Excerpt about an experience I had in Mexico:
At five in the morning, there is incessant chatter from a sea of people rushing through the market of Texcoco. I feast on mouth-watering barbacoa tacos and freshly sliced mango —the mango juice runs down the corners of my mouth.
Barbacoa is carefully prepared by wrapping goat meat in agave leaves, placing it atop a casserole pot filled with various spices, and cooking it under the hot sand. The entire community unites to help, and everyone contributes a bit of goat meat. The community began cooking the meat underground because they did not have stoves or any other way to cook enough food for everybody. I often think about this at home when I think about my environment.
Growing up, my environment consisted of living in small quarters with my mother and brother. We lived in one to two bedroom apartments scattered around the metropolitan area. Because of this, I had to learn to adapt to any environment. I oftentimes found myself thinking about the culture and foundations of barbacoa.
This community created this dish because they had very little, reminding me that something so delicious and so elaborate can come from barely anything at all. When I think of this, I am gently reminded that even though I may have experienced hardship, the best response is to be resilient and create something out of nothing.
My thoughts as of now:
I cannot wait to have more experiences like this—this year is going to be great. I mean so great. I am incredibly excited to learn a new language, to eat the best oysters on earth, to lay by the beach and soak up the sun, to see all the different kinds of animals, to read all the books I never had a chance to read. I’m excited to expand my mind and grow from within. I want to immerse myself in the culture and lifestyle of Brazil. I want to bring back recipes and music and understand a different sense of humor and go on long walks. I am, however, going to miss my best friend. Carl and I have been dating for 11 months now. This year, he is also studying abroad for a semester. This gap year will be a challenge for the both of us and we will have to try to stay connected but also immerse ourselves in another culture. Right now we are watching That 70s Show. Every summer I allow myself to binge watch a show. Last summer was Gilmore Girls.