I am so grateful for Guacamole! I just love everything about it. And I am so lucky to be right here in Mexico City right now, because Mamá Laura makes the best Guacamole. There are obviously a lot of different recipes and she even uses several different ones on different occasions. For today she decided to make one including avocado, tomato, onion, cilantro, sea salt and habanero. Mostly the habanero made the difference. It brings that particular flavor and that unavoidable spiciness, which makes it all the better. I honestly think I could eat Guacamole everyday. Maybe I should.
I am so grateful for Unexpected Mail. Like this post card. It came out of nowhere. Okay, I guess I kinda could’ve foreseen a Birthday Card on my birthday, but I had no idea that card would’ve made it all the way from Belgium to Mexico and that it would arrive about 8 days late. Today started off to be a regular day, but this Unexpected Mail made it an extraordinary one. It made me so happy, you have no idea. So thank you so much, my dear little family, for bringing me this joy. My mom, brother and sister were all quietly part of this plot of kindness. I loved it. And still love it. And I am so amazed by the effort to make the card so fitting. However, my favorite part is probably the envelope with the address. I mean, look at that name: “Pedro Gyssels Funes Minutti”. It made this card spread its happiness throughout the entire house. My family – called Funes Minutti – felt like it was the perfect address and are filled with proud and joy. Thank you, Belgian Family for making this such a great moment, not only for me, but also for my Mexican Family. I am one lucky person.
I am grateful for Papaya. It’s such a great, delicious and beautiful piece of fruit! It’s also so culturally connected. In Belgium it is hard to get fresh Papaya and it’s usually very expensive. Here in Mexico I eat Papaya almost on a daily basis. It’s so great to start your day with a plate of fresh watermelon, pineapple, melon or Papaya. It makes me feel great and healthy. But besides all of that, as I said, I just think it is such a beautiful piece of fruit. It’s nature’s work of art.
I am grateful for Sample Books. They are very handy and just so much fun! It’s great to be able to imagine what your house or whatever it is that you are designing will look like. I thinks it’s kinda funny how someone has come up with this idea, but I am very grateful it came into existence. It’s just one of those things in life that I don’t really think about. We obviously don’t really need it, but it’s just such a fun object to use. So that’s exactly why I am grateful for them.
I am grateful for Chilaquiles Verdes. I don’t exactly know why, but I always considered them my favorite Mexican dish. I just absolutely love them. Ask any of my Mexican host moms and they know this. This picture is taken during breakfast here in Mexico City and thus an example of my Mexican Mamá Laura’s amazing recipe. I’ve mentioned before how great a cook she is, but I am amazed how she can even turn the most simple dishes into a festival of flavors. Chilaquiles basically are fried corn tortillas, cut into triangles – often called totopos – simmered in a green or red salsa. My favorite variant are the green ones. I think mostly because there’s just no way for me to make them in Belgium. It’s so hard to find the green tomatoes, while here you find them in any grocery store or supermarket. As I mentioned this picture was taken during breakfast, because Chilaquiles are considered a typical breakfast dish. However, you could also have them as a light lunch or I even enjoyed them tonight as part of my dinner. You can find them in many regional or even personal variants and they are most commonly topped with onion, cheese and cream. Some people also combine them with shredded chicken and they often come with a side of refried beans. A perfect example of how Mexico has some amazingly simple but absolutely delicious dishes. And I am not kidding when I state that I totally love Chilaquiles Verdes. Only writing this blog entry makes me want to sneak back into the kitchen to have some more.
I am grateful for the wonderful wonder called Teotihuacan. It is absolutely amazing and breathtaking. Being there gives me an inexplicable feeling. It makes me very aware of who I am and what my place is in this universe. Yet at the same time it also reinforces my belief that we are able to do so much as human beings. Look at the wonders we created! It’s almost incredible. Teotihuacan also showed me my personal perseverance when I visited this ‘City of Gods’ (which is a close translation) for the first time. This was in 2009 and at that point I had broken my foot. From the bus I made it to the pyramid of the Sun, which is the one you see behind me in the picture, in a wheelchair. At that point my determination took over and I decided to leave the wheelchair at the bottom of the pyramid. I, myself, started the climb for the top. On my butt. My broken foot straight up in the air, my arms and my other foot pushing myself slowly but steadily up towards that very, very, very high top up there. I don’t remember how long it took me, but I know that I made it. There was no other way. I would not give up. I remember being up there and having two main thoughts, one slightly later than the other one: Oh my God, I made it! I can’t believe it! Followed by: Oh dear God, I have to get all the way back down… I remember being back down. Broken. My arms trembling, my hands bleeding, my pants ripped. But I had made it! I had climbed a pyramid all the way! On my butt. Yay me! Yay determination. The next time I went, about a year later, I remember climbing it using my two feet and just laughing all the way. Last week, I was here for the third time and the place just never seizes to amaze me. It’s such a gorgeous and fascinating place. There is still so much to learn and discover.
I am grateful for Momma. I am darn lucky to have more than one amazing mother in my life. Obviously, with all the traveling I do and all the host families I stay with, there are many mother figures in my life. However, there’s only one Momma. She is a unique human being that I love with all my heart and appreciate for so many different things. There is no one like her. I have wanted to share my gratitude with the world for a long time, but I kept on waiting for the perfect moment. Today is that day. Not only is it her birthday, a joyful day that brought this lovely loving creature into the world, but it is also Mother’s Day, the day on which all mother are celebrated. This day means a double celebration for her and still I don’t even think it’s enough. Momma is such an incredible lady with such exceptional personality. She is one of the most loving and caring people I know. If she could, she would help everyone at the same time and sometimes it feels like that seems to be her full time job. She wants to make people happy and make sure they know that they are loved. Thanks to her I know I am. And I love her for that and such much more. We have a beautiful relationship – one I am so thankful for to have in my life – that is build on a foundation of true honesty, openness, respect, trust and unconditional love. We have been through so much together already and we actually only met three years ago. It is a relationship that proves that friendship and love goes beyond borders and beyond generations. We are the best friends. We have shared so many great memories together and I have hundreds if not thousands of pictures of our adventures. It made it very hard to pick out a picture and I probably have more touching pictures of us together than the ones I chose. But I wanted to share these pictures because they all share the same feeling. These pictures are all taken on very different dates and in different places, but they all grab that moment when I am most happy. We have so much fun together. No matter what, no matter where, we enjoy spending time together. And one of my very favorite things to do is to make her laugh, because one of my very favorite things to see it to see Momma laugh. She knows that and I think she sometimes tries to not laugh, but alas, laughing we will. We spend hours talking and listening to each other. Or we just sit together and listen to the comfortable silence of certainty that this feels right. When we are together, it doesn’t really matter what we do. Watching a show, playing a board game, making music, walking or driving around, talking or just talking or sometimes even talking, but mostly talking. Sharing ideas, opinions, dreams, hopes, fears, passions… I am blessed to have Momma in my life. I know I’m who I am today because I know her. And I am so grateful for all we’ve had and all we’ll still have. This is only the beginning. Thank you, Momma. I love you. Always.