In the story “Acres of Diamonds”, a farmer in Africa sold his land to a buyer and went off looking for diamonds. The farmer didn’t realize that there were diamonds to be found in his own backyard.
Back in July, I visited home. Home for me is San Bernardino, California, a mid-size desert/valley town in Southern California.
Growing up, San Bernardino used to be an impressive place. But, possibly years, the city has been in a state of decline. However, it is a place that is enveloped in beautiful mountains, and, on a clear day, it is a gorgeous site.
While home, I took my mom and boyfriend to get some sage. I always try to get that good ‘ol’ California sage while home – I believe that there’s nothing like it.
My boyfriend had a craving for tacos and googled (is that a word?) a place nearby the sage shop that had lots of excellent reviews. It was in downtown Riverside, a neighboring city to San Bernardino.
The name of the place? Tios Tacos.
When we arrived, I was tempted to tell my boyfriend just to go in and grab something – mom and I weren’t really all that hungry. I thought the parking lot looked a bit “different”, but at first glance, I thought it was just an old establishment and not really kept up.
How wrong I was!
I began to scan my environment, and then I thought “Oh Shit”, this place is an art gallery. But, that was just the tip of the iceberg.
As we walked in, everything (and I do mean everything) was this colorful, mosaic, beautiful artsy eclectic MESS! And, I mean that in a good way.
Turns out, Tios Tacos is actually a tourist attraction. There is art everywhere, Day of the Dead ornaments, makeshift cathedrals, horses made of wire, 15 foot tall ghosts, toys, bird cages filled with stuffed animals, bikes embedded in concrete – some of the most random stuff you’d ever want to see, all made of one thing – one person’s trash!
Yep, that’s right. It turns out that Tios Tacos is owned by Martin Sanchez, an artist who arrived in Southern California from Sahuayo, Mexico back in the 80’s. When he arrived, he couldn’t believe the stuff that we (read: Americans) threw away. He began to collect scraps and to make a long story short, this is what he created.
This experience got me thinking about how we have everything we can possibly want and need in life. And, when there is something that we feel that we are lacking, it usually can be found right in our own backyard (meaning, within us).
I had lived in San Bernardino practically all my life…from the time I was an infant until 1995, and then from 2001 -2014. Throughout that whole time, I had never heard of Tios Tacos.
I had no idea that this wonderful, beautiful, trashy and glorious spectacle was literally in my own backyard, a mere 15-minute drive from home.
It makes me wonder – how many of you have skills, talents, gifts and powers that you didn’t know that you did? You won’t know what you have unless you know what you have.
In order to do that, you need to look for it and seek it out. It’s there. I know it is because we all have them.
Let me know what you find.