How to Survive a Caribbean Family When You’re the “Shy One”

White sandy beaches aren’t included.

1. Brace yourself for all the “Aunties” and “Uncles” (no biological relation). They will want to kiss and pinch your cheeks no matter how old you get.

2. Delude yourself into thinking that fat-shaming is a sign of love. They mean well?

3. Wear your hair down so your Aunt (biological this time) stops announcing to everyone that your hairline is receding. She’s obsessed.

4. Have your index finger ready at all times. You’ll need it to accentuate your speech or point to the beat of the music when a good soca or reggae song comes on.

5. Never pronounce roti like “roadie.” Be quick to ridicule anyone who does.

6. Don’t say the word dhal if you can avoid it. They think it sounds weird when you say it.

7. Have a dog on hand. Pet them and kiss them on the mouth as your family reminds you that “back home, dogs belong outside.”

8. Become a doctor or a lawyer or, at the very least, get a PhD.

9. Smile when they compare you to your cousin whose only accomplishments were being a precocious toddler who read a lot. Spoken word poet is now just as good as being a doctor.

10. Bask in the glory of a fellow islander like Kamala Harris. She survived and so can you!