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

 

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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 🙂

The past few weeks

The past few weeks have been filled with airports, flight delays, unhealthy meals, bus rides, subways, cab drivers and many cities. The past few weeks have also been filled with new sights, tastes, experiences and friends. My favorite part of the past few weeks was meeting tons of new people, my second favorite part was the food, and believe me, it shows.

The travel marathon started in early March with a trip to Chicago, followed by Atlanta, then Bahamas, back to Chicago, Atlanta again, Nashville, Miami for 3 days, then Dallas, next was Toronto, then there was Philly, home for two days, off to New York, finally Virginia Beach and now on my way home. I now have the moral authority to say I don’t want a job that requires 75% travel…it would drive me to insanity.

After our private flight in Chicago

After our private flight in Chicago

Asides from accruing miles, travel offers great benefits. Meeting people from different walks of life broadens our perspectives of the world, sparks our curiosity for the unknown and in my case makes for great stories. The following is a brief summary of what I learned/did/ate over the past 7 weeks.

Chicago: always great to visit the windy city. It’s one of my favorite places not only because of its beautiful downtown and skyline but also because one of my best friends lives there…Basia 🙂 During this visit Basia arranged for my beloved Garrett and I to take a private flight to see Chicago’s skyline from 1,000 feet above ground. It was awesome! We met Damian, a super cool, interesting, smart and handsome engineer who enjoys flying as a pastime.

Atlanta: this was my second trip as an event planner and the first time I officially picked menus for a corporate event; sounds silly but it can be quite a feat considering the audience. This was a one day trip and what comes to mind was the staff I met at the Atlanta Marriott Gateway. It’s so nice to find friendly faces willing to share stories. The restaurant host was a very nice guy from Haiti who went to undergrad school with a very well known Colombian soccer player…he wasn’t famous at the time. On a side note, their fettuccini and shrimp dish is delicious.

Shark diving with the legendary Cristina Zenato

Shark diving with the legendary Cristina Zenato

Freeport, Grand Bahamas: this was by far one of the most eventful of my trips. I went  to the wrong airport, cried my little eyes out thinking I would miss my flight. Ran to the right airport to find out my flight had been delayed…so I made it. The highlight of this trip was our shark dive. Garrett and I dove with world renowned Cristina Zenato and witnessed her gift for shark handling in one the most amazing dives I have ever done.  I had conch fritter and Bahama mammas on this trip 🙂

Chicago: got to see Basia again, and had a great variety of Southern food at Bub City, tons of ribs. The food was great! I went off to work and Basia went off to Thailand for a much deserved vacation.

Nashville: one of the best trips of the season. Garrett and I strolled through Nashvegas, explored some cities south of Nashville and made one of the most defining decisions we’ve made so far while being there. This decision involves a change in zip codes and I am very excited about it. There is a very fun story about this trip which I intend to share at a later time as it calls for a blog post of its own.

Dallas: I got to see my cousin Ale 🙂 While in Dallas I faced a few first time experiences as an event planner. First time the hotel was not ready and first time one of our attendees got hurt. I still can’t figure out how one of our event participants managed to get a finger badly injured with an automatic paper towel dispenser!

Toronto: one of my favorite cities.  Absolutely loved the vibe of the city and its people. I had a delicious Korean sandwich, can’t remember what it was called but the thought of it is making me hungry. The city was clean, green and friendly. Would definitely go back!

Philadelphia: well, in all fairness to Philly, I didn’t get to see anything other than the airport and the hotel. Both were ugly and run down though. On the bright side, I had my first long island ever at the Philly airport and I got to taste a very yummy Philly cheese stake.

