Like Water For Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

”Each of us is born with a box of matches inside us but we can’t strike them all by ourselves.” Like Water For Chocolate

About a week ago I FINALLY finished Like Water For Chocolate. Why FINALLY? Because the first time I picked up the book was almost a year ago for an english class, but I wasn’t able to finish it before moving on to the next reading assignment. However I returned to it, finished it, and absolutely loved it.

Like Water For Chocolate is a book to devour. From the beginning it is obvious that Laura Esquivel is writing from the heart, with a smooth and simple style that enters the heart of the reader effortlessly. It is almost as if she is telling you the story herself in person.

Esquivel also enters the heart of readers through the emotions she invokes in the story. The story shows the powerful effects of magical food on characters, and the book’s enchanted writing had the same effect on me. The story pulled out every emotion – happiness, anger, sadness with a natural story.

The story of Like Water For Chocolate isn’t necessarily a happy one: Tita is forbidden to see her soulmate, Pedro, and her mother acts malevonlently towards her. While this may come across as melodramatic, Esquivels writing prevents the story from sounding forced and turns it into a hopeful story searching for love and assurance.

I don’t want to give too much away about this book because I want everyone to READ IT! I promise it’ll be worth your while! Have you alreadyread this book? Do you agree or disagree with anything I’ve said? Did I leave anything out? Join me a nd let’s explore the world of Like Water For Chocolate!

 

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My First 10 Days in Chile

Hello friends!!!

Long time, no see! Unfortunately, I have not been active in the blogosphere lately but it is fortunately because I HAVE BEEN IN CHILE!

Yes, the trip that I have been talking about since forever has finally arrived and I am here to tell you about the emotional rollercoaster that has been my first 10 days.

Days 1-3

My first three days were like a dream. I arrived and I was immediately welcomed by two roommates! Being able to talk with them and join them on adventures made these three days surprisingly easy. The first night we went to the top of the Costanera Center, the tallest building in all of South America! Afterwards we saw Spider Man and grabbed dinner. The next day was spent going to a museum, attending a coffee fair, and spending the night dancing. On the third day one of my roommates left to go to school in a different city, so my other roommate and I spent the day relaxing, watching netflix, and attending church.

Days 4-7

The next four days were a little more stressful. On the fourth day I went and started my internship! Yep, I am here to work from 9-5! I was introduced to the office and the people I would be working with and my supervisor let me go home early. On Day 5 is when I started doing real work. Most of the time I help do research for a green highway project they are doing. While I am getting used to doing research and writing reports now, the first few days were very difficult to get used to. I have never worked a full length work day in an office and understanding a different language on top of that made it very tiring and stressful. Although I was stressed my supervisor said I was providing good research and reports, so I have that going for me!

Days 8-10

The first week of work I only really spent three whole days in the office. My first ¨day¨ was a half day, and I didn’t go to work on Friday because I had an excursion! My excursion was with my roommate (who is from the same university as me) and the director of the program from our univeristy. And we went to… THE ATACAMA DESERT! I know, going to the desert may not sound like the most fun thing to do but it was seriously one of the most beautiful and interesting places I’ve ever been. While we did a lot (I’ll safe that for another post) it was also a stressful weekend. My roommate was sick the first day and a half, so I was left alone with the director. While I admire her, I was very stressed because it was the first time I had ever really spent any time with her and I wanted to make a good first impression. Another very stressful factor for me was that my roommate and director know each other very well, so I was intimidated by their close relationship. All of this caused me so much anxiety that I basically called my mom crying Saturday night. And as if my social anxiety weren’t enough, I was waking up at 5 AM everyday that weekend for tours so I didn’t get much sleep.

Day 11

On Day 11, Monday, everything that had been bottling up from the previous 10 days exploded. While work went very well and I finally started having a good attitude about my work days, the evening went downhill a lot from there. I was texting my sister, telling her how tired I was from the weekend (remember I was waking up at 5 every morning) and how I just wanted to relax. Well, she called me a potato. And, well, I took that comment to heart and it basically caused all the stress I was bottling up to explode. All the emotions I had been having about getting used to a real job, feeling homesick, having culture shock, and more just came rushing out. In all seriousness, I cried for hours. I was just overwhelmed by everything that had happened the last 10 days, the good and the bad.

While I was crying I called my mom to talk about how I was feeling and how I was dealing with it. It was also during this conversation that we decided it would be best for me to see a therapist when I return to school. In the past I had used student counseling services, but my mom and I agree that it is time for some long term professional help instead.

The good news is that after getting some good rest I felt 100% myself again yesterday. I enjoyed work and I had a good evening of relaxing! And today my supervisor has no work for me to do in this morning, so I FINALLY have time to write on my blog and catch up on what I have missed.

