“The Attraction For The Upper-Class Girls” 5/2/16

Comparison on Short Stories (A & P/ Love in L.A) by Karel Perez

“The Attraction For The Upper-Class Girls”

          The short stories “Love in LA”, by D. Gilb and “A & P” by J. Updike, are two that deal with two main characters who find romance in unusual situations. Both of these stories share similarities with how the two main characters find romance toward two ladies of higher class, and they contrast with the different life style and personality of each main male character.

“Love in L.A” is a story about a young male named Jake. Jake, through a reckless vehicle accident, meets a young lady named Mariana, who is honest and higher class than him. Similarly, in “A & P” the main character (Sammy) meets a girl who he calls Quennie. She also appears to be of a class higher than him. They meet as she comes with her girlfriends into the store where he work, shopping for some items while dressed inappropriately.

Jake meets Mariana after the crashing of their vehicles and instantly feels attraction for her. This can be noticed from the story in the way he expresses himself when speaking to her. One example is when he states “Mariana, you are beautiful” (45). Throughout their conversation Jake’s attraction for her continues to show as he tries to impress her with lies and insisting on a date. One example is when he says he’s a professional musician and would like to take her out for lunch or breakfast. He probably say he is a musician with the purpose of gaining her interest, as there is a stereotype which says women are usually attracted to musicians and artists. Although not clearly stated, it can be assumed that his attraction for her comes with the fact that she is of higher class than him, having beauty and a vehicle nicer than his. Unfortunately, their meeting does not seem to end with a possibility for love, as they both go their separate ways without any sign of a future date.

In Sammy’s case, his attraction for Queenie can easily be noticed with the moment he laid eyes on her. His description of her is one of the most apparent one for such attraction, as he gives full description of what he thinks and feels about her appearance and personality. In his eyes, she is nothing less than a queen who stands above the rest of her friends or even other girls he has seen. As example of how nice he thinks of her, he once states “With the straps pushed off, there…except just her, this clean…like  a dented metal tilted in the light. I mean, it was more than pretty” (441). He also finds her very interesting and stares at her every movement, while giving full description of what she does. Another apparent way in which his attraction shows is when he confronts the store’s manager Lengel to save her face. Lengel character appears to be very lenient on policies, thus communicating the store’s policies to Queenie and her friends, since they were inappropriately dressed after coming in the store from the beach. Sammy understands that it is not their intention and feels Langel is being too rough on them, so he goes with the decision of quitting his job to impress her. The way he sees it, it is an act of heroism. However, his act goes in vain as Queenie is not able to see it and he is left without a job or a possibility of a date with her.

The contrast of both stories comes with the difference of each main character, mainly with their life-style and personalities. In the story “Love in L.A,” Jake is a young male whose life-style resembles that of a financially unstable Latino living in Los Angeles. Jake’s life seems to be one with lots of freedom and low financial resources. This can be noticed with the fact that he doesn’t seem to have a stable job and drives a very old car. He is also very fond of his car, and it possibly means this is his way of emotional escape and freedom. It can be concluded that he spends a considerable amount of time in the road from the way he knows his way around the streets. His personality, in this case is one of a dreamer, living his life with lies with no significant purpose. One example of how he lives such life is: always on the road, no job stability or security, and driving a car that is not even his. Another example is how he lies to Mariana after the car incident. He lies to her about many things, including his car, profession, and his home address. The vehicle he is driving has fake license plates from another car. He also tells her he is a musician to impress her and to hide the fact that he does not have a driver’s license. In addition, he gives her, as she requests, a fake home address for insurance purposes. All of these lies provide the reader with an understanding of his character and personality, which is one of a person who lives his life filled with lies and dishonesty.

In contrast to Jake, Sammy is a rather honest young man. He also has a decent supportive family (parents) and life-style, and is working towards a goal in his life. In the story, it is given away that his parents and store manager are good friends, and this might be the reason to why he has this job in the first place. All of these things make him the opposite to Jake. It can also be assumed that he is spoiled and constantly supported by others from these facts – something that Jake is not. His personality, compared to Jake’s, is one of honesty and responsibility. He often shares what’s on his mind without lying to himself. One example of his honesty is how is able to describe others exactly as he sees it without any holding back. When Queenie and her friends come into the store, he describes them and talks about them with sincerity. He calls them exactly for what they are: chubby, tall, small, ugly, and beautiful. In addition, Sammy’s sense of responsibility is something that Jake lacks. He is able to have a job, which he had until making his decision to quit as an act of heroism. At his job, it appears that he knows his work area very well, knowing where items are located and their prices. This can also mean he is skillful at his job – something that shows a sign of responsibility. A job itself is also a good symbol and sign of responsibility.

