Lessons of boiled chocolate

Today something interesting happened at work. I believe it was a life lesson, other people may see it as something simple… It may be, but to me it was interesting. Here it goes:

In Mexico we celebrate Dia de Muertos on November 2nd. We celebrate this day with delicious hot chocolate and Pan the Muerto. Something simple but so delicious, like so many dishes in the Homeland.

Even though, today is not the exact day we celebrate the Day of the Dead, I decided to celebrate it today at the office (I was able to get Pan de Muerto yesterday, and I wanted it to be as fresh as possible) by preparing hot chocolate and sharing Pan de Muerto with the team. So, I was there, in the kitchen, which is very close to my desk, minding my own cooking business and preparing everything and by everything I mean the hot chocolate like my ancestors used to (okay, almost like they used to).

Once the chocolate was ready I turned off the stove. Or so I thought.

Then, I went to my desk to send a message to the team, inviting them to come by to the kitchen and enjoy the feast I had just prepared. Ok, ok, you may not call bread & hot chocolate a feast, but to me, that I can only get this chocolate and this bread once a year, it felt like a feast.

When, I came back to the kitchen, one of the hot chocolate pots was boiling. So, the stove and everything around, were a bit of a mess… Here is when things got interesting.

First interaction

I entered the kitchen and someone, who was already there, in a rude tone, said to me:

Is that yours? Is that yours what is in the stove?

Then, this person left.

Let’s stop for a moment and reflect about this.

  • This person was already in the kitchen, saw the chocolate boiling and did nothing about it.
  • No help or support offered.

Second interaction

I tried to figure out the way to first turn off the burner that was still on. However, with all the spilled milk, I was not able to see the anything in the stove and ended up turning on another burner. Anyway, I figured things out, and I was able to turn off all the burners. Then, I started cleaning. I was very worried. I was using the company kitchen and a couple of pots I borrowed. As you can image, also a burnt smell started to fill the kitchen. I opened the window, and it started to get better.

Next, two other people entered the kitchen to get some hot chocolate. I told them that I prepared chocolate like my ancestors used to. Then, one of them said:

So Eli, your ancestors used to burn the hot chocolate as well? It’s weird.

Oh, come on!

I responded, while laughing. Then, I said to the other person:

Did you hear that?

I did. But, sometimes, it is better not to listen.

The other person responded.

Let’s stop again for a moment.

  • These two people did not offer help to solve the problem, but they saw what happened as a funny event and made me laugh.
  • This helped me see the little accident I had in the kitchen as a normal part of life. I could, then, relax, forget that I was worried and free my mind to look for a solution to clean up one of the burners that was dirty with burnt chocolate.

Third interaction

I continued cleaning and serving chocolate while I explained the Day of the Dead to anyone who would listen.

When I was about to finish cleaning, someone else came in. This person saw me cleaning and right away said, in a worried tone:

Oh, what happened? Do you need any help? Are you okay?

Simple. Let’s also think about it:

  • This person offered help right away and tried to be helpful in whatever way was possible.
  • Feeling supported helped me get calmer about the mess I had caused.


After all of this happened, I served myself a nice cup of hot chocolate, got a piece of bread and thought about the events, that in my mind, were simple but very interesting.

This was reminder of the different people I can encounter in my life.

It also made me think: How do I react when I see someone struggling or in trouble?

The lesson in this story, to me, is about the diversity we can find among human beings and how we can learn from everyone.

Everyone can be a teacher in our life when we observe and listen carefully.

I invite you to open your eyes and your ears to what the world is telling you. Sometimes it is helpful to pay attention to the little details ✨.