I hope that now I am in a better groove and schedule that I’ll be able to stay updated on things going on the blogging world on the daily like I was able to before my trip began. I also can NOT wait to share everything I experience and learn as I explore our world!

 

The Self Esteem Tag

Thanks so so SO much to Bea for being an amazing blogger and always nominating all of her readers! I love this because I feel like it includes so many more bloggers in tags they may not normally get to do. So again, thank you!

The Rules

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  • Answer the 10 questions
  • Nominate and tag however many people you’d like

The Questions

  1. What is one facial or physical feature you like most about yourself? My favorite feature is my eyes. I’ve always received compliments on my eye color since I can remember and I feel like it’s the easiest feature to accentuate.
  2. What values are most important to you? Kindness and having an open mind. I fell like these two go hand in hand. While one can act kind, also keeping an open mind can help ones kindness grow.
  3. What is one personality trait you like most about yourself? That I am sweet! I have a natural disposition to say please and thank you and smile at everyone I meet.
  4. What is your definition of beautiful? Feeling confident with yourself inside and out.
  5. What is the last thing you did that made you smile or laugh? Watching Brooklyn Nine Nine with a friend!
  6. When do you feel the most attractive? When I’m having a good hair day.
  7. What are you passionate about? Doing what I can to make the world a better place.
  8. Who is the most supportive figure in your life? My mom. Sometimes we bicker at one another but I know she will always have my back.
  9. What are you most proud of about yourself? My willingness to work hard.
  10. Do you feel good about yourself today? I do! Unfortunately it took me too long to get ready (I am currently figuring out my routine for my time in Chile) but I am very happy with the end result!

The Nominee

While I love that Bea nominates everyone, there is one particular blog I would love for everyone to check out! My friend Sarah has a blog that is about her reflections on daily life and I would appreciate it if everyone would give her some love and encouragement!

A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway

“Why, darling, I don’t live at all when I’m not with you.” A Farewell To Arms

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Just last night I finished A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway, and I am relieved to have finished!

The book moved very slowly, going between scenes at the war and at the hospital with the main characters lover. While the book went into great detail about the settings and the landscapes, there was very little character development or interesting dialogue between characters. Because of this the main character, Frederic Henry, really didn’t seem to come alive at all in my mind.

I was not expecting the understated style in the beginning. While there is nothing wrong with that style, the way Hemingway used it made it difficult to develop an idea of the characters and tone. In the first half of the novel some of the most exciting scenes to me were when the main character became wounded and a few of the events from while he was at the hospital. But these exciting scenes were few and far between.

It wasn’t until that last third of the novel that I felt excited by what was happening in the book. When Henry and the Italian army began to retreat and when Henry ran away to see his lover is when I felt the most emotion coming off the page. It was during these scenes that Hemingway described the feelings of war and love best.

Unfortunately that wasn’t enough. The end of the book continued showing emotions similar to earlier scenes, but the end was too understated to be satisfying. What’s worse is that the edition I bought included other endings that Hemingway had written, and I would have preferred that any of those be the actual ending than what really was.

The only thing more disappointing than the ending? The characters and dialogue. Catherine, Henry’s lover, was unbearable, her childishness being more annoying then charming. The dialogue was clogged with characters speaking without any indication of who was speaking, making it confusing. The way the characters spoke didn’t help either. Frederic Henry and Catherine never had a conversation outside of telling each other they loved one another, making it difficult to have a deeper understanding or empathy for their relationship.

Have you read this book? Do you agree or disagree with my ideas? Do you still want to read it after seeing my personal review? Join me and let’s explore the world of A Farewell To Arms!

When To Pack – Packing Part 3

I pack certain things in a certain way, but when do I pack all of this??? In the final part of my packing series, I’m going to look at how I slowly collect things then pack them all at once!

About one week before I leave on any trip, I look at which clothes and items I want to take on my trip. This is so I can make a list to ensure that the clothes I want to take are clean and that the things I want to take are ready to go. In the case that anything doesn’t seem ready to pack…

few days before I leave I wash the clothes I want to take and make sure the things I want and need to take are ready to go. For example, I make sure I have enough toothpaste and soap for the length of the trip. If I do, great! If not, I run to the store to get what I need and everything is still great!

It isn’t until the day before  I leave that I actually start packing. Today I’m very fortunate because I do not need to go to work or run errands, so I can spend the whole day taking my time to pack. This is especially easy since I have done the things above, having already decided and preparing what I want to pack far in advance. While I’m almost done packing the majority of things today, there are some things that’ll have to wait until tomorrow…

This is because the day of the trip is usually when I pack my toiletries. This is because I use my face wash and toothpaste when I get up in the morning. And since I don’t have to be at the airport until tomorrow evening, I want to take the chance to shower and get cleaned up before leaving on my adventure! So while I’ll have some last minute packing, it won’t be very much at all or very difficult if I make a list of all the toiletries I’m going to pack.