In conclusion, although both of the works illustrate different settings and plot, the similarities exist with the main characters of each story. With both of them, a sense of attraction towards the opposite sex is emphasized in each story, being one that becomes unique with the personality of each individual. Yet in the end, neither of them gets a chance to a possible future date with the girl that interest them and this is another common aspect found in each story. Their personalities are almost the opposite, since one of them lives without sincerity and the other with honesty and morals. Overall, these two stories are great short stories that any reader can enjoy while relating different aspect of the plot, setting, characters, and overall theme.

 

 

Sources (Books):

 

Gilb, Dagoberto. “Love in L.A.” Literature and the Writing Process. Ed. Elizabeth McMahan, Susan X Day, and Robert Funk. 8th ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice, 2008. 43-45. Print.

 

Updike, John. “A & P.” Literature and the Writing Process. Ed. Elizabeth McMahan, Susan X Day, and Robert Funk. 8th ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice, 2008. 440-444. Print.

 

Eveline’s Unconscious Reason (4/25/16)

 

Her Unconscious Love for Home

          Eveline, also the character’s name, is a story by James Joyce. She is a young adult, yet mature, who has a rather complex life and struggles with whether to leave her home or stay. Over the couple of years, she has become separated from the things she loves, including close friends and family members. This has influenced her into making a decision about her life, so that she can find happiness. In this story, Joyce focuses on some drastic concepts (loneliness, great responsibility, and abuse from her father) that are reason to her decision on wanting to leave, yet she is unable because her attachment for all things at home is stronger in the end.

One of the factors that influence her decision on leaving home is the feeling of loneliness. Her life, when much younger, is filled with people she loves and adore. In fact, during this time, there are her close friends, brothers, and mother. She spends a considerable amount of time playing with her friends, and apparently develops a strong bond. To strengthen this sense of friendship, the story talks about how they often like playing at their favorite spot: The Devines. This specific time in her life seems to be filled with happiness. Also, her father, who is an abuse and mean person in the future, is not so terrible when she’s younger. It is unclear why he later changes into an abusive father, but one thing can be concluded: his behavior and attitude changed due to the death of her mother. Despite her descent childhood, her life is now different and those close friends and siblings either moved or passed-away. In addition, her brothers were not by her side anymore, and the sense of loneliness is unavoidable alongside her father.

Her father is the other reason to her decision. He is not only abusive, but also controlling. Often times he threatens to physically abuse her; something that makes her heart race. This problem has apparently continued for various years without any change. It can be understood from this part of the story that she is tired of leaving in such way. In addition to his behavior, the father is very controlling with her income. He doesn’t trust her with her earnings, thinking that he is better at managing it. As a result, he never helps with money and uses Eveline’s earnings to pay for bills. These are surely some big stressors, which only intensified with her other responsibilities. Eveline, as stated in the story, is very responsible at her age. Her earnings are always used for the expenses of the house and other bills. She is also responsible for other chores, such as shopping for food at the market, and taking care of two small children who are left under her supervision. One can only imagine that accomplishing all of these tasks and chores each day must be stressful and depressing. The author obviously uses all of these negative concepts to show why she is considering her decision of leaving home.

Lastly, love is another component affecting her decision. Love is brought in with the idea that it will facilitate her departure and provide her with freedom. She talks Frank, whom she likes and perceives to be a guy opposite to her father. Being with him gives her the illusion of the wonderful things that can happen with she leaves with him. Yet, in some ways she questions the idea of such love, meaning that her character fears going along with him. As it comes to her conclusion, Frank might be able to provide her with a sense of freedom and happiness, in order to relief her from loneliness and sadness. However, although not clearly stated in the story, one can determine that she doesn’t fully trust him, since she fears he might become like her father one day. In addition, she discovers at the very end that she is deeply attached to home, and that her life there is not so terrible there after all. As she recalls it, “it’s was hard work – a hard life – but now that she was about to leave it she did not find it a wholly undesirable life” (4). She finds herself attached to various things at home. First, there is her house, which she has loved for so long. The love for it can be easily noticed as the story states a few times how she enjoys inhaling the odour of dusty cretonne. Second, she is very used to the people in the town and living there. Lastly, she also treasures the objects and items in her house that serve as memories of her old days and of her own mother. To Eveline, they were: “familiar objects from which she had never dreamed of being divided” (3).

