1. Eat soup joumou….
….and other authentically Haitian foods (some of which I actually don’t like as much as I pretend to like akra, yam, akasan, and boiled eggs + salty fish+ beets for Easter. Sorry grandma..but don’t worry, I’ll still clean my plate when I come visit. :)).
2. Prioritize what holiday January 1st really represents…
Haitian Independence Day > New Years Day.
3. Kiss people on the cheeks…
….even if they don’t seem like the cheek-kissing type, and especially if they’ve openly identified themselves as Haitian.
4. Say “Sak pase????!!!”…..
….sure it’s a little blan to do since there are other more common phrases Haitians actually use to greet each other, but nothing quite says Haitian like “sak pase?! n’ap boule!”.
5. Use l’huile mascreti (castor oil)…for….everything….
…what doesn’t this wonder oil work for?! Good for headaches, hair growth, digestion, toe fungus? (Ew). Yup.
6. Boil tea when I’m sick…
….what else would I do when I’m sick?
7. Use my Haitian 5th sense….
….which is the ability to identify Haitians instantly. If you’re Haitian, you definitely have this gift too.
8. Greet everyone I suspect to be Haitian (and try to be their friend)….
….naturally once I’ve identified you as Haitian, I just have to try and get to know you. Automatic cool points. 🙂
9. Prepare all food and drinks the Haitian way…
….What’s rice pudding without carnation milk and anise? What’s tuna fish without hot sauce, salt, pepper and lemon? What’s lemonade without vanilla essence? What’s ANY savory dish without MAGGI? And why is Haitian bread so darn good?….
10. Speak Cr-English (Creole + English mixed together)….
….as an homage to my Haitian family, I sometimes speak Cr-English with my fellow Haitian youths and say things like, “Look at that dress, girl! Li bien nice!” or “Partner pa’m! Can I get those notes from Anatomy class, tanpri?”. And naturally, insert the words “mezanmi!” or “woy!” whenever necessary.
11. Get dressed the Haitian way….
…You know…put on your under-garments first, THEN do your hair, THEN do your makeup, THEN put your dress on at the very end of the process, right before you go out. [Am I the only one who got dressed this way as a kid?….]
12.Talk about the revolution (and most other Haitian historical events) like I was there…
….sometimes I catch people giving me the side-eye when I say things like “Giiiirl, you don’t even know. January 1, 1804 was such a POWERFUL day. My dude Toussaint L’Ouverture was like…’listen UP blan!’…..”.
13. Listen to kompa music….
…especially in the car and especially on lazy Sunday mornings with the sun shining through my window.
14. Refer to Haiti as “home” when people ask me where I am from…
….just because my passport says I’m American doesn’t mean anything and you can’t tell me nothing!
15. Say “It’s a Haitian thing”….
…to people who just don’t get it. Some people won’t ever understand. They can’t.
16. Replace people’s names with terms of endearment….….everyone is “doudou” “chouchou”, “tootoo”, “booboo”, “cherie”, or “darliiing”.
17. Support the claims that 50% of all black celebrities are Haitian….
…because every year, it is said that at least one mega celebrity is Haitian! Yes, YOU 50 Cent, Usher, Gorilla Zoe and maybe even Missy Elliot (sak paseeeee girl?!).
18. Keep a Haitian flag in my car…
…and of course it’s wrapped around the head of my chair! Duhhhh.
19. Defend Haiti at all costs….
…and identify myself as Haitian when people start talking smack about Haiti…or just start talking aything about Haiti period…
20. Show an absurd amount of love to Haitians… ….no exceptions and by any means necessary.