related to. I had to go back and forth asking my dad many questions . I found one relative on my mom’s side but that was it… my Dad’s side dominates it again… as usual.
I believe the reason I was bummed is that I hoped to see a bit of my mom in represented in my ancestry based on what I was told and then I could not figure it out or see it in the results and that upset me.
Will be spending the next couple days exploring the results.
So continuing this whole food series… this is something that my grandmother made maybe in the middle of the week or on a saturday… it is similar much like smothered chicken found in the US among black americans (soul food) although I personally find theirs way greasier. I made this wonderful dish today and took me back to my Grenada days. Of course I did a bit of variation on it which I will note in the recipe below. Also…I barely measure stuff….
Chicken (seasoned), preferably drum sticks but I used leg quaters which were flattened and easy to fry.
Rice – basmati or long grain
ketchup or tomato paste or pasta sauce
green onions – chopped
onion – chopped
oil for frying
water or white cooking wine
Note : you can use a chicken fry batter to substitute for the flour and breadcrumbs mixture.
Boiled rice is easy and anyone can do but just in case. In a small pot bring some water to a boil , add salt (if you prefer) and cook till desired texture is reached. Drain and let it stand.
In a pan heat some oil, while this is happening mix your flour, breadcrumbs, some black pepper, and paprika in a bowl.Add the seasoned chicken to the mixture and make sure it is evenly coated. Put the coated chicken in the pan and fry on each side golden brown (don’t worry too much about it cooking properly) then remove and put aside. Continue this until you are out of chicken. Add a bit more oil and let heat then add a bit of the flour mixture you fried the chicken with in the pan along with onions, crushed garlic, green onions, parsley and sautee a bit with the oil and flour until it turns into a paste. Then add your water (or wine), tomato paste or whatever you chose, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper and paprkia and then mix that together until it looks a bit like a sauce. Add your fried chicken, and cover to let simmer. I added a bit of shredded cabbage to mine so if you want you can do that or you can leave it be. If you realize I hardly add salt since other things contain salt here but feel free to add as desired. After about 5 mins check to see if you need more water or not, make sure chicken is cooked and remove from heat.
Side note : if you would like to know how I season chicken I can do a post about that
Alright, so a few weeks ago I said I was waiting on ancestry DNA results ! Well I am about two weeks away from getting my results. My DNA is currently being analyzed so once I have the results I will post them here and share them with my brother as he also has no clue on his ancestry. I am so excited!! I am wondering what I will discover and I am want to also take a 23 and me test to compare the results too and see which is more detailed. Count down begins!