Lessons Learned

My parents are pastors. So even while still in my mommy’s belly, I was making tamales. Every year the church would make tamales to help raise funds and I would always help. As a small child I learned how to use a spoon to spread masa on dozens of tamales. We would make up to 250 tamales every time. Over the years my tamale skills improved and I was spouting up to three tma (tamales a minute)! I learned how to fill tamales with the meat and how to cook them. Recently before coming to the College of Idaho I learned how to make the masa. Masa is just the dough stuff that holds the meat on the inside. Anyway…over the winter break I spent my first Christmas away from the family.

It was a great experience! However, it made me realize just how much I missed my family. The thought of not participating in all of our fun strange customs made me super sad. Buying huge popcorn bins, watching Its a Wonderful Life, making Tamales, driving by and staring at all the Christmas lights, watching the Christmas day parade, helping my parents make goodie bags for church, wrapping presents, and keeping presents hidden are some of the few holiday traditions we have at home. Spending the holidays somewhere else…really made me realize just how priceless the holidays are.


PHOTO: My hilarious dad and I


PHOTO: My beautiful mother and I

Coming from a small town in Idaho I dreamed of one day leaving and never coming back. It never occurred to me that years later I would ache just to be home once more. I discovered that being here at the College of Idaho has taught me some important lessons that I would have never learned on my own. One of those lessons is to appreciate the small things in life. Your mom’s voice waking you up in the morning, or your dad’s yell urging you to hurry up and get in the car, your brothers and sisters annoying misplacement of your things, but most of all the time spent with the family.


PHOTO: My sillly little brother


PHOTO: My beautiful sisters and I

This Christmas I tried to make tamales by myself, I figured I had enough training by now. I was wrong. The masa came out too crumby, the meat was WAYYYY too salty, and the tamales themselves just wouldn’t cook! It was no use. I couldn’t recreate what it took an entire congregation to do. I did not have the necessary experience to make my dad’s amazing masa, or my mom’s delicious meat. This epic failure just made me miss my parents cooking more. But at the same time it made me appreciate the fact that my childhood truly was blessed, and my parents are the best parents ever. I miss them very much and I hope everyone that has their parents with them learns to value them for how much they do. 



PHOTO: My bestest friend in the entire world (considered family)


PHOTO: My beautiful grandma (she doesn't take many pictures)

- Madai Montes