The Sisters

This is one of several stories in my memoir in the making. For the full collection click here.

Top: the youngest sister, Sabine. Bottom: the eldest sister, Cassandre.


Between every set of sisters is a dynamic as unique to them as their DNA, and each has a moment in their lives that can perfectly sum it up. The Joseph sisters have a habit of getting on each other’s nerves and laughing at the other’s pain, so naturally, this is how their defining sister story goes:

Two sisters–one young enough to still wet the bed yet old enough to form full sentences, the other a temperamental dancer very proud of and vocal about her various abilities–sit together on the eldest’s bed on a fine Sunday afternoon. This is a rarity in the Joseph sisters’ room: “You stay on your side and I stay on mine,” was the general rule, but today is a different day. Today they sit in peace for the first time in a long time, finally following their mother’s instruction to “play nice.”

They do for a while. Everything is gumdrops and lollipops until an argument starts out of the blue. There is no logic behind the spat–there rarely is when children are involved–but these two intensely emotional and stubborn sisters take it to the next level.

“Stop it or I’m gonna pee on your bed,” says the youngest.

“You wouldn’t,” her sister replies.

She’s right. Ordinarily, her sister wouldn’t dare making such a move; it could get them both in trouble and ruin a mostly perfect Sunday, not to mention doing so would be the classic rookie mistake of pulling out the big guns on the first play. But she wasn’t backing down.

“Oh yes I would. 1 . . . 2 . . .3 . . .”

And the stream begins flowing as she stretches out the final number for dramatic effect. It slowly creeps toward the eldest sister, gradually shrinking her dry mattress island. The eldest gives a horror-movie-worthy shriek of the simultaneously most comforting and terrifying word a child (especially a mischievous one) can hear: “Mom!”

So Mom came running. She first begins fretting over whether or not her babies are okay, then she takes in the scene. Her face shifts to slight annoyance upon realizing that her quiet time (the first she’s gotten in a long time) has been interrupted by what is not a life or death emergency.

“Bibine peed on my bed” the eldest complains.

The accused looks as innocent as can be despite the pool of evidence she’s sitting in, so her dutiful mother gathers her in her arms, ready to carry her to the bathroom for cleaning.

“Clean it up,” her mother says; you can almost hear the cartoon sound effect of the eldest’s jaw-dropping. She looks at her mother incredulously and her mother stares back with a look that says “Well? That wasn’t a request, so get going.”

As her mother cradles her, the culprit turns and smiles at the eldest like Michael Jackson at the end of “Thriller.” It is a memory that brings a smile to the youngest’s face and a cringe to the eldest’s to this day.


Social Media and Journalism

Tuesday, I along with some fellow Harbinger staffers, went on a downtown adventure to attend the school board’s bi-annual Student Social Media  Journalism Forum. The panelists included The Harbinger‘s very own Neyda Borges as well as esteemed broadcast journalists Ari Odzer and Patricia Hurtado de Mendoza, student journalist Marcus Frias, and communications expert Matthew Beatty. The superintendent, Alberto Carvalho, also dropped by to share some inspiring words in defense of journalism and the work that young journalists like us do. The panelists used their own experiences to give insightful answers to questions we all may have had, and since the forum is about social media, we took to social media to share them. Here are the tweets of my favorite pearls of wisdom from that day:

These inspiring words on the role of journalism made me appreciate the field more and strive to be better in every aspect of it.

The speakers also told us the importance of social media, how it is shaping journalism, and how to use it responsibly.

As student journalists it can sometimes feel like doors are closed because of how young we are, but Marcus advised us not to give up. Having faced age discrimination before he knew how hard it could be, but he also knew how rewarding it was when you worked hard and were finally seen as a capable journalist despite your youth.

Ari told us several times of how hard it can be to detach yourself from an emotional situation and get the job done, especially when it comes to interviewing people.

This piece of advice by Matthew appealed to me not only as a journalist, but as an aspiring fiction author as well.

Finally, these may not be pearls of wisdom, but I just loved to see professional journalists enjoying our work.


Don’t forget to read The Harbinger’s coverage of the event!

Take Your Child to Work Day

Today was Take Your Child to Work Day, and while I have abstained from participating for several years now, I was talking to my mom and was reminded of how much I loved days like Take Your Child to Work Day when I was younger. I used to go to my mom’s office and file and shred and staple and highlight, and even though they were small tasks, they gave me a sense of importance. It was fun to experience a little bit of what my mom handled on a daily basis, even if I wasn’t always working alongside her or fulfilling any of her actual duties.

Another of my favorite days tied with Take Your Child to Work Day and second to Hibernation Day, the day we’d come to school in pajamas, have a party, and take a napwas Career Day. While we were exposed to many interesting careers on Career Day (like martial arts training, limo driving, and being an officer of the K-9 unit)  my alltime favorite was pest control. My classmate’s father specialized in bird and bee removal and his presentation got the undevided attention of the entire crowd of usually restless children every year. If you’re wondering how that’s possible, it’s because it’s incredibly easy to capture a child’s attention when you drive a firetruck decorated with a honeycomb pattern and you give them sticks of honey.

