“Of course she did. She loved me.”

Alejandro picked me up with the sunniest energy I’ve seen in a while.

“Why so happy?” I asked (it was Monday morning, and I was not in the best of moods.)

“Why not?” he shot back, then laughed. His energy was infectious, and I laughed too.

He asked me where I was headed, and then he said, his last trip was a work trip two years ago to Napa.

“That’s a nice work trip,” I said.

Alejandro then spent the next ten minutes talking about wine. “Love wine! But I love my life too! Now, I get to set my own schedule, drive, see my son. Nothing like before!”

“What did you do before? Were you a sommelier?”

He grinned. “I was the executive chef running two restaurants here.”

“Wow, that’s awesome!”

“Yeah, I got to choose the wines, and I really like food, but it was super stressful. 16 hour works days, always a crisis at one of the restaurants.”

“What was the breaking point?”

He had been jovial and laughing, but then he said, “My mother was visiting from Honduras. I had planned the week off, but I ended up having to miss even her last night here, because of an emergency and staff shortage at one of the restaurants.”

“Oh, I’m sure she understood.”

“Of course she did. She loved me. That time she visited was the last time I saw her, because she died last year.” He shook his head. “I quit the day they told me.”

About the artist

Alexandra Burda is from Romania and currently lives in Helsinki, Finland. She loves traveling, people, animals, history, emotions and the wonderful world of imagination. If she were not an artist, she would like to work as a scientist, or a professional athlete. Some of her portfolio can be found at