You Know You're Haitian When...

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You Know You're Haitian When...

Postby M@! » 2006-07-29, 12:08

From Blogthings.
Although I didn't understand all of these, but some are really funny.



Your parents still put you "a genou" even though you are 19.

You use bed sheets as window curtains.

You've eaten rice within the past 3 days.

You eat too much chicken, diri kole, or diri a djon djon.

Your living room couches are covered with plastic.

You buy your cereal at Farmer's Market.

You buy your fruit at Basket Market.

You try to bargain your way out of everything and anywhere even in department stores.

To get out of trouble with a fellow Haitian, you use the phrase: "bon sa-ou genyen la?, se Ayisyen nou ye mon(ma)che."

Once the temperature gets below a certain level, you lose all concepts of coordination when it comes to things like snow boots, winter coats, scarves, and hats often doing things like wearing two different color hats at the same time.

You have a bunch of expensive perfumes on your dresser but prefer to use the cheaper ones because you don't want to waste your good stuff.

You point at things and people with your lips.

You just don't feel fresh until you've drenched yourself in "Bien Etre"

Your house is so packed with meubles and *biblos* that you can't even take two steps.

There are entire rooms in your house that no one is allowed to go in because they are reserved for company.

You have three sets of china: odd, even, and miss-matched.

You might be late for a wedding or may not even even show up at all,... but damn it, you are early for the reception! And of course you bring home a plate wrapped in aluminum foil and some 'gateau'.

You prefer juice in the form of concentrated syrup.

The weakest old woman can strike fear into your heart with just one look.

When you really get mad at someone you want to take off your shoe and slap him or her with it.

You prefer salt and pepper in your peanut butter rather than sugar.

Saturday is "bouillon day" at your house

Yawning more often indicates hunger than fatigue.

All soda is called "cola" and all chewing gum is called "Chicklets".

Maggi, Matouk's/Tabasco, & tomato paste are cooking essentials.

You refuse to throw out old grease. So that everything you fry has that taste of fried fish, chicken, bannan pese, or griot.

The US is only made up of three cities: Miami, NY, and Boston.

2001 was more significant than the year 2000.

Deep fried pork (griot) is one of your favorite dishes.

You have either Jean or Marie placed somewhere in your name and you know someone named Roro, Fanfan, Pouchon or Marie Rose.

Your furniture is too big for your house.

You dip bread in your coffee, hot chocolate, and even certain kinds of liquor (Kremas).

You go to work as though you were dressed for church, you go to church as if you were dressed for a wedding, and you go to a wedding as if you were dressed to meet Queen Elizabeth.

When you hear "pssssssssst", you know that someone is trying to get your attention.

You nod your head upward to greet someone when you're too busy to talk.

If someone says that the party starts at 8pm, then you know not to show up until 11PM!

You're proud to be Haitian - and you pass these jokes on to all your Haitian friends!

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Postby M@! » 2006-07-29, 12:14

A genou or a jenou? It means kneeling. Then I guess it's some kind of a punishment?
What are diri kole, and diri a djon djon?
What does the phrase "bon sa-ou genyen la?, se Ayisyen nou ye mon(ma)che" mean?
Biblio? Shelves for books? Wild guess..
Saturday is "bouillon day" at your house. Why is that?
2001 was more significant than the year 2000. Why again?

My favorites are: :lol::lol::lol:
-- You point at things and people with your lips.
-- The weakest old woman can strike fear into your heart with just one look.
-- Yawning more often indicates hunger than fatigue.
-- All soda is called "cola" and all chewing gum is called "Chicklets".

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Postby Sisyphe » 2006-07-30, 18:57

Mariam wrote:A genou or a jenou? It means kneeling. Then I guess it's some kind of a punishment?
What are diri kole, and diri a djon djon?
What does the phrase "bon sa-ou genyen la?, se Ayisyen nou ye mon(ma)che" mean?
Biblio? Shelves for books? Wild guess..
Saturday is "bouillon day" at your house. Why is that?
2001 was more significant than the year 2000. Why again?

