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Deza Nguembock channels Iman, Grace Jones, Oprah and Miriam Makeba in women’s right project

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As a child, I would question everything. And unfortunately, growing up has not really helped. I always felt like I had too much to say, like I didn’t know how to express myself, nor to control my thoughts. And finally I grew up becoming a shy woman who was afraid to say too much and to be misunderstood.

2018 was supposed to be different. I wanted this year to be the year I would let go of my fear, express my creativity and take risks. So when I had the opportunity to work with the E & H LAB Agency, I did not hesitate.

The women’s condition has always been a subject close to my heart. Coming from a country where women’s rights are not always respected, I realized very quickly that in order to help others, I had to understand the challenge of being a woman in this world, myself. It took me a long time to understand that I was a feminist. Because in Haiti, no one really accepts this term: “feminist”. If you dare to think, speak and act for women, you are labeled as a lesbian, an angry woman, or you just seeking fro drama to keep yourself busy. Yet, women’s rights in Haiti should be a major issue, because what we deal with in this country, Is the under-representation of women in all private and public offices, an extremely high rate of non legal abortion, public violence against women, or the normalization of sexual harassment. Growing up as a girl in Haiti is learning very young to repress your sexuality, to engaged in affairs with men who are 2 to 3 times your age and to lower your expectations in life. So I quickly realized that the fight for women’s rights in Haiti is not to be continued, because it never really started. And the first step was to change the stereotypes.

In 2016, I had my first project on women that you can watch here.

I wanted to understand the youth’s perception of the subject. So I had gathered young people from different countries around the world to whom I had given the chance to talk about women. In 2017, I celebrated through music. You will read the article here. I wanted to highlight the men and women of Haiti who understood the theme of women and who instead of addressing it in a sexist way, had put forward the Haitian woman in its beauty and strength. And also I wanted to talk about Haiti. Lol but you will understand, the woman is an important and recurrent theme for me.

In this project, I had the opportunity to do something that I had never done before. Attack the stereotype that reduces the right of women to a fight for the rights a one category of women. I had the chance to celebrate the advancement of women’s rights under the theme of diversity.

Thanks to Deza Nguembock, a Cameroonian entrepreneur who lives in Paris. I understood that beauty could rhyme with success, handicap, black and grace. Deza shows us that there is no limit to our will and that we should not let society’s standards stop us from accomplishing our goals. She’s a successful black disabled woman. She breaks all stereotypes.

So through this project and in collaboration with the agency E & H LAB, The hotel of Vendome Paris, Naomy-ice for the Make up, LVS cosmetics for the hairstyles, Jean Pierre Nakpane for the photos, Do Thu for the clothes and Lucas Rouif for the videos, I was lucky to be able to express my creativity as never before by paying tribute to iconic women who marked their time but also by showing that women’s rights are everyone’s business.

Deza Nguembock in Grace Jones 

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Deza Nguembock in Oprah Winfrey 

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Deza Nguembock in Iman 

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Deza Nguembock in Miriam Makeba

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Read the article of the Agency E&H LAB about the project here.

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Haiti, the real land of Freedom. Why you should go deeper than Donald Trump’s statement

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Usually, I am not the type to speak my mind. But I thought that this time, I had to talk on a subject that touches more than the country where I come from, but a whole culture.

Yesterday was January 12th. While this day was to mark a moment of retirement and compassion in memory of the victims of the earthquake of January 12, 2010. What made the front page was the statement of the President of the United States, in which he had treated some countries, among others Haiti “shithole country”.

I don’t agree with this and neither should you. Matter fact I shouldn’t even have to explain to you why I don’t agree. But now that I got your attention, let me talk to you about Haiti.

And I’m not here to tell you that Haiti was the first black Republic to gain it’s independence. Nor that we won the biggest army at the time. No. It goes deeper than that.

People like Donald Trump take it as a game to use Haiti as an example to remind their people that we are poor, that we came with HIV, that we are bad immigrants and now the latest that our country is a shithole. He’s not the first one to use Haiti as an example to remind the world why black people should stay mentally, economically and physically enslaved. France has been doing it for years while trying to sit its hegemony on Martinique and Guadeloupe.

But there’s something that people all around the world should understand, whether you’re black, white, wherever you come from and most importantly if you’re Haitian.

We, Haitian, as a nation, we are never to be defeated.

Because, Haiti, the beautiful piece of island, in the south of Florida is the real land of Freedom. When Haiti was discovered in 1492, there was people living there and believing in freedom and equity for all. We have been trying not to drown ever since western civilisations had laid eyes on us and ever since they have been fighting to control us.

We are never to be defeated. Before we had Henry Christophe, we already had Caonabo. He stood up against the spaniards before they even enslaved the inhabitants of Quisqueya. Before we had Dessalines, we had Henri the cacique who escaped to the mountains with a few Indians and fought until their last breath, and welcomed whoever were brave and lucky enough to escape and fight next to them. This was way before the Africans came. That was way before we got to learn from them. Way before they would bring their knowledge of thousands of year to us.

Haiti is the land of Freedom. The first country to ever recognize black people as equal to white. You need to understand that Toussaint Louverture was already talking about all humans being entitled to freedom and the right to live a decent life, while Victor Hugo ( the defensor of the poor and freedom) years after was still a racist.

Don’t disrespect the country of my ancestors. We May be poor, but we deserve respect, honor and dignity. The same pride they’ve been trying to take away from us for the past 214 years. We never accepted oppression from anybody: Not from the Spanish, not from the French, not from the Americans,  nor the germans , not even from our own brothers.

When Haiti was a free independent Republic, put in quarantine in a world where only you could trade between white supremacist countries, the United-States were still enslaving black people. It’s funny that 200 years later, they are still the among the two countries in the world that haven’t signed the Convention of children right. And since 1990, more than half of the children executions in the world were made by The United-States of America.

Now I’m not here to judge. But, don’t disrespect the country of my ancestors. The value of a country doesn’t depend on how heavy your pocket is but rather to your contribution to make this world a better place and to what you’re bringing to this world’s heritage. And Haiti deserves her seat at the table.

We showed to the world that another way was possible when dozen of countries had lost hope. We made Haiti a welcoming land of freedom for whomever’s liberty was threaten.

Now you are not the one to tell us where to go and what to do. The freedom to choose who can move around this planet don’t belong to anyone. If Americans “expats” are allowed to move wherever they want, so does everybody else.

In Haiti we say< no job is worthless> We value working hard for a living. We value waking early in the morning and sleeping late at night. We value doing something, whatever, whether than nothing. We value grit. Trying over and over again. Most of Haitians go to the United-States because they have a vision. Some of us, travel because we feel like, we are citizens of the world and we can conquer it. Some are looking for better opportunities. In all cases, we bring knowledge, hope and culture to wherever we go.
Hegemony and power go by cycle. Don’t forget, that 200 years ago, France was the most powerful country of its era. We Haitian, as a nation, can never be defeated. Because Haiti is the real land of Freedom.