All in all, this story of Eveline is one that emphasizes various meanings in relation to her drastic life. Still, one meaningful thing is certain: the author focuses on various factors and concepts to show why the main character is troubled by a decision that will help her find meaning in life. This decision, which is unexpected to the reader, is one that can only be traced by her personality and unconscious mind. As example, one can notice how Eveline is eagerly curious to find a new way to be happy, but her unconscious shows how she is happy just being at home.

 

Source (Book):

Joyce, James. “Eveline.” Literature and the Writing Process. Ed. Elizabeth McMahan, Susan X Day, and Robert Funk. 8th ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice, 2008. 3-6. Print.

“The Cold And Detached Act” (4/18/16)

“The cold and detached Act”

-Comparison of Poems by Karel Perez

The poems “You All Know The Story Of The Other Women,” by Anne Sexton and “Sex Without Love,” Sharon Olds, share a similar sexual theme and different poetic elements. When comparing both poems, “sex (as an act for pleasure)” becomes a main focus, while the poetic element of visual image bring contrast in various forms.

In Sexton’s poem, the reader is exposed to a personal experience by a person who is the other women (the parttime lover). She shares her experience of the men who is cheating alongside her just for the sexual pleasure. To them is just plain sex and nothing more. Similarly, in Olds’ poem the reader is exposed to the general experience of people who perform sexual acts without love. Concepts of sexual acts without love are carried out and questioned throughout it, mainly emphasizing that it is just done for pleasure.

Sex is the main theme being stressed out it is perceived from each poem, values of love and loyalty are disregarded. In the poem by Sexton, this common focus is presented with the relationship of the two lovers who are cheating. There is no bonding connection in such relationship as the guy just uses her for a short time, only to later go away to his wife. It can be interpret from the poem that the sex between them is not great, which is a sign of boring and cold sex with no emotional intensity. Usually, the act of sex can be an intense experience, when performed with love and attachment with a partner. Yet, this is not the case, as it can be seen from the line “she is private in her own breathbed, as his body takes off and flies” (641). It can be understood that she is bored to death in bed with him as he performs, supporting on the point that the sex is just plain sex for pleasure and nothing more.

Similarly, in the poem by Olds, this theme of sex is presented with the description of sexual events though visual images. One good example of this is in the line “beautiful as dancers, gliding over each other likeice skaters over the ice” (650). In this line, it can be interpret that this signifies that sex without love between people is just cold and detached. Normally, ice skaters perform the activity in the cold and are constantly detached from each other as the go about doing their stunts.

On the other hand, contrast between the poems exist with the various visual elements of image. This element alone is one that has diversity as it takes place in the form of Kinetic, thermal, and tactile. There forms of the image poetic element if illustrated differently in each. In the poem by Sexton, the most common form of image is Kinetic (image of motion). These images can be noticed in some parts of it. One part is in “she is private in her breathbed as his body takes off and flies…” (641), and another is in “she knows flesh, that skin balloon,.., the remarkable roof” (642). Such sentences provide the reader with a visual image of motion – one that is missed in the poem by Olds.

In contrast, the poem by Olds has three others forms of visual images that are missed in Sexton’s, despite the fact that a similar theme is the focus of both. These three other forms of image are that of temperature and feeling. The image of temperature is noticeable with the line “they now they are alone with the road surface, the cold and wind,…” (651). Moreover, the image of feeling is seen in “they do not mistake the lover for their own pleasure…” and in “how do they come to the_come to the_God_and not love…?” (651). Each of these help differentiate both works of poetry, even when the same message is stronger point being carried across.

In conclusion, the two works are some that bring an interesting theme to the reader, and the idea of poetic elements to create contrast between the two. In addition, the two works are unique in their own way, even when focusing on this reference if sex being something that can be separated from love and loyalty. In this case, sex being a another form of pleasure, and a way of expression of they human body.