My favorites are: :lol::lol::lol:
-- You point at things and people with your lips.
-- The weakest old woman can strike fear into your heart with just one look.
-- Yawning more often indicates hunger than fatigue.
-- All soda is called "cola" and all chewing gum is called "Chicklets".


I just typed a response to this whole thing...but then it said I am ofline!!! I am soooooooooooooooooooooooooooo pissed!!!!! :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: I will try again later...
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Postby Alcadras » 2006-07-30, 20:35

I can't really say that i understand many of them. :oops:

Çoğunu anladığımı söyleyemem. :oops:

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Postby Sisyphe » 2006-07-31, 19:41

Mariam wrote:A genou or a jenou? It means kneeling. Then I guess it's some kind of a punishment?
What are diri kole, and diri a djon djon?
What does the phrase "bon sa-ou genyen la?, se Ayisyen nou ye mon(ma)che" mean?
Biblio? Shelves for books? Wild guess..
Saturday is "bouillon day" at your house. Why is that?
2001 was more significant than the year 2000. Why again?

My favorites are: :lol::lol::lol:
-- You point at things and people with your lips.
-- The weakest old woman can strike fear into your heart with just one look.
-- Yawning more often indicates hunger than fatigue.
-- All soda is called "cola" and all chewing gum is called "Chicklets".


I will answer some of the questions now, and some later - I think that the 2001 issue needs a long time to explain methodically...
A genou is indeed a punishment...and it hurts me just thinking about it. In my case, it consisted of going out to find the thickest tree branch possible and then having it be used on me. I haven't got it since i was 10 maybe though. BTW, if you didn't give your parent the thickest one that yuo could find, yuo are often whipped with that one and THEN sent off to find the biggest one. Then you get whipped with that one too.

These are indeed dishes - very popular in Haïtian cuisine. In my home, the consist of beans, rice, maybe chicken and some other odds-and-ends that my mother would kill me for disclosing...

When I read this phrase outloud, I still don't understand it - sorry. :cry:

We use the words biblos and meubles as generic terms to describe trinkets and furniture that decorates a showcase room like a parlor or dining room. These objects are usually antique and have been handed down for generations. I suppose that a bookcase could be considered as this, but it wouldn't be the first thing that I would think of.

I don't know where the tradition of drinking bouillon on saturdays comes from. I do know that we don't usually drink it at my home...

The 2001 issue is a very long matter that I will explain later...I hope you will find the explanation fascinating. :wink:
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Postby Alcadras » 2006-07-31, 20:01

I am interested in Haitian dishes.Does your mother cook Haitian cuisine?Do you find them delicious?

Haiti yemeklerine ilgiliyim.Annen Haiti mutfağından pişiriyor mu?Lezzetli buluyor musun?

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Postby Sisyphe » 2006-07-31, 20:05

Alcadras wrote:I am interested in Haitian dishes.Does your mother cook Haitian cuisine?Do you find them delicious?

Haiti yemeklerine ilgiliyim.Annen Haiti mutfağından pişiriyor mu?Lezzetli buluyor musun?


We can talk more about them in the culture thread if you want. I have already descrpbed lambi, let me know what other dishes you want to know about.
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Postby M@! » 2006-08-01, 20:48

Marcus wrote:I just typed a response to this whole thing...but then it said I am ofline!!! I am soooooooooooooooooooooooooooo pissed!!!!! :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: I will try again later...

All you had to do is go back one page, you'd still find your message there. Copy it, log in, post it. :lol:

Alcadras wrote:I can't really say that i understand many of them. :oops:

What exactly? The joke itself?

Marcus wrote:A genou is indeed a punishment...and it hurts me just thinking about it. In my case, it consisted of going out to find the thickest tree branch possible and then having it be used on me. I haven't got it since i was 10 maybe though. BTW, if you didn't give your parent the thickest one that yuo could find, yuo are often whipped with that one and THEN sent off to find the biggest one. Then you get whipped with that one too.

:shock: Really? Away from Haiti, and your parents punish you the Haiti way? :shock:
Were they both born in Haiti by the way? Do you still have family there?


