As I was driving around town with my mother on Wednesday, I stopped mid sentence to shriek, “La Hacienda!” Not many people would initially understand the reason for my outburst except for the one person I texted this news to: Amanda Ortiz.
When we were seniors, Amanda introduced me to this amazing burrito shop off of Central in downtown Albuquerque. I fell in love. The breakfast burritos were incredible and they sold Dr. Peppers with lids bigger than the size of my face. You can see the immediate appeal. We went there several times that year, sitting in the parking lot and looking across the street at this terrifying spray painted lion on the side of a decrepit building. A little sketchy, I’ll admit. We went there after shopping in town, while trying to procrastinate studying for finals, and mainly to talk about whatever popped into our heads.
When we came back from college over this past summer, we made our traditional trek down Central in pursuit of our delectable burrito when we saw a terrible sight. It was closed for remodeling! How could this be? Were they not aware that we had been so rudely deprived of their incomparable green chile these past 5 months? It was more than a craving; it was a need. With sad hearts, we contented ourselves with Golden Pride burritos. Good, but just not the same.
We tried again over Thanksgiving Break, but alas, they were gone. When we called their number to figure out where they had relocated, the woman speaking to us had such a thick accent that not even our hunger for breakfast burritos could help us decipher her directions. Blast.
When I happened to drive by La Hacienda this past week, I found the culmination of a 6 month endeavor. There it was, hidden in plain sight in the old Long John Silver’s building on Montgomery and Eubank, a vision of beauty. Amanda and I bought a burrito there this morning, our traditional combination of green chile, cheese, eggs, hash brown, and bacon. As we sat there eating our burritos, catching up on the end of our semesters and recounting the events of our lives, I realized that those burritos were, in actuality, no different than most burritos in Albuquerque. Tasty, yes, but perhaps not worth the hype and the expectation.
That’s when it clicked. If I went to La Hacienda by myself, I know that the burrito wouldn’t taste the same. It would be missing the key ingredient: Amanda Ortiz. There are many things that happen in my life on a regular basis that have meaning and value simply because of the people I am with.
As it is Christmas Eve tomorrow:
She puzzled and puzzled till her puzzler was sore. Then Rachel thought of something she hadn’t before. Maybe burrito delight, she thought, doesn’t come from La Hacienda. Maybe burrito joy, perhaps, means a little bit more!
Merry Christmas everyone! I am so grateful for everyone in my life: my family who puts up with me, my friends who always take care of me, a boyfriend who brightens my life, a loving Heavenly Father, an incredible college to attend, and New Mexican burritos and the people who sweeten them. I live a blessed life indeed.