JOURNAL ENTRY: “REGULAR MONDAYS” (4/11/16)

JOURNAL ENTRY:

“REGULAR MONDAYS”

 

On a regular Monday morning, I usually find myself dragging my body out of bed to start on my most anticipated day of the week. My Mondays are now different to how they once used to be, composed of relaxation, personal activities, and personal development activities.

Busy weeks are now my new norm, filled with school work, regular job activities, and home chores. Years ago, I would have never imagined such change. In fact, as I can best recall, Mondays were just another day of the week for me, and only the weekend brought me relaxation. Anyhow, the change is here now, and embracing it is inevitable. Monday is now my one day of the week that changes everything for me, putting me back mentally in my comfort zone.

Being that this is my only special day to completely devote to myself, I must insist in making each as fulfilling as possible. Getting up from my bed on this day, however, is always the toughest part, since my mind and body is usually tired from a long week of work. Yet, once I am up, the rest of the day goes as smooth as the flow of water in a calm and never-ending river.

On this day, I make sure my personal activities are all met, thus making up for all the previous stress. Sports and recreational activities are not to be missed, as they provide me with the energy needed for this day. The first thing I do after eating breakfast and getting ready is head to the park, where I will commence on a workout that varies each time. Rollerblade skating, tennis, and cycling are my most favorite. Rollerblading is my latest addition, and I had no idea of how fun it is. Although I like to perform at the park, it is sometimes difficult with the crowd. Specially, since I am still learning the basics: turning, making quick stops, tricks, and many more. Regardless, I try my best and I have come to enjoy the attention from the seniors who are always at this particular location sitting at the benches. They can’t seem to stop looking at my performance. I don’t get the same attention from them when I ride my bicycle, but I don’t mind.

After my regular hour and a half of exercise, I go home to take the dirt, dust, and sweat off my body, and get ready for the rest of my day. The following things I do on this day are always different each time. Sometimes I go to China Town in Manhattan with my girlfriend, where we go shopping for food, items, or anything else. Other times I visit specific locations like museums, shopping districts, stores, or other cities. Each place provides me with a sense of new learning and keep my spirit alive. And in some occasions, one of these places might inspire a new place to visit or new activity within me. Aside from going out to new places and exploring, I have to say that one this day I love dedicating some time to learning. Reading and writing are always my number one things on top of the list. Books or articles about nutrition, news about the world, short stories, health, and anything in relation to these are my most favorite. However, I can only dedicate so much time to each on one day, thus only allowing me to spend enough time with each subject. Only so much can be done in one day, so I love stretching it as much as I can. As a result, I always end up sleeping after two in the morning. I don’t regret this one bit, since I enjoy every moment. When the time comes to call it a day, I fall into relaxation mode. For me, personally, this is all about drinking a cup of great or chamomile tea while reading a nice book in bed, or recalling on past memories of my life.

My Monday now is surely one special day for me. It is one day that brings a lot of important things, including emotional development, personal satisfaction from activities, and even great relaxation moments. Very often I feel that one special day is worth more than 5 days of misery. One important thing I learned from this Monday-norm is: one day, if fully lived with enjoyment, is worth more than five days of common routine.

 

 

“New Point of View For Endless Possibilities” (4/4/2016)

Short Story by Karel Perez

            “Rinnnnnng!,” the alarm on the smartphone went off. It was five in the morning and Jake, a guy who painted for a hobby, was about to start on his already-planned day. Jake had a habit of planning his everyday, usually in the form of a to-do-list. In this day, however, he hadn’t much to do, but only one simple activity: going to his favorite park and paint on a canvas.

Noon soon came and Jake was at the park looking for a perfect spot where he could settle down and start on his painting. He had brought with him a canvas, acrylic paints, paint-brushes, and HB-pencils, all packed in a big black portfolio. The park was overly crowded for a Monday, and he had a hard time finding a new perfect spot to settle down and find the inspiration feeling for his new art piece.

In his bicycle, he rode past various already visited areas of the park, looking for one he hadn’t visited yet. The purpose of this was to find some new inspiration that would get him started on his new project. The park had many areas attractive areas – some beautifully filled with cherry blossom trees and others with sports fields. He had been to all of them and nothing sparked his imagination at this moment. It felt as if coming to the park today was a waste of time. Jake started to feel a monotonic sensation to coming to the park. “I can’t believe it, but I am becoming a bit bored of this park,” he said with a thoughtful facial expression.