New York: My first time in the big apple. Garrett planned this trip as a much needed getaway for both of us. I was at first taken aback by the dryness and sometimes rudeness of some people. I get it, everyone has a place to go and can’t stop to chat and smile at thousands of tourists, however, the unnecessary ‘get the f*** out of my way’ were not welcomed by any of us (speaking on behalf of the tourists). The ease of moving around the city was great; in no time I could tell where I was and actually took on the roll of navigator during our stay. Biggest highlight of the trip would be The Lion King. Wow! What a production! I am so glad we got to see it there. Times Square was fun…a bit overwhelming for the eye but definitely a place you must see during the day and at night, totally different experience. We ate so much in New York but my favorite meals were our Italian dinner and our Greek lunch…both fancy places 🙂 We made sure to visit Central Park and lay down to absorb the sights and sounds of the city. Oh, another big highlight was the Statue of Liberty. While the park is still closed for necessary repairs due to Hurricane Sandy, just seeing it from a distance as we took the ferry around Manhattan was enough to get me teary eyed. We saw Spiderman on Broadway too…nothing to it; too much singing and not enough action. In summary, great city, great food, loved Broadway, could do without rude people.

Williamsburg, VA

Some of my favorite people in the world 🙂

Virginia Beach: this was the portion of the trip I was really looking forward to. I got to see my little sister walk across the stage and receive her Master Degree at Regent University. We had a great time meeting some of the most interesting people I have met in a while. We visited Williamsburg and enjoyed the colonial streets some of the most important characters in our country’s history walked through. We had delicious Greek food and also got to taste interesting beer at the Birch, my personal favorite was Basil flavored…yum! Spending time with my sister was a real treat. My flight was delayed so many times I got to spend an extra night with her 🙂 I left Virginia with a bittersweet feeling…it’s so nice to see my sister turn into a beautiful professional, on the other hand, the children we once were are becoming tiny figures in a distant time and it makes me melancholic. She has been and will always be, my lifelong friend.

We are almost landing in Miami and I am now thinking about what the future holds…and I am not speaking of a long term future but rather the next few hours and days. My life is about to change and I am excited to the point of tears. My comfort and trust rest in knowing that God my Father, holds me dearly in the palm of his mighty hand. I am sure there will be many other stories to tell, places to see, people to meet and of course, food to eat.

PK

Chatting with a Geologist

Chicago's Shoreline with clear blue skies

Chicago‘s Shoreline with clear blue skies

When was the last time you got to have an hour long conversation with a geologist? For me, it was this morning as I was flying from Miami to Chicago. As customary, I took a window seat wherever available, in this case, the back of the plane. The guy next to me was complaining under his breath about the discomforts of flying and how the experience is disguised as a service when in reality it resembles cattle herding more than anything else. His perspective caught my attention as I had just finished tweeting about how pleased I was with American Airlines’ evident service improvements…at least the attempt. The guy went on to tell me he would much rather drive and be in control of his experience while enjoying the landscape. Appreciation for landscape is something I can relate to, so I took the conversation down that path since he seemed clearly distressed about take off.

After take off, Jim asked what I do for a living. I gave him a short description of my job and then went on to explain why I am so passionate about marketing; his response: “oh, you are one of those who try to push products down our throats with cute taglines”. Though that’s not exactly what I do (no cute taglines in my industry), I smiled and explained that I am in the business of bridging gaps. “I take the knowledge and expertise of people and businesses and present them in ways that customers can understand and can relate to…I create an environment where conversations can take place. Conversations create opportunities for both businesses and customers”. Jim asked for a few examples and by the end of our five minutes on marketing he concluded: “well, you are passionate about this stuff, I think I understand it a little better, I wouldn’t know how to explain what I do in words others can understand”…he was right.

Jim is a geologist based out of Kansas who is working independently on a project that he failed to explain in simple words, I nodded to keep the conversation going and interjected a few times with “oh, that’s pretty cool”. I explained my knowledge of geology is rather limited but I am very curious about the subject therefore I watch lots of documentaries. His eyes lit up when he realized I wanted to know more and went on to talk about sink holes, continental shells, tectonic plates, caves, rock formations, ocean currents and even asteroids. He pointed things through the window and gave me theories about their existence. We talked about the shape of the earth two hundred million years from now, the effects that the speed of rotation and ocean currents may have on current land masses, and of course global warming. There is nothing more engaging and captivating than passion, I concluded as Jim went on about the usefulness of a gravimeter.

