The salt of my earth

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Celebrating my Andean roots

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I could have never imagined the vast glory of motherhood. Since my daughter’s birth I have experienced a range of emotions I didn’t even know existed. I have learned to survive on little sleep and to celebrate it all, because this is a fleeting season in our journey as mother and daughter.

I adore her…she has added so much flavor to my already flavourful life. She is the salt of my earth…and her daddy is my pepper.

I am a lucky gal 🙂

PK…still enjoying life in the country.

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What have 30 years on this planet taught me?

Hawaii 2015

Hawaii 2015

I have learned that what I do doesn’t define who I am…what I do, reflects who I am. I am capable of creative genius, I make mistakes, I have great days, I have bad days, but none of this takes away the fact that I am a great human being.

Self awareness is very important. I like feeling awake and aware of myself and my surroundings. This sounds silly, but so many times we walk through life breathing and going through a routine as if following a script…unaware.

I have no major regrets in life…sure there are some episodes I would do away with if I could travel in time, but for the most part my life is one I have enjoyed. I have learned exciting and sometimes profound truths along the way.

There is not one thing I would change about my teenage years. My late teens and early twenties comprise the most selfless and productive season of my life thus far. I am still reaping the fruit of a time invested in others. Some of my greatest memories involve a group of brilliant kids whom I will always treasure in my heart, la generacion JET. I learned that we are designed by God with a very specific purpose, we are equipped with very specific gifts to reach this purpose and we can only experience fulfillment while walking in that purpose. I learned the beauty of mission and commission.

My 20s were awesome! I can think of cheesy phrases like: ‘the world is my oyster’ or ‘the sky is the limit’ to summarize what this decade has meant to me. I have learned to reevaluate where I stand and accept that success has many shapes and forms. I have learned to be grateful for everything. I remember being 22, it was a special year in my life: my horizons broadened as I discovered a new continent, a new language, a new side of me. 25 brought a new sense of independence which we know as “having my own place”…this also brought a new level of responsibility called “paying my own bills”…and I survived.

I am resourceful, I am creative, I am beautiful, I am a storyteller, I am a dreamer, I make things happen, I cry, I laugh too loud, I love sunflowers. I photograph my dogs way too much. I would paint my world orange if possible. I love the ocean…I am a lousy swimmer. I have the best parents on earth, my brother will always be my baby, my sister will always be my rock. I am married and deeply in love with Garrett. I feel nostalgic about the past and excited about the future because of the wonders it will bring us.

I have understood that it is not God’s will for us to make painful mistakes. I don’t like when people say: “it was God’s will for me to lead this or that lifestyle so I could share my experience today”. I believe we were given free will and the tools to choose wisely, but we choose differently, knowingly. Because we have an insatiable curiosity, or because at some point our heart rebels…and this is human nature. We make use of our free will and venture into places not intended for us, and we are hurt, and we are broken…and we grow and we learn, and we are saved from ourselves and brought back to a place of stillness so we may hear the voice of God again. And in His infinite mercy and wisdom our pain is turned into valuable experience we can now share with others…no father wills pain upon His children.

I have learned forgiveness. I have been forgiven and I have forgiven. Forgiveness is possibly the biggest treasure and truth I have encountered in my 30 years on this earth, and the truth has set me free. Nothing weighs and damages a heart more than lack of forgiveness. Lack of forgiveness is an ugly, greenish purplish, gooey monster that takes hold of our heart and our mind, and our liver, and our gut, and our all; and unless it is expelled from the very core of our being bitterness and sickness set in. The one thing I have strived to keep pure (mistakes and all), has been my heart. This I consider to be the noblest war I can fight…the war to keep my heart free and pure so that I may love and multiply in others.

As I look into the future I think of a little greeting card my sister gave me when we were teenagers…it said: –My future is so bright, I gotta wear shades-. I believe this, and not because I am so awesome and deserve it (deserving is such a funny word)…but because of a mercy and a love I cannot put into words.

Ecclesiastes 7:14: In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.

My 30th year on earth will bring the best gift ever and my heart is overjoyed. My daughter, Princess Ava. I love her so much already.

I am Princess Karolita, daughter of the Most High King.

Happy birthday to me!

Update from the furry ones in our household :)

Enzo and Garepito

We are blessed to have Garepito in our lives. He is a little over a year old and has been the perfect companion and friend over the past year. Enzo came into our lives just 3 days ago as a foster baby through a local rescue. I would love to add a second dog to our household to keep Garepito company.

Making the decision to get a second dog is not something to be taken lightly, so I decided we should foster him for a while to see if this works out for all of us (humans and canines). If Enzo and Garepito are happy together, and Garrett and I think he is a good fit for our home long term, we’ll adopt him. Having a puppy is so much fun…and sooo much work! With this in mind, timing is key.