 

Ayibobo

5 things you can only do in Haiti

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2018 is starting and I’m here listing all the things that I want to do during the year. I’m not a resolution type of person. I never stick to them so I never make any. But this year, I’m trying to do better. So I write them down. And on top of the list, I have: Travel. Because yes, every year I try to visit at least one country, sometimes more and new cities. But it’s always hard to write about them because of my lifestyle and also because I’m quite lazy (yes, another thing that is on my list and that I’m trying to change).
I was lucky enough to start the new year, in Haiti, with my family and friends. A short but well deserved escapade that allowed me to re-visit my country and discover it at new angles. But while doing so, I realized how unique Haiti was. When I talk about Haiti to my friends, or when I invite you to visit it, I tend to generalize everything. To talk about the main reasons why you should come to Haiti: the history, the culture, the touristic places. But really, what makes us unique, it’s the little things that us, locals we do. The little unusual habits that we have, that may at first look weird, impossible but that make Haiti a must-place to visits. Because it’s always fun to hear people speaking in “crenglish”, walking in front of colorful cars, and playing soccer by the beach. So forget about everything that you’ve learned about Haiti so far, if you’re planning on visiting, here are 5 things that you can only do in Haiti.

5. Buying a “Papita” in the streets

Before leaving Haiti, I didn’t even think that you could find plantain Chips outside of the country. And I still remember the first time that I was able to grab me some in France. A life changing moment. But really nothing can compare to getting out of your car and run after a “machann papita” in the streets. It’s a weird feeling of seeing people turn around while you’re running and slowly start to help you call the seller that was walking away, his little basket over his head. Papita is the Haitian name for dry plantain. They are usually homemade and sold by hawker. Little snack that you can grab while waiting traffic, the papita is usually sold for 15 gourdes (GDES), approximatively 0.24 cents. Papita is eaten very salty in Haiti, so make sure you grab yourself something to drink as well.

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4. Taking a moto taxi

Riding a moto is not unique to Haiti, but in Haiti, it is used as part of the transportation system. One of the fastest way to get to any place. Probably not the cheapest ( it varies from city to city) nor the safest ( they don’t use helmet). But it is for sure an incredible experience. You get to visit the cities, and listen to the driver telling you about his life story. If you’re not afraid of taking a little risk, Taking a Moto taxi is definitely made for you.

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3. Drinking a beer with “chemizèt”

Now that Is something. Actually I dont even know how to translate “chemizèt” in English. Among everything, this is probably the most Haitian thing that I will have to explain to you in the entire article. The national Haitian beer is called “Prestige” . Without bragging, I can guarantee that it is one of the best beers that you will ever taste. 2 times winner of the gold medal of the world beer cup¹. But to really experience the Prestige as you’re suppose to, you need to let it in the fridge until it’s frozen. When the entire bottle gets covered with a light layer of ice, that is when you can drink it. And that is actually what they call chemizèt. (if one of you know the proper way to say it in English, please help a sister because, I’m lost over here). Anyway, the prestige beer is one of a kind. It’s a lager beer, very light and refreshing. You can find it anywhere in Haiti as the brand, the only national one so far, covers almost 98% of the market. However the price may extremely vary depending on where you’re buying it. In local businesses, you can find it for 60 GDES approximatively 0.96 cents. In bars, it can go up to 3$USD.

Don’t forget to drink wisely and never drink and drive.

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2. Taking a Kamyonèt

I can flex, when I’m in my kamyonèt. The kamonyèt is one of the oldest system of transportation in Haiti. It is a common transportation, so there is not a lot of room for privacy. Matter fact, there is no privacy at all. In your 10 minutes ride in the kamyonèt, that is when you will know all the latest politics news, or what happened at this big concert last night. Squeezed between 2 persons that you probably will never see again in your life, you get to listen to this girl talking on the phone to her boyfriend, to this student talking about her homework, to the mum going grocery shopping, while one guy hooked in the back of the car is yelling at every stop so that you don’t miss yours. Forget about the American barber shop, welcome to the Haitian Kamyonèt. But despite all, the kamyonèt can be a nice way to discover Haiti, going through different places of the capital or in the provinces. The cars are usually very colorful with random slogan like “Dieu est Bon: God is Good”. It’s cheap, starting at 15 Gdes: 0.24 cents. When full, the cars can be hot, as they are open air, but the ride is never too long anyway

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  1. Buying “Fritay” in the streets

You have probably heard of this before. The Fritay, which is actually one of the Haitian most famous street food is known as our fast food. Everything is fried, hence the name “fritay”: fried plantain, chicken wings, fish, Taso (fried beef), the famous Griyo ( fried pork), with some pikliz (our famous spicy salad). As soon as it starts to get dark, the little lamps light up in the street, and people start aligning in front of the sellers. They are the best cookers, sellers you will find in the entire country. Reason of their unconditional success: even when made at home, the fritay is never as good as the ones you buy in the streets. While in front of the seller, you can try yourself at “machande”, this Haitian habit in which you try to make a deal with the seller by asking for more with less money. So go on and ask for a “degi”. They might say no, but again you might end up with a bigger plate and a fuller pocket.

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Hello-Crepuscule-fritay

P.S: a special thank you to my friend, Marie-loune who agreed to wander in the streets with me every time that I wanted to, who accepted to be my model and most importantly for the incredible images that she took of me.

  1. http://www.miaminewtimes.com/restaurants/haitian-beer-prestige-takes-gold-medal-at-world-beer-cup-competition-6566879

When Wendelle vent, 1: The dictatorship of The visa

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This is my fourth attempt at writing this paper. While everything is clear in my head, I can’t seem to find the best way to express myself. I get caught up in this fear where confessing feels like stripping down. And talking about Haiti tends to snatch away all my objectivity. Why? Because Haiti is the country of my heart and my soul. It is this land where I see myself growing old. It is this country that I will teach my children to love and respect. It was this land that taught me to forgive, to resign myself, to be courageous, to never stop trying and to love.

I loved Haiti when I had to talk about it after January 12th. I loved Haiti when people were still living under the tents. I loved Haiti after the many failed elections. I loved Haiti in every situations, with the bad decisions, with the fears, the protests, the 2 carnivals a year. I loved Haiti with the blackouts, with the roads … no, no road. I loved Haiti with the 1 dollar-40 gourdes exchange rate and I love it with the 1 dollar-100 gourdes exchange rate. I loved Haiti, when the Prestige beer was sold at 25 gourdes and I love it with the concerts at $ 100 USD. I loved Haiti with Chikungunia, with the UN and its cholera. I loved Haiti without knowing why. I loved it when I had to leave it, and I loved it every time that I had to come back. Because when I have to talk about Haiti, every time I have to explain without knowing why, I remember that I know how to forgive, that I know how to resign myself. I remember that I am brave, I never stop trying and I’m able to love.

