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My Time In Puerto Rico…

We have officially entered May and I can’t believe we are almost half way through the year. Time really does fly! 

If you’ve been keeping up on social,  you know I’m in Puerto Rico recreating my mom’s recipes for MY UPCOMING COOKBOOK! I still can’t believe I’m doing it.  It feels surreal. 

So, it would be befitting to catch you up in this month’s editor’s note on what’s been going on. What I’ve learned about my mom. How I’m feeling about it all. 

Click the button below to have a listen. 


Hello friends! 

As I sit here, at my maternal grandmother’s house, in a bedroom-turned-dining space, actively listening to the boiling sound of the stewed beans we’re currently cooking, I have so much to say yet can’t seem to find the words. 

I won’t lie, it’s been emotional. 

Yes… there’s been plenty of laughter but with only the mention of my mother’s name, it changes in a mere second. A mother who lost her daughter and a daughter who lost her mother, both grieve the same person wishing she could simply reappear. Yet, it is also something we both know will never happen. 

Amidst all of it, I’m beyond grateful to be here. My days are mostly filled with the rhythmic clinking of pots and pans, long hours of recreating my mom’s recipes, and vigorously jotting down notes to ensure I capture EVERYTHING. All in the hopes that it will live on in my upcoming cookbook. 

In those moments, when we are waiting for the stew to come to a boil or the empanadillas to brown and fry, I ask the questions. “What was my mom like?” How was it for her growing up?” I am seeking the answers to those untold chapters. The ones that while she was alive, I never thought to even ask about. 

I found out that she had a fruitful life. The common thread amongst my family members was that she was always so sure of herself. That she was courageous. Determined. Resilient. I listen intently as they recount tales of her fierce spirit. And yet, as I reflect on my perspective, she was gentle, slow to anger, and often referred to as “too nice” or to be less politically correct, “a pushover.” 

“So, how did this happen?” I think to myself. 

I can’t say I don’t see exactly what they are referring to. My mom certainly was full of courageousness and strength. Truth be told, even until her last breath she fought like no one I know but if you had asked me to describe my mom, I certainly wouldn’t have said, “Fiesity,” as my grandmother with a little smirk on her face, stated. But I can also say that I know that both of these parts of my mom can co-exist. Like all of us, there is complexity in all the facets of ourselves. 

However, as I learn more, I come up with a hypothesis.

Moving to the U.S. did it. 

That strong, determined, outspoken, fierce woman moved to a country, where she barely knew anyone, lost her entire foundational support, didn’t speak the language, and somehow didn’t get to start a career and use that university degree she so proudly earned. At least not fully and that can certainly break down even the best of us.

This has unexpectedly caught me off guard. Somehow, I find it tough to know this. I feel guilty. Her move came on the heels of her anticipation of making a better life for those future children and now that I know that, I wonder if I did enough to make her feel that her decision was a wise one. I certainly think so, but since she’s not here to ask, I can’t help but feel a bit unsure. Some doubt.  It must have been so hard for her. I wish I would have been more astute to acknowledge all of her sacrifices. To be more inquisitive and empathic towards her journey versus just taking everything at face value.

As I continue to collect the pieces of my mom’s life and uncover what else I may not know, it certainly begs the question –  What unseen depths lie within the ones we love? What stories remain untold, waiting to be discovered? 

With this cookbook, I now get my chance to ask and seek those answers. I wish it wouldn’t have been too late to ask her myself, but this is my life. The cards I’ve been dealt. My truth. So in honoring her memory, her legacy my only way out is through it. Ensuring that her story, her essence, and those recipes I cherished so damn much are preserved for generations to come.

Thank you for listening and we’ll chat again next month.


More Big Changes. This Time, It’s Personal.
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