Tag Archives: music

It’s time to learn French!

As I listen to “Je t’aime moi non plus” I realized that even though I don’t understand the lyrics, only the “Je t’aime” part of it, the tone explains a lot about the situation.

IMG_7102.JPG

French music is beautiful and it saddens me that I don’t understand what is being said in the songs. Besides this, when you study literature like I do, you encounter French everywhere and at some point I want to read the French classics in French and enjoy their literature as well. And how wonderful it would be to stroll down the streets of Paris talking to the locals in their native tongue. I know that French films have this sort of realistic, crude and artistic point of view and I want to understand them. So, because of all of this, I’ve decided that it’s time to learn French.

I remember that the first language I showed interest in learning was French. I was young an curious and loved to buy books at the Borders bookstore when they existed. I was 11 years old and I wanted to learn French. I already knew Spanish because it’s my native language and I learned English in school even though at the beginning I didn’t really like it.

So, my mom bought me a brand new Berlitz course that had just come out called “French Premier” and I went home and started the course. The course had 5 CD’s and it was a complete audio course. I don’t think I ever went past the first CD, I got bored at some point and put it aside.

Now, almost ten years later, I want to start again. It’s never too late, right? I still have that Berlitz course on my bookshelve always reminding me that some day I had to go back to French. Well, today is the day. There are much better resources now and the internet makes it really easy to learn languages, so there is no excuse.

I still remember a few greetings and phrases so I’ll start from there…

Bonjour! Je m’appelle Monica.

A Sunday to remember (June 1, 2014)

Today was pretty eventful!

Besides uploading pictures on Facebook and writing in my old blog, a few students from UCF and other schools decided to go on an adventure to Madrid. We were going to El Rastro.

train to madrid

On our way to the train station we found an event at the Plaza de Cervantes and stayed for a little bit to enjoy it. There seems to be something every day in this town. I love it!

About El Rastro:

el-rastro-madrid
Source: http://www.disfrutadmadrid.com

El Rastro might be the biggest open aired flee market in all Europe. It seems like it’s a Spanish tradition because it takes place every Sunday morning in Madrid. However, El Rastro is not just a market, it’s a journey of delicious tapas and beer through the neighborhood of La Latina. There is music in every bar, people performing on the streets, galleries and bookstores and people everywhere. It is incredibly crowded. You can barely walk but it’s an experience that you should not miss. Join the Spaniards for delicious food and feel like a local. This is the time to use those Spanish skills you have acquired throughout the years.

El Rastro is also an international spot especially during the summer days. You will see people from all over the world buying all sorts of things. You will see backpackers and hippies. You will see gypsies and men in suits. You will see girls in bathing suits and children running around. You will see a lot that might not make sense but just breath it all in. These are the Spanish ways.

I personally loved El Rastro. There were so many beautiful things and if I had the space in my suitcase or the money I would have bought a lot. There were so many books for 1-5 euros and I had to stop myself every time, because books are heavy and again, no space in my suitcase… Regardless, it was an amazing experience and I would recommend it to everyone visiting Madrid.

After we came back from Madrid, I went home and  watched T.V. with my host family and I still can’t handle the Spanish accent on the American shows. I laughed for hours watching law and order. Also, there is a really funny Spanish show called “La que se avecina” which is kind of like the Spanish show “Aida”. It was a great way to end the weekend before starting classes the next day.

Law and order:
-“Pero… ¿Qué ha pasado?”
-” El tio se ha tirado por la ventana”

Hindu Festival in the Caribbean (JAGANNATHA RATHA YATRA)

I like to think my life is full of pretty random moments. Today, I had one of those…

Monica Hindu

My sister, my sister-in-law and I were strolling down the cobblestone streets of Old San Juan when we walked into a Hindu Festival.

us hindu

Now, Hinduism isn’t a big religion in this island conquered by Spaniards for over 400 years. Needless to say the majority of the population, 85% to be exact, is Roman Catholic. So, to be able to find an exotic gem in this tiny place was beyond amazing.

Apparently, “Ratha Yatra is a hallmark of the Bhakti tradition, and dates back over 2,000 years. It symbolizes one’s spiritual self pulling the Supreme into his or her heart. In essence, reconnecting with the Supreme. The original Ratha Yatra, still celebrated in Puri, India, attracts millions and can be seen from space” (Wikipedia).

The first thing that caught my eye was the traditional Indian clothing. It was incredibly beautiful and full of colorful patterns.

After that, we noticed a line of people waiting by a table to our left to get their faces and hands painted.

Then, we walked two steps forward, and when we looked to our right we found a man greeting us with foreign words and offering each of us a disposable plate. He wanted us to taste Indian cuisine! And so we did 🙂

I think I had chick peas, yellow rice, potato and broccoli curry and Indian pudding, but I’m really not sure. The food was cooked without any salt making it hard for the Puerto Rican palate to adjust, but I really enjoyed it. The blending of the sweetness of the dessert with the rest of the food made the meal more like what my palate is used to… sugary things 😉 Then we enjoyed the music, the singing, the dancing, the performances, the beauty, the sunset…

Singing:

Hindu Festival Music

Dancing:

Performances:

Beauty:

Sunset:

IMG_4185
“Sunset del Mar”. Puerto Rico. 2014. Photography by: Mónica Zoé Cruz Ríos

All photography by me 🙂

❤ (Mónica Zoé Cruz Ríos) ❤