But I sometimes rebel against nonsense. Against little things. Against a blocked road, against the flag being misused, against the “Miss Universe” being cyber bullied over some grammar mistakes. Or, against those artists who think they are superior because they have the opportunity to travel. Let’s talk about travel. Sensitive subject in Haiti. As it is an important part of my blog, I thought it would be interesting if I were to address some of the issues linked to it. Because in Haiti, when we talk about travel, we must think about mass emigration, we must think about the boat people, those who cross the entire American continent to get to the United States and find themselves stranded on the Mexican border, we must talk about the Dominican Republic, about Chile, about those who today face the TPS dilemma. But as simple as it looks, talking about those issues means to talk about a failed state with bad economy, lame politics, and where people are left hopeless and without opportunities. This is not what I signed up for when I started Hello-Crepuscule. It goes against our principle. Hello Crepuscule reveals the dream, it is the possibility to say that as long as the sun will rise, there will always be the possibility to create. So if I can not address the True causes that push my compatriots to wander from country to country. Let me vent and scream my disagreements with those artists who perpetuate the dictatorship of the American visa, selling the dream that defines success by your ability to perform in a little bar in Brooklyn and thus far minimize the work of those who are able to fill a room at carrefour and make an entire youth dance.

In a country where we have the mentality of “leaving at all costs”, where the people are ready to give up family and friends to take a chance with the unknown, with all these problems related to the fact that we are badly treated at the international level, but we are still persuaded that it is better to be denigrated by strangers than by our compatriots, I find it insulting that an artist finds it convenient to use his visa every time as a weapon to attack other artists. It is an offense to all these artists who do not have the possibility to travel, but worse, to all those Haitians who are denied visas or who know that day after day, they will never have the opportunity or the possibility to leave this little piece of land to which they find themselves attached.

I do not criticize those lucky enough to be able to explore other horizons. And even better if their art allows them to visit the world. Nor do I criticize those who are proud of their success and feel the need to express it. I do not even criticize this new beefing trends that are spreading more and more, and whose only intention is to socially destroy the competitors, or to feed the youth with obscenities, without any intellectual input. To be honest, I’m not criticizing yet. Art should be without limits nor restrictions in its forms of expression. I just wonder when our creative capacity, our source of inspiration has dried up so much that our only way to make buzz is to make fun of a compatriot who does not have a visa.

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When will our hit-makers realize that even our senators are so afraid of losing their visas, that they can not pass laws that benefit the country without Uncle Sam’s approval? What if we made a clash about that? When will our rappers decide to talk about Chile? Not by mocking our brothers who go there, but by talking about the fact that since 2016, in terms of money transfer to Haiti, Chile is in second position after the United States? A contribution to our economy of more than 36 million dollars¹ in 2016. Since we’re talking about traveling, what about the fact that a France-Haiti round trip plane ticket costs nearly 2000 euros, while the France-Dominican Republic only costs 1000? Meanwhile The Dominican Republic is on the other side of the island. When did rap become so lazy that our young artists refuse to tackle the real problems? Or, has the leveling down finally gnawed at one of our last pillars of expression: music?

I will continue to sell dreams. No, I will continue to sell the opportunity to create, informing about the beauty and possibilities of traveling. But if you have the chance to visit other countries as an artist, continue to sell the good side of Haiti, continue to educate the world or at least the fifty Haitians that would fill the small bar where you are performing in downtown miami because like everyone else they are afraid or do not feel ready to pay a ticket of 2000 euros to come show support to these artists who do not have the visa yet. So please, remove this condescending tone, this mockery. For you, it may seem trivial, or just light to joke about these artists who like the mass of our 12 million compatriots do not have the possibility to travel. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. And that would be tantamount to say that even you, as an artist, you minimize the extent of your influence or underestimate your talent.

  1. Source: http://lenouvelliste.com/article/172849/les-haitiens-au-chili-ont-transfere-36-millions-de-dollars-en-2016You can also read:1. 10 things you did not know about Haiti 
  2.  The chronicles of a Haitian girl in Argentina 
  3. 7 reasons to visit Taiwan 

A day in Miami

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There must be at least a thousand different things to do in miami. It’s crazy that I know so little about this city and its surroundings even after I have lived there for about a year. Miami means the sun, the heat, the loud music in the cars, parties that last forever, the sea, pretty girls in bikini and spicy food. Damn, looks like Haiti!

I like everything about Miami. I can say that, because, as I said earlier, I know so little. But my God, this city awakens in you a joy of life that invades your heart as soon as you arrive at the airport. And then you try to live life quietly, despising this crazy happiness, but looking around you and the palms that happily rise in front of the colored houses make you forget all of your good resolutions.

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Believe me, I wanted to hate this city. For example, I would say that the whole area of Florida is not fun if you do not have a car. So if you are thinking of traveling to Miami, it would be wise to think first and foremost of an efficient transportation system. And by efficient, I mean a car, because going to South-beach by bus is not very convenient. But unfortunately, my list of bad adventures in Miami is not what brought you here, right? So without further delay, I will quickly share a small list of activities that you can do in Miami in a day. A list that I concocted just for your happiness.

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Have you ever read an article on Hello Crépuscule? So it’s clear that you know my passion for twilight! Though! Just by seeing the name of the blog, Y’a pas photo. So it makes more sense that for me, the ideal day should start with a magnificent sunrise. A sunrise, slow, magical, with all these magnificent colors that make you melt, this joyous understanding between the sun and the clouds, and you, little lucky person who have the chance to attend this show. But what is a sunrise if the horizon of the sea does not extend endlessly? And that’s why living in Miami is great, because you can find the sea everywhere. I will suggest a small beach named Oleta River State Park Beach. It opens around 5:30 am and offers all kinds of activities: canoeing, kayaking, or fishing. Prices may vary by activity but to have access to the beach you must pay about $ 6 USD. The setting is a bit far from the crowded beaches of south-beach. You will find yourself in a pleasant environment, wooded, where you can give free rein to your imagination. That being said, do not lose yourself too much, because after that sunrise in this park, you will have to find strength to bathe. Because the sea is clear and warm.

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Hello Crepuscule Miami

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What to do after a good swim? I asked myself the question. I wanted something original. And then a friend called me to invite me to go iceskating. I’ll stop you: I never skated in my life but the opportunity seemed too good not to jump, so I slipped. Well okay, my pun was a little nil. You should be used to it by now. All this to say that I found the idea brilliant and therefore I was ready for the adventure. The experience was just unique. We chose to go to Pines Ice Arena, about thirty minutes away from Miami. It was a bit crowded, but I think that must vary according to the season. I could summarize this adventure in a few words: the place was icy and I was wearing a little light dress. For nearly two hours I clung to the wall by fear of breaking a tooth, my heart pounding, watching some 8 year olds kids doing pirouettes on the track. And all this beautiful show for only $ 8 USD. I literally humiliated myself. So, I invite you to do the same.

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By the time you leave Pines Ice Arena, it will be the end of the day. At this point, you’ll either feel a pain all over your body if you’ve fallen while skating or you’ll be extremely hungry. In both cases, you will be leaving for a calmer activity and one also more touristic. So I have no choice but to offer you a walk on Bayside. How to describe? Bayside is pretty much the Miami you see in the movies. These are all the stereotypes you have, for having watched too many hip-hop videos. Does that remind you of something? Lots of Lights, long coconut trees stretching as far as the eye can see, shops, restaurants, boats, the sea. All this in a festive atmosphere. You will be able to take pictures that will allow you to boast in front of your friends. You can eat in the best restaurants, drink in the best bars, and you can visit the coolest arts centers. Basically you will have the opportunity to do any kind of tourist activities. And If what I listed is not your type of activities, you will content yourself with a long walk. You will watch the sunset. The city will slowly plunge into the shadow and in the blink of an eye, the world will stop. A magical moment that very few have the chance to live because at no moment, the pace of life decelerates. They will turn on the lights, and amazed, you’ll attend the birth of the night life.. And while you will post your photo on Instagram or Facebook to summarize your day, next to the usual comment “I’m in Miami B * tch”, do not forget to tag “#travelwithwendelle”. This way, I too can live your adventures.

