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Culture/Cultura

Fall always reminds me of a few things.  One, It reminds me that soon we will be eating delicious food (Tamales, Pozole, Champurrado, etc.) all the way up until January.  Two, it reminds me of my college years because that’s when I met my husband.  Third, my Abuelo.  Although he passed away 15 years ago this November, we were able to create so many memories.

He was a funny man and a prankster (As I have mentioned before.).  The mischievous DNA strand that I have, caused me to prank him back.  I know we should have respect for our grandparents, but it’s not my fault because both Abuela and my Abuelo were so fun! LOL

When I would spend the night at their house, in the middle of the night while everyone was sleeping, I would randomly make my hair really crazy (which wasn’t hard to do given I have naturally big, crazy, wild, curly hair).  Strategically, I would sit on the top frame of the couch for an unsuspecting victim (insert evil laugh). With the quiet, stillness of the night, and a small glimmer of light peering in through the window, creating almost a haunting silhouette on my face—I waited.   My intention was for my Abuelo to see me and get startled; so I would make some soft rustling sounds to try and wake him up.  Frozen like an little, evil-smiling troll, I would sit there waiting patiently.  (Waiting patiently is the secret to a good prank.) Suddenly, he would wake up and he would get so startled.  It always worked and it would take us a while to go back to bed with so much laughter.

Interestingly, there is so much scary folklore in the Mexican culture.  We hear family talk about La Llorona, La Mano Peluda, El Chubacabras and so much more that going to bed sometimes becomes a process for kids and sometimes even adults.  One day, instead of doing the usual evil troll bit, I decided I would do something a bit more scary and intense.  Everyone had gone to bed.  I always slept in the same room as my Abuelos, so pulling off this one prank was going to be the easiest thing on earth!  I got up, walked over to where my Abuelo was sleeping, I pulled his legs hard and ran back to where I was sleeping.  I don’t know how I held my laughter in, but he got up saying, “Me jalaron las patas!”  He got so scared that he talked about it all night until the next day.  My Abuela knew what I had done but we kept silent.   We finally decided to tell him that it was me.  The torture was too much but we all got a good laugh.  Till this day my Abuela will mention it from time to time–because in those moments, we remember the joy of life.  Although, there were always difficult moments, there were laughs, jokes and pranks–that we remember as family–even when loved ones have long since passed.

ScanEvery Autumn, my Abuelo would pull out a heavy brown jacket.  It seemed like each year, he had a different heavy jacket.   I have no idea where he would get them, but I thought they were so cool.  He was so original in his attire (OG) that when he would wake up, he would walk outside on those brisk fall mornings with coffee in hand and his brown coat pulled over his shoulders.  He would look at me, nod a good morning, and walked away to begin his day.

Feliz Otoño Abuelo. 

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Fifteen years ago today, I remember sitting at the doctor’s office early in the morning waiting my turn to been seen.  I was 6 months pregnant and was having complications.  A month prior I was put on bed rest because I started having contractions.  Already had been through 6 miscarriages, the risks were high.

FullSizeRenderI remember watching the t.v. in the waiting room and the program stopped for breaking news.  Couldn’t really hear what was going on but I could see that it wasn’t good and it was scary.  All of sudden, a plane hits and a building goes down soon after.  Every one in the waiting room gasped for air.  Couldn’t figure out what was happening or where it was.  But we had witnessed the inexpressible, the incomprehensible and the unthinkable.  I got called in for my appointment, and walked away in confusion.

I got home, turned on the t.v. and could not believe what was going on.  So many lives were lost.  So much fear hovered over the country and the people.

So many say that 9/11 was a conspiracy but I also here those who are sensitive to what happened on 9/11/01.  I believe this is more of a heart issue because countless lives were lost and many risked their own lives to save others.  Loved ones are gone and their family still hurt to this day.  So many are still risking their lives for all of us who reside here in the U.S. so we can feel safe to drive down our streets.  Yes, there are still threats, violence and drugs but try living in a 3rd world country where people have to be inside their homes by sundown.  Try living in a country where cartels controls the streets.  Try living in a country where you have to kill to survive.  Yes our Latino population has struggles here in the U.S., but struggles for survival are everywhere.  We have been able to over come time and time again.  We are fighters, survivors- Y luchamos porque esta en nuestra sangre. 

