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  • Here are the “This or That Questions” that everyone keeps sending me while staying home in quarantine.

Book Review: Blindness by Jose Saramago

I read Blindness by Jose Saramago (Ensayo Sobre la Ceguera), a compelling fictional story about a deadly epidemic causing everyone exposed to the disease to turn blind. In the story, people becoming sick are quarantined and secluded in a hospital to avoid spreading the virus to the rest of the community. However, in the middle of that blindness, the patients started showing their real selfish humanity except for one woman at the quarantine hospital who could still see and witness the behavior of those affected by the virus. Through her eyes and the narrative of her story, is how we learn what is happening among all the blinds. This book discusses blindness as a physical disability and a cultural, ethical, and moral problem. Do we live in a society blind to the pain of others? This book left me thinking about the similarity of our modern world. Blindness is the type of book that makes you appreciate the small details of everyday life. It got me thinking about the privilege of staying healthy and all the beautiful things we take for granted daily, like our senses.

Please close your eyes and tell me, if you lose sight, would you still identify the sound of the rain? How about the intensity of thunder and lightning? Or the smell of the earth getting wet from the rain? The sensation of walking in the mud? Would you recognize the sounds of the steps of the person you love approaching? The book Blindness answers these questions. We talk so much throughout the day and carry the egocentric habit of constantly exposing others to our unsolicited opinions and thoughts. But, by doing that, we forget how to hear and listen to our surroundings, bodies, and, most importantly, other people. So, what would save us if we went blind today in a pandemic? Would it be how we cant stop talking nonstop? Or how do we listen?

by Wendy Cecilia

A Walk of Delight At The Rose Garden

The simple act of walking around The New York Botanical Garden on a Spring morning looks unreal. In the past, I didn’t know how to enjoy these moments without feeling that I was constantly procrastinating. According to my old self, there was always something more urgent, busier, and better to do than peacefully walking around nature.

“We are experts in the habit of stealing our present.”

We spend our present always thinking and rushing to the following hour but instead of speeding and running to the next one, how about we imitate a bit of mother nature: Always at a regular rhythm. While typing this on my cell phone, I’m sitting on a bench at The Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden in The New York Botanical Garden; for this ridiculously romantic city girl, this place full of nature and beautiful flowers looks like a movie scene. I’m in awe of every detail, surrounded by glorious colors, beauty, and the fragrance of 3500 roses, including my favorite pink roses, which are everywhere. (A romantic Capricorn? Yes, now, go and sue your astrological guru) This award-winning garden is environmentally friendly, and every year it becomes accessible to visitors from late Spring to early fall. While contemplating this beautiful exhibit, I noticed that everything changes, grow, and transforms, but never in a hurry. There is no rushing, and everything is taking its sweet time, revealing all of its grandeur. Maybe that’s what humans should imitate as well; perhaps that’s how all that is beautiful gets created and obtained with time and patience.

While on a journey, let’s enjoy the process of getting there by giving space to our transformation and enjoying all the simplicity that makes this life beautiful. Three thousand five hundred roses surround me at this moment, and one extra petal brings a rose closer to its magnificence. A similar transformation is happening to us; one new habit, change, or effort would take us closer to a better self. But, maybe it’s in the process of valuing the present where the true transformation starts.

So I’m going to open up space for more time like this. More moments to relax and trust the soul. I feel emotional when I’m in front of overwhelming beauty; old architectures, art, songs, poems, and nature do that to me. The revelation and transformations of beauty don’t come from admiring beauty but from what beauty is revealing to us. So I admire these Roses, working quietly, daily in their transformation and blooming until Spring arrives, to show how beautiful it’s to be present and participate in our own evolution.

by Wendy Cecilia

Everyone is Baking Banana Bread (Quarantine)

We are in quarantine lockdown 2020, and it seems there is a collective effort in the world to bake banana bread right now. I realized on my checklist that I hadn’t done a quarantine banana bread. I slept well most nights, except last night. Being awake at 4 am seemed the perfect time to do banana bread. I’m not Julia Child, but what could go wrong? I went to my kitchen and discovered I had all the delicious ingredients. Except for bananas. Not a problem; it was just a tiny missing ingredient. I decided to do my banana bread with blueberries instead. But I’ll still call it banana bread because I didn’t get up from bed at 4 am to call this thing “a blueberry cake.” Let’s be serious, guys. A checklist is a checklist.

Then, I also quickly discovered that my oven was not working. Well played, oven, well played. Out of all days, do you need to stop working during quarantine? No other months; it has to be during quarantine lockdown? The nerve! Not a problem; it was just another tiny inconvenience. I decided to cook my banana bread on a pan on the stove and Googled the proper steps. It was all going to work out. But, it took forever (maybe months or years) for that thing to cook on the stove. I decided to read a book while waiting, and the burning smell alerted me that there was banana bread cooking on my stove and that it was time for breakfast. Honestly, my banana bread was dark and “crunchier” at the bottom. I’ll admit that my banana bread looked ugly, but I swear it tasted delicious. S H O C K I N G! it was yummy-yummy (introduce Justin Bieber song). It was the perfect pick-me-up before a quick morning walk. After that, I needed some sleep before returning to work at my “home office.” Now I could check off banana bread from my quarantine list. Right?

So there you go; I’m a chef now. Not a baking chef. Not a gourmet chef. But the other kind of chefs. The kind who cooks delicious salad recipes every day and soups. Lots of soups. Chef’s kiss!

by Wendy Cecilia

Quarantine Update: I accomplished baking banana bread. (Check) Here are the “This or That Questions” that everyone keeps sending me while staying home in quarantine. 

Q&A While in Quarantine

A Good Book or a Good Movie?

Depends. If I’m enjoying my own company, then definitely a good book. But if I have company at home, then a good movie as long as the movie is not scary. I am not fond of scary movies.

Pizza or Pasta?

This question is hard to answer: Pizza

White Wine or Red Wine?

I avoid drinking alcohol as a personal choice, but I would say white—a glass of Riesling.

French or Spanish?


Beer or Fruity Drinks?

None. I’m not a fun company to drink with.

Long Walks or Picnics at the Park?

Ah, long walks.

Chocolate or Salt Caramel Ice Cream?


Love or Money?


Dark Chocolate or Regular Chocolate?

95% dark chocolate.

Rain or Snow?

Rain, especially during the summer weather.

Rosé or Champagne?

Champagne. The taste of champagne in my mind is linked with celebrations.

Comedy or Horror?

I love good comedies.

Beach or Forest?

The beach.

Boat or Plane?

A plane.

Reading or Writing?

Ah, hard choice. Writing is a form of therapy, and reading is a magical world. But I’ll say writing.

White Sofa with Stains or Black Sofa with no Stains?

Black and perfect.

Singing or Dancing?

Dancing. I’m the worst singer on the planet, but this Caribbean girl can move.

Dinner in Italy or Dinner in Paris?

Italy. But then I might drag you also to take a train to Paris.

Flowers or Plants?

It depends; I prefer plants if it is a gift for my apartment. But if it is a romantic gesture, I want flowers.

Brown or Black Hair?

Brown everything.

Superman or Batman?

Batman was my crush as a child…Ha!

Blue or Green Eyes?

Both have their beauty. 

Summer or Winter?

It’s obvious by now—summer girl.

Fire or Ice?

Summer girl says fire.

Sunrises or Sunsets?

Sunrises. They announce beautiful beginnings.

Straight or Curly Hair?

Messy waves or wild curls. Rarely straight.

Long Hair or Short Hair?

Long dark hair.

Roses or Daisies?

Pink roses are my favorite.

Avocado Toast or Caprese Salad?

Caprese salad.

Ketchup or Mustard?


New York or Las Vegas?

“There is no place like New York City.”

Online shopping or In-person Shopping?

Online shopping. I avoid crowds.

Tacos or Burgers?


Writing Poetry or Reading Poetry?

Reading poetry is a guilty pleasure.

Family or Friends?

100% team family. (Friends who? What’s that?)

Self-tanner or Natural Tan?

I’m trigueña, already naturally tan-skinned — compliment of my beautiful light-skin Mom and my handsome dark-skin Dad.

Sweet or Salty?

Sweet, and that’s a problem.

Cozy Night In or Night In The Town?

It depends on the mood. I love dressing up on a Saturday night with high heels and bright lipstick colors. Or go to bed early in pajamas and relax at home.

Freedom or Hope?

Freedom. I could build hope through freedom.

Pasta or Wine?

Pasta. I get lightheaded quickly with wine. I never learned how to drink like a proper grown-up.

While Walking: Music or Podcasts?

It depends on the mood. But lately, my happy Spotify playlist and every podcast episode from Esther Perel.

Cat or Dogs?


iOS or Android?

My left-handed personality works better with Android. 

Big Party or Small Gathering?

Small gathering. Just the people I love. No strangers, please.

What’s worse: Laundry or Dishes?

Ugh, dishes. Dishes are the number one enemy of pretty nails.

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Jogging or Hiking?

I started jogging seriously during the pandemic, and it has been life-changing. I went hiking only once, and it was such an adventure. Hiking is not my thing.

Amusement Park or Day at the Beach?

The beach.

International Vacation or a New TV?

International vacation for sure.

Honesty or Other’s Feelings?

Honesty while also RESPECTING other people’s feelings.

Ninjas or Pirates?

Pirates of the Caribbean.

Design your Future Exactly as you Want it OR Redesign your Past?

My future. I’m okay with my past. Some things were meant to stay, and others to leave (thank God). My sense of gratitude today comes from struggles, failures, mistakes, and heartbreaks that made me the woman I am today. But, on the other hand, my future and my dreams need more work from me.

Baking or Cooking?

I was cooking simple and delicious recipes. Quarantine gave me free time to cook more and use my recipe books, and I loved it.

Spending Money on Clothes or Trips?

Ah, trips! City trips. Around the corner trips. International trips. Back home trips. Local trips exploring my states. Trips. Trips. Trips are an investment in personal growth. A trip is full of memories, experiences, and stories that will last a lifetime and are unreplaceable.

Library or Museums?

Hard to choose; I love both. But I will say the museums.

Coffee Or Tea?

Coffee in the morning. Tea in the afternoon.

Perfect Teeth Or Perfect Hair?

Perfect teeth. Something I inevitably notice and pay attention to in a first impression.

Mansion In The Suburbs Or Cabin In The Mountains?

Does the cabin in the mountain come with a pretty view of a relaxing lake without bears? Nope… Hurry, drive me back to the mansion in the city!

Charming Or Genuine?

We are charming when we are genuine.

Smile Or Game Face?

It depends on the people around me.

Classical Art Or Modern Art?

The classics.

Natural and Real OR Cosmetic Surgery and Perfect?

On my body, 100% natural and real. In others, whatever makes them happy. It’s 2022; people are entitled to change their appearances if it makes them feel better.

Fast Food Or Sit-Down Restaurant?

Sit-down restaurant. Let’s take the time to eat and have conversations.

Cardio Or Weights?

Jogging, yoga, kickboxing, belly-dancing, and salsa dancing. Oh, and Reggaeton.

Snow White or Cinderella?

Geez… Cinderella was the fool who waited for a man to save her and knock on her door with a new pair of beautiful shiny shoes? Lol… oh, Cindy girl, come on!

Meanwhile, Snow White went for long walks in the wood, talked to squirrels, lay in the grass, loved apples, abandoned the 9-5 society, and according to her imagination, she “supposedly” lived with dwarfs? Wow, I’m Snow White! Ha!

Tell Me Something That I don’t Know

Tell Me Something About Your Health

I’m allergic to cats; we can’t be together in the same room. But, don’t worry, people usually kick me and keep the cat, which is okay with me. 

Tell me Something About Your Closet

You’ll never find stripes, anything army style or cargo; I don’t own anything red, not too many patterns either, flower patterns in the very minimal. Uggs shoes? Never! Neutral and soft colors will always be my favorites.

Tell me Something About First Impression

In general, I navigate towards people that smile easily. A person with a beautiful smile and a kind voice brings my walls down and makes me want to get to know them. First impressions of a man? You know the saying, “a well-tailored suit is to women what lingerie is to men.” That’s true, but in my case, I would say not the suit but just well-dressed and well-mannered. It says a lot about him and how he chooses to present himself to the world.

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Wendy Cecilia Reyes

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