When do you pack for a trip? The night before you leave? An hour before you leave? How long does it take for you to unpack once you get home??? Join me and discuss the kind of packer and traveler you are!

Click here for Packing Part 2.

Click here for Packing Part 1.

How To Pack – Packing Part 2

In my previous post I talked about what I am packing for my six week trip to Chile. Today, I’m excited to share my favorite tips and tricks for how to pack certain items!

Packing Cubes

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Packing cubes are an absolute LIFESAVER! I love them so much! Whether I am going away for weeks or a weekend these making organizing, packing, and unpacking my suitcase a thousand times easier. For my upcoming trip to Chile I am packing a lot of bulky, winter clothing. These packing cubes have helped compress the bulkier sweaters while keeping them looking nice so I can pack other clothes and toiletries. I have room for everything I need and it is organized so once I arrive to my destination it is easy to unpack and settle in.

Pill Box

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Personally, when i think of a pill box I usually think of my grandparents taking their medication. But I have learned that it has an even better use for travelers! I didn’t get my ears pierced until college, but since then I have learned that pill boxes are amazing for packing earrings. Each pair or two can have their own compartment, and it is easy to fit some necklaces and rings in the compartments as well. I love this because I know where I’m putting my earrings when I take them off, and I know that the lids will keep them safe inside.

Backpack, Carry On, or Checked Baggage

This is probably one of the most important strategies I use. Depending on the size of an item and when I’ll be using it after I arrive, I put an item in my backpack, my carry on, or my checked baggage. For example, I always put a sweater and a book in my backpack or purse so I have easy access to those things during my flight. For my carry on that goes in the overhead storage bin I put something I may need immediately once I arrive to my destination or that I can’t go without for long. These are items like pajamas, clean underwear, and medication.  Finally, my checked baggage has the majority of my things such as my wardrobe, large liquid toiletries, and things I may not need until I have settled in to my destination. Another strategy for checked baggage is to fill it with items that are a little easier to replace. One example of this are my hair styling tools. I love my hair straightener and would be devastated if it became lost with my checked baggage. But my blow dryer can be easily replaced once I arrive, so I packed it with my checked baggage suitcase.

What are some strategies you use to pack your things? Do you fold things a certain way? Pack like colors with one another? Please share and let’s think about the best way for each of us to pack!

 

What To Pack – Packing Part 1

Hello Friends!

I have some exciting news! I LEAVE FOR CHILE IN 3 DAYS! That’s right. It’s time to get everything together for my big trip!

I wanted to commemorate my pre-departure excitement by talking about packing! When I was thinking of this post I started looking at Pinterest and other blog posts about packing. A lot of the things I saw were very specific – which style of clothes to pack and how many of each item. While I don’t want to write about what I am packing specifically, I do want to write about the strategies I used to decide what to put in my luggage!

Mix & Match

The one strategy that anyone should use while packing whether they are packing for 6 weeks or 6 days is to bring clothes that you can mix and match! This will make deciding on an outfit each day easier. For each shirt I’m packing I have two or three cardigans to wear with it and three or four pairs of pants that match a shirt! This will make it easy to plan outfits the day before or throw something on in the morning. And since I’ll be in Chile for 6 weeks I can wear a variety of outfits without repeating the same one more than twice!

Layers

Another strategy that ties in with the idea of mixing and matching is to pack clothes that are easy to wear as layers! For example, I am taking many cardigans and pullovers that are easy and cute to wear with a button down or long sleeve shirt. This is especially important to me since I am traveling to a place where it is winter right now. But even on spring break or summer vacation when I’m going somewhere warm, I try to pack a cardigan that matches with the other clothes I packed.

The Right Amount

It’s important to have the right amount of clothes for your trip as well as the right amount of toiletries! While I was researching for this post, the idea of packing toiletries or buying them at your destination seemed like a commonly debated topic. But for me, I prefer to pack my toiletries before I leave on any trip. This is so I have my favorite products and the right amount for the length of my trip. Again, I’m going to be abroad for 6 weeks so I want some products that I know work for me (such as shampoo), so I went ahead and bought some brand new toiletries as to not run out while I’m away. I may not be able to buy my favorite brand in Chile, and it will make me comfortable and remind me of home too!

What are some rules you have for packing? Is there something you always take or leave at home? Join me as we look at how we prepare before we explore the world!