Cooking and eating through a new culture

Apple Pie

This post may not directly deal with food, but it is mentioned.
March 18th….Surprisingly, I wake up automatically before the alarm. Even on the few hours of sleep. I try not to move, approximating the damage caused from the night before. My head swims but levels and I crack open my eyes. So far, so good. I try to replay the evenings festivities. Was I talking to a crazy Latino? Stumbling to the bathroom, I grab some Advil and run the shower. Bits and pieces come floating back like lost slides from a projector. I chuckle to myself…I was so out of control. Scrubbed clean, I make my way downstairs for coffee. There is a card on my counter. Suddenly, memories shift and reveal: I was talking to a Latino! He gave me this card!….Huh, never see him again.
Everybody goes through dark times in their lives. I am no different. Situations arise and it is your personal constitution that carries you through these storms….and for me, copious amounts of alcohol too. A year ago, I was not in a good place. An unprecedented series of setbacks brought me to my knees and I was seriously shaken to the core. I was angry, hurt, isolated, and unsure how I was going to deal with my uncertain future. Everything that I had placed value in crumbled around me. Each day I struggled to rise but somehow I kept putting one foot in front of the other. It’s just that many times those feet led me to the local bar.
My best friend and co-conspirator at that time, was all I needed. Jess and I would wax poetically about evolution, engineering, sailing and occasionally, the many faults of men over cocktails. We were brutal. We laughed our asses off, but we tipped well too. So last St. Patrick’s Day, I couldn’t get to the bars fast enough and I was well toasted before the sun began to fall. Imagine my surprise to find a dapper Latino chatting me up. Mind you, my forays out on the town were not to troll for action. I was a wreck and I knew it. It was written across my forehead just in case my biting commentary didn’t frighten them away, unless you considered a blunt “Fuck off” coquettish.
“Would you like to go get some cake?” I remember him asking me. Of course the local dessert shop was closed to keep out the drunken hordes but we did find ourselves at the local diner having apple pie. Something strange happened to me: I spilled my guts. In a drunken haze, I poured my misery and frustration over him. He remembers my passion. I remember sobbing like a baby. He said I quoted Pablo Neruda and I told him to never trust a woman who doesn’t know how to cook. I thought I was a lunatic. To this day, I still don’t know what attracted him to me. Hours slipped by and we talked as if we knew each other for years.  As we parted ways, he asked me to wait while he ran to his car. He came back with a card. Nothing written inside. Just a saying:
Most obstacles melt away when we make up our minds to walk boldly through them.
Sometimes grace can fall on you in the wee hours of the morning.
He called me the next day. He wooed me. And as much as I tried to fight it, I was smitten. When you have been stripped to the bone of any vanity, people will love your true worth. He challenged me, pushed me to keep fighting, buoyed me with compassion and asked me to come with him to Costa Rica. So here I am.
All it took was apple pie and kindness.
Thank you for a wonderful year Rafa.


Rafa’s drawing of our budding relationship

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