Marcus wrote:These are indeed dishes - very popular in Haïtian cuisine. In my home, the consist of beans, rice, maybe chicken and some other odds-and-ends that my mother would kill me for disclosing...

Why is that? :lol:

Marcus wrote:When I read this phrase outloud, I still don't understand it - sorry. :cry:

It could be: What do you have? -- As for 'what's wrong with you?' And then 'let's talk...?' :?:

Marcus wrote:I don't know where the tradition of drinking bouillon on saturdays comes from. I do know that we don't usually drink it at my home...

What is bouillon anyways?

Marcus wrote:The 2001 issue is a very long matter that I will explain later...I hope you will find the explanation fascinating. :wink:

I hope you'll tell us about it soon. :--)

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Postby Sisyphe » 2006-08-01, 22:27

Mariam wrote:
Marcus wrote:I just typed a response to this whole thing...but then it said I am ofline!!! I am soooooooooooooooooooooooooooo pissed!!!!! :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: I will try again later...

All you had to do is go back one page, you'd still find your message there. Copy it, log in, post it. :lol:

Alcadras wrote:I can't really say that i understand many of them. :oops:

What exactly? The joke itself?

Marcus wrote:A genou is indeed a punishment...and it hurts me just thinking about it. In my case, it consisted of going out to find the thickest tree branch possible and then having it be used on me. I haven't got it since i was 10 maybe though. BTW, if you didn't give your parent the thickest one that yuo could find, yuo are often whipped with that one and THEN sent off to find the biggest one. Then you get whipped with that one too.

:shock: Really? Away from Haiti, and your parents punish you the Haiti way? :shock:
Were they both born in Haiti by the way? Do you still have family there?


Marcus wrote:These are indeed dishes - very popular in Haïtian cuisine. In my home, the consist of beans, rice, maybe chicken and some other odds-and-ends that my mother would kill me for disclosing...

Why is that? :lol:

Marcus wrote:When I read this phrase outloud, I still don't understand it - sorry. :cry:

It could be: What do you have? -- As for 'what's wrong with you?' And then 'let's talk...?' :?:

Marcus wrote:I don't know where the tradition of drinking bouillon on saturdays comes from. I do know that we don't usually drink it at my home...

What is bouillon anyways?

Marcus wrote:The 2001 issue is a very long matter that I will explain later...I hope you will find the explanation fascinating. :wink:

I hope you'll tell us about it soon. :--)


I pressed the back button - but it said that 'this page has expired' or something like that.

Only my mother is Haïtian. And no, I no longer have family there - they all fled or attempted to and failed during the regime of Papa Doc Duvalier. My mom punished me in a way that worked...and it did, so she did it.

i still dont understand the phrase... :?

She doesnt make it with something like rats or something, it is just that she wants her family's secret recipes to remain that way. :P

Bouillon is a broth. It can be made from beef, seafood, chicken, venison, turkey, fish, etc...It is one of my personal favourites. :D :wink:

I will tell you about 2001 when I have a long enough time to sit in front of my computer and explain it in a way that will not confuse everytone. You know how Italian politics are a soap opera? - Well, Haïtian politics are a HUNDRED times worse! :(
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Postby Sisyphe » 2006-08-03, 23:57

I have an extra 30 minutes, so i would like to explain the events of 2001 to you all. (Mariam, I hope you're listening!!!) :wink:

