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Jewel of denial
My name is Jewel Smith and I’m a waitress in a restaurant specializing in gluten-free meals.
I grew up in Diego Martin but I’m from Town. I’m living Charlotte and Oxford Streets, about eight years now.
I could partially remember, in Diego Martin, I used to ride my bike with my neighbours and stuff. And some of my friends would come over in the night and we’d just talk and have snacks and fun and stuff.
I’m not, like, grownup or anything. I wish I could go clubbing but I’m not old enough. I look older than my age. I’m 17. And I’m under strict rules. But Mummy don’t mind me working at the restaurant.
I’ll go to a house party. If my neighbour has one. I’m under really quite strict rules. It’s very hard, to be honest. My parents are cool, but they’re protective.
I’m Pentecostal but I went to Sacred Heart Primary and St Francois Valley Girls Secondary. And now I go Roytec, doing my associate degree in IT (information technology). I could paint and draw really good, on walls and on paper. I really wanted to study art. But I could always do it after.
I take other people’s opinions but I have a mind of my own, and I believe in God because of how much he’s done for me. Like, I nearly go to die a few times, I was in hospital, and I pray, and he helped me. He’s just, like, present for me! You’s just feel a peace, you know?
My mommy named me Jewel and I like my name. It’s a lovely thing to call someone. People call me “Jewie”, “Jay”.
I don’t like when anyone calls women by names. I have friends who make bad jokes and call other friends “bitch” but I don’t like it at all. I don’t carry myself like that. Even though it might be, like, a slang, it’s disrespectful and degrades women. Even when girls say it.
It’s good to have a little money of your own. So you don’t have to ask your parents for money for every little thing.
It’s just me, Mummy, Daddy and a sister, 16. It’s hard to be the big girl sometimes. It’s good, too. When your sister now facing something, you done pass through that. But then she’s get more baby-up because she’s the young one.
I love dancing to loud music. I put my earphones on and go in front the mirror. And dance. To every kind of music. Except folk.
Sometimes you go to the cinema and watch a movie and then you regret wasting your money. But most of the movies I watch are good. I loved This is 40 and We’re the Millers. They were real funny.
I want a family in the future. But not now. Quite-quite-quite. I have a special someone. Emilio. He’s Trinidadian.
Dude, I does real eat! I eat more than everybody else in the restaurant and I eat junk: pizza; fries; cake; ice cream; everything. But I don’t put on weight.
When customers arrive, you greet them—you have to be polite, to smile—bring them to a table. Bring menus, give them a little two-five minutes, come back, take their order—make sure you get the right thing! Put the order in the cash register and then give it to the chef.
And, when it come out, make sure is your order! And always, always, be pleasant.
You have to check on your tables, make sure everything good, everybody happy. Then, at the end, if they like it, they give you tips.
People do call for gluten-free in our restaurant—we mostly put it in the pastas—but not really my customers. My customers tend to like the gluten; even though I’m not sure what gluten is. You know how long I didn’t do Nutrition? Since form three! Gluten is something to do with the food, though. Is it sugar?
The best part about the job is serving customers. The whole restaurant environment, the healthy thing. I really like it. The bad part is when it get real busy and you have real customers, everybody hustling. And when you don’t get any tips!
Trinis just have personality lock-down. The way they look, the way they just naturally nice, lovable and friendly.
Trinidad and Tobago for me is just everything.
• Read a longer version of this feature at www.BCRaw.com.