“But how can I leave this place, when it was here I first learned to paint, painted my first piece, get inspired each time, and even exercise,” he said to himself. This was the park where Jake had gained unforgettable memories. It was also the one where he had experienced change and achieve emotional development, but this time it appears he had found himself with no inspiration, no new experience, or change for development.

Two hours had past since he had come to the park, and Jake was still looking for that spot. Going home without achieving what he always did from the park was not an option he considered. Yet, there was none that he could find, as he came to realize with the two hours that had past like the sudden smooth wind that never turns back, and it passes to quick to be felt. Jake couldn’t believe that his long favorite park had nothing new to provide. He felt disappointed, and sad to even consider such an idea. At least, this was the only way he could perceive it; the only way he could even imagine it.

He finally decided to go home and try to forget about what had happened. On his way home, right by the exit of the park, there was an area filled with common wild animals of a park (rabbits, squirrels, birds, and the likes). Looking back at the park, while riding his bicycle very fast, caused him to missed the three rabbits that crossed before him. Once he turned his head forward, the furry animals where right upfront his tire and avoiding them was almost impossible. Taking to chances, Jake steered away to his right side since the rabbits where coming from the left, and upon turning he lost balance due to his heavy portfolio swinging to the left. “Ouchhhhh,” he screamed as he fell to the ground.

Luckily enough he was not hurt, other than receiving minor scratches around his elbow. And the three rabbits where already across the street as if nothing had happened. “Can’t this day get any worst, at this point,” he said the same facial expression when he realized the parked had nothing to offer him on this day. Jake’s portfolio had fallen behind him and he turned around to pick it up. Upon picking it up, he look back at the park and stared at it for a few second. On the last second, a small spark came to him, and soon a new idea generated in his mind. This whole time he traveled to the park, he had always looked for areas within it, and never thought anything outside it would be possible. Now it was time for a new change, one that would continue his long tradition of his beloved park. “I’ve got it!,” he peacefully said with a voice of relief upon his new idea.

 

 

She Flew Into My Hands. (03/14/16)

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She Flew Into My Hands

Short Poem by Karel Perez

She came flying into my hands after one year of hard work. Empty and lonely she was, but now that’s past with her new bottle-cork.

This little bird is sweet, pure, and gentle, I feel like a tweeting flying-mantle.

I hold her in my hands, just firm enough to feel her body temperature rise, and christ forbits that she ever flies away from my warm and gentle hands.

“TheAtomic Bomb Of 1945” (2/29/16)

The Atomic Bomb On Hiroshima, Japan

 

The reason why the United States dropped atomic weapons on Japan in Agust 1945 is related to various factors. Some of these factors are related to the testing of nuclear power, greater power, and quick ending of the war. The decision of the bombing was made by the president Harry S. Truman, and it was one the questioned him on various aspects.

One reason the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August of 1945 was because Hiroshima was the only city in Japan that did not allied prisoner of war camps. Also, its size and shape was suited to the destructive power of the Atomic bombs. In addition, Hiroshima had never been bombed before and it had a high concentration of troops, military facilit-ies and factories, which would increase the effects of the bombs and would make for more destruction.

Another reason why the bomb was dropped was that the US wanted to limit its own casualties by forcing Japan to surrender as quickly as possible help end the war. Also, the U.S wanted to force Japan to surrender before the Soviet Union could enter the war to secure a stronger political position after the war.

For the president, the decision was definitely troublesome. First, an allied demand for an immediate unconditional surrender was made to the leadership in Japan. Although the demand stated that refusal would result in total destruction, no mention of any new weapons of mass destruction was made. The Japanese military command rejected the request for unconditional surrender, but there were indications that a conditional surrender was possible. Japan was determined to fight and not surrender because it felt powerful and it was proving its power. In addition, it did not accept that the U.S and other allies of it were leaving Japan out trading and doing business. Japan just felt the need to stand its ground and try fighting for its demands.