Enzo is now 12 weeks old, ready and willing to learn new tricks and please us all. He is also a handful of energy and curiosity with a small bladder and an incredible need for attention. Garepito is 14 months, potty trained, wickedly smart and very friendly. Garrett and I are recently married and have plans to try for a baby next year. So, with all these factors at play I thought the best time to add that second canine was now.

We’ll see how things go…for now, we are enjoying these two guys and their silly tug of war games. We’ll keep you posted!!

PK 🙂

Galapagos – Nesting blue footed boobie

Blue footed boobie Galapagos

Proud blue footed boobie admiring her egg

“Everything the bird does in the courtship process is deliberate and exaggerated, from cocky strutting to make-make-believe placement of nesting material that is designed purely for show, in no way serving to build a nest.

The enthralling display begins with a gaudy, feet-to-the-fore landing salute, and escalates through many self-important bows and nods to a rocking dance, the bird slowly lifting each fully-spread blue web.

The whole performance culminates in an all out sky pointing contortion, with wings, beak and tail all straining vertically at the same time. For full effect this startling act is accompanied by a drawn-out whistle if the actor is a male, or an equally plaintive honk for the female’s turn.”

Tui de Roy

Wildlife & nature photographer

 

Photograph by Garrett Feldman – Edited by Karol Feldman

 

Life in the country: bidding a friend goodbye

It’s taken me a while to sit down and finish this post because it is a hard one to write. I have lost a dear friend and was not prepared for it. Not sure you can ever be prepared to lose a loved one, but the way Paula left was so sudden it has taken a while for reality to sink in.

We met in May last year. I had just moved to Tennessee and was trying to embrace my transition and all the changes that came with it…it was not easy. I reported to my new office location and met the friendliest, sweetest, little lady one can ever imagine: Paula. She had this soft yet commanding voice (the kind that makes you feel home but you don’t dare disobey), and a musical southern accent. She was my height too! We just connected from day one. She took it upon herself to show me the area, teach me some basic expressions, and introduce me to southern cooking. I felt right at home when we were together.

It was through Paula that I came to know meatloaf, sweet tea, bbq, and endless casseroles. We had lunch dates once a week and shared lots and lots of stories…listening was so important. She met Garepito the day I adopted him and bought him his first toy. She listened to me when I felt homesick. She laughed when I did silly dance moves in front of her office door. She was ‘tickled’ when I downloaded Pandora to her phone and showed her how to listen to her favorite songs…she liked Elvis. She was always ‘fixin’ to do’ something and I just loved hearing her say it. She was my really good friend.

Towards the end of the year she looked a bit exhausted and started complaining about little red spots on her skin. We joked about the amount of make up needed to hide them and she had plans to see her dermatologist. I decided to change jobs and we both felt sad about that. She had plans to retire in April so we figured she would not have to miss me for a long time since she would be gone soon as well. Paula was really supportive during this transition and once again made me feel like everything would be ok.

We had a great thanksgiving meal in her quaint little house in Monterey, TN…where the hilltops kiss the sky. This was the home she was setting up for her retirement, it once belonged to her grandmother. It was fascinating, crossing the entry door felt like stepping into a time machine! The house is one hundred years old and has such a warm southern feel…it fit her perfectly. She looked tired but hosted the luncheon with such effortless grace.

Then the bad news came…a mass on her liver. This explained the lack of energy, the change in her skin color, the red dots on her skin…how could we have missed the signs? There were a couple of possible explanations so we remained optimistic for a few days. She seemed optimistic. Christmas came and she wasn’t feeling all too well. I don’t recall the exact order of events after this point because it all happened so fast…it just felt like a very long, gloomy day since the diagnosis was given to her and her family: liver cancer. It felt like a ton of bricks falling on my head…but we remained hopeful.

In hindsight I think she knew from the beginning that something was terribly wrong. As I read our text messages I can see that at about Christmas time they took on a different tone. She constantly reminded me how much she loved us and how much we meant to her. This was not unusual for her to say…but as I read them now I can sense a feel of urgency, as if she wanted me to fully grasp the meaning of her words.

We met twice in January, it was fun! We talked about the plan of action the doctor was laying out for her and how she knew chemo would be harsh…she was hopeful. We talked about my bridal shower and how I planned on wearing cowgirl boots in honor of my new home state…she laughed.

The first Friday in February was devastating. It was the beginning of an inevitable end, one we were not prepared for. I received a call from Wes, her son-in-law, who could barely form any words, he was so choked up. No words were necessary. Her first chemo treatment had taken place a week or two prior to this day and I guess it hurt her weakened body more than it helped. I don’t know. All I know is that when I arrived at the hospital she had been declared terminally ill and was being transferred to a hospice facility that night. The world stopped for a while.

How can someone’s appearance change so much in a matter of days? I was blessed to get there in time to talk to her for a bit. She held my hand and said that I was her sweet little Miami friend…that I was her sweet, sweet little friend. She touched my engagement ring and told me it was beautiful and that she loved me, Garrett and Garepito. She told me she was so glad I had come to see her. I was in disbelief…trying not to cry and so confused. I asked if she was scared, my strong sweet lady said: no. I loved her.

