Viva la Vida – Part 8

viva la vida 8

Viva la Vida – Part 8

El Mundo Vegano

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Arriving Back from the Hot Springs

The tour van dropped me back at my studio and I took an hour or so to rest, clean up and get dressed for dinner. After a full day and a wonderful experience at the hot springs, I was relaxed, a little tired, and excited to have a good vegan meal. All week, I ate at different vegan restaurants and the one I was going to this evening had the best reviews. With only a PB & J and a breakfast of bean sopes, I was really hungry. To be on the safe side I made a reservation at the bar.

El Mundo Restaurante

Going easy on myself after a long day I called an Uber instead of doing the 30-40 minute walk. Arriving right on time, I walked in and was greeted immediately and asked if I had a reservation, why, yes I did! It was a quiet night and I could sit pretty much anywhere, but the lovely gentleman who greeted me invited me to sit at the bar, which was my intention anyway, and who was I to say no. Two people were sitting at the bar and in the midst of conversation.

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The World, Tarot of Marseilles

The Tarot

The bartender who was also my greeter came over to me with seven cards. He explained that they were tarot cards from the major arcana. Then he asked if I was familiar with them, yes, yes I am. Tarot Cards have been an interest of mine since childhood when my sister got a deck. I think it’s a fun way of exploring randomness and chance. There’s something intriguing about the serendipity. It’s like water and the energetic flow, everything unfolds in its own way.

blog-images - tarot de marseille major arcana cards

The World, Tarot of Marseilles

Here they were using the Tarot of Marseilles which I hadn’t seen before. It is the first ever tarot card deck used for divination. The major arcana consists of 21 cards, but they selected these seven cards: The World, which is also the name of the restaurant (El Mundo), Temperance, The Star, The Sun, The Lovers, The Fool and the Devil.

Divine Cocktails

Each card corresponds with a cocktail, so whichever one you pick, you have the option to have that drink. I pulled The Sun, which was perfect for me that day, because as we were coming back from the hot springs I kept thinking about the sun and was envisioning a drawing that I was going to do of it. I was delighted. In addition, it had lemon, lavender and mescal in it and I’m a sucker for all three. It was delicious!

On the menu the meaning of the Sun card was this:

The Sun

“Represents illumination, joy and clarity. It is a reminder that in moments of darkness light will prevail. The human and the divine in self knowledge. Uniting the masculine and the feminine. Uniting. Awakening of consciousness.”

Yes, that sounded right for me at this moment in time. Light beginning to return after a long period of darkness.

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The Sun, cocktail with lemon, lavender and mescal

Other Worldly Food

There were a lot of interesting things to try on the menu. The name of the restaurant being El Mundo (The World) each dish comes from a different place and cuisine tradition. Since I was in Mexico and I absolutely LOVE Mexican food, that’s what I went with, choosing the Hibiscus Taquitos and the Oaxacan Pezzilcadas. Both were delicious and gone in flash. Yum yum! Easily the best meal of the trip.

Hibiscus Taquitos with a spicy habanero sauce

A Brand New Delicious Experience

The people sitting at the bar next to me were the owner/chef and one of her investors. She is creating something really special with this restaurant. Opening seven months ago, it is just starting to grow into itself. It can be a challenge for people to open up to the idea of eating vegan food, with the mischaracterization of it not being flavorful. Nothing could be further from the truth and definitely not here. If you’re in CDMX check it out!

The whole experience is so well crafted and creative. Everything is there to make it a success. The chef is really committed to all of the benefits of vegan cuisine: the environmental reasons, health ones, and ethical reasons, but none of this supersedes the fun, delicious and magical part of the dining experience.

We talked a bit about how people can have distorted beliefs around plant-based eating and how they can think it makes you less healthy. It’s actually exactly the opposite according to the science. 

Eating Your Heart Out

What brought me to eating vegan initially were health reasons but it has expanded since then to include all the environmental and ethical ones. My doctor recommended it to me when I was experiencing unexplained chest pains in the middle of the night while I was sleeping, which possibly indicated a heart issue. She said research showed that it was good for cardiovascular health. I took her advice seriously.

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Oaxacan Pezzilcadas

The day after her suggestion I ate my last meal of meat. That was almost five years ago now! It is unusual to go cold turkey (sorry for the pun!) like I did, but that’s how it happened. My heart issue has not returned. Some of it was probably also caused from repressed stress that only surfaced when I was at rest. Taking good care of my heart is really important to me. I want to be there for my daughters and to enjoy life.

Making Friends

It felt really good to talk with other people who were vegan. My friend circle doesn’t include anyone else who is fully plant-based, and that can be a bit lonely. It’s not like I don’t have a lot of friends, I do, they’re just not vegan. I liked being around people who got it, and were committed to living in a healthy and ethical way.

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View from the bar

The chef announced she was leaving, because her daughter wasn’t feeling well and she wanted to get home and be with her. She pulled up her picture on her phone and showed me. What a cutie!

Bumbling Around

My second cocktail was a delicious passionfruit margarita. I drew The World for the second card but was feeling more like having a margarita. Sipping it slowly, I wanted to savor it. The night was young and I was enjoying the company. The investor stayed and some of the other staff joined the conversation.

Drifting off for a minute, I was drawn back into the conversation when the topic of Bumble came up. The bartender asked if I ever used it. I said that I got as far as downloading it and looked for a minute but then gave up on the idea because it felt too much like shopping, and shopping is really not my idea of a good time.  He said that he likes everybody but then never writes. The wattress, said she uses it because, “A girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do.” I chuckled and smiled.

Not Everything Lasts Forever and That’s Ok

Around the bar we all agreed that relationships are hard. Two people can both be very nice and good people, and things can work for a time, but then they can start bringing out the worst in each other. Things happen, people hurt each other. It doesn’t necessarily mean that one or the other is a bad person, it’s just that together it doesn’t work. It’s like getting swirled around in an eddy and to continue making progress on your journey and not drown you have to let go of the other person. Hopefully, they too will be able to find a way out of where they are stuck.

Every scenario is different. It’s hard to know the inner workings of a relationship, there are so many factors at play. All the history of the two individuals, the circumstances around them, the responsibilities they have, their interests, communication styles, differing values, finances, parenting differences if they have kids, the list could go on and on. I never judge why things don’t work out for someone. That’s just the way it goes sometimes. It’s as much a wonder as how people are able to stay together. Many do so unhappily. Those that do continue with love and connection are truly blessed.

The investor sitting at the bar said that he was really happy being single and that he would have to find someone really special to give that up. I agreed and said I feel the same way.


Kindness Starts with How You Treat Yourself

Not too long after things finally fell apart with my ex I went for a walk in the park with an artist friend of mine. We were talking and I was expressing my grief over not being able to give my daughters a model of a healthy relationship. Then she said something that fundamentally reframed things for me. She said, “But you can give them an example of self-love.” Mind blown. Yes, I can do that. I have been working on this ever since. It starts with having self-compassion. Beating yourself up and getting caught up in shame doesn’t help anything.

This trip was about healing for me and reconnecting with myself. It feels like a great gift and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity.

Self Protection

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

Finishing my drink, I settled my tab, stopped by the restroom and started my way outside. It had been a lovely evening at the end of an epic day going to the hot springs. Everyone at the restaurant had made me feel so welcomed and right at home. I felt a little sad to be leaving, but also tired from waking up at 4am.

Standing outside were the bartender and the investor. He asked if I was on Instagram then we followed each other. He noted that I was an artist. Yes, yes I am. The topic changed to how he had been learning about active listening and then he said, you reflect back to the speaker what they say to you and that helps because people just want to be seen and heard. Reflecting what he said back to him, I agreed, that this is essential. Though I failed to mention what may be the thing that people need the most, and that is to feel safe, physically and emotionally. Then we shared a hug.

My Uber arrived and the lovely gentleman opened the door for me and I got in and waved. Back at the studio, I put on my pjs. I was tired but I felt so alive. Then I drifted right off to sleep. What a fantastic day!

Letting Yourself Be Seen

Of course, I checked him out on Instagram. What an incredibly multi-talented and creative guy! He grows mushrooms (not the magic kind, the delicious ones) which is really cool. I appreciate how kind he was to include me in the conversation because I can be a little shy.

Written by jennalex

Artist and designer who explores the relationship between the natural world and the digital world and aims to create art and design that expands people's consciousness and creates meaningful experiences.

June 9, 2024