Let’s stop the hate, and be proactive instead.  Step up to the plate and show in deeds what we are capable of doing.  We are intelligent, skilled, talented and clever enough to make a positive impact in this country.  It’s time we put the “blame card” away and work with what we have and make it happen.  Our children are watching, and our country is at stake.  Why do I say our country?  Because I live here and was born here like many of you.  Don’t get it twisted, I love my Mexican culture and I’m pretty sure it’s obvious by now.  But I also have to think about where I live and the future of my children, whom I’m pretty sure will also continue to live in the U.S. in the years to come.

SPREAD LOVE, NOT HATE.

Much love,

Silvia

 

img_1649.jpgOh, and that little girl I was making sure was ok on September 11, 2001, is growing to be one of the most talented, beautiful young lady I have ever known. (I can say that because she is my little miracle baby.)

IMG_7645Traveling is a passion of mine. I’ve done it since I was a little kid. I believe that is why I love summer so much… it was our family traveling season. The first adventure as a married woman was to venture with my newly wed husband on a trip to Michoacan, Mexico. He had never been out of the country at that point in his life and I wanted him to experience it for himself. He was a little skeptical about it but I think he was reassured by my past travel to Michoacan. We were 21 and we hit the road by bus, and taxi all over southern Mexico. We have been traveling together ever since.

When I had my first child, Jezreel, we decided to take our first road trip when she was 6 months old. I was still nursing but I wanted travel to be a natural part of her life… so we ventured on a 6 hour drive to San Francisco. Her natural curious and adventurous personality made the trip easy. She loved sitting up and looking around at everything as we drove. Her little smiley head bobbled around with a curiosity that couldn’t catch up to her physical skills (I think she defied Piaget’s stages of development on this trip. LOL)

I’m not one to leave both my children behind on my travel. They have been on 98 percent of my trips and the one’s I didn’t take them on was because they were too small to do the work I was going to be doing, missions in India and Russia. They love the adventure, excitement and thrill of travel and I love seeing them experience the world and make the connection to their school books. My daughter has become an awesome history geek and my son an archeological buff.IMG_7644

I have plans to blog more about my travel, even if it’s local because it needs to be seen as something attainable and not just for the sake of saying, “I’ve been there!”, but to show that traveling is an eye-opener,  a self-esteem builder,  and that it also keeps us humble as we see how others live. It makes us realize how small we are; but that even as small as we are, we can make a difference in this world. I’m passionate about my culture, my people, travel, and experiences but also about staying grounded and connected to myself and to those around me.

Before I began to take what I considered my “big trips”, it was only a dream to me to travel abroad. But I was able to live vicariously through pictures in books and magazines. Soon enough, my friends would tell me that they were living “vicariously” through me as the social media platforms began to emerge… we became globally connected. It was such a good feeling.

Personally, I get great joy seeing those around me travel. When I see them travel to places I have already been, I immediately reminisce of my own personal experiences. When they return from their trips, we have more to talk about because we have something else in common than stuffing our faces at dinner (Although I enjoy that too.)

IMG_7647As I write this blog, I occasionally look over my computer on this rainy day in Greece and can only feel gratitude in my heart to be here with my little family.  Soon enough my children will be grown and making their own memories like I did as a child.  But for now, I get to be part of theirs.

 

 

-Màs Masa
#latinosinathensgreece

I grew up in a very strict home.  Asking  to go to a friend’s house or school dance was out of the question.  In my group of friends, I was always left out because I never got to hang out outside of the school setting.  As a result, I never really made long lasting friendships.  From 3rd to 6th grade, I had a Filipino friend named Sheila Sia.  We became really good friends because she also had strict parents.  But the moment we hit middle school, things changed.  She rebelled and started to hang out with other friends who were more involved in school activities.  Soon after, I made new friends.  One was Lourdes Chavez.  She was a daring girl with caramel colored skin and curly hair.  There was also Veronica Zavala a very boisterous and uncensored girl.  We loved to play softball and loved watching baseball.  She was fair skinned with a sun kiss glow and blond hair like the pelos de elote from always playing outdoors.