To start, we need to go back to 1 January 1804 - which is the independence of Haïti. At this time, Haïti became the first black republic in the world! :D The slave rebellion that liberated Haïti under the direction of Toussaint L'Ouverture was only a show of what Haïti would be like for the rest of its history - one bloody coup filled with corruption after another.
I'm going ahead pretty far in history - to the late 1950s...
The worst of the régimes that took Haïti was that of Papa Doc Duvalier. He was a dictator that ruled with an iron fist. His secret police, the 'Tonton Macoute' destroyed any suspected opposition. My mother and her family all fled Haïti at this time for Montréal. To be honest, I still don'T know what exactly happened to some of them...it is a very sore subject with my mother...As if all of this pain weren't enough, his son took power after his death and continued killing more Haïtians. Jean-Claude Duvalier STILL maintains that there were no systematic murders and that all of it is a lie - we know better than that though. :x Jean-Claude Duvalier was overthrown in the late 80s and more violence ensued.
If you think that I was joking about the fact that during this time there was not even ONE peaceful transfer of power from one leader to another - I am completely serious. Between 1988( I think this is the year) and 1991, there were 5 presidents in Haïti and no peace. In 1991, Jean-Bertrand Aristide took power and won the elections. I am not sure if they were rigged or not, but most elections in Haïti were...just for your knowledge. :roll: I am pretty sure thar this was the FIRST transfer of power in Haïti from one leader to another without any casualties. Aristide was a different president and no one in Haïti had ever been ruled by someone like him. Aristide sincerely dedicated himself to making Haïti a better country. He showed Haïtians that there was something VERY wrong about Haïti that needed to be fixed. Just like when the French ruled Haïti, there was a small portion of the population that spoke French and that was rich, who practically controlled the Créolophone poor. Aristide did a lot to change this. If you are interested in this, look up Aristide's most famous speech 'Père Lebrun'. Unfortunately, Aristide was only in power for about half a year when the next coup took over Haïti and he was forced into exile. He came back to rule in 1994 until the next coup in 1996 where he was again forced into exile.

Now for the part you've been waiting for! - 2001!!!
In 2001, everyone was getting mentally prepared to celebrate the 200 birthday of Haïti. In this year, Aristide WON the elections and became president once again! Haïti's most beloved leader had returned. Can you predict the next thing that happened? An American-French military intervention that took Aristide out of power. This happened in 2004 on the year that was supposed to be very special to us. The reactions to this catastrophe were horrible. Many Haïtians revolted in support of Aristide - mostwas extremely upset against the Europeans and Americans and they blamed them. The Americans said that Aristide agreed to be taken out of power, but we know that this is not the case. An American plane was WAITING to abduct Aristide and take him far from his supporters in Haïti. When he tried to come back, Condoleeza Rice said that he should be taken out of the Western Hemisphere. Other American officials threatened that he would be imprisoned if he came near Haïti. So the 200 anniversary of the first black republic was a disaster - just like the rest of our history. We Haïtians do not hang our heads in despair about this - it just shows the world how resilient we are, even when everything seems to be against us. As that documentary that I showed you said, Haïti is a country that will NEVER die!!! :wink:
Let me know if you have questions.
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Postby M@! » 2006-08-04, 20:56

Marcus wrote:I have an extra 30 minutes, so i would like to explain the events of 2001 to you all. (Mariam, I hope you're listening!!!)

Of course I am listening. That was really very instructive. I've learnt a lot of stuff about Haiti lately, and this 2001 story is just a great plus to my knowledge. Thank you for your explanation and time Marcus.

But now, how do you evaluate the system? Is is it as bad as before? I wonder why Aristide was forced to leave his position. I don't see what can make the States and Europre, as you said, do such a thing. If the people were happy to have him, if he ended a long period of dictatorship. I just don't get it!

It's very sad to imagine that you may have some family around and you know zip about how their life is going.. Your mom must feel quite bitter about it, it's quite understandable.

Her odds-and-ends must of course remain a family secret. It must be like a treasure that can't but be handed to next generations within family. Very nice!

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Postby Sisyphe » 2006-08-04, 21:04

Mariam wrote:
Marcus wrote:I have an extra 30 minutes, so i would like to explain the events of 2001 to you all. (Mariam, I hope you're listening!!!)

Of course I am listening. That was really very instructive. I've learnt a lot of stuff about Haiti lately, and this 2001 story is just a great plus to my knowledge. Thank you for your explanation and time Marcus.

But now, how do you evaluate the system? Is is it as bad as before? I wonder why Aristide was forced to leave his position. I don't see what can make the States and Europre, as you said, do such a thing. If the people were happy to have him, if he ended a long period of dictatorship. I just don't get it!

It's very sad to imagine that you may have some family around and you know zip about how their life is going.. Your mom must feel quite bitter about it, it's quite understandable.