How to survive wedding season when you’re 25 and single

I don’t know why people choose to get married during the summer. I mean it’s hot, humid, and you get easily dizzy. You wear uncomfortable dresses and talk to people you barely know. It’s probably the reason why summer is the wedding season. Because it’s only fun for the newly weds. As for myself I would rather go to a cook out or something, but I have a lot of friends and as a good friend, I have to live this wonderful moment with them. Except that I’m 25 and at that age most of your friends are in long term relationship, parents or getting married. And if you are single, If you are dating or if you have no plans of getting married, this wedding season can turn into a nightmare. It’s only the beginning of July and I’m already on my 4th wedding, and as you can see, I survived, because I realized that I developed some superpower. No, I’m kidding. But, with some of the advises that I’m willing to share with you, you too can survive wedding season if you’re 25 and single.

1. Stay away from the elders

They are the worst. Specially if they know you, or have seen you grow. I guess in their head, they think they are being considerate and caring. But asking: “sweetie, when is it going to be your turn” only makes people uncomfortable, because if we knew we would send invitations. Clearly the day, is not about you but about the newly weds. But as you can’t say any slick comment to anybody older than 40 (this is my caribbean side taking over), please stay away from the elders and avoid yourself some epic clap-back moments.

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2. Always look your best

Because, well, everything gets better with a nice dress. But really, when you are comfortable in what you wearing, you are more confident and it shows. Plus you don’t want anybody to say that if you’re not married it’s because you have no style or don’t know how to dress. Be the cool friend that every one wants to strike a pose with.

3. Do not get caught not smiling

A great mind in a great body. As much as you look good, your mental has to be strong as well. And if really, you’re not in the happiest mood, well you will have to fake it. Because, first of all, a wedding is always a happy moment. And second, you don’t want anybody to ask: “why you’re not dancing? Why you’re not talking? Why you’re not smiling? Is it because you’re sad?” Honey you don’t have time to extrapolate, just smile and be the light of the party.

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4. Go to the bathroom when they are throwing the bouquet

This goes to my ladies, because the men don’t have to go through this ritual. You know, standing in the middle of a bunch of ladies and trying to catch the bouquet that will determine if you will be the next one to get a ring on it, as if this was the ultimate goal of your life? However, if we put aside the pettiness, this can really be a fun part of the wedding. Except the fact that this little ritual can be a hard time when you reach the age to be married. It’s the biggest challenge, because when you participate you look desperate. I had an old lady telling me once, that catching the bouquet won’t bring me a husband. Not that I thought it would be the case, but I kind of felt ashamed anyway. Yet, the last time I decided to not play the game, one of my friends told me that this type of mentality was the reason why I was still alone. You can normally bet that since that day I avoid this challenge and I hide myself in the bathroom. Because you can have 99 problems but clearly debating on catching a bouquet ain’t one.

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5. Go with your girlfriends

Don’t ever go alone! But better go with one or 2 of your girl’s squad. Because not only It helps you avoid questions like: “where is your boyfriend?” or “Is he your boyfriend?” but also you have somebody to keep you company and who will have a better conversation than the ups and down of your love life.

6. If you go with your boo don’t stay together

Sometimes, you have no choice than accompany your significant other to a wedding. And you certainly will face question like: “when are you making the big jump”. Chances are, you probably already chose the date, but if you haven’t, it will be too much of a headache for people to go back and forth between the two of you. Plus, those questions aside from making you uncomfortable also put some pressure not only on you, but also on your partner. And this is the type of discomfort that you’re trying to avoid.

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7. Do not get drunk

May be Because alcohol makes everything blurry, takes away all your aptitude. May be because alcohol loosen your temper. May be because being drunk at a wedding, you can look pathetic. I can go on, the list is long. Have fun, but don’t get drunk.

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8. Stay away from the single guys

We all know that wedding is the best place to find girls. I mean, with all the negativity they are throwing at you, you get depressed, resentful and you might end up doing things that you will regret. And trust me, all the single guys are here for that. You might want to avoid that as well. Because, It’s gonna be too much of a headache to deal with what might come after that, and, Honey, you don’t need that type of negativity in your life.

9. Don’t try to explain yourself or make a story up

You don’t owe explanation to anybody for the choices you make in your life. You don’t need their validation nor disapproval. Being in your twenties, you’re allowed to make mistakes, enjoy life or mess it up a little bit. Your excuse is that you’re young. Don’t try to make up stories. Because as we say in Haitian creole “ twou manti pa fon”. Which means a lie will always catch up with you, and you don’t want to follow up with a story that you made up to avoid some uncomfortable moments and that you can barely remember. Own your choices, as long as they make you happy.

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10. Eat because food is life

I know I said the wedding was the time to celebrate with your friends while they are going through one of the biggest steps of their life. But really, after the kiss, all we care about is what is on the menu. Food never disappoint you and we all know that you’d rather answer all these clumsy questions with a full stomach. So eat because food is life.

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5 life lesson that I learned while having a drink with Phyllisia Ross

Version Française

In my craziest dreams, I’ve always thought that I was bestie with Phyllisia Ross. You know, I saw us, hanging out, listening to classical music, her playing piano and me drinking tea. I know, your girl has some of the weirdest thoughts, but one of the things that I’ve learned during those past few years of shamelessly working for Hello Crepuscule, is that you have to “Fake it until you make it”. That has really been my motto and I truly believe that if you fake it hard enough one day, one day, you will have the chance to make it. And when that day comes, man, you better seize it. That’s kind of what happened.

I met Phyllisia Ross, last year at an event organized by the Embassy of Haiti in France where she was performing and I approached her. Did I say that even in my dreams, she has always looked unapproachable? Well That was exactly how I felt while approaching her. I thought that she would act like a Diva and not even talk to me, and frankly I wouldn’t even blame her. But she had to surprise me. So, here I am, one year later, in this bar. She’s sitting in front me, sipping some wine, talking about Miles Davis, Cote des arcadins and how she’s planning on discovering more places in Haiti. I’m excited but I’m trying to act professional, and while I’m listening to her, talking about her career, her last music “can’t resist” that you can watch here, I realize that through her, I’m learning. I was thinking about how I could share her fashion style with you, her simple makeup and cute short locs, or maybe how she’s changing the music game by remaining true to herself, by who inspired her, but at this exact moment, nothing was clearer than the fact that I realized , I, as a young Haitian woman could also have a positive impact on the world. So I thought I’d share with you 5 life lesson, that I learned while having a drink with Phyllisia Ross.

Phyllisia Ross Wendelle Theodore Hello Crepusucle

1. Be Down to earth
That was probably the first thing That I learned from her: Phyllisia is realistic. I was already shocked when she had replied to my DM on Instagram, but listening to her talk, I realized that she’s very humble and down to earth. Phyllisia describes herself as somebody that has a focus outlook on the world. This reminds me that being realistic is one of the best quality ever. Not letting your accomplishments blind you from what is real and what is not, can be a reminder, a motivation for you to do more.

