DMS Mexico Blog
This trip healed my soul
by Jennie Cook
Before I left Chef Martha said “Jennie, take all your stones.”
It was a premonition for the gifts I was about to receive.
There were thirty people on this trip. Thirty. I was an outsider.
I knew my friend and roommate Jo, and Janet from Fancy Gap and her hubs.
I knew of many of them through conferences and brief acquaintances.
They were the hot shots, upper echelon catering league. Larger boutique catering companies and restaurants, exclusive venues and brand dominance, from all over the greater United States.
I have deep admiration for their companies.
I’ll just be over here making production lunches… I was a little intimidated.
The first night was in a fancy room at the St. Regis, with thirty people I didn’t know and I was anxious.
By dessert, with my new friends Jim & Libby, I thought – “I can do this. These people are really nice”.
I have made so many new friends.
Authentic connections steeped in our common interest –
to share food & spread love.
It is our ethos.
At the base of our businesses, we build community.
We believe in talking and laughing and eating and cocktails and churros and hot chocolate.
We believe in the dinner table.
I became very comfortable.
"We believe in talking and laughing and eating and cocktails and chocolate"
I was miserable and so very sad.
I called Pauline who gave me strength.
Later that day she sent me the brochure to this trip. “there’s a spot open…”
Here’s the truth and some backstory.
In December 2021, I had a breakdown. I was crushed and I couldn’t get up.
I cried for three days, once for 6 hours straight. I couldn’t get a hold of myself.
Not delicate sobs, but crocodile tears of defeat, self-loathing, and despair.
It all bubbled up – running a hospitality business in a global pandemic, the anniversary of my mom’s death, my family of origin collapsing, my webmaster losing the entire history of my blogs since the launch of the interwebs.
So much loss.
I thought I was suffering comfortably in my privilege, unwilling to give in to the grief because you know, I should be grateful.
That worked for a year and nine months, and then it didn’t. I was miserable and so very sad. I collapsed.
So there I was, in the parking lot of Restaurant Depot crying in my car.
I called Pauline who gave me strength.
Later that day she sent me the brochure to this trip. “there’s a spot open…” she says, nudge nudge.
I couldn’t even get my mind around it – it was enticing, but not possibly real.
Three weeks later, she gifted the trip to me.
Another premonition gone to fruition?
I would’ve preferred to take the trip with her of course, so I say this with just a wee bit of guilt; this trip, at this time, with these people, was exactly what I needed and the experience of a lifetime.
Who knew? Pauline knew.
Here are the highlights:
I adopted a daughter.
I’d tell you more, but I want to respect her privacy – lol, she’s an adult. This is our portrait.
I stopped drinking.
I noticed my new friend Chris from Minnesota wasn’t drinking and I asked her why.
She said “ I realized that I don’t feel good after I drink.” ME TOO! I stopped drinking.
I may be California Sober – I reserve the right to change my mind, but for now, not interested.
I had many more great meals, but I’m saving all the food stuffs for another time.
I made new friends at every repast, even breakfast.
"For me, the best part of the entire trip was our farewell party.
The intuitive group photographer said to me “your mom took a selfie and you were born.”
The entire neighborhood came to the party.
The big puppets and the spinning planets.
The abuelas and the aunties. The creatures and the devils.
At dusk, they started going up the hill with the band – like a big pageant.
I shouted into the wind “where are they going?”
“FOLLOW THEM”, she shouted back.
I jumped into the middle and we all danced and paraded around the property.
The jingle suits and the spinners and the ten-piece brass band and the big drums.
Dancing and swirling, pounding the earth in celebration and gratitude.
For me, the best part of the entire trip was our farewell party.
A Dia de Los Muertos celebration from 2-9 on our last day, at the ranch.
Kind of like a Christmas in August kind of thing.
They set up big tents for us and we had a delicious lunch and dinner, too.
Our Shaman welcomed us to the land and encouraged us to commune with the departed.
I LOVE THIS STUFF.
Did someone curate this trip just for me? How did I get so lucky?
I made an alter for my parents with my friends.
We celebrated everyone who has come before us. I was loving all of it.
"Dancing and swirling, pounding the earth in celebration and gratitude..."
As my new friend Johnny said – It was the original burning man.
We danced for hours.
The drums never stopped, the horns never caught their breath and the world kept spinning.
Every time I tried to leave the pulse of the party, a goddess would pull me in and say “dance with me!”
Yes, let’s dance, let’s all dance!
I touched the puppets, I danced with the devil, I spun with the world. I was no longer sad.
I was fresh and new and filled with gratitude for all the performers and the artists and the shamans and dear sweet mother earth, keeper of all things, tierra madre. She took away my pain.
I crossed a bridge and I connected like never before. I was pure love, and I was dancing.
It started much earlier in the day – look at the top of my head.
My aura was captured on camera.
I’m radiating green. Green is love.
You can’t see it in the black and white version… just saying.
I went on this adventure with great gratitude.
When I started to get judgy, I reminded myself:
“don’t be a jerk, be grateful.”
I never expected an experience where my life would explode in front of me in the best way possible.
I was renewed. I was cleansed.
I was held safely in the hands of thirty other eating companions and an amazing support staff.
"I never expected an experience where my life would explode in front of me in the best way possible."
They fed me, entertained me and told me stories.
They were intuitive, thoughtful and funny, I loved them all.
I’ve heard these catering folks travel together all the time.
Okay. I’ll do it. But could the Magick Mexico Trip ever be topped?
I don’t think so, It was the most special of all time.
Thank you, JoJo, we make a dynamite traveling duo.
Gotta give a shout out to the Nagy power couple.
Cade took the best snaps – many used here.
Ingrid kept the bus on schedule. (she was one of the organizers)
Cade took the best picture of the Mont Alban Ruins.
Most of all, thank you, thank you, thank you, Pauline.
DMS Mexico thanks Jennie Cook for allowing us to publish her story "Dancing in Oaxaca" from her blog: https://jenniecooks.com/2022/02/10/dancing-in-oaxaca/ february 10, 2022
Published by DMS Mexico 2022