My dad’s company moved from El Segundo, CA to Rialto, CA.  After a year of him commuting back and forth, he decided to move us to Rialto.  I hated the move and I hated Rialto.  Subsequently, I lost all the friends that I worked so hard to keep.  Because I was  very shy and introverted, I  didn’t allow many people into my life.  Naturally, I didn’t really make many friends.  I bounced around back and forth from groups of school kids until 10th or 11th grade when I met Delila Tamayo and Margarita Yanez in high school.

When I was 15 1/2, I got my driving permit.  It was so exciting!  I new soon enough I would be able to drive on my own.  My Abuelo and Abuela had been visiting us from Tijuana for a few days.  It was a summer morning when they were heading back to Tijuana.  I wanted to go with them so bad.  I asked if I could go knowing I would be rejected.  My dad said no so my Abuelo asked again.  For some miraculous reason, my dad actually said yes.  I quickly gathered a few items and we were on our way.   It was just Abuelo, Abuela, myself and a car packed to the ceiling with all kinds of things they were taking back.

IMG_6817We stopped to get gas before getting on the freeway.  With an evil grin I thought to myself, “I want to drive into Tijuana and IN Tijuana!  There is no way they can say no!”  I quickly recalled a story my Abuela had told countless number of times of my Tio Jose driving to Tijuana, BACKWARDS!  Not sure how much truth there is to that, but if he could drive backwards, there was no way I wasn’t going to take this opportunity to make it my first drive into Tijuana. I knew better than to ask Abuela.  She would say no porque era muy nerviosa (Still is.)  Instinctively, I asked Abuelo.  He was always ready to take risks.  Abuelo and Abuela exchanged some words and minutes later Abuelo said, “Pues a manejar!”  and I quickly sat on the drivers side and adjusted my mirrors (Evil laugh.).

My Abuelo had Abuela sit in the passenger side.  She was a nervous wreck.  But we laughed the entire ride to Tijuana occasionally taking my hands of the steering wheel for a second and saying, “Mira, sin manos!” My abuela would yell at me, “Ay muchacha!”  When I would pretend to fall asleep on the wheel, my Abuela would start trying to wake me up.  I could see my Abuelo through the rear view mirror just laughing and having a good ol’ time with a caguama wrapped in a paper bag in hand.

After 2 1/2 hours, (World record according to Abuela. Insinuating I was driving too fast. lol), we were finally about to cross into Tijuana.  Seeing my dad and mom drive into Tijuana dozens of times had mentally prepped me for this moment.  It was time to shift gears.  I propped myself up and got ready for battle.  This was it… the ultimate driving test. I was like a bull in the rink waiting for the red flag to be waved in my face. I got the hand wave from los federales and  I crept forward and I saw my Abuela with my peripheral vision doing the sign of the cross.  Not sure if she was asking God to take care of us or thanking Him for not letting the federales stop us from all the junk we were carrying in the car.  I knew the road very well to their house.  I rode through those streets like I had been living in Tijuana my whole life (Does weekends count?)

I got us all to their house safe and sound.  For that week, I forgot about how much I hated our move to Rialto.  From that day on, I drove my family to Tijuana countless number of times and there were even times when I drove by myself (Back when it was a little safer.)  Being able to take these weekend trips to Tijuana, got me through a lot of hard times in my life that I had no control off … and I am thankful for them.

#masmasa

I was going through my Instagram feed and saw Sonia from La Piña En La Cocina post a picture of some delicious bolillos she had just made.  I could practically smell them through my phone screen (we need smell-a-phones!).  Immediately I was taken back to my childhood in Lennox, CA.

Growing up a block away from la panaderia, was the best thing that could have happened to me.  I could have fresh pan any time I wanted.  My favorite days to walk to Arreola’s Bakery  was on Sunday mornings.  I loved all the sweet bread but there was something about the bolillos that always appealed to me.  I would always get an extra bolillo so I could eat it as I walked back home.  All I wanted to do was to take the inside of the bolillo out and put it in my mouth.  My teeth would sink into the soft and airy inside of the bolillo …mmmm.  By the time I would get home, I had eaten the shell too and was ready to eat my pan dulce with some milk as if it was my first piece of bread of the day.  😉

I wanted to experience fresh, warm bolillos so I asked Sonia for her recipe.  It was very easy to follow.  I probably need more practice in the shaping of them but that doesn’t matter because they still taste delicious– just like they did on my walks home from la panaderia.

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Fresh out of the oven!

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Soft!

And yes, I did take out the inside of the bolillo and ate it first. 😉

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Of course I took it out!

Here is the link to Sonia’s recipe.  Tell her I sent you. 🙂

http://pinaenlacocina.com/2017/05/16/mexican-bollilos-in-my-kitchen-aide/

 

Con Cariño,

Silvia

 

 

I’m on a chipotle trip right now and want to add it to everything.  With Cinco De Mayo and the Canelo VS. Chavez Jr. (Who are you rooting for???) fight around the corner, I wanted to create something that was Mexican inspired.  I want to keep my guests entertained and make sure their bellies are satisfied!

Here is the “HOW TO” instructions for the dip and I’ll leave the link below of my Tortillas TRICOLOR video I made to go along with this delicious dip!
https://youtu.be/9Mwr1HfqQac

Ingredients:

  • Cream Cheese  (8 oz.)
  • 2 tablespoons of Sour Cream
  • 2 -3 tablespoons of the chile chipotle suace.

 

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Directions

  1. Mix room temperature cream cheese with sour cream and hipotle sauce.

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Yes, it’s that easy! 😉

Enjoy!

xoxoxoxo

With summer quickly approaching, I am reminded of those warm evenings I enjoy at my dad’s house so much.  I love going to my father’s “Rancho” style home on summer afternoons because of the countless hours I have spent swinging on his tree-shaded hammock.  Imagine melting into the fabric of the hammock, laying lazily while listening to the sounds of his animals and hearing the occasional whistling of a soft summer afternoon wind.  As I’m swinging, I can look up to the sky and catch a ray of sun peeking through the trees.  If the peacocks get comfortable enough with me around, I might be fortunate to see one open up it’s feathers and catch a glimpse of it’s colorful splendor.

Above all, what I am most fascinated with are the array of cactus that he has around his house.  I especially enjoy taking pictures of the nopales at dusk, when the golden rays of the sunset outline its silhouette.  On some random, yet very special occasions, I might find a beautiful cactus flower bloom.

Interestingly, my dad has always had nopales around his house.  With the drought conditions in California the past few years, people began to let their grass die, and have found new ways to make their yards look nice and alive without having to use too much water.  Nopales and succulents have become a bit trendy because they can beautify a landscape without the use of excessive irrigation.  Cactus are native to North America and can survive by adapting quickly to their environment.  They can survive in dry, dead, lifeless deserts with little water.  Not only will they survive, but they can bring forth beautiful cactus flowers and sometimes even fruit.

The CACTUS FLOWER reminds me a lot of myself. Maybe you are that woman too, or know someone who has overcome adversity, just to get to where they are today.  There are also those women who have pushed through seemingly impossible life obstacles just to survive.  Maybe at one time in their life, they felt like they were walking through a desert, alone, defeated to the point of giving up on life or a difficult circumstance.   Finally, the hour comes, when all the hurt, pain, and struggle has been left in the distance behind her; that feeling of rising above her circumstances, that moment of awakening she has longed for. At last she is able to lift herself up, hold her face to the heavens and achieve her blossom. Despite the circumstances, La Mujer is finally free and able to blossom with confidence into the beautiful CACTUS FLOWER she was meant to be.

Silvia Pic Cactus Flower 2

Maybe you feel like you are in a desert at this time in your life.  I want you to know that if you press on, you will be able to see that unique and rare flower bloom– a CACTUS FLOWER– the one who thrives against all odds… La que lucha to leave a beautiful, positive impression of perseverance and endurance.  This is not to say that we won’t face hard times in the future, but we can survive, bloom and thrive.

“The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose.”

(Isaiah 35:1)

Cactus Flower 1

Check our tiendita to purchase the CACTUS FLOWER t-shirt.