Making Connections, Chasing Chocolate

Chocolate is food, nourishment. It is meant to be shared, it has a deep rich history, it is temperamental, it can be used as a unifying tool. There is an energy behind it. An anticipation that envelops you from the start.

Take the cacao tree. It grows ONLY where it wants to, its processing is meticulous, it is used to create mind blowing delicacies, it is palatable to all ages, its energy is contagious. I see people this way. When they walk into my life, they share with me who they are. Their energy, their modality, their goals, their focus, their stories. Just like chocolate, some people leave marks that stay ingrained on your mind.

Going back through our Chasing Chocolate Blog, I found some fantastic pieces to the puzzle that is life. Read HERE to know where our “Chasing Chocolate” name came from and essentially where it is going. Chocolate has connected us to people in ways that would have never occurred otherwise. These connections are going to be the focus of this blog in the coming year.

I have some incredible people to share with you. People who love life, are genuine, have lessons to share, who value hard work, who are not scared to fail, who push past their insecurities, who serve others in some shape or form. My hope is that this blog becomes something people read to nourish their soul; something that is different from all the hate, ugliness, and gloom put out. May this blog be a little escape from the circularity of life and a link to something we can all cherish: a human connection.

Below is the story of how I came to gravitate toward finding this connection over and over again.

In the fall of 2001, I was a senior in high school. I had gone through a whole lot of trouble to stay in the Harlandale District (San Antonio, TX) in order to graduate with MY 2002 class. I was enrolled in college courses through an awesome program, but I still didn’t have enough classes to complete a regular school day and I didn’t want to graduate early. My counselors suggested I try a half-day work program. It was my second year working on our bi-weekly school newspaper and I had dreams of being an editor, eventually a writer. By that time, I knew the only way to get better at something with no experience was to pursue an internship!

I contacted the San Antonio Express News and turned in my portfolio/resume. Shockingly, I got a call back and was told I could intern with one of their journalists. This is how I met and worked with Cary Clack. Mr. Clack was a columnist, a journalist, that contributed to the newspaper with pieces dedicated to relevant local topics printed in the Opinion section. At the time, my teenage self was just overwhelmed that I got to go to “work at a real newspaper.” What I didn’t realize was that I was about to embark on the lesson of a lifetime with a larger-than-life human.

Mr. Clack was funny, witty, extremely humble, present, and above everything else, he knew that nothing mattered but that connection. His schedule was so packed and he was working on, it seemed, a million things all at once. I remember he had a piece due in 3 weeks on a high school football star. Mr. Clack did the leg work on him, but he didn’t stop at a quick interview and talking to his coaches/teachers. No. Mr. Clack met his family, went to his games, talked to him in different environments, and became one of the family. That’s what he shared in his written piece. The reader felt like a part of the young man’s family after getting through Mr. Clack’s column.

Mr. Clack did the same for me. He didn’t hide anything. He took his time with me. Took me to his office while he wrote, phone calls, meetings, interviews, background research. Allowed me to see the thrilling aspects of his job, along with the mundane, frustrations, and oftentimes helplessness one feels, when as an individual, your hands are tied. He introduced a Hispanic Southside sheltered girl to a plethora of family gatherings, restaurants, neighborhoods, FOOD, and especially people that welcomed me like family when they had no obligation to. It left me scarred. It left me with the knowledge, that no matter how difficult my life was or could be, someone had it worse. The most meaningful thing we, as fallible human beings, could do was make connections with others.

Today, I have the opportunity to make connections again, but this time to share them as well. Follow along as I share my chocolate and the connections that are marking my world.

Our February Feature is Lisa from Lisa Linegar Photography.