The next days were terrible. There are no words to describe the sickening anxiety that took over all of us. We were clinging to every sign of life as it gave us hope. The natural death process is exhausting and painful. It also makes you think and gives you time to cherish the good times you had with your loved one. For me, it was a weird experience. On one hand I was losing a dear friend, on the other hand, I was gaining one: Rachel, Paula’s daughter.  Rachel and I spent hours talking, venting, eating, looking at pictures of our dogs, and sometimes even crying. I felt like a big sister who needed to bring comfort, it was the only gift I had left for Paula.

I sat by Paula and told her stories. All of our lunch dates and long conversations had a purpose. I needed to retain those stories to bring them back to her when she needed them most…on her deathbed. She enjoyed hearing all about her trip to Bermuda and the fresh fish she ate there. She loved hearing stories about Monterey and her childhood. The whole family lit up for a bit when we talked about Paula’s favorite childhood memory: Daniel the cocker spaniel. I even sang her an Elvis song which she recognized.

This experience taught me a lot about communication. We drown in our own words, we talk too much in an effort to better communicate; the reality is that communication is the transferring of genuine thoughts, feelings and desires through whatever means available to us. Paula was able to communicate with us with subtle face movements, by squeezing our hand, by blinking, with a few words, and sometimes simply with her breath…this was enough for all of us.

Valentines came and past, so did Paula’s 64th birthday…and on the night of Saturday, February 22, 2014, my dear friend took her very last breath on this earth. She was surrounded by the people who loved her the most on this planet: her brother Greg, her son-in-law Wes, her beautiful mother Gina, and my sweet friend Rachel.

When I think of Tennessee, I think of her.

PK

Finding love online: Garepito

Moving from Miami to Middle Tennessee has been really tough at times. As much as I have grown to appreciate my new home I miss Miami terribly…I miss my family and friends, the ocean, the food, the sights, the crazy cultural mix, the languages…the madness.

At some point being homesick became hard to endure and I took to the internet to find the soul mate I was missing…it was just like online dating. I spent endless hours searching through profiles as my next love was to be found on petfinder.com…and this is how I met my furry love: online. The post read: Charlie, an adoptable dog in Nashville.

It was love at first sight! The seven pound ball of energy barking from the other side of the kennel stole my heart. We met in a little visitation room and I knew he would come home with me that day. I sent Garrett a picture of the puppy close to my face and he said we looked cute together; I translated that statement into approval and signed all the adoption paperwork right away.

No longer an adoptable

No longer an adoptable

I wasn’t crazy about the name Charlie so the puppy was named Garepito upon arrival to our home. Garepito means ‘little Garrett’ which is the perfect fit for him. Garepito has turned out to be a super sweet and smart puppy.  He loves meeting new people, as a matter of fact he has met well over 150 people in his short life. He loves traveling; he has flown to and from Miami, been to the beach, visited Chattanooga and other cool places in Tennessee. The boy knows a wide range of commands; anything from high five to playing dead and praying for his food. He loves to snuggle and cuddle.

All in all, Garepito has made a great addition to our family. It may be hard to put it into words but having him around has made my transition to life in Tennessee a lot easier. I love coming home to a little guy wagging his tail and making all sorts of sounds to welcome me. I love feeling his wet nose on my hand when he is trying to wake me up. Above all things, I love seeing Garrett rolling on the floor asking his puppy to show his belly so he can rub it.

We are now settling into our new home, puppy proofing what we can and looking forward to the opportunity of cuddling by the fireplace to watch a movie with Garepito…no longer an adoptable 🙂

PK, enjoying life in the country.

Life in the country – Arrington Winery

I am no wine connoisseur, nor a winery expert; I don’t think you need to be one to appreciate the beauty and quality of Arrington Winery in Middle Tennessee.  We were invited by a friend to meet a circle of young professionals who reside in the Greater Nashville area. They were all awesome and very interesting people.

Arrington Vineyards, TN.

Arrington Vineyards, TN.

The setting for this randevu couldn’t have been more ideal. We spent our cool and breezy Saturday evening sitting on a hill overlooking the vineyards and listening to live string music…gosh, that felt like the high life! The wine, the sunset and the hors d’oeuvres were simply perfect. The road that leads to the winery is outlined by really tall trees that create a canopy effect only letting sunlight through the space between the leaves…it’s simply gorgeous.

I find that beauty and simplicity are a resonating theme in every conversation I have about Tennessee. I feel that those two words concisely describe how I feel about my new home. I have enjoyed the luxury of peace and tranquility over the past few weeks which has given me a deeper sense of gratitude for even the smallest things in life.

I am trying to hold onto this newly found freedom before it escapes as our social life gets busy again and some of the newness of the area wears out.

PK – A Miami expat loving life in Tennessee 🙂

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