Growing Up Giesbert
October 17, 2015

I literally had the most amazing childhood. My dad had an incredibly exciting career with Marriott, and because we were always moving, my mom gave up her career to make sure that I had a childhood for the books. Most people want to be able to give their kids more than they had growing up, but I always think that if I ever have children I could only pray to somehow give them a life as good as the one I was given.

Of course there were parts about it that made mine an unconventional life, but with that also came so many unique things that make me who I am today. I never had brothers or sisters and we moved a lot, so my mom would make sure we took advantage of every opportunity that was presented to us. We travelled all over the world, and when I look at old pictures I always wish that I better remembered the things that made each place we lived special.

By age eight I had three different accents and spoke 2 languages. My maternal grandmother lived with us in Africa when I was little and she only spoke Portuguese. I learned to speak English in London and for a short while, it is said, I spoke with the queen’s English. After a short time and a brief layover in Miami and Washington DC we moved to Barbados. This is when my memories really kick in.

I remember that we lived in small compound of homes with other managers and their families and for 5 years old I had so much freedom. I would go to friends houses and hang out with the ladies on the beach who sold hair braids to tourists. I loved it. Not after long I had picked up a fairly strong bajan accent and my mom would struggle to understand what I was saying…to my complete delight. I remember playing with the cow in the neighbor’s yard, and getting so excited if someone from the hotel had to pick me up at school, because we would stop and cut fresh sugar cane and eat it, and if we were lucky we might see a monkey in the process.

One of the memories which is most vivid is the weekly party for the guests that we would get to attend. There would be dancers and fire, music and of course the limbo. The guests loved it and I became really skilled. Even though the actual show was pretty much the same week after week it never got old, and since every week brought with it a new set of guests and potential new friends, I couldn’t have been happier. I remember winning the Limbo contest after weeks of failed attempts, unfortunately first prize was a bottle of Rum which my parents promptly confiscated :-)

Life was idyllic and perfect and I couldn’t have been happier. It was also in Barbados that I remember the first “We are Moving Talk”. I didn’t really understand where we were going but I definitively remember being heart broken that we were leaving all the people I had grown to love. Its probably better that I didn’t really understand where we were going….I am thankful that the iPad had not made its debut because I am sure the next stop would have scared the heck out me…nothing can prepare you for New York City…especially coming from the quiet comfort of island life. As they say if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere and I was about to find out if a 6 year old with a funny island accent would rise to the occasion.


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