Tuesday, January 20, 2015

My Moral Dilemma

Did I tell you that my dad was a veterinarian? Did I tell you that we grew up surrounded by animals (the non-human type)? I guess I like to emphasize this chapter in my life as it defined many of the principles that I conform to nowadays. Most Colombian families eat meat for lunch everyday, otherwise the meal is consider to be "incomplete". My family wasn't the exception; but I was never a meat lover. I never enjoyed the taste of it and I always liked animals a lot, to the point where I couldn't enjoy eating them. At a very early age I started questioning why we respected the lives of some animals and not others. Why was the life of a dog more valuable than that of a pig? Why couldn't we raise a chicken as the family pet? Who gave us the power to decide what animals we eat and what animals we keep as pets? Aren't we a little too anthropocentric? My mom and dad sure regretted bringing me to this world. 

I had the