I also learned that Jim was a stay home dad for fifteen years and raised five children (four girls and one boy) while his wife grew through the corporate ladder. He was proud to tell me he can prepare five different breakfasts under thirty minutes and makes pancakes like no one else. He then spotted an empty window seat and I suggested he went for it as we had clear skies and he would be able to see a lot of cool stuff, a different perspective of the landscape. Jim followed my advice.

Jim took the window to enjoy the landscape, and I stayed at my window to rest my head and think about passion and engagement…I love what I do: my job is to bridge gaps.

PK

La deliciosa ‘CH’ de los Colombianos

He estado pensando en lo lindo de mi lengua materna y de mi natal Colombia. De vez en cuando y de cuando en vez me da nostalgia y extraño los sabores y colores de mi bella Risaralda…extraño el indiscutible encanto de mi Pereira, la Perla del Otún. Y es que como algunos sabrán, yo soy lo que comúnmente es conocido como ‘una rola con barriga paisa’. Nací en Bogotá y crecí en Pereira. Mis memorias de infancia me llevan a Dosquebradas, me dibujan el viaducto Cesar Gaviria Trujillo, me hacen saborear arepas con queso como las que no he vuelto a comer, me hacen ver mi bella ciudad desde el mirador de las camelias y montar a caballo por extensas montañas. Como extraño mi patria.

http://depaseoporcolombia.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/chiva2.jpgPor otra parte, hablo con acento rolo ya que el paisa lo he perdido con los años. Aunque no recuerdo Bogotá vívidamente, aun amo el ajiaco, el sancocho, el mondongo, y aunque a muchos no les guste me hacen falta los cubios y las chuguas.

Chuguas, esto es lo que me lleva a escribir hoy. Charlando con una muchacha amiga mía, caí en cuenta que el uso de la letra ‘ch’ en el español Colombiano es casi un asunto sagrado. Me encanta cuchichear. No me gusta guardar chécheres ni cachivaches. No es que sea deschavetada es que soy descomplicada. No me digan chifloreta, yo soy creativa. Ya no tengo chifonier. No me gustan los hombres chichipatos. No es que sea de buenas, eso es chiripa. Las cosas se deben hacer bien, nada de chancucos. Y por si no sabía a los rolos de cache se les dice chachacos 🙂

He aquí, algunas de esas deliciosas palabras chibchombianas con la ‘ch’, que suenan tan chéveres y a veces tan chistosas.

**Estas palabras no son consideradas rudas ni groseras en Colombia. Pido disculpas por adelantado si en algún otro país las mismas tienen otro significado**

