Saturday, March 15, 2014


Last night I was a taught a word by a lovely lady named Sarah-Petal. The word is "tabannca" (pronounced tah-bahn-cuh). According to Sarah-Petal this is a word that Trinidadians use to describe the feeling you get after a closure in your life.  The feeling that you need to go back to it, that you won't be the same without it. A longing for that part of your life that is now finished. She explained it in the context of a romantic relationship, but it really has become the only way to explain how I feel right now sitting in the Houston airport.


 We have arrived back in the United States after a week that I can not adequately put into words. ISLP for me started as a way to experience a new culture and to finally do something over spring break.  As an undergraduate I lived in Florida, so a week at the beach for spring break has never meant much to me. This week was so much more than I expected. I was blown away by Trinidad and Tobago. From the beautiful sunsets, to the remarkable hospitality and attention to detail, and everything in between.

It's hard to decide which thing was my favorite. I think I have changed my answer to that question more times than I can count. I feel truly honored to have been a part of Dr. Cuyjet's final ISLP trip as a professor (check out the picture of Dr. Cuyjet with the steel drum we gifted to him in honor of his last trip). I was inspired by the children we met at Felicity Presbyterian School. I feel lucky to have met the future leaders of Trinidad and Tobago through the Symposium. I have laughed harder, stayed up later, and learned more than I could have ever imagined in just seven days.

I want to encourage anyone who is thinking of going on an ISLP trip to take advantage of it. As cheesy as this may sound, it really does change you for the better. The 13 men and women I have spent this week with are now people who I am bonded with for life. No matter where our careers take us, we will always have this experience with each other and I think that is priceless.

I have Trinidad tabannca right now, but I know that this will not be my last trip to the wonderful island.

Mandy Parente
College Student Personnel, Master's Student, 1st Year
University of Louisville ISLP

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