2. Don’t limit yourself
Phyllisia’s speech makes more sense to me because she’s a living proof of what she’s says. For her, you shouldn’t limit yourself. In whatever you do Make sure what you do is quality. Think about it, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should limit yourself to only this “thing”. Or just because you belong to one community, doesn’t mean you should only talk about it. I relate so much to this, specially with hello Crepuscule. When people don’t understand why I don’t write about the same things I used to write about when I started. You have the choice to explore all the opportunities that you have in front of you, why should you only take one just because you’re good at it? And because Phyllisia’s variety of music is just what you need to remind you that you have a field of adventures in front of you, go ahead and be a butterfly.
P.S: My puns go from bad to worse. I just can’t help it.

3. You should live a life of adventures
Talking about adventures, when asked where she gets all of her inspiration, Phyllisia says “: I’m living my life, I’m experiencing stuff, and that’s what my music is about”. Traveling from america to Europe, she brings the best of everywhere she goes, while keeping such an originality in her music. And for me this goes right after “don’t limit yourself”. Because once you’re ready in your mind, when you think that you should and you can live a life full of potential, you just have to go ahead and do it.

4. Be Fearless
I hope that what I’m writing looks as clear to you as they are in my head. Because while having Phyllisia sitting in front of me, in this little bar on “Les Champs-Elysées”, I realized that, none of this would have been possible if I had worried about the fear of talking to her. It only took me one step to go and talk to her and forget about the stress that I had. Therefor, when Phyllisia talked about fear, her speech just touched me. For her you shouldn’t be afraid to go against what people do. Be fearless and do what you gotta do.

5. Always be grateful for the community where you come from
During my time talking to her, I asked Phyllisia why doesn’t she have more music in creole?Does she actually speak creole” Why did she waited for so long before having her first concert in Haiti? Who does she look up as Haitian artist. Where does she like to visit when she’s in Haiti? The inner Haitian in me was so eager to claim her and keep her for me. But she made me realize one thing: “You can represent an entire culture by being the best version of yourself and by enjoying what you do.” The ones who love you or appreciate what you do, will always come back to you. All you Have to do is to be grateful for the community where you come from because through your life you will see what it has brought to you.

P.S: I know you’re dying to know the answers to all my questions. YES Phyllisia speaks Creole. Her list of Haitian artist is long and includes artists like Arly larriviere, Riva Precil, Ti Djo Zenny.. anyone who’s doing a positive job in the community. She doesn’t want to define her music by her simply singing haitian songs, she has sung with artists like the game, young jeezy, Ne-yo, she has sung reggae . She just does what she feels like doing, depend on the vibe. And when asked how she describes her music, she replied: I want to make music simple enough for people to digest but complex enough to be real music. I don’t want to make fast-food music, but some diri and legum ¹  that I made all day long”.

  1. diri and legum: rice and stew. one of haiti’s national dish 

Wendelle Théodore 

Dear Young Wendy

French Version

Dear Wendy

Today is your birthday.  You just cut your hair off you and you’re getting ready to leave Haiti for college. For the first time in your life, you did something that you really wanted to do. You don’t know it yet, but this decision will change your life. I know you were expecting something else, but believe me, going natural is one of the best decisions you will ever make in your life. It will not be easy. At first, you’ll go every week to the beauty salon, just so you can get your hair straighten, but later on, you’ll adapt yourself. After 3 big chops (yes, I know, you wonder what that word really means. You’ll see, you will learn lots of fancy words like that). Anyways, after 3 big chops, you will have mastered so well the art of making twist-out that you’ll end up convincing (And By that I really mean to force) everybody around you to do the same.

Wendy, I guess you know I won’t spend all my time talking to you about hair, right? I just wanted you to think of these words every time you’ll have to cover your head with a hat because your hair will not want to cooperate. Because believe me, it will happen, often.

Wendy, Wendy, Wendy! If only you knew what is waiting for you, you would understand the girl you’ve become. You would understand that it is not a problem if all your friends have continued their studies and that you’ve dropped out of college because you did not really find your way. You would understand that it’s ok to “mize nan wout”1 as we say in Creole, the most important is that you will bring something positive.

Wendy, these six years have been therapeutic, challenging, but they were undoubtedly among the best six years of your life. Today on the eve of my birthday, I realize that everything I won is maturity. I swear, I finally understood what this word really meant. I probably could not explain it to you, but you see, it’s this kind of feeling that I have that makes me plan to spend my birthday in an orphanage rather than a nightclub.

My letter is a message of courage, for all the times you have fallen into depression. You’ll get out of it, stronger, day after day, all alone, like a grown up. And you’ll even laugh about it. To be honest, sometimes your laugh will be satirical. But, you will never lose your smile, no tears will erase it.

Wendy, you will realize your dream of living in exotic countries: Argentina, France, Taiwan, United States. You’ll meet some amazing people. I’ll say no names. I don’t want any one to be jealous. You will have the opportunity to get closer to those friends with whom you have never lost contact since high school. You will spend sleepless nights talking to them on the phone. Some will remind you every day how much they miss you. Some will be so close to you that you’ll get the impression of never having left Haiti. Some will show you the true definition of “ride or die” and how you can always count on them. Some will forget you for a time, but will come back to you. Some will always support you and some will become like family members. The list is really long. And I’m happy to tell you not to let your heart fill with hate for the human kind.

You will be disappointed, betrayed, hurt. And people will take advantage of you or your naivety to the point that you’ll want to be mean. Trust me, you will try, and you’ll end up every time getting screwed. I’m sorry to tell you this, but I still haven’t found the way to make you less candid. Anyways, all is not rosy. But I think that you have already understood that. Sometimes everything will be black. However, you always had have a good sense of color. So you will know how to color life as you’ll like it.

Oh! I was about to forget! You will always be stupid in love. And get heartbroken. It’s weird to tell you that. Because it will be an excruciating and incomparable pain. I still have not mastered the art of writing about it. It might be a goal that I would have to achieve. But do not worry, I do not think this is the topic that interests you the most.

What have I forgot to tell you? Ah! you’ll have a few accidents? 2 actually. In the course of 2 years. For the first one, both the taxi driver who was driving you and the one who will hit you will run away abandoning you on the road. But do not worry. Because the second one in which you’ll have your leg broken, will be even worse. And I assure you, walking with crutches is really not as easy as it looks in the movies. Nevertheless, as a good princess as you are, you will get a train waiting for you in Paris. It’s pretty cool right?

But you know what is the best Wendy? Is that today you’re celebrating the 2 years anniversary of your blog. I bet you did not expect that right? Well, yeah. You finally found an audience as weird as you to love what you write. I’m sure the 9 years old little girl who had her first book entitled “the book of my dogs and their life before their death” would not expect that either. I also have a youtube channel. I have a little trouble being regular. I only post a video once every two months. But I promised myself to work on that. I talk about travel, art, environment, Haiti, a lot about Haiti, about hair and as strange as it may seem, about fashion. And I still manage to be a full time student. You will be proud to create this blog. It’s the coolest thing you have ever created. Girl, You’re going to write in English! I mean can you see that? Actually you will have a lot to do before writing a decent article. But if one believes those who read you, most manage to understand more or less what you write. So it’s not so bad. I gave it the coolest name ever, “Hello Crepuscule” just in memory of all those times you got up before dawn to watch the sunrise.