Agrega tus palabras en la caja de comentarios 🙂

Achantar Chato Choneto Guacharaca
Achaque Chepa Chontaduro Guache
Apapachar Chepero Chorizo Habichuela
Arracacha Chepito Chorolo Hincha
Arrunchar Chibcha Chorreada (papa) Hinchado
Bicharraco Chibchombia Chorriar Jincho
Bicho Chicanear Chucheria Lichigo
Bizcocho Chicanero Chucho Locha
Bochorno Chicha Chuchumeco Machacar
Bonche Chicharra Chueco Machete
Borrachera Chicharrin Chuleta Macho
Borracho Chicharron Chulo Machucar
Buche Chichi Chumbima Mecha
Cachaco Chichigua Chunchullo Mechero
Cacharro Chichon Churro Melcocha
Cachete Chicle Churrusco Melcochudo
Cacheton Chiflar Churumbelito Mocha
Cachucha Chifloreto Chusco Mochila
Carcacha Chinche Chusma Pachanga
Chabacano Chino Chuspa Pachanguero
Chacha Chiquinquira Chuzo Pancho
Chambon Chiquito Cochinada Parche
Chamizo Chiripiorca Cochino Pichirre
Champe Chirlovirlo Conchudo Picho
Champus Chirriar Corcho Pinche
Chamuco Chirrido Cuchichear Pincho
Chance Chirriquitico Cucho Plancha
Chancho Chismorrear Cuchufleto Planchar
Chanchullo Chispa Deschavetado Chupa
Chancleta Chispero Desfachatez Pochola
Chanda Chispita Desmechado Poncho
Changua Chistin Desparchado Puchero
Chantar Chito Despecho Racha
Chapa Chiva Dicha Rancho
Chapucear Chiviado Dicharachero Riachuelo
Chaqueta Choachi Ducha Roncha
Charco Chocante Enranchado Tachar
Charlar Chocarrero Enrancharse Tachuela
Charlatán Chocho Escachado Toche
Charola Choclo Escacharse Trapiche
Charro Chocolate Espichar Trasnocharse
Chasco Chocolatina Facha Trasnocho
Chasquear Chompa Fincho Trocha
Chatarra Choncho Guachafita Trucha

Captured happiness

Image

This picture was taken in the beautiful city of Florence, Italy, while I spent a summer abroad polishing my Italian (which is rusty due to lack of use). Everyday after class, I would walk around the city, contemplate il Duomo, and offer directions to lost tourists as I made my way to my quite place…Ponte Vecchio. The city’s old bridge became a magical place for me. I would spend endless hours waiting for the sunset over the Arno river, watching tourists bargain with vendors over jewelry prices, listening to aspiring musicians with no audiences, taking it all in, quietly.

This picture reflects one of the happiest moments of my life. I felt absolutely at ease, worry free, not too excited though my heart was beating really fast. I love this picture. There is nothing fancy about it, but I can always close my eyes and relive that moment…the breeze was fresh, sunset was about to take place, there were thousands of people around yet no one noticed me (and I was okay with it).

…I owned the world for a minute; I still do…that minute is not over yet.

Princesa Karolita

Flying over Rio de Janeiro

Yep, that would be me hang gliding over one of the most famous and perhaps exotic cities in the world: Rio de Janeiro.

we were birds over a magical city…but for a moment

Our trip to Rio was one of those things that just happens. We happened to be invited to a wedding somewhere in south Brazil, Garrett thought it would be cool to say yes and we kinda took it from there. I became an American citizen, renewed my Colombian passport and obtained my American documents in a 6 week window in order to be ready for this trip.

Flying to Rio was fun! I was super excited to get a great aerial view of my beloved South American mountains (especially those of my native Colombia). We arrived in Rio at 8 AM local time after traveling for about 13 hours! Our driver Caio took us to Copacabana Beach and shared some details about the architecture of the city and the great extent of its infamous favelas (the slums). The first hour in Rio was time for readjustment. The air felt different, colors were intense, there were loud noises around us, people were walking on the expressway taking advantage of chaotic traffic to sell chips and water, walls (or expression murals) were filled with graffiti, motorcycles drove by really fast, and Caio practiced his English with the eagerness of one trying to pass the American citizenship test…this I personally know.

Our first goal after checking into a small studio in Copacabana was to find a good place to hangglide. We found a company online and using my Portuñol, transportation arrangements were made. This was an amazing experience! We signed our lives away, met our instructor and were driven about 10 minutes up to a mountain to the take-off platform. My pilot, Navarro, was very serious and passionate about our flight. He demanded that I did everything gracefully, my movements had to be precise yet gentle. He held a 5 minute tutorial, put a bunch of over-sized gear on me and off we went. We ran as fast as we could and 3 seconds later we were birds flying over Rio. That’s about as wordy as my description of that experience can get. It was a very exciting and personal time…8-10 minutes during which every fiber of my being was fully engaged and overtaken by what my eyes were seeing. One word: Magical…two words for you: do it!