Monday, April 7, 2008

Wise Beyond Years

I struck upon a conversation with my co-worker today whom I've come to admire. We were talking about our level of maturity and understanding of life, thus becoming wise beyond our age. Is it the pitfalls that make us touch rock bottom or is it just our perception of seeing things differently than the rest of our age group? Are we too damn serious or just seriously involved in our lives?

The past is like a closed chapter of a book to me, whenever necessary I may take a look and see how the story evolved in either becoming dramatic or immensely boring and sometimes superbly exciting. The present is sculpting towards a future, a future that I am molding in my thoughts and is beautifully and sometimes painfully in creation with the very true and hard realities of life.

The truth behind an individual can not be measured by the very first look, neither can anyone be judged by their materialistic 'wear'. It may all be an illusion of happiness and satisfaction, whereas in truth it's just a mere facade to keep up with the image and avoid the realities of life. Pain.....suffering....and "lessons learned" are just a part of growing up. Are we really too weak in confronting the lies behind this big monster of show and perfection? Is this society really built on pretense and superficiality and those who succeed in doing so, easily move forward in life? Are we a part of the game, the dirt we dig up so eagerly and later on deny to play in it ourselves? Hypocrisy, jealousy, the fear of failure and rejection are beginning to creep up on us like a second nature. We are interesting species. In denial of our own existence and whenever we need someone to pinch us in the arm to make sure whether we are alive or not, we start looking down on someone else, trying to heal the wound temporarily by finding miserable, unaccomplished fellow beings while boosting self-confidence.

Wow....bravo....drugs is often the core problem to many societal problems, but the 'drug' of psychological depreciation for oneself and others will surely make the house fall apart. It will ruin generations to come with fiercer competition and the greed to measure every single thing with money... and the heart....well what's the heart worth anymore? Are there true feelings left in this world? With every bad intention, or bad wish that is granted upon someone at the tearful breaking of a relationship or a deliberated unfairness amongst friends, this vibe is spread out and will bounce back twice as hard leaving question marks to never be answered.

Where are the true commitments I ask, the loyalties of men to women and vice versa...the sweetness of enduring pain, struggles, happiness with one and other and making it all worthwhile for the sake of life? A life that is lived in its simplicity of breathing, eating, sleeping, praying, finding camaraderie and perhaps true love. The same simplicity that our grand parents used to live with or our late ancestors when planting a seed of life, never imagining the turmoil of today...the complexity of living that is visible on every person's forehead.

We have either fallen way back into the gutter or we have given ourselves the credit to advance and be excused of all the normalcy and simplicity that would structure society in the past, whereas now it is seen as a mediocre pursuit/lifestyle. The horse rides that served as transportation in the times when we weren't even born or the black and white colored television sets must have been great pleasures to those who were content with what they had...

Those years were wiser, much more trustworthier and unique in their very own way. My perception of today's life is still the beauty I behold within my imagination, but it can never match the golden years of innocence when kids were kids playing in the mud and moms were sweet moms baking cookies with their aprons on, where the obvious care of the household would fall on the mother's lap and the fathers would earn the bread. In today's society I have seen way too many girls, young moms struggling to make ends meet, trying to provide for their babies whilst suppressing their womanly emotions under the fake persuasion of "todays independent woman".

An independent woman can never be fully independent with the burden of finances, children and health issues, unless the three are solved through hard work or sheer luck, nothing and I repeat nothing can be done to lessen their heavy burden. They will do their shifts, try not to get sick, go home and take care of their family for the rest of their lives, knowing that they can't afford luxury when life's purpose is to pay bills and survive. This is society....the society that I have witnessed and have many times questioned to myself.

I find my reflection in the streams of water awfully wise beyond it's depth, yet fresh to its fascination with a insatiable zest for life. I now understand the 'wrinkles' to one's face; they're layers of living, undoable of erasing...or else we'd be wiping off wisdom in all its entirety.

My thoughts are floating.

Friday, April 4, 2008

The Pursuit of Pastry

I find it rather disappointing to walk into the Bakery section of my favorite grocery store, expecting to find a good slice of pastry when I am craving for an upscale cake, but on the contrary; am constantly greeted by "foam- filled, whip cream topped, biscuit -less pastries" with a presentation of 'good show' , but no dairy quality.
Are my expectations too high? Or am I making a good point?

Is it too cynical of me to criticize my surroundings and crave those memories of heavenly deliciousness when making a trip to the bakery in the midst of Dutch living? Finding excuses to return my so called overdue books at the library (bibliotheek), were only made possible by the lurking smell of yummy strawberry filled croissants at a bakery around the corner...
One couldn't possibly resist. Now, you must be declaring me a total food fanatic or an obsessed out of control freak emphasizing on the very small details of pastry perfection. Although, I know for a fact that all my fellow European immigrants will second me on this and probably share the same pain and desperation for fresh, pure organic dairy baked in all its glory for the purpose of seducing mankind to its impeccable design.

The experience of my knife touching the crispy crust of biscuity cake and breaking through a wall of thin sliced almonds...hmmm...stumbling upon a triple layered department of chocolate, vanilla and a gooey pudding-like mixture, laid on a fresh baked carpet of biscuit-crust topped with whip cream, is surely exciting for a one year old celebrating his/her birthday to an eighty year old treating him/herself a good piece of surmounted sweetness.

The movie "Waitress", starring Keri Russel whose keen on having a very sweet love relationship with the pies she makes in the shop, shows a certain passion that I am trying to convey and perhaps serves as a backbone to my pointless ramblings on pastries. You see, a preparation of some sort, whether it be a pie or a pastry, requires attentive care in the 'intensive care' of patching up ingredients to make it eventually survive the robust world of competition and ignorance. Such ignorance towards the beauty of art, food and simple childhood to grown- up satisfactions.

In the city of Purmerend, Holland a bakery used to exist, filled with customers lining up to get fresh bread in the mornings, croissants for their elaborate breakfasts and pastries for their appetite in the late afternoons. An environment of people bicycling with baskets of groceries on their bikes, running their errands while snacking on heavenly goods. A city that was a suburb with its cows in the farms and the development of new housing, I could've never imagined that my thoughts of today would take me back to those memories that I considered a daily normalcy. A life style that wasn't taken for granted, but that was lived and known as the only 'life' I had...until the same life was twisted upside down to welcome a new life style, a new place and new pastries.

Pastries that I still haven't developed the taste for yet. The "Dutch" in me hasn't accepted anything less than the quality I grew up with. It has replaced my indulgence temporarily for an all American cheesecake, but it surely hasn't hit home yet....and it may never be.

I will not surrender as of yet, but I will be searching...for that, that makes it all worth to even travel overseas to lure me into the luscious bites of what I call,

...a Perfect Pastry... ;)