Her odds-and-ends must of course remain a family secret. It must be like a treasure that can't but be handed to next generations within family. Very nice!


I don't know what to think of the system. I do think, however, that Haïti fully deserved to have a democratic leader in power for the 200 year anniversary. I look at the government now as a puppet government that does the bidding of the Americans and the Europeans. This is not at all right - we do not want to be little pawns for the Americans! They are doing nothing to improve Haïti and then they reject immigrants to the United States who come to look for a better life. The Americans say that Aristide was involved in corruption scandals, but I have yet to see any convincing evidence of this...My religious mother does indeed feel bitter about her ffamily - she looks forward to a time where she will meet her family again and find out the real story of who got out, who was killed by the Tonton Macoute, etc...
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Postby M@! » 2006-08-04, 21:20

Haiti deserves a democratic leader in all times, not just for its 200 anniversary.

Do you consider going back there? To give your country your share of efforts in improving it?

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Postby Sisyphe » 2006-08-04, 21:30

Mariam wrote:Haiti deserves a democratic leader in all times, not just for its 200 anniversary.

Do you consider going back there? To give your country your share of efforts in improving it?


I would, of course, love to go back to Haïti. Especially if I thought that I would have the chance of improving it!!! I feel, though, that I as someone who grew up in Montréal with French as my first language - I would not be taken seriously. Those who would take me seriously in the best case scenario would be the American government and Haïtian assasins....I would almost say that my homeland is a lost cause -at least I would be powerless to do anything there.
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Postby Alcadras » 2006-08-04, 21:31

You must devote yourself to children. :P You must teach Haitian Creole to everyone you know,you had said it. :wink:

Hayatını çocuklara adamalısın. :P Bildiğin herkese Haitice öğretmelisin,sen demiştin. :wink:

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Postby Sisyphe » 2006-08-04, 21:36

Alcadras wrote:You must devote yourself to children. :P You must teach Haitian Creole to everyone you know,you had said it. :wink:

Hayatını çocuklara adamalısın. :P Bildiğin herkese Haitice öğretmelisin,sen demiştin. :wink:


Brilliant idea. :wink:
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Postby M@! » 2006-08-22, 10:31

Marcus wrote:I would almost say that my homeland is a lost cause -at least I would be powerless to do anything there.

That's dangerous pessimism!! :nono:

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Postby Jofi-a » 2007-01-08, 22:03

Mariam, You asked why the US and other western powers would want Aristide out of power. There are many reasons, but Marcus has touched on the one I think is most likely... He is a strong proponent of the 'common man' in Haiti and the 'ruling elite' do not like how that will change their hold over the country. That hold gives them leverage with the US and Other governments that they don't want to lose. We see the same thing hapen in Mexico where the popular candidate is snubbed by the US president and the corrupt pro business canditate gets welcomed to office before they have even finished voting. I had the pleasure of hearing Aristide talk about his abduction on Democracy Now w/Amy Goodman. He was seaking in English and if his command of that is any guage he must be mesmerizing in Kreyol!
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Postby Jofi-a » 2007-01-08, 22:10

Oh... and I understand Marcus' pessismism. It is amazing that the people there are as resilient and constructive as they are. It is a beautiful country with beautiful people. They can have almost nothing but will share it at a moment's need. They deserve more than they have but there are many cultural things that need to be changed before they can realize them. Bon Kouraj

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Postby Sisyphe » 2007-01-08, 22:27

Jofi-a wrote:Oh... and I understand Marcus' pessismism. It is amazing that the people there are as resilient and constructive as they are. It is a beautiful country with beautiful people. They can have almost nothing but will share it at a moment's need. They deserve more than they have but there are many cultural things that need to be changed before they can realize them. Bon Kouraj


:bounce: :praise: I'm glad you think so. :wink:

He was seaking in English and if his command of that is any guage he must be mesmerizing in Kreyol!

I completely agree with you. :) Writing in Haïtian Créole still feels very weird to me, but all writerrs have their influences nevertheless. For me, one of the most important of my influences in my KA writing is without a doubt Aristide. :D
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