Projects that last as long as this one don't get done without the visible and invisible help of tons of people. A limitation of space prevents me from trying to list them all. I have an obligation, however, to thank those people who I think have given me direct support and assistance. Some will be surprised but, hopefully, not offended at being so recognized.
Families are usually left for last in these matters. Mine won't be. They are vital to who I am and what I have been able to achieve. Their impact has been both positive and twisted, an album of pains and joys that form the fabric that is my life. First, there's Mami. Obviously, without her I would not be around to write this. More important, she taught me the only lesson I needed to survive and advance in this world. She never let our desperation and poverty get in the way of dreaming and striving for something better, even if it was only another apartment in the same building.
If I took that lesson to heart, it was my wife, Luchi, who showed me so much about how to dream as well as to always enjoy the journey towards those dreams. Luchi, you have always believed in me and supported my efforts in ways that I thought were not humanly possible. You nourished my thoughts, my soul, and my stomach. Your adobo has inspired and reminded me of what true perfection tastes like. You showed enormous patience and endured enormous deprivations in the course of this work. You have been my true dance partner in life and on the dance floor. After all these years, you still move me.
I thank my children for pushing me to grow up and for keeping me young. Leina, I marvel at your quiet introspection, your calm, and your creativity. You are right. It is usually better to say too little than to say too much. Hope I didn't disappoint you in this book. Desi, I borrowed some of your energy but not many of your brain cells. If I achieved some balance between substance and style, between breadth and depth, between seriousness and levity, I owe it to you, Hannah. Carlo, what you build is always strong, beautiful, and, for that reason, an everlasting model for