If you told me on June 11, 2002 that I would be in San Sebastian, Spain dining at the best Michelin restaurants and talking with Andoni Aduriz, Elena Arzak, and the best chefs in the world, I would say, “You must be kidding.”
But here I am in San Sebastian, with the highest concentration of Michelin starred restaurants in the world (more than Paris, but only less than Kyoto). Pinch me! Is this real? How did I get here?
Over a week ago, as I was packing my bags for Spain, I came across this. It is a dream journal. On June 11, 2002, I wrote down things I wanted to do in my life. It is my bucket list. I wrote it all there: from climbing a mountain, to writing a book, to riding a hot air balloon, a book launch…. And countless places I want to travel to. There were more than 30 plus entries scribbled with now faded pencil marks. But I stopped whatever I was doing, clutched my heart, and was overwhelmed when I re-read the list now in 2015. Some 13 years later, I had forgotten the list for many years. For some, I had scribbled next to my bucket list wish the date it was completed. I have not gone back to this list, but many dreams have already happened. Only a few remained unfulfilled.
I read number 26 in my list, “to go on a culinary trip to Europe.” I took a deep breath and realized at that moment another dream is coming true. This trip to Spain has been a dream for many years. I had always dreamt of spending time with a month with señora in her kitchen. Here I am now, instead of a señora, Andoni Luis Aduriz, a genius of a chef behind the World’s Best Restaurant, ranked number six consistently for ten years, let me spend time in his kitchen.
I get to talk again to Elena Arzak, Juan Mari Arzak, and Joan Roca, and many other culinary greats. I uttered a prayer and said, “Thank you, Lord for the power of dreams. Thank you, Lord for making them come true.” It is both humbling and also so empowering to witness my dreams come true. Some would say I am so lucky. I would say I am so deeply loved.
Inside that dream book, I had also scribbled a quote. “Don’t be sad about the things you want and don’t get. Think about how many things you don’t want and don’t get.”
Dreams do come true. Go ahead, dream. But also let life surprise you with what it grants, and what it kindly spares you from.
Wishing you all a blessed week ahead.
Maida’s Touch: Feeding Restless Appetites
October 10, 7:08am, San Sebastian, Spain
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