Throughout my years of elementary school I looked forward to Career Day, however, when I was in about second grade I stopped going to Take Your Child to Work Day. My mom has been working in the same office for about as long as I’ve been alive and I’d already seen all there was to be seen; if I ever did want to visit her at work again, there would always be another opportunity. I decided to go to school second grade year and I’ve done the same every year since because there is something so wonderfully strange about going to school on Take Your Child to Work Day. Going to school on Take Your Child to Work Day is like going to school on a weekend or really early in the morning for a field trip the hallways are practically deserted and it seems like by being one of the few people there you’ve become part of a big secret. It’s a silly feeling, but ask any kid and they’ll tell you the same thing. The best part about being in on the secret is that your teachers treat you differently. There is no lesson or classwork or homework there are only a handful of students to a class anyway so it’s not like there’s any point in giving assignments instead, you get to play board games, watch movies, or even roam freely. And to students who’ve grown tired of doing the same thing every day, the change in classroom activities is welcomed as a godsend.

Body Art

I recently got really into the show Skin Wars (like, I finished all 3 seasons on Netflix) so I decided to show my appreciation for the art form by posting some body art that caught my eye.



Optical Illusions

Winter Wonderland

Because I am returning to school tomorrow and have yet to make a post celebrating the holiday season, I thought it fitting to share my photo essay of my experience at Santa’s Enchanted Forest. It had been years since I’d last gone so I savored every minute of it. I didn’t go on many rides or eat until I had that familiar fair-food sickness, but I had an amazing time and it was the perfect way to bring in the holidays.


As excited as I was for Halloween, I forgot to make a post about it. I suppose I wasn’t really feeling the spirit. It’s a bit difficult to immerse yourself in all of the Halloween activities when it’s a Monday and there’s school the next day. I did enjoy myself, however, because I spent the evening with close friends chatting, playing board games, rocking out on X-Box, and gorging on pizza and lots and lots of candy.

Broadcast Meets Print: Stephanie Bertini Visits the Harbinger Newsroom

It’s a bit late for me to share this on my blog because Ms. Bertini visited almost a week ago, but I enjoyed her visit and wanted it marked on my page.

The Harbinger

By Sabine Joseph

This Wednesday, Stephanie Bertini, a broadcast journalist currently employed at NBC 6 News, walked into the journalism classroom at Miami Lakes Educational Center prepared with an audiovisual resume and powerpoint, ready to impart her knowledge on the future generation of journalists.

Bertini began with a video that compiled her 10 year broadcast career to show her transition in journalism, beginning with local stories in Canada and progressing to more cutting edge stories in the larger and more competitive Miami market. To show how she made her way to where she is now, she also showed her powerpoint presentation entitled “Dream and Reach: My Journey in Television News.”

She stressed the fact that broadcast journalism is about helping others and not oneself. It’s about going out and telling people’s stories, informing the public, and reporting the facts: “If you have selfish goals, this is not a business for…

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Weekly Obsessions

Life update, because why not?

My weekly obsessions are:

  • Being stressed
  • Hamilton: An American Musical

I thought there would be more but apparently that’s it. I hope your week has gone well.


Nathalie and I discussed this more than a few hours after it was posted, and though I had no knowledge of the post, its topic was as relevant that day as it is every day for people with these national identity issues. I am one of those people, though I don’t feel that my case is as severe as most’s. I was born in the U.S., but because of my Haitian descent and upbringing, I feel split. I don’t speak the languages (though I do have a high understanding of them), nor have I been to Haiti, but I feel that I am too Haitian to be American and too American to be Haitian. I recently joined the Caribbean Culture Club at my school, and when they asked me to introduce myself I thought that I was going to have to give an awkward explanation of how I’m Haitian, but not really. In reality, I felt accepted, and I think the kids who attended that weren’t Caribbean felt the same way. We may be “Americanized”, but we will forever be drawn to the people and things that remind us of our native culture because of that feeling of home.

The Escape Vision

This week I found myself talking with a friend about children who are part of two ethnic groups but seem to belong to none. This hits home as a was born in Colombia and I lived there for five years, however, I have lived here, in Florida, for the rest of my fifteen years. There is a gray zone where all with the same situation as me stand. I am not considered American but in a sense I am not considered fully Colombian either. Family members joke about me being “gringa” but here I’m Hispanic. Honestly, I am beyond proud of my Hispanic background but I embrace the culture of the place I was raised, to a certain extent.

Cultures in Hispanic countries seem to be more strict and structured in comparison to cultures here, in my opinion. I find myself in the middle of this, having been brought up a…

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Rainy Day

You’re probably wondering why I posted a picture of feet, and while I know it’s strange, there is a story behind it. As some of you may know, I recently became a staff writer for my school newspaper The Harbinger,  and as I’m sure you all know, journalists are very busy. On this particular Thursday  (yes, I’m quite late with this update, I know) I was very busy running errands, and the weather was not at all on my side. The rain was coming down in heavy sheets and even under the cover provided by the building my top half got sprayed with water, however, my bottom half was worse. As you can see from the photo there is a little pool (the shallowest in the area, it was much deeper further along the path I walked) of water beneath the feet – which belong to myself (left) and Robyn Forbes (right) by the way – and our pants are wet up to the shins. There was enough water in our shoes to fill an aquarium and although it’s not shown, our thighs got pretty wet too.

Though this was towards the end of the day, there was still a bit of the school day left, and I stay after school for hours before going home. This meant that I had to spend another two hours and then some in uncomfortable wet denim, and shoes that squished and squeaked with every step. As I walked out of the building when I was finally able to go home, I was very upset to see this scene:


Now, don’t get me wrong, I was glad I wouldn’t have to wade in a river again, I was upset because after two hours the area outside had dried up . . . but my pants still hadn’t.