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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 really happening among all the blinds.

This book talks of blindness as a physical disability. But also as 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 in our 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 right now and tell me, if you lose your sight, would you still identify the sound of the rain? How about the intensity of thunder and lightning? Or the smell of 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? Blindness makes answer these questions.

We talk so much throughout the day and carry the egocentric habit of constantly exposing others to our words and thoughts. But, by doing that, we forget how to hear and listen to our surroundings, our bodies, and most importantly, other people. So, what would save us if we went blind today? Would it be how do we talk nonstop? Or how do we listen?

by Wendy Cecilia


Learning a Third Language

At the beginning of 2020, I had two work-related trips planned. In June, my first visit to Canada was to attend a corporate event and help the company with the relocation of the second office in Montreal. And in November, I was going to visit Portugal for the first time to attend my friend’s birthday and a corporate technology event.

And then March 2020 happened; we all know by now what went through. And my trips were automatically canceled.

Today I want to travel more, but I want to be better prepared for these trips. My guy is motivating me to learn a third language. He speaks English, Spanish, Italian, French, a little Portuguese, and basic Arabic. I only speak English and Spanish. And he is right; it’s time to learn a third language. I keep talking about traveling to my favorite country on my bucket list soon, and he suggests that I should start with the language for a better connection. The whole experience is different, even with basic language understanding, compared to not understanding a single word. Plus, it is also respectful to any culture to at least learn their good manners words. So, Duolingo, here I come!

Can you guess which language I’m currently learning?

by Wendy Cecilia


Insomnia

When I rang the New Year a few minutes before 2022, I started the rituals that my family created. I swear they keep adding something new every year. You know the usuals, twelves green grapes, wearing yellow lingerie, and a long list of other stuff. A few minutes before midnight, I was pretty excited about the new year’s, and I was in the mood to start celebrating. I worked hard this past year to create a better 2022 for myself. It was going to be fantastic. I even had all the upcoming months planned. What could go wrong?

Days later, on January 11th, my dad passed away. I lost my number one man and superhero. And realized that grieving is a long-lasting stranger that knows how to grasp you using old memories.

My bedroom’s windows display a show of colors at sunset. I started thinking about the last two years—everything that happened and the moments that changed me. During bedtime, the curtains in my bedroom block the light at night, but those curtains play the rebel sometimes on some random nights, and through a diminutive breach, I wake up to a full moonlight touching my face. And I lay there, happy with the energy.

Insomnia has been happening more often since January. I keep going back to the night I lost my dad. Also, at night, I remember the most random and weird things. It feels that my memory chooses that time to play rewind to all the small details I missed or took for granted during the past 24 hours. For example, I ran out of my Colombian coffee, replacing it with one from Peru. Wow, Peru is good. And why was my hair so messy and tangled today? And why was I acting needy and nostalgic the whole day? Do bad hair days have something to do with our souls? I wonder.

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Thank God for music on insomnia nights. It turns out that my brain enjoys listening to new songs instead of going back to sleep. Dance music at 1:30 am while in bed? My brain thinks that is a great idea. I could text my person at that time. He always replies to my texts and listens. Something que adoro about him: but I want calm and peace at this moment, and I’m the only person who could give that to myself right now.

Yeah, I definitely need to go back to jogging to fix my sleeping problem. Starting tomorrow, I’ll keep my dates with the pavement.

On a positive note, I discovered a new poet. I read his poem, and my chest expanded. I can’t bring more books to my new apartment. I’m trying to be a minimalist. Poetry always pushes me to buy fresh flowers for myself. –Okay, I’ll admit it, any excuse makes me get fresh flowers for myself.

In perspective, I love life, even if I’m grieving losing my dad –without doubt, the best man ever to walk this planet. And I cry when I think of how much I miss my dad’s hugs and conversations. Even on days of nostalgia and messy hair, I love life. So here in my bed at night, with the rebel window’s curtains playing tricks on me and the moonlight on my face – even on insomnia nights, Gosh, I love life.

by Wendy Cecilia


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