Moreover, Truman stated that his decision to drop the bomb was just military and for beneficial purposes. The president did not want to prolong the war any longer, since thousands of American lives had already been taken. In addition, he rejected a demonstration of the atomic bomb to the Japanese because he thought there was no guarantee that the Japanese would surrender, and he felt that failed demonstration would only make the situation worst. The effects of the bombings were surely serious. Even the scientific community failed to foresee the awful effects of radiation sickness, and many Japanese were badly injured and killed because of radiation and the destructiveness of the bombs.

 

“On December 25th” (2/22/16)

dec 25th

“My Christmas Time”

by Karel Perez
          Christmas, the semi-last holiday celebrated once a year, is my favorite of all. It is one that has even more meaning, being left for last. In a sense, it feels as if I spent the previous 11 months mentally preparing for this holiday – waiting for its unique celebration methods, which include the exchanging of presents, the merry atmosphere, the chimed and jolly music, and the reunion of all family members.
          It was not too long ago that I figured out that this was my favorite holiday. It was when I was 11 years old that I discovered my inspiration and fascination for this holiday. One thing is certain: movies like the Grinch, decorations on the streets and stores, and the Christmas music had an impact on how I came to perceive this holiday. Throughout the years, Christmas has been celebrated in the same manner by my family in my house. We like to spend October and November getting everything together for Christmas Day. The buying of present is the number one thing on our minds months before December. The idea and thought of exchanging presents and gifts is thrilling and motivating. I personally like to do some research before I buy a present for each family member, with the hope that the gift will be one they will truly like. The reason I see it like this, is because if the gift is truly liked on this day, then an even happier atmosphere is created. The rest of the family likes to do the same thing, and spend some time researching on what kind of gifts another family member would like. It is rarely to see our Christmas tree empty by November, since it will usually be surrounded by more than twenty presents, and decorated with lights, chimes, multicolored bells and balls, and a star at the very point of the tree.
          Another thing that can’t be forgotten is the atmosphere. This is an atmosphere that is different from all other. It is also one that can be noticed one month before Christmas. The streets will be decorated with Christmas objects, such as stars, trees, and lights. Similar things can be noticed at stores, supermarkets, and even the mall. All of these make it easier for anyone to get mentally ready for this holiday. Yet, the atmosphere is most noticeable with the people. It is no surprise that many people around this time become not only happier, but also busier and stressed. But this is all part of the atmosphere that gives Christmas away. The Christmas music is one not to miss, which is distinct in the sound with the playing of bells and chimes. This is something that can be heard on the radio as soon as December comes or by the end of November. Listening to this kind of music makes me feel calmer, relaxed, and jolly. Some of the played songs are as old, or even older than I am, but they have become classics that people enjoy listening to year after year. My favorite Christmas song is “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” I like to listen to the various versions of this song, especially the version by my favorite singer: Michael Bubble.
          Lastly but not least is the reunion of the family of this special holiday. My family is quite big on this day, with the coming of many members from all over the states. Some are from New York, New Jersey, Florida, Canada, and even California. After not seen them for a long time, only at Christmas time, I sometimes question just how important this holiday is for me. It is not just the celebration and all the things that makes it special to me, but it is also the fact that many of isolated family members come together to celebrate. The person that brings all of us together is simply my grandmother, since she is the most beloved person in the family. Loved and appreciated by all! I have been lucky to be around her my whole life; otherwise I too would be commuting a long distance like the other members. When the time comes, we gather together in a big room, usually close to a chimney, and what for the right time to open the gifts. It is at this time that all the research done when buying the gifts pays off. There is nothing more pleasing than to see the face of the person receiving the gift, as they have received something they truly like or can connect with. We like to do the exchanging while eating or drinking following: hot chocolate, coffee, pumpkin pie, chocolate cake, or even some red wine. When the time comes, we start opening the gifts, but this is only done in pairs, so that the rest of the members can observe the experience. This is a rather embarrassing moment for many of us who are a bit shy, but the thought of being surrounded by family makes each person fell at ease; There is just no room for outsider-judgment at this moment.
         For all the previously mentioned factors and reasons, Christmas has, is, and always will be my favorite holiday of the year. It is very special not only to me, but to all my family members. There is not a single thing of Christmas that makes me feel depressed or unhappy. Everything feels just right: the right time, moment, and people. And like every other celebrated Christmas, I will continue to listen to the repeated old classics, drinking my hot chocolate, and researching when buying the presents for loved family members.

