Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Pour L'Amour De Paris

Today, I was taken away by the fascinating portraits of Photographer and Filmmaker: Brassaï (1899-1984)

My friends and I went over on the metro to a photographic art exhibition and waited for almost forty five minutes in line just to get in.

It was spectacular. Brassaï dedicated his time to capture the life in Paris during the 20th century, making sure he seized each moment of the Paris night life, the Parisian women, his friends (including Picasso) and of French life, prostitutes and all!

I sat for fifteen minutes to watch one of Brassaï's own film. A legit black and white film- grainy and all! It was magical. The audience consisted of some elementary students, some adults and myself. We all laughed and tilted our heads from left to right when the images turned over. The film was about nature- a clever humanization of wild animals in their natural habitats. For a few minutes, I was in Paris of 1924, a moment in time during the World War, a moment in time when Parisians enjoyed everything that the French rightfully should. 
He captured lovers strolling down Concorde hand in hand under night's romantic fog.. he captured children and parties, artists at work; he captured his lovers (Or so I believe since he used one particular girl in many of his sensual portraits) and many of Paris' architecture. He has captured the soul of a fascinating city in a time of chaos and shared it with us.

Paris hasn't changed a bit ! I watched the women in his photographs- so elegant and poise! They seemed intoxicated with feverish happiness and accessorized with luxury and shimmer. Some women in the portraits had their cigarette in one hand, wine glass in other and still managed to look glamorous and sensual; dangerous but adored. This is the Parisian spirit reflected in the people today. Paris is outlined by gorgeous buildings and their gothic designs. Some are more classical but that only adds to its fascinating history. Paris is filled with young and daring love.

The exhibition runs up until March of this year. If anyone is around, this is a definite Must See! :D
Exhibition location: Hötel de Ville.
From 8th November 2013 – 8 March 2014

Friday, January 10, 2014

The City of Lights

Some nocturnal shots of my neighborhood .... La Defense

"Hommes de Chocolat "

Chocolate Men

"I like my men like I like my chocolates"- Cindy Blanco

Chocolate has been known to be the secret antidote to a woman's hormonal typhoon. lol This is not necessarily a total lie. Invented almost 3,100 years ago by the Aztecs (or so scientists have claimed,) this luscious dessert is a woman's getaway from, well, anything.

Chocolate is rich, sweet, smooth, sensational, delightful, soothing, soft, an explosion of goodness!

But Chocolate may also be chivalrous, sexy, and luxurious. I want my future guy to be like my favorite types of chocolates. I want him to be my getaway from a hard day's struggle and my favorite part of the day. Wanting someone who is sexy depends solely on one's personal definition of being sensual. A chocolate square is always unpredictable but never failing. One may prefer chocolates with almonds, or coconut. Or even with the silky smooth filling that oozes onto your craving buds at your first bite of that chocolate square. Forrest Gump's mother said "Life is a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."

There is a common stereotype about French men being the delegates of romanticism and chivalry. It's so hard to tell at first glance. I've only been a week here and I have not encountered myself with love at first sight. But I have, however, been greeted the time of day by casual hommes and they've held doors for me and stopped the elevators for me. My eyes have witnessed couples by the water fountains reading books together, roller-blading through the park and ever so often glancing secretly at each other.

How about a chocolate bar whose flavors are hard to decipher? Is that a hint of cinnamon or nutmeg? Did I just get a crunch of hazelnuts or was that sugared peanuts? How about a bar of chocolate bar that inspires you?
 I like my chocolates the way I'd like my spouse to be- a whip of passion: passion for life, passion for languages and cultures, a passion for adventures and novels, maybe a hint of nuts: sane is boring and predictable :);  a bit of coconut: so he knows and appreciates the value of family and a 'home;' I want my chocolate with just a little bit of smooth caramel inside: for the late nights when I get home tired and he understands, and tries to make me feel better, and makes me feel appreciated and most of all, loved. A chocolate so bite-sized that I'll be the only to have it and I will make it my personal life goal to appreciate those ingredients and always be hungry to discover its new flavors.

That is my recipe for sexy. It's not all about the abs and hairline. Although those are bonus points! 

P.S If you're travelling to Paris, I strongly recommend taking time to stop at any local chocolate store and savor the countless chocolates they have to offer. It is a real delight! (I do mean actual chocolates)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

In the Asylum

       I find it hard to choose things to talk about in this specific blog without making something too personal. In later blogs, I might just break down and allow you guys inside my secret daydreams and fictional world. (Yes, I do pretend to be different characters of my favorite movies and novels...nothing's wrong with that!) Back to the post...

