I am grateful for my Mexican brother Aldo. He is an amazing young man. I am honestly proud to be his big brother. He is only eighteen years old and has so much potential. He is very mature for his age and extremely intelligent. I keep on being surprised that we only differ seven years, because when we spent time together, it feels as if he is one of my best friends of my own age. Even though I only met him three years ago – which is when I came to Mexico for the very first time – it feels as if we have known each other all of our lives. And even though we come from a different family, household, culture, continent… there is so much we have in common. We connect on so many different subjects and both have an open mind to learn about each others’ differences. I know that this relationship was not a coincidence and I am convinced that we will stay in contact for the rest of our lives. Wherever I might go on this planet and wherever he might end up, we will always be Aldo & Pedro Funes, brothers for life.
I am grateful for Mexico City. I think it is an amazing city, which has so much to offer. I’ve honestly enjoyed living here for the past two months and I’m kinda sad I’m starting my last week here. There is always something to do, to see, to experience. This city is a world on its own. At this point it is the biggest city in the world, with a population of about twenty million people. It also feels that way, yet at the same time it doesn’t feel crowed. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Mexico City is the city with the largest number of museums. It is undoubtedly a city full of surprises and lately I’ve been surprised myself when I discovered how I’ve been subconsciously considering living here. I have created this subtle fondness for the city. I’ll see what the future brings, but I guess this is yet another option for me. How great life is and all its abundant opportunities!
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 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 the beauty of the Jacaranda. It is a gorgeous flowering plant that keeps on surprising me every time I encounter one on my way. That’s exactly how it feels: I just run in to them. They are spread out over Mexico and I find them on the most random places. According to Wikipedia, the Jacaranda is native to tropical and subtropical regions of Central America, Mexico, South America (especially Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Uruguay), and the Caribbean. It is also found in Asia, especially in Nepal. It is found throughout the Americas and Caribbean, and has been introduced to Australia, New Zealand, India, Fijiand parts of Africa. That explains why I am so amazed by them here: You find them everywhere… except for Belgium. I just love the color. It’s so bright and even more beautiful when the flowers dance in the wind. I could have picked a breathtaking picture of a Jacaranda by itself, surrounded by nature, but that’s not how I discovered them. Jacarandas are found everywhere, in the most random places, like here just in the middle of a street. That’s what I love about them. You can find amazing pictures on the internet of beautiful Jacarandas by itself, but that’s not how you find them here most of the time. This is how I see them. Everyday. And everyday I am amazed by their beauty. It’s as if they brighten up a street. I am very grateful for how they do that so subtly. I know I enjoy their presence on a daily basis.
I am grateful for the Palacio de Bellas Artes located in downtown Mexico City. It is a gorgeous piece of architecture. And the inside is just as beautiful as the outside. Not only the interior, but also what actually happens inside is breathtaking. The Palacio de Bellas Artes is called ‘The Cathedral of Art in Mexico’, as it is the biggest cultural center, not only of Mexico City, but the entire country. It has been the scene of some of the most notable events in music, dance, theatre, opera and literature and has hosted important exhibitions of painting, sculpture and photography. I always feel so great just walking by and I think I’ve taken a picture every time I did, so it was about time to put one online. It’s nothing new that I am grateful for art and so it shouldn’t be a surprise that I am happy for a center that celebrates art. I am very happy to have such a wonderful gift in the world filled with art and beauty.
I am grateful for Armando & Katrien. They are two wonderful and lovely friends of mine and I am very happy to have them in my life. Armando & Katrien are also known as the Viva la Gente Office Team. Viva la Gente is the Mexican variant of Up with People and obviously that’s where I met them. They traveled together in Up with People in 2007 and became best friends right away. That’s one of the amazing things that Up with People does. Armando is from Mexico, Katrien is from Belgium and all of a sudden those borders don’t exist anymore and they get to be best friends. It’s awesome! So now Katrien spends most of her time in Mexico City, working in the office with Armando or just having fun together. When I flew in here about two weeks ago to start working on my first Mexican city for this tour, I felt so lucky to be working with the two of them. Since I’m usually flying around and I don’t get to spend much time in one place, I am so grateful for every moment I get to spend in every place I end up. So here, in Mexico City I am so glad I get to spend time with Armando & Katrien. They are here for me to guide me in this wonderful city – which just happens to be the biggest city in the world – as well as in the work I am doing or just to hang out together and enjoy the beauty of Mexico and life in general. Thank you, my dear amazing friends. I am excited for the following weeks and all the precious time we still get to spend together.