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Archive for August, 2013

Today I paid close attention while Yolanda made salsa. You see, a few years back my friends and I decided to throw a party. A Tulane party. It might be my italian background, or just my love for food, but every time there is talk of a party, my mind jumps to the food planning. As a college student, my budget wasn’t large by any means so I planned on contributing salsa. Chips and dip. Party classic. I chopped at least 20 tomatoes, sprinkled in a bit of cilantro and red onion, and called it a masterpiece. I lovingly set out this large quantity of salsa, and awaited the praise.

My roommates hassled me about the salsa. I assured them that yes, everyone was going to eat it. And no, 5 bowls of salsa wasn’t overkill. The party ended. The salsa didn’t. Needless to say, whenever another party plan came up, I was always mockingly asked if I would be making the famous Josephine salsa. As I said earlier, I paid very close attention to Yolanda today as she was making authentic, Mexican salsa. Today I have reached my one year mark working in the Peace Corps, México.  After a full year, I can tell you this much. My salsa will never be ridiculed again.

Here are the secrets..

– Put the tomatoes and a jalapeño(s) on the stovetop until the skin is a little charred

– Add the tomatoes,  jalapeño(s) half a clove of garlic, salt, and cilantro to the blender

DONE.

the twigster,

Josephine

PS: New Orleans, you are in my heart today and every day. 504.

PPS: Check out another volunteer’s reflection on her one year mark here in Mexico.

PhotoBooth helped me to capture some important moments over the year…

Adventure Beginning

Red Lips, Always.

My own place! … after living with two host families.

Hospital Visit: Food Poisoning. Early In-Service Training.

Hospital Visit: Food Poisoning. Early In-Service Training.

One of the friends I have met along the way.

One of the friends I have met along the way.
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Within the first hour of your journey from Puebla through the hills of the Sierra Norte the environment has transitioned from stained graffiti buildings to endless emerald green valleys. The views and vibrant jewel tones are enough to discount the four hour journey, and keep your gaze fixed on the foggy bus window. As you wind and weave through the hills, you pass small town after small town. You see steam in the air from wood-burning stoves. You catch sight of women dressed in traditional, embroidered clothing tending to the stoves, and adding to a stack of warm tortillas. Handwritten signs posted on the casitas entice you to buy locally grown coffee, and allude to the hot cup of dark coffee that awaits you in town. As you continue, your stress evaporates into the clouds you seem to be joining.

The bus pulls into another pueblo. You have arrived. As you step onto the rain-weathered cobble streets, you soak in the romance of the quiet town, and the humidity of Cuetzalan warmly embraces you. You walk into town passing restaurants boasting regional dishes of pipián and mole poblano, and you fall deeper and deeper into a trance. You forget the day, the month, even the year. Following the winding roads of the town, you have indeed joined the clouds. You wonder if you will find your way out again. You are enchanted.

the twigster,

Josephine

PS: Cuetzalan is known for beautiful waterfalls. I went in the middle of a tropical storm, and was unable to make it out there, but I hear they are absolutely breath-taking.

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I broke my biggest promise to myself. I saw a little dehydrated puppy scurrying under a nearby bush to hide from people, and I scooped her up – I scooped her up, wrapped her in a shirt, and speedily walked  to the Huimilpan vet. She was thirsty, hungry, and FULL of fleas. She also had the cutest little chocolate nose I had ever seen.

She went home with me that night. She got a name. I got a new best friend. Canela, or Cinnamon, sweet and spicy at the same time. Her personality perfectly embodied in a cooking spice. Since I had broken one promise to myself, I knew I had to make another. I promised that I would avidly search for a home for her, just like I did with the street kitty, Benny.  I had no idea though that most Mexicans don’t want female dogs. It is not part of the culture to neuter the dogs, and since they don’t want one dog to multiply into six, they shy away from the females.

And so, the search began for Canela’s home. Three months full of numerous posts on Facebook dog adoption groups in Querétaro, calls to dog shelters, and talking up the little pup didn’t get me very far. Until one day, one very nice man, wanted a puppy, and Canela was just the girl.

the twigster,

Josephine

PS: I told myself that a street animal will not come home with me at least for three months. I got attached to this little Cinnamon Bun.

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