So Wendy, Do not lose hope. I think you have done well for these 6 years. You could have done better. I mean, you could have moved to Brazil rather than Argentina. Anyway, I realized over time that you never do anything like everyone else. And I will take advantage of that. Wendy, what will I say to my future self within 6 years? I do not know yet the goals that I’ll set to myself. And to be Frank, I have not reached any of the goals I set to myself before turning 30. So I think I have a lot of work, and a very little time. I just wanted to thank you for allowing me to be the girl that I am and I’m hoping to make proud the girl that I will be in 6 years. Promise me you’ll always focus on the positive side of things. And if there is none, promise me to create it.

1. Mize nan wout men pote bon nouvel: Creole expression to say that we waste time on the way but at the end we were able to bring good provisions. I had trouble finding the exact translation of “Mize” but it seems that it comes from the old French “muser” and is described by the act of walking, strolling. somehow, Creole will never cease to amaze me.

The chronicles of a haitian girl in Argentina: What I learn from living in Buenos Aires

French Version 

Buenos Aires is far from what I was expecting. Not that I’m deceived. Far from that. I actually find myself being attracted by this unexpected side. As I said before, I’m taking you in every step of this journey, so you’re with me for the good and the bad. It’s kind of funny how I have a tendency to attract the bad. It would be a shame for me to complain about it. No. Instead, I enjoy every little piece of it. One day I’ll take the time to write an article about all the times that I had put myself in incredible, awkward and clumsy situations. But for Today I’m taking you with me in my discovery of the beautiful, yet unexpected Argentina.

I landed here a few days ago. It’s pretty soon to actually have a complete and concrete impression but I found myself learning a lot from these few days. So I thought I would share with you my experience and what Argentina has taught me so far.

On my way to buenos Aires, I had a conversation with one of the stewardess. I mean, yeah it’s not really accurate, but I was in one of those situations that I usually put myself into. So, at one point of the conversation, the lady asked me why, among all the countries where they speak Spanish I chose to go to Argentina while I knew it was known to be an unsafe place. Well, at that point I didn’t really have the choice: My ticket was already paid and I was 10 minutes away from getting in the airplane. I’m kidding. But what is important to me is what I answered to her. As I’m from a third world country, usually labeled as dangerous, I feel like I have no right to judge a country unless I’ve been there. So, at that time I was really confident about my trip. But after getting robbed by the taxi driver who took all the money that I had on me on my way from the airport to the hotel, I had to change my perception of everything. I’m not saying that Argentina is dangerous, but I’m saying being extra cautious has never killed anyone.

Argentina has taught me that I only need cash “efectivo as they call it here” in my life. In buenos Aires they don’t speak the language of credit/debit card. Money talk but only when they can touch it. So if you’re ever planning on making a trip to Argentina, you might as well take out all the money you’re going to need before heading to the country. And when you’re going out, you got to repeat the same thing. You don’t want to be in the same situation as me where I had to leave the restaurant where I was eating to go take out money at the nearest bank. It was either that or wash the dishes. Well the last part was a joke but you definitely don’t want to be in that type of situations.

In Argentina, I learned that being black is exotic. I’m a positive person so bare with me. I know that everybody don’t have the same reaction to the same situation, so if you’re particularly sensitive to people staring at you or willing to touch your hair, you might reconsider your trip. Walking down the streets of Buenos Aires, I found myself being the greatest attraction ever. When I say attraction, I mean the greatest wall of China type of attraction. And if some people might be racists, some others are just being curious. So it’s good to be open minded to what you will encounter and the people you will meet. And let’s be clear, I’m exotic but they are as well. Where else in the world would I meet a rock star in the metro who happens to perform with his band every Friday night in a bar? I also met my alter ego. I’m serious. He was an elder but happened to love politics and he travelled all around the world. The greatest meeting I have ever had in my life. I feel like, my favorite place in Buenos Aires, has to be the metro. I mean so many incredible things happened there. Last time I took it, I met the cutest little girl in the world. She was so amazed by my hair, and I didn’t have the courage to tell her that I was wearing faux locs.

Talking about metro. Argentina taught me that I could easily take the train/metro without the fear of being late because of a suspicious package or because of something else. Anybody who has lived in Paris knows what I’m talking about. I’m serious. The craziest things happens in this city. Last time I took the train to go to a meeting, I spent 2 hours on the train, because there was goats walking on the railway. Nobody ever believed me when I say that this happened in Paris.

Living in Argentina I learned that there was more than one way to eat potatoes. I’m not even being funny. The food there is incredible. I was actually expecting that part. You remember my Spanish teacher from my last article? Yeah, That same one who made me book a flight to this country. She was the one to talk to me about the food. And I’m happy to say that my mind is pleasantly blown.

I’ve learned that the Argentinians are proud. During my entire life, I’ve never seen that many flags hanging on people’s balcony. And this is coming from a girl who take pride in talking about her country. Here I don’t need people to talk to me about how proud they are, I just have to raise my eyes to the sky.

The chronicles of a Haitian girl in Argentina: The Preparation

French Version

My heart is jumping out of my chest by the idea of me leaving France. I know, I love this country and I’ve been living there for a while now. But I was in an extreme need of changing space. I wanted to see other places, and I’m so happy that in a few days I’ll be landing in Argentina.

One of the biggest reason of my happiness is the fact That I am taking you with me. In my previous articles about traveling, I only shared with you my experience. But in this one I decided to take you in every step of the trip.

Why Argentina?

To be honest Argentina wasn’t my first choice. In my quest of adventures, I’m always falling for the most exotic country, and my first choice for this trip was Brazil. But Since I’m planning on studying as well, I had to give up the idea of moving to Brazil as I don’t speak Portuguese and Since my second choice was Argentina, Here I am.

The main reason of me moving to Argentina? My Spanish teacher. My Argentinian Spanish Teacher who talked to me so much about Argentina that I had no choice than moving to this country. I’m serious. For the first time in my life I experienced what most of my interlocutors feel when I’m talking to them about Haiti. I’m still interested about learning more about the people, the language, the way of living, but my friend, my Spanish teacher is everything.

Preparation:

As a Haitian, I don’t need visa to travel to Argentina. However, since I’m going to stay there for more than 3 month I’ll need to apply for a visa when I get there. A few days ago, I sent an envelop to the Embassy of Argentina in France in which I put a stamp envelop, a copy of my passport and a copy of the admission letter from my university in Argentina. A few days later the Argentinian consulate in Paris sent me a paper in which they stipulate that I can travel to Argentina without a visa.

If your purpose of travel is different than mine, the process might be different .So I’m encouraging you to make more research on the website of the Argentinian embassy in the country where you are located.

