Los Colores de mi Vida

This year, so far, has had an ominous shadow of blue/gray.  Everyone in my family is walking around with a blue mask, barely hiding the shadows caused by a tragic loss. So, a few days ago, I had Camila brighten my day with a face painting session!

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Our colorful, creative morning inspired me to think about all the colorful things in my life.  I made a point of calling my life “colorful” in the description of this blog, and I wasn’t lying.  Blue might be dominating right now, but there are many colors in my life.

{ Here are my current top five colorful things in my life }

GROCERY SHOPPING

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Our regular trips to the Mexican grocery store always pop with colors.  Not only does the store (we usually patron El Rey in Milwaukee) have an amazing stock of produce you can’t find at your local grocery store, it also has pinatas to fascinate my toddler, hanging from the ceiling across the entire store.  The store has a painted mural of Mexican history high on the walls, not to be blocked by the store’s shelves.  There are Jarritos (Mexican soda) in every flavor and COLOR and candles with illustrations of saints and religious figures that add color to homes and altars, as well as summoning energy to improve one’s life.

jarritos

Shopping here is essential.  We never leave without the following:

huge jalapenos, a fun fruit (like pineapple, mango, guayabas), an entire case of corn tortillas (!!!), specialty herbs not found here (epazote, hoja santa), masa (corn dough mixture for tortillas, empanadas, tamales, etc), fish with eyes and scales, chorizo or arracheras (Mexican sausage or marinated skirt steak), plantains for frying, corn oil (!), really big bottles of Modelo, galletas (oh, God, the cookies – so many cookies to dunk in coffee), and PAN (an array of Mexican bakery items — the empanadas de pina are my fave).

COOKING DINNER

I don’t even have to say much here.  Just watch this video.  Jorge is cooking us dinner in the kitchen, while blaring Mexican mariachi music and singing do loudly.  Meanwhile, Camila is running back and forth to give me the lowdown of what papa’s doing… in her own special language.  It’s a pretty normal evening in the Tadeo home!

*I wanted to share a video here, but technology is defeating me.  I will share the video as soon as I can get it to work. It’s worth seeing!
SALSA

“Sin salsa no hay paradiso!”  (Translation: Without salsa there is no paradise)  Salsa is the spice of this Mexican life.  Salsa, the music, adds a soundtrack to our life.  I have loved salsa music since I first really heard it on my Habitat for Humanity trip to Costa Rica while I was in college.  I fell in love with the sounds and how salsa seemed to be the soundtrack to life there – for work, cooking, eating, celebrating, etc.  I now know this in a very REAL way, and this is not just a Costa Rican phenomenon!

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Salsa dancing holds a special place in our hearts because salsa brought Jorge and me together.  We met while salsa dancing.  We fell in love while salsa dancing.  And when we shared our not-so-first dance at our wedding, we danced to “Y Todo Comenzo Bailando,” a salsa tune that aptly is translated as “and it all started while dancing.”  It did!


Salsa, as you all know, is also the spice of another important factor in our lives – food!  The thing I find so fascinating is the sheer variety of salsa.  There is a specific salsa for every kind of food, and if you make the wrong kind of salsa for a specific dish, you will get complaints.  Salsa might have a tomato base or tomatillos.  It might have a million types of chiles, sometimes boiled, sometimes roasted, sometimes grilled, sometimes raw.  Some chiles are dried while others are fresh.  You might put it all in the blender or crush it by hand in a molcajete. The variations are endless, but rest assured, if you’ve made food, it must be served with a salsa!

*Note: Even at an American Thanksgiving dinner of turkey, potatoes, and green bean casserole, my Mexican family STILL asked where the salsa was.  My bad, I had not thought to make a salsa for this very American meal.  Lesson learned.

THE SOMBRERO

The sombrero has made appearances at so many fun events.  Jorge bought this sombrero here in the States, but it is a beautiful Mexican art piece.  The sombero turns up for wedding celebrations, New Year’s parties, summer grill outs, soccer games, etc.  It also serves as decor in our bedroom.  I’m using it as my inspiration for the whole room!  Normally, a sombrero like this would be worn by mariachi singers, belting out tunes, but we use it for EVERYTHING!

GARDENING

Verde!  Green!  The color of life.  We love gardening at our little farm.  Sometimes we may let the weeds get a little too tall (shhh… no one rat us out here), but honestly, when your Mexican husband and family eat most of the weeds, it gives you good incentive to let them go.  I will make a whole post on weeds because there’s a whole world out there around weeds.  For now, know that even weeds make my life colorful.  And gardening definitely adds a pop of vivid color to my life.

This past summer, Jorge and I got to teach little Camila about the wonders of gardening.  I was so proud at her determination to help mommy and daddy pick vegetables (she especially liked to pull the peppers!), even if she often pulled the ones that hadn’t matured yet, and to pull “weeds.”  She was a pro.  Often we harvested the weeds for dinner, and she was a great little helper.  What a great life – growing up in the garden, playing in the dirt, walking among the plants that give you your food, and making friends with the steers and chickens that live at our little farm!  We are blessed.

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