Recently I've added "resourcefulness" to the list.
I've entered a stage in my life where I'm incredibly grateful I grew up poor. I think that without that history, I'd be missing a lot of the qualities I actually really love about myself. Being poor teaches you a lot about resilience, humility, and sharing good fortune when it's available. I think I have a lot of values within myself that I don't see in others my own age, and although I wish these values could have been instilled me in some other way, I am very grateful that they are here nonetheless.
But the point on resiliency and its resulting resourcefulness is what I wanted to talk about today.
My sister and I were recently recalling how good my mom was at extending meals. What I mean by this is that she could take what most of you eat in a day and make it last at least 3.
If you ever look closely at a corn tortilla, you'll notice that they all have one side that has a very thin top layer. It's slightly raised and can be easily peeled off. If you look at the picture below, you'll see what I mean.
My mom called this la cara de la tortilla. She used to peel them all off all the tortillas, and boom, suddenly we had twice the amount of food, or at least the illusion that we did. She would throw all of those peelings in a pan with an egg and the rising of the egg made it look like we had even more food! Then, she'd throw in a couple of diced hot dogs (the type that cost about 89 cents per 8 pack) and dinner was served. That left us with tortillas and extra eggs for the next day.
And you know, my mouth still waters at the thought of that. She called dishes like that mindongos which is just a made up Spanish word for "mixture". A mixture of anything you can find in the fridge. You don't get resourceful like that until you have to. Like when you're a mom trying to feed kids on an $8,000/year salary. So there you go mom, that's another thing I am grateful for.
To this day, I look forward to the first of the month because that's when the food stamps came in and I knew as I walked home from school that there would be food in the fridge. Also to this day, my stomach twists in a knot on the 9th of every month because that was the day our rent was due and we were never quite on time to say the least. Maybe I could do without residual effects like that, but I wouldn't trade the person I became for the world.