I unfortunately I didn't accomplish everyone of those goals or reach all those achievements but I like to think I still have that big heart. I do cry a lot at movies, commercials, when people are super nice and of course, when I'm sad. I like to think that means I can empathize with others in humanity. I also babysit foster kids, work with clients who have eating disorders and am always finding ways to help spread love.
I enjoy being that nice friendly soul. I fought it for a long time because I was tired of hearing people say how nice and sweet I was. It was annoying to me because it felt like I had no depth. Also, I was nice to my detriment. It was more from a place of fear that others wouldn't like me. If I let them copy my homework or say yes to whatever they wanted then they would surely like me. It was when I started taking care of myself that things changed. Learning self-care techniques, learning what I truly want, who I am, to say no to things that don't suit me then I could actually be a "REAL" nice person. I could be nice in a way that was genuine.
This world has been an interesting place lately and it makes me wonder where is all the love? It makes me want to be even more loving and kind to people I encounter. Every Christmas Eve where I live I get my neighbors something and leave it outside their door with an attached note saying how much I appreciate living by them. This year I took it one step further and knocked on their doors to give them their gifts. For me this was a little harder because I had to look them in the eyes. My neighbors are awesome but to be honest we don't always engage in many conversations. It is usually just a casual hello here and there. There is a couple Mexican families that speak small amounts of English, except their kids are avid English speakers, a family from Indian and an African American woman. I knocked on each one of their doors and gave a smile as I said Feliz Navidad or Merry Christmas and thanks for being my neighbor. It was much more profound seeing everyone's surprise and smiles. This is the kind of world I want to live in.
Obviously, I'm not the kindest person in the world and some moments I'm not kind at all but the world is looking for our kindness. The other day I was riding my bike on the sidewalk and I pulled over to let a Hispanic man and his daughter walk by. As the man was starting to pass me he had his head hanging low and didn't make eye contact. Then I said, "hello." He looked up, smiled and said hello back. This situation just made me think about how some people might be fearful in the state we are in. This brings sorrow to my heart.
We are humans first and foremost. I love the diversity that people bring. It warms my heart. There is so much I can learn from others with different stories. This can only happen when we reach out. When me make eye contact and smile, say hello, welcome a neighbor or make a small gesture showing our humanity.
It is interesting how when I start thinking about a subject many opportunities pop up so I can see it in many different lights. This week I shared my story about my life in an Alanon meeting and the topic of judgement came up. People shared how if they saw me on the street they would think I had an easy, amazing life. I can see why they think that. I have a calm, sweet demeanor, dress up every chance I get and exude confidence. This was something I was born with, except the confidence part. On the outside I can seem all put together but really my background was filled with a lot of disappointed and torment. It still creeps in sometimes but I've had many years to change my views. This shows we never know what another person has struggled with or is struggling with.
The real story here is that we are all so similar. We can see the outward appearance of somebody and judge them. Their differences may scare us and make us stir clear of somebody completely dissimilar from us. What if we embraced their differences? Make a little extra effort to get to know somebody that doesn't live the way we do or look the way we do. It can change your life.
It is so easy to surround ourselves in our safe little bubble but when we reach out healing starts. Healing for you and the other person, healing for the town you live in, state, country and world. It may sound silly that one interaction can make such a difference but it can ripple through the world.
I may think the shows my neighbors watch are weird or not understand how they leave the laundry room so dirty. But when I see their birthday parties filled with so much love or the smile on their face when they see their kid I know we are all the same.
I challenge you to find more similarities in others than differences. We live in a world that can sometimes be disheartening and mind-boggling that we could all use a smile from a stranger. Awaken the love inside for people that just want the same as you, to be loved, to be safe and have their needs met.
The matrix of the crust on the veggie bottom quiche reminds me of how we are all intertwined and that is what makes us strong. Our differences. It creates a foundation that can hold the mass of eggs, veggies and cheese. Cooking the quiche creates a firm, cohesive bound that can only be broken with a knife. Showing that our society benefits from the melding of everyone's differences. It can never be broken only transformed into a slice that is given with love. Now onward to veggie bottom quiche.
Veggie Bottom Quiche
1 kohlrabi, shredded
2 carrots, shredded (I used a purple and orange one)
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1 onion, chopped, caramelized
1 cup chopped fresh spinach
1 cup shredded cheese (I used fontina)
1/2 cup of milk
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup of fresh dill, minced
2 tablespoon of olive oil
1-2 tablespoons of butter
1. Preheat oven to 350˚. Chop onion. Add a 1/2 tablespoon of oil to the pan and add onions. Let them caramelize while you get the rest of the ingredients ready.
2. Shred the kohlrabi and carrots. I use a grater but you can also you the attachment on your food processor to make it easier. Oil bottom of a pie pan, make sure the bottom and sides are covered with oil. (You can also you use butter if you like). Press shredded the mixture of carrots and kohlrabi in the bottom of the pan. Cook for 10 minutes. This is to take some of the moisture out.
3. Once onions are nice and brown add the chopped mushrooms. Add a tablespoon of butter too. Cook for 5-10 minutes, till mushrooms have lost most of their moisture. Set aside.
4. Using a large bowl add eggs and milk. Whisk together. Add the spinach, cheese, salt, pepper and onion/mushroom mixture.
5. Pour on top of the kohlrabi/carrot crust. Cook for 30 minutes, you can put a toothpick in the center and it comes out clean and it is brown on top. Let cool 5-10 minutes. Serve.
As you sit down to eat take a moment to absorb all the people you encountered today. You may not have talked to them but maybe you exchanged a smile or a glance. Try to imagine the diversity that surrounds you in your community and how it benefits you. Maybe there is a Dia de los Muertos celebration you love, you love eating Indian food, you shop at a store that stocks things from around the world or you have a neighbor that you love that is very different from you.
Now imagine if none of that existed. How would your life be? Send a special thanks to the people that are different from you because they make your life richer. This recipe would be bland if it weren't for all the variety of vegetables, spices and cheese. Just like our world would be dull without the many beautiful cultures, religions, traditions and people. I give thanks to you for stopping by.