Sawadee At Its Best (2/15/16)

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SAWADEE – Restaurant Review

          Nowadays, Asian cuisines are favored by many and very popular almost everywhere. They typically use specific ingredients, such as spices, nuts, vegetables, grains, and a variety of seafood. One recently visited Asian cuisine that caught my attention was a Thai restaurant, which focused its dishes on specific and traditional Thai recipes and atmosphere. These are both of which give the customers a good representation and taste of this style of cooking.
          Sawadee, a Thai restaurant, is located in between Grove Street and Newark Avenue in Jersey City. It is next to various other restaurants, but this one stands out from the rest with its exterior design style. The store has a big sign in front with the name “Sawadee.” This word means greetings or goodbyes in Thai. Sawadee does not just do a good job appealing to customers with its exterior design, as it also provides customers with decent service. The service staff is very attentive, and as soon as customers enter through the door, they greet the customers with courtesy and guidance. Menus are quickly distributed on the table as customers find their seats. Following the greeting, the service staff leaves, but often comes around to ask if the customer is ready to order or needs something else. Upon the requests of customers, they smile and do not waste time to bring the dishes to the table. It might take four to five minutes before they are back with the requested dishes. The staff, as properly trained by management, behaves courteously by helping and being attentive, thus making the experience more pleasant and relaxing.
          In terms of the dishes, they serve appetizers, soups, Thai style noodles, beverages, curries, vegetarian salads, and the store’s specials (Flavors of Sawadee). Among all of these, the curries, desserts, soups, and the restaurants’ specials are the most attractive. Curries are just what any curry lover would expect: warm, spicy hot, creamy, and rich in ingredients and nutrients. They are served warm enough, but not too hot that the customer won’t be able to eat or enjoy. The serving of the food is at the temperature to accommodate the clients. Hot spices are added for flavor, nutrients, and traditional purposes. Some of these spices are garlic, spicy green peppers, chili peppers, cumin, oregano, and thyme leaves. Cream is another ingredient that can’t be missed on these curries; therefore, pure coconut milk and cream is added to each curry recipe. The coconut flavor adds more taste to these curries, and most customers can’t help but to feel as if they are being exposed to a sea of cream. This is one sea of cream that will most likely keep them coming back to Sawadee for more. Other ingredients used in the curries are mushrooms, tofu, shrimp, broccoli, fish, and scallops; however, these are all optional for customers to decide on. Prices for the curries are usually twelve to fifteen dollars each.
          The soups are just as delicious as the curries, but a little more simplistic and not so rich in ingredients. One example is the Tom Kha Gai Soup, which is composed of chicken, mushrooms, lime juice, lemongrass, ginger, and coconut milk. Other ingredients are able to order with the soup are eggs, corn, vegetables, tofu, and shrimp. Soups at this restaurant can be simplistic, but the mixture of these ingredients will give each combination of soup a different flavor. Prices for each soup can be anywhere from four to eight dollars, including the selected ingredients.
          Desserts are also very enjoyable, delicious, and variable. They mainly have cakes and ice cream, with the cakes being chocolate, lemon, mango, or orange flavor, and the ice cream being coconut, mango, lemon, and green tea flavor. The ice creams are served more uniquely, since each flavor will contain traces and pieces of the fruit of the selected flavor. The green tea flavor is also unique in that its taste is natural and not artificially sweetened. In fact, compared to most ice creams people might buy at a supermarket, or ice cream store, these versions at Sawadee contain less sugar, malt, or syrup. These are common sweeteners used on ice creams. The reduction of these is something to consider if health comes to concern when eating ice cream.
          In addition, the restaurant has special dishes called “Flavors of Sawadee.” These dishes vary a lot that customers have a hard time selecting which one to order. They include all ingredients that are added to other dishes at the restaurant, plus a few others that are only served when ordering the specials. Thai Grill Chicken – Kai Poung is one of the special dishes composed of grilled chicken breast, papaya salad, bell peppers, soy sauce, and spicy chili lime sauce. Customers can order this option with other kinds of sauces such as: onion sauce, garlic sauce, or ginger scallion sauce.
          The atmosphere at this restaurant is also very relaxing because of the entire interior design, as being designed with the idea of providing such feeling. The lighting in the room is low, and small lamps on the walls are used instead of ceiling lights. The music was also low volume and soft instrumental songs are commonly played. However, the most eye catching object in the room was the budha statue in meditating position that had water falling upon it. Such scenery steals the attention of anyone who stares at it, even if it is not for a very long time.
          This Thai restaurant is one that will put the customer’s mind at ease when looking for healthier food choices. The variety of food served is not only healthy, but well balanced in nutrition. This is something that is hard to find at most restaurants. Sawadee easily shows concern for the health of its customers while keeping their taste and likes in mind. This aspect is admirable, and will influence the decision of the customers when visiting the restaurant again. Overall, my enjoyable experience at Sawadee was one that left me compelled to write a supportive review. Everything felt right at Sawadee, including the variety of healthy food choices, prices, staff service, and relaxing atmosphere. All of these affected my decision of becoming a loyal customer who will stop in again for another sea of cream, spicy seafood soup, and tropical munching ice cream.

