by Christina Fung Excerpt from work in progress My mom’s older sister, or my Aunty Pearl lives in Guyana, a country located right under Venezuela on the coast of South America. My mom’s voice can often be heard throughout the whole house when she’s talking on the phone: “Oh God, Pearl, I’d love to come visit you again!” But I ask myself, what’s so great about Guyana? Sure, there is the lush tropical weather, plentiful coconut trees, and parrots, but after my last visit in January 1995, for my fifth birthday, Guyana was no paradise. It was a foreign country. All I knew about Guyana at the time was that my parents were from there, that my cousins on my mom’s side still lived there, and that they had no winter. There was no winter there. For once, I could spend my January birthday under the warm sun. When we arrived in Georgetown, Guyana, I remember thinking it was weird that there were more trees than buildings. What was even weirder was that cows roamed the streets. I remembered we pulled up to a house, which was surrounded by a white iron gate, my mom explained that this was the house she grew up in. She lived there until she was 21 years old, and now, 40 years later, decided moved to Canada and live here. Aunty Pearl looked a lot like my mom, except she was taller, slimmer, and had short black hair. I noticed she sounded a bit similar to my mom, except with a heavier accent. She was also a lot nicer than my mom as she offered us candies and treats after she greeted us. Inside the house, I saw something I had never seen before. A long green net that was suspended above the bed. My sister and I stared at it for while, and then began playing with it. Aunty Pearl came over and said, “If you break the mosquito net, you’ll be sorry.” I didn’t fully understand what she meant until a week later when the mosquitoes of Guyana decided to feast on the new foreign blood in the house. ** Fung-bioChristina Fung is a third year student at UTSC, majoring in both Human Geography and City Studies. Her academic interests are focused on social and urban geography, and she hopes to have a career as an urban planner one day. Christina is a bit of a joker and loves to make sure everyone is having a good time. Christina loves listening to music, baking, working out at the gym, and hanging out with friends.]]>

One Comment

  1. In middle school there was this debate on whether it’s said “chicken curry” or “curry chicken” which somehow sparked a bigger debate about how Guyanese people are not ‘real’ West Indians because Guyana is considered a part of South America. Your piece reminded me of how untrue that is! Your experience sounds very similar to mine and many that I’ve heard before right down to the white iron gates; whether it be Trinidad, Grenada, or Barbados. You mentioned how different your aunt in Guyana is from your mom. I’ve often wonder if the difference between my easy-going uncles that live in Jamaica and my stern father in the GTA is due to the climate change.
    Regardless, awesome read. Makes me want to visit Guyana and climb a tree one day!

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