Colleen Rothschild Home: Róisín Candle

Colleen Rothschild Róisín Candle Set $69

I have no idea what Internet rabbit hole I entered to get to the Colleen Rothschild website(here). I probably started out googling something completely unrelated like the water levels on Mars and somehow found my way to someone that had reviewed their candles with a link to their site.  I love candles and I'm a sucker for nice packaging so when I saw that beautiful matte black container I was sold. I was very impressed when I opened the boxes the candle, wick trimmer, and snuffer came in with how lovely they were packed.

Róisín is described as a mix of rose, bergamot, vanilla and clove.  I got hints of all of those notes but the stand outs to me were the vanilla and the clove.  Burn time was estimated at 50 hours for the 8 oz/227g candle and I agree with that. The one pictured above is long gone. It burned evenly and the throw once lit was perfect for a small room. This is not the type of candle that will fill your entire house with its scent. I burned mine in my bedroom at night while reading and found it to be subtle and soothing. The candle was being offered with the wick trimmer and the snuffer which was such an amazing deal that I bought a second one as a gift... for myself. 😜


The Story of a Brief Marriage by Anuk Arudpragasam - Book Review

"Perhaps it had to do with the fact that in crying for yourself you were acknowledging your vulnerability, acknowledging that despite your various efforts and postures you can be and have been hurt by the world."  pg. 151

Set in Sri Lanka twenty plus years into a civil war between the army and the country's Tamil minority The Story of a Brief Marriage is a beautifully written book. The first couple of pages are devoted to a rather common bodily function but trust me stick it out or skim through those pages if you are somewhat squeamish like me and it will be well worth it.

The main character in the book is Dinesh an evacuee working and living in a refugee camp when he is confronted by an old man who proposes that Dinesh marry his daughter. When we first meet Dinesh it's clear that he is a sensitive soul trying to find that balance between doing and feeling that a human being would need to navigate in order to survive under unimaginable circumstances. I found myself while re-reading the many moving passages found throughout the book wishing in vain for some type of deus ex machina. I practically held my breath during the last twenty pages. It was silly of me yes I know because the author set his intention very clearly with the title. But still I was rooting for him, for them, and probably in some small unconscious way for me. I'm not male and I have never been a casualty of war but throughout the 193 pages I felt like I was seeing Dinesh from the inside out. I felt his loss, his fears, his innocence, his grace, and his fleeting sense of something that closely resembled joy. Such was the pull of this book that when the end came I was right there with him.  I can't say much more without giving away the entire plot but suffice it to say this one will stay with me for a while.

This is the first work by Anuk Arudpragasm. The book jacket for The Story of a Brief Marriage  has some glowing reviews but one that stood out to me because I agree with it completely was one from Laird Hunt who apparently wrote a book called Neverhome.  He said, " Read this novel. See what he has done." To that I add please do.

If you've read this book I would love to hear what you thought.


Havana, Cuba: 23.1136° N, 82.3666° W

I went to Cuba over two months ago but it has taken me some time to gather my thoughts about my trip.  Part of the reason is my busy workload this quarter and the other part is probably due to me attempting to process all of the changes happening in my corner of the world. 

If you live in the US travel to Cuba is only permitted under certain circumstances (more info here). My trip fell under the category of Educational/People-to-People exchange. What that meant for me was that I stayed with locals to immerse myself in the culture and have a true interchange. 

Image of Ernesto "Che" Guevara on the side of a building in Havana

Sculpture of Jose Marti outside the Jose Marti Museum in Revolution Square 

My hosts suggested that in order to try to understand Cuba I should start from the beginning. So the first place they took me was to the Jose Marti Museum in Revolution Square.  Jose Marti as it was explained to me is widely regarded as the founder of the Cuban nation. Born in Havana in 1853 he was a poet and a revolutionary thinker who died in 1895 fighting for Cuban independence from Spanish rule. His museum as you can imagine was a love story to their beloved patriot.

"La justicia, la igualdad del mérito, el trato respetuoso del hombre, la igualdad plena del derecho: eso es la revolución. "
  - Jose Marti 

The Christ of Havana by Cuban Sculptress Jilma Wood

Plaza de Armas- Havana

I found the architecture in Havana to be similar to that of any large European city. The food was just so-so but that was probably because as a vegetarian my options were fairly limited. I had better luck with their juices and desserts.

Twinning with my dessert 😃. Pants are from Express. 

In Havana locals are not allowed to have Internet in their homes. It was explained to me that in order to get Internet local Cubans have to go to parks like the one pictured below and pay to access government monitored Wi-Fi.  I was trying to be as inconspicuous as possible when I took the picture but if you look closely you will see everyone in the shot is peering over and sharing some type of electronic device.

Internet Park in Havana

The picture above is the message you get on your phone when trying to access the Internet in the government run WI-Fi Park.

It's been widely reported that the average monthly Cuban salary is about twenty dollars (US) a month. I don't have any statistics of my own to support or refute that claim but I can say that I met a teacher who told me she stopped teaching because she was able to make more money working as a housekeeper for a well off family.  I met another guy who shared that in the past five years many Cubans have taken advantage of some of the loosening of the restrictions on the communist island and started renting out their homes and using their personal vehicles as taxis. He also noted that there was no freedom of speech in Cuba so you had to be very careful that nothing you said could be misconstrued as a political critique.

Santa María del Mar
Santa María del Mar

I think one of the great things about travel is that it can give you perspective on where you are in your life and what's going on around you. The local Cuban in Havana lacks many of the creature comforts that I sometimes take for granted but I didn't sense any bitterness or resentment from the people I met. They were very patient with what turned out to be my not so intermediate Spanish and were eager to practice their conversational English speaking skills. I found them to be very friendly, enterprising and hopeful. Having been there I can see why Cuba was once considered one of the pearls of the Antilles. I think if the opportunity presented itself the Cuban people could easily reclaim that title. I wish them well in all their endeavors.