Carnival Connections

It’s Carnival Tuesday in Trinidad and Tobago. This is the culmination of the weeks of partying, the various events and competitions. Today, the day before Ash Wednesday, thousands of people will take to the streets in and out of costumes, dance and have a good time. For each reveler there will be many people like me who are at home, chilling.
Carnival for me is an opportunity to meet and greet with people, both those who are fully part of my life and those who I don’t regularly see. I hook up with my friends who live abroad and travel home for the revelry. My time with them is a reunion, during which we share the stories that we could not share over the internet.
Then there are the newbies, the people who somehow are in the same parties and each time we see each other another layer of comfort in being around each other is established. Most of these are immediate pops that fizzle by Ash Wednesday, but sometimes they last. Then there are the folks who I only see once a year, at a certain event. These say “Hi” with a peck on the cheek and then they are gone until the next year.
There are many Carnival love stories, in which people have met their significant others and travelled to other countries to get married. After the season, I have seen friends claim relationships and been introduced to a new boyfriend or girlfriend.
The Carnival festival serves our human need to connect. The alcohol, the music, the freedom of the season makes it easy for us to tuck away our veils, show our shadow selves and become exposed and raw. At this time of the year, we go with the flow and live in the moment. We surrender to the now, fully aware that we are not in control and excited that anything can happen at anytime. We let down our guards and are friendlier and more open. We blame it on the music and the alcohol and we gayly connect with each other. After the season most of us, return to our watchful position, shutting the door on possibilities and wait for the next year to connect with others again.
I am challenging myself to stay in the Carnival mode of openness, friendliness, to remain excited about the possibility, to live in the now and go with the flow.

What makes it easy for you to connect with others?

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