I am in the Asylum... the domicile for the 'unsettled' minds.

        I did my first 'official' student grocery shopping in the streets of La Defense in Paris - the business district of Paris and the Business Heart of entire Europe, but more of that later. 
       Walking through the aisles of the Monoprix, I came to the realization that knowing English isn't as useful here as it is in places like North or Central America. Buying my daily survival necessities became a struggle. But pictures help. And so does basic Spanish since most French words are deratives. (and Vice Versa)

      One picture I could not find in those infinite rows of manufactured edible treasures was feijão. In a less exotic Brazilian accent, it really means beans. I could not find beans anywhere. Now, please take a moment to breathe this all in. My blog is about beans. What is Cindy thinking? Cindy is thinking about the mere fact that in the City of Lights, the City where most romantics dream of, writers crave of, and adventure devils reek of- I could not find either cooked nor uncooked beans. 

Let me use a favorite anecdote as antidote for this other anecdote ;) 

     A few days after arriving in Paris, I finished reading "What She Left Behind" which, in short, is a novel of time travel and its interconnection of hearts and lives between two women in different time. But more importantly, about a girl named Clara- who is forcibly taken to an Asylum by her atrocious father who thought she had become irrational or "crazy" after falling in love with an Italian of the lower class. Chained to a time where women were merely thoughtless objects and incapable of reason, she struggled to keep herself sane. Everyday she tried to convince others that she was fine and needed to be released. Her days became years and she tried to remind herself of her daughter and of Bruno to keep herself from losing touch with reality.

Bruno is my beans. Oh dear Bruno!

     You see, she needed that memory to stay alive and sane- Just as Rose kept the memory of Jack alive to let the love live on. 
Beans at home means that mom found the easiest dinner escape. It means that dad wants a typical "spanish'' din din. 
     Beans in Paris means a replica of family warmness, a short-lived time travel experience that connects you to the time you were at home maybe wondering why you didn't order take-out. Beans in Paris means that I want to keep a sole piece of who I am with me.

     Don't get me wrong. The culinary institution of life has always been my favorite getaway. I am a sucker for trying new and exotic cuisines- if I can't even pronounce it, then I'm trying it. But I still am on the hunt for beans. 

I am still in search for my Bruno because it brings me back to the reality that this is not a dream, you see. Feijãos pull me back to my home - a place of grounded assurance and familiarity, where everything will be okay. Sometimes all a girl wants is to eat some of that beans. 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

"Maktub" Or " Renaissance"

On January 2nd, I headed off to the journey of a thousand miles... leaving behind everything and everyone; leaving behind tears and broken smiles, leaving behind my favorite old socks and my special bed blanket. Nothing can ever describe the way it feels to say goodbye to the people you love the most and to your familiar life.
But that's just what being young is about. It's about following your dreams and letting go of the known and familiar and set out to the unknown! We landed in Newark, NJ around 6:38 and the city was ever so beautiful from above! Clear skies and shiny lights- I couldn't even see the horizon. When it was time for boarding  ( two hours later) I had my first taste of snow! Boarding, I felt the ice sprinkling on my face and swiftly flowing on a little French girl's hair in front of me. As a "Cruffy" (hence, the name of my blog) I wasn't accustomed to that type of weather. Twice I 'almost' witness snow, but for some reason or the other, I had moved away too soon.
I was pretty psyched at the sight of snow and I was later switched seats so I had a better view! The wind blew it back and forth, in swirls and twirls on the plane's wing, and I watched it as it started to accumulated and glitter in the airport lights. It was phenomenal! It reminded me of cupcakes for some reason!
As I gazed at the wind and the snow- merging together as if watching a man and woman dance swiftly across the dancefloor following each other's rhythm, I caught a glance at the gate beside me. It was labelled Gate 91. For many, the number has no meaning. For a life enthusiast like me, I immediately believed that the universe was trying to speak to me! If you haven't read Paulo Coelho's "Alchemist," you really should. I was born in 1991 so you can only imagine how psyched I was to think that the universe was trying to show me that this was my new beginning- it was my rebirth. I smiled and thought to myself that this was a once-in-a-lifetime journey and I needed to make the best of it no matter how hard it gets...
My favorite quote from the Alchemist was "Maktub" which is Arabian for "It is Written," meaning that your destiny is already set out- that nothing is coincidence. Everything that happens to you, with you, about you is meant to happen and we need to accept that even if they are bad things- because even when we hit the hard times, it is only a pathway to better and bigger things for ourselves. It is written!