“Yingyi and Kowo’s Curry-Cooking Time” (2/8/16)

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Yingyi and Kowo’s Curry-cooking Time”

By Karel Perez

 

Yingyi, my girlfriend of four years, and I have adapted a traditional tendency of making and preparing curry. For both of us, curry is a favorite food to eat, and is a tradition we try to keep alive by always combining different ingredients each time. Preparing curry with Yingyi is always a rather fun activity, which is always a learning, bonding, and enjoyable experience.

The traditional Asian dish named curry is one of my most beloved and favored among others. Luckily enough, she is just as passionate about eating it as I am. For those who have never tried, curry is a creamy soup-like dish that is usually prepared with spices, fish, meat, vegetables or grains. Among the different kinds, Indian style curry is by far our most liked, being that is prepared with a variety of spices, fish, and vegetables.

When preparing our own style of curry, we try to add new ingredients each time for a new learning experience. But only adding 50% of non-traditional ingredients, or the final result will not taste much like curry. The search for each ingredient is always an essential part for making it. Shopping at the grocery store for them is our primary goal. Coconut milk, curry powder, thyme leaves, garlic, bell peppers, black pepper, fish, mushrooms, and many more, must all be purchased. The main component for this dish is the coconut milk, so it is never to be missed. One can of coconut milk is sufficient for at least three plates of serving. After all the required ingredients are purchased, we focus on any additional one we’d like to add. This can vary from anything like potatoes or pumpkin.

Very frequently, Yingyi and I like to use the following on our unique style: mushrooms, bell peppers (red or green), fish tofu, onion, garlic, and cilantro. Each one of these contain unique properties, such as antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. All the healthy things we aim for. As soon as we have everything we want to incorporate, the cooking is started. The first step is to cook some potatoes until they are very soft, which will later be mashed for thickness purposes. After dealing with potatoes, the next step is cooking it together with coconut milk and curry powder. As we let it cook, we mix it and add the rest of the ingredients: spices, vegetables, fruits, or poultry. Letting everything cook altogether for 15 minutes is our preference, since this way the final result will be a creamy-like soup with a diversity of nutrients.

Although the process of how we make it sounds quite rapid, it is also enjoyable as the two of us exchange ideas on how to go about cooking. Yingyi is a professional at cooking, so even when I do my research, I still follow her guidance. Besides, nothing makes me feel happier than to allow her to enjoy such moment the same way I do. To add a little more enjoyment to the activity, some music is added to the atmosphere. The way we see it, the more love you put into cooking, the tastier the final product. Our curry is always delicious and creamy, even by professional standards. Nothing reminds us more of this fact, until we try the first spoon of our finished curry dish. The smell, taste, and how it looks is all pure enjoyment to our minds- Enjoyment that is further enhanced by a sense of bonding. The one aspect that we enjoy the most out of curry-cooking is the amount of bonding that is developed from the activity. It can be agreeable by many that bonding time for couples is an essential factor for a relationship. This activity is our bonding factor, and we receive a lot of emotional gain in the process.

All in all, curry-cooking time with Yingyi is always an experience that keeps on coming back a couple of times per month due to the emotional gains each time. For us, one day of curry-cooking is another day of emotional development. This factor is also the one that keeps us motivated on continuing the tradition of this addictive activity, and as long as we continue receiving such important gain from it, our tradition will never ends.