Every country I have lived in has their own unique perspective on time. In California, people generally try to run “on time” meaning arriving within a +/- 10 minute window of the event start time, with the main exception being “fashionable late” to parties. In Germany the stereotype about Germans being punctual is an understatement. In northern Germany in particular, if you are anything less than 15 minutes early, you are late. Before I understood this nuance of “on time” I would often arrive to upset company. The conversation would generally go something like this (but keep in mind it probably sounded must harsher as it was in German): 

Friend: “Angie! I was so worried, where have you been!? We agreed on meeting at 12:17*. It’s 12:18!!!!”  

Me: “…Sorry I was one minute late.”  

Friend: “ONE MINUTE?! I expected you here 16 minutes ago!”  

* It was common for meetings with people to start at oddly specific minute increments. 

In Ghana there was GMT. Not Greenwich Mean Time, but rather “Ghana-Maybe-Time.”  (Ironically enough, Ghana actually is in the GMT time zone!)  

UCEAP Advisor in Ghana (during orientation): “If an event is scheduled to start at 10 a.m., arrive at noon and bring a snack and a book. Or simply be mentally prepared to wait until it actually starts.” 

GMT was very subjective, sometimes events would “only” start 30 minutes late, and other times they would not even be set up by the designated start time. Even my courses at the University of Ghana would frequently start 30-45 minutes late. Being someone who is very involved in German culture, it was very difficult for me to adjust to GMT; however, it most definitely taught me the virtue of patience. 

In Barbados the phenomenon is referred to as “Island Time.” Island Time is known as “a certain slack attitude toward the clock” and to be honest, I’m still unsure how much time to allot myself (or not to allot myself rather) before getting to an event. For example, a few weeks ago I went on a cruise around the west coast of the island. The flyer for the cruise said “Boarding at 11 a.m., Setting Sail at Noon Sharp.” Not wanting to miss the boat, I promptly arrived at 11 a.m. only to find that the crew for the ship had not even arrived yet. We finally set sail until after 2 p.m. When people invite me to events, I generally have to ask what time they actually want me to arrive. One would think that after seven weeks of living here, I would finally understand the time schedules; however, unfortunately I do not. I can say that “Island time” and Ghana’s GMT have taught me to relax and reflect in situations where I would not normally do so. It’s liberating to not live the fast paced city live I had while attending UCLA.  

Seeing as UWI is in the middle of midterms I have spent most of the past week studying (and catching up. I got behind when my family visited last week). I have also been resting because I caught a double ear infection cough from too much swimming. 

I did have time to make delicious banana bread. Food is expensive here on the island because just about everything has to be imported, so we followed the recipe as close as we could… and I accidently added a third egg because I wasn’t paying close enough attention. But it turned out delicious so no complaints! We also don’t have a beater, but we figured out that when we are improvising, a blender works just as well!  There’s also always time for ice cream, no matter how much studying you have to do! 

I was texting an old friend this morning on WhatsApp, and as they exclaimed how excited they were that I was coming home soon, it made me realize how little time we have left here in Barbados. Sure, we still have two and a half months left, but in the grand scheme of being gone for 11 months total of traveling, two and a half does not feel like long at all. We are on the last leg of our trip, which means graduation and job hunting are right around the corner. I think I will seize my island time experiences as much as I can for the next couple months before getting back to bustling California. 

 Finally, sports are picking up right now. Possibly one of the only reasons I am looking forward to coming back to California at the end of May is so that I can watch the SF Giants at AT & T Park again. I’ve watched the Giants BEAT the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium in the past two years, but I have not been able to catch a Giants game at AT & T Park since I have been living in Los Angeles. I always wear my SF Giants baseball cap to keep the sun off my face here, so it will be nice to see the team I have been supporting internationally!  

Don’t forget to watch UCLA in the upcoming weeks! UCLA basketball is currently RANKED THIRD IN THE COUNTRY! With March Madness right aroundthe corner, this is particularly exciting! (For those of you that do not know, March Madness is a huge NCAA college basketball tournament that runs for the last two weeks of March every year.) This year, I have been teaching some of my Bajan friends about basketball, in exchange for them teaching me the rules of cricket, and we have all agreed to watch and support UCLA in the tournament. I wear UCLA affiliated clothing most days, simply because it’s what my limited wardrobe consists of, but I wish I had larger sizes to distribute for everyone to wear. As long as they don’t wear red, we should all be in the clear! GO BRUINS! 

Angela Howard studied abroad in Cave Hill, Barbados, in Spring 2017: