“Aren’t you worried about safety?” says my student. “Safety, safety, safety!”
It’s Saturday night and I’m teaching a Mexican cooking class. I poll my students and ask how many people have visited Mexico? Almost all hands go up. I ask if anyone is planning to visit soon. Instead of hands being raised, I get raised eyebrows, shrugs, and the safety answer. I then ask if anyone is going on a cruise. Several hands raise. “Aren’t you worried about diarrhea?” I ask with a smirk. “Please don’t make me say it three times.”
It’s the start of February and everyone’s tastebuds are turning to chocolate. Valentine’s Day is coming up and so is my birthday. As I break pieces of chocolate into a pot of mole, my mind starts to wonder — Will I ever return to Mexico? What kind of chocolate recipes will I write about this month? Why don’t I have anyone to celebrate Valentine’s with? How will I celebrate my thirty-fifth birthday?
These questions stay with me through the weekend, and as I ponder answers, I do what so many people do when they daydream — I went to my Pinterest boards. A few clicks here and a few more there, several phone calls and a couple of emails later…. and I find myself headed to Mexico for a one week, Valentine’s Day/Birthday culinary excursion — I’m super excited!
Oh yes, it’s true. I’m flying out in a week and I’ll be staying with a chef. I’ve never felt so spontaneous and yet so sure about my travel plans. I suppose I could say this is going to be my Eat, Pray, Love moment but there won’t be any Italians, Indian food or daily yoga — at least, I’m not planning for it.
But there is going to be me, stepping out of my comfort zone, on a journey into volcanic lands rich with culture, history and heritage. And there will be you (I hope) cheering me on my adventures. I’ll post as much as possible, and of course, take lots of pics. If I can find time, I might even make a few videos. Yes, I will certainly take safety pre-cautions and I will be a smart traveler. But more than anything else, I go as a student, an adventurer and a seeker of delicious dishes. To Mexico I go — Olé!