It is the last day of the year and I’m off to India in 12 hours. As I look back at 2010, I realize the gifts this year brought me. Although it was a year of much change and of painful detachments, it was also a year of much gain.
Breaking up with a former flame early in the year allowed to me grow as an individual and regain my sense of self, something I did not realize I needed. This breakup opened the door for living on my own for the first time in my 30 years.
Living in Miami Beach alone was a giant step in believing in my ability to support and protect myself regardless of where I live or my life circumstances. The sense of pride and independence I feel now is remarkable.
Located just a block from the beach, my tiny beach bungalow became a haven for me. It was my retreat from the world. Those four walls housed laughter, tears and many joyous moments I shared with family and friends.
My studio apartment was conveniently located in the bustling North Beach neighborhood, just two miles from my job. Every time the weather allowed I would bike to work, taking in the soothing scenery before my 12 hour shifts.
My days off were spent sleeping in and taking lazy strolls along the beach and cooking with friends. The freedom of those days allowed me to enjoy countless bike rides with my sweet friend Ellen. We would laugh, talk and share our deepest thoughts and feelings. Those are days I will always treasure.
I made and lost friends this year but I’m grateful for every life I’ve touched. I’m thankful for everyone who shared my laughter, tears, messes and successes. It’s all part of this adventure called life.
I turned 30 this year and I rang in this new decade with a bang – Miami style! Aside from my Sweet Sixteen, this was probably the best birthday I ever had. The only thing that was missing was my mom but I know she was sending her blessings from above.
This year allowed me to spend time with my family in Arizona. We had such a wonderful family reunion in April to commemorate the first anniversary of my mom’s passing. Although we cried the entire length of the Easter Sunday mass, I’ll never forget how we embraced each other and slowly pulled each other through that difficult moment.
This summer brought me much joy. My sister and her family came to visit me for the 4th of July. It was amazing to show her around the neighborhood and introduce her to my friends. I also enjoyed the visit of my brother Robert, his wife and kids.
We all drove to Orlando and took the kids to Disney for the first time. Tears filled my eyes as I watched the kids enjoy themselves at Magic Kingdom. They were so happy to see Mickey and the Disney princesses. I remember my brother, my sister-in-law, my friend Jadira and I standing in front of Cinderella’s castle that night crying as the fireworks light up the sky. I knew that each of us was silently thanking God for allowing us to experience that moment as a family.
The summer also brought a very special individual to my life that opened up my heart and taught me that I could love again. For that, I am grateful.
This fall, my career reached new heights as I joined the very talented team of Chef Paula DaSilva at 1500 Degrees, a steakhouse at the Eden Roc hotel where I worked. Working with Paula, as well as Chef Benjamin Walanka and Chef Adrienne Grenier, allowed me to gain confidence as a chef and refine my skills. I will always be grateful for everything they taught me along the way.
Finally, this year has brought me to Texas. How grateful I am for my Indian family! Without them, I don’t know where I would be right now. The support they have given me is unmatched. Being in Texas is helping me heal my heart and mind and is propelling me to move forward.
Now, I’m beginning 2011with a trip to India for the first time. I am thrilled about my travels and my future move to Italy next year. How lucky am I? I thank my lucky stars every day.
Goodbye 2010! I’m off to India…