Personal enrichment:

I’m expecting a few things from this trip. First of all, I’m looking forward to improve my Spanish. When I say improving I mean going from 5 to 9/10. Well it’s my right to reach for the stars. Lol. I wanna learn so much things from the local. Why They live the way they do, their history, the architecture, the traditions, the landscape.

I literally can’t wait for that trip. I’m not looking forward for the weather as I’m not really a winter person. But we’re here to experience right? So I’ll see you soon in Buenos Aires.

7 reasons to live in Taiwan

French Version 

I’m Haitian. You know, this little island in the Caribbean that I always end up putting in every conversation that I have. Yes, I’m from Haiti, and I’m pretty sure to have shared before my passion for my hometown. But I also love traveling. I love discovering new culture, new people, new family. I love making memories with people that I never thought I would meet one day in my life. Traveling has been a journey for me. It has opened my eyes about what is going on around me and made me realize so many things about the world and myself that it would actually take me a whole day to talk about. However, through my travels I ended up falling in love with another country. Another island that I consider right now as a second home. I can’t explain what is this thing that I have for islands. But whatever it is, I feel grateful that it actually took me to Taiwan. Yes Taiwan. This little island in the southeast of Mainland China that some people Call “Republic of China” or “Formosa”. You won’t probably understand the love between me in this country but since it is a big part of my world, “Wendelle’s world” let me introduce it to you by sharing 7 reasons why you should comeat least once to visit Taiwan:

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1. Taiwanese cuisine

When I came to Taiwan, I didn’t think that this would be a valuable reason for me to visit this country. I had a lot of stereotypes about the asian cuisine. Well You know: the fact that they eat dogs, or other kind of meats. I was also very excited by the fact that they eat a lot of seafoods and was actually expecting for my mind to be blown. But instead I got really disappointed. Most Taiwanese food was actually made out of pork. Which for me, was kinda disappointing. But, the experience with food evolved over the years. And I got to know myself better. Eating vegetarian food is as easy as eating any kind of other food. But on top of that it’s cheap. When I talk to my friends, they never want to believe me, but eating in taiwan is actually so cheap that you would save more by eating outside than cooking at home when you’re living alone.

I wouldn’t finish this part without talking about how easy it is to find food. Food is available all day and all night long. You can directly go to the night markets or to a stand where you can find fruits, or bubble tea which I love, especially in the summer.

2. Taiwanese people

Taiwanese people are adorable. I had the chance to meet a few people there and even though they don’t speak english they will always find a reason to come to you and talk to you. Well to be honest, it can be a little bit annoying. Specially when you’re in a hurry. People will take pictures of you without asking or stare at you for days. I might say that it’s pretty easy to find some racist people over there as well. But hey! Who am I to judge? I’m just going to point out the good part which is when you find some taiwanese who like you, you make a friend for life. One of the best stories that I have, happened when I first moved there. I was living in an old apartment. There was an elder woman who was living in the first floor. One day while I was coming home, I found her waiting for me in front of the elevator. She didn’t speak a word of english and I didn’t understand mandarin. But it happened that she liked me. She gave me a basket of fruits. And ever since then she would wait for me everyday to give me fruits. I never knew why she liked me but until now I can never forget about her.

3. The culture

A lot of foreigners think China equals Taiwan. But Taiwan has its own story, and its own history. It’s a history of self identity and self love. I won’t minimize the influence of Mainland China. I’m just saying that with time, Taiwan has become a unique mixture of the heritage of Mainland China, of Japan, of the aboriginals, with its territory and a more open minded attitude. Taiwan can definitely take your need of exoticism to another level.

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4. The landscapes

Taiwan has a variety of landscapes. It has beautiful beaches, where you can scuba dive. It has beautiful mountain where you can go hiking, and on top of that you can find snow in some places. I have to admit that the last part is a little bit harder to find, but it’s still there. Taiwan is just a little bit of the Caribbean, a little bit of Europe in Asia. I’ll let your imagination do the rest.

5. The Taroko Gorge

Well I could say any of the amazing sites that you could visit in Taiwan. I could talk about the “green island”, The “Sun Moon Lake”, etc. But I just happen to have a particular love for the Taroko gorge. The mountains, the river, the immense beauty of the nature that can make you feel so lonely but yet so peaceful. I just love it and it is definitely one of the places to visit in Taiwan.

6. Taipei

I love Taipei. I think this city has a good vibe. To have lived there for like 3 years, I can say that this place is somehow mysterious. There are plenty of things to do: visit the Taipei 101, go to the night markets, and go to the hot spring. The night life is awesome (I’m saying that because I know a lot of young travelers were waiting on that part). The transportation is easy and very convenient even for those who don’t speak Chinese. It’s CLEAN! I needed to put an emphasis on that part. Taipei is just special in its own way.

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7. And everything else

Life in Taiwan isn’t expensive. Unless you want to rent an apartment in Taipei. But otherwise it’s affordable. It’s a perfect place to learn mandarin and to make friends. I met Some of the most incredible persons in my life while in Taipei. It’s a melting pot where being a foreigner is enough to bring people closer no matter where you’re from. Also, if you’re into spirituality, as in most of the places in Asia, being in Taiwan can help you be more conscious about the world you live in. The medical system is pretty cool, even if you don’t speak mandarin.

But the last not least is the 7eleven and the Family-mart. They are just what you need to see Taiwan as the perfect place.

1o Fun facts about Haiti

A few days ago I read an article about Haiti! It was pretty interesting since it actually gave to whoever was reading it 10 fun facts about Haiti that this person probably didn’t know. So I decided to make an English version of it so I can make all these informations available for everybody! I’m pretty sure there is so much more that I can publish about Haiti that you didn’t know but you’ll eventually have to wait until my next post. But now you can enjoy 10 facts about Haiti. Let me know which one you already knew and don’t be shy to give me more ideas that you think I could share.

1.Haiti is the most mountainous island in the Caribbean,

2. The turtle island was inhabited only by pirates during the 17th century .

3. L’île-à-vache “the cow island” was named after an invasion Of Wild cow after the colons left the island.

4.The Haitian area is larger than the state of Vermont.

5. Haiti has 14 airports.

6. From the 15th to the 19th century, France, Spain and England were fighting over the control of the island of Hispaniola.

7. Haiti is the only black nation in the world whose independence is the direct result of a slave revolt

8.The independence of Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela would not have been possible without the military and financial support of Haiti.

9.The flag of Venezuela was created in the port of Jacmel, which is a little city in the south east of Haiti.

10. During 105 years, Haiti was responsible for producing 40% of sugar consumed on the planet.

The day I realized that I was wasting my twenties

French Version

I read once a post on Facebook that said: “Nothing will ruin your twenties more than thinking you should have your life together already”. I found this post so accurate. I used to be so unsatisfied about my own accomplishments, always seeking more and comparing myself to others that I thought were doing so much more than me. When other people believed I was doing fine, I tended to be skeptical. I would get quite depressed, until the day I realized that I was wasting my twenties.

Take stock and reflect. I mean you’re in your twenties! It’s the time to get away from all the stereotypes and reconcile with yourself. Typically, we have so many expectations, so many milestones we believe we should reach by the time we turn 30. In fact, those are just reflections of the society’s expectations.  As my first article for this year, I thought that I should share with you 10 tips before you waste a decade of your life.

1. Always move forward. It’s okay to not let anything make you feel like shit. Don’t feel like you have to explain yourself. Be unapologetic, except when you know you have caused harm to someone else.

2. Know who you are. I usually say that the process of learning yourself is a journey. It’s not a destination. I’m not talking about any kind of knowledge. You need to know yourself racially, historically, culturally. You need to know not just how to be in peace with yourself, but also how to be in peace with your past. Knowing your history helps you define who you are and what you represent. Don’t ever let anyone else tell you who you are. You are the one to define your own path. It’s okay if you change your mind. That means you’re growing.

3. Be accountable for what you do and don’t take others’ validation too deeply to heart. This means you need to own every single action that you will do in this world. Either it’s a failure or a success. Acknowledge both your mistakes and your rights as equally important. Sometimes you’ll need to defend yourself. No one else will do it for you. Do it with confidence. And don’t expect people to validate your work. Don’t be shallow. Find validation in the ratio between how positively you impact yourself and others versus how you mess up and hurt others. Because you will hurt others. And others will hurt you. Be accountable for this. But only you can define if you’ll get stronger or weaker.

4. Learn to listen in order to learn more, to keep growing. By listening, I mean giving your undivided attention without thinking about how it relates to you, or what you are going to reply. Our teachers, elders often teach us how to be a leader, how to speak but often forget to teach us how to listen. We need to learn how to grow within the interactions we have with the people around us. Not focusing on your own self, but in seeing everyone as human beings, no matter who they are and where they come from. Learn to listen to others. And, just as important, learn to listen to yourself.

5. You will break down, often. You are going to have moments of unbearable pain. You are going to have moments of unbearable loneliness. You’ll get to the point that heartbreaks will be a physical pain that will burn your chest until calcination, that your eyes will dry out from crying too much, and your voice will recede slowly from yelling your pain. But you will grow from it. No pain is endless. It takes time to learn how to heal yourself. And healing sometimes still leaves scars. Because you never fully heal. But you can learn how to love your scars because one day they’ll remind you of where you were. You’ll also need to learn how to love being with yourself, because no one has the potential to love you like you can. I mean, who should appreciate your company better than yourself? In Haitian Creole they usually say: “you were born alone, you’ll die alone”. I hope this makes you understand how important it is to live with yourself.

6. This is probably the one that I prefer: “find a purpose”. Find something that makes you feel like the world makes sense, even if you can’t justify it intellectually to yourself or anyone else. Find something that gives you the strength to wake up every morning, that motivates your day, and makes you tired when it’s time to sleep. This can be: read a good book, having a soulful conversation, chasing your biggest dream or get intimate, why not? Find what works for you and be loyal to it.

7. The world is a mess. The world is sick. People will hate you just because you’re being yourself. You are not responsible for the actions of those who hated themselves so much that they hurt you. Live for the love, live for the good, live shamelessly.

8. Another Haitian Proverb is: “love the ones who love you”. Do not waste your time with somebody who doesn’t take your happiness as a priority. Don’t put up with lovers who don’t give you room to explore, to express, and above all – if a lover is only focused on using you as a vessel to reach their plateau – be out. Their happiness should be a priority to you but yours should matter as well.

9. Find people who are on the same path as you. Do not carry broken people who are not in the process of rebuilding themselves. They are likely to sap your strength, to drain you.

10. Going to college is an accomplishment. It does open doors and is, at some point, necessary. Don’t neglect your studies for a partying life. But don’t neglect your social life for studies, either. You need to find a balance, because college is nothing compared to what is waiting for you in life. It does not make you better than anyone else. It doesn’t make you essentially more intelligent. You never really make it “out” of the class you came from, and you never really make it “in” to the class you aspire to. What matters is your contribution to a better world.

Chronicles of a haitian girl in Paris

French Version

I wander in the cold streets of Paris. It’s raining! I Look at my watch: It’s 6:30. The weather is refreshing. I’m discovering everything about this city. Paris is new to me. A whole lot of shops line up next to each other. I barely know their names. I’m willing to know more. I’m on my “Dora The explorer” mood. A church appears at a crossroads. It looks lordly and its view fills me with a feeling of spirituality. I stop on my walk and I take a quick picture. My phone gets wet immediately.

I look at the sky and I let the icy raindrops fall all over me. I’m feeling like a movie character. I compare myself to a fearless heroine seeking for adventures. I close my eyes and I imagine my own fairytale: The love of my life will suddenly appear. He will protect me from the raindrops. He will tell me with his french accent:

– Mademoiselle, je vous offre un café? (1)

This is the storyline that we usually see in novels. I will smile. I will take a candid peek at him and I will answer:

– Avec plaisir! (2)

He will tell me every little details about this city. Paris have welcomed me since the past few months and I barely know this city. He will teach me everything that I need to know. We will have some long and smart talks. I will try my best to show that I can express myself with wit. Because I’ll want him to think that I am smart. He will tell me poems in the language of Molière. I will inspire him the most beautiful verses… I feel the stream of the raindrops over my hands. I come back to reality. Paris is the city of Love. But my fairytale will not have a happy ending.

I try to follow the pace of the passengers. Parisian are always in a hurry. They gradually outstrip me. I slow down my pace. I am a Caribbean girl. I like to take my time.

I discover Paris at dusk. There is no twilight, but the city is all lit up. People are dressed in black and the walls are gray. Paris seems sad. It is animated, yet seems frozen. I am an island girl, I can not help but notice the lack of color on the houses even when I know that each one of these houses shouts a story.

Cafes and bars are as numerous as fashion stores. At every corner, at every avenue, they line up one after the other. All filled. I am looking for a quiet place to retire.

My lack of style and elegance can remind everybody that I’m new in this city. I am neither a Parisian, much less a fashionista. I know, because my boots up in my lap and my scarf hides half of my face. I am a Caribbean girl, I’m afraid of the cold. The other girls outstrip me, each one more elegant than other one. I mentally add to my to-do list ” go shopping”.

My hair is falling over my face. What was supposed to be a big marvellous Fro at the beginning of the day, is now a life less tuft.

A rose seller approaches me and asks:

– Une fleur pour la demoiselle? (3)

I desperately look for some money. But in my pocket, I only have tickets for the metro.

The seller smiles at me and says:

– C’est gratuit, pour la demoiselle. (4)

Paris! Why does you have to be so beautiful?

I’m listening to “sober” from Childish Gambino. Because all those who know me, know that Wendy lives to the rhythm of music. And my music tonight is this song that I can describe only with two words: Melancholic, perfect.

I continue my walk alone with myself. I hum the lyrics of the song: “Now That it’s over, I’ll Never Be sober” …

And then my eyes fill with tears. They are hot. They stream down my face and mix with rain drops. Memories flood into my head. I close my eyes. My mood must be as volatile as the weather. I switch from “heroine looking for love” to this indecisive, melancholic, lost girl.

I take my phone out of my pocket. It is 20:00. I count my steps. No matter where they take me, I am fearless. Paris promises to be enchanting.

(1)_Miss, Can I offer you a drink?

(2)_With pleasure!

(3)_Does the lady want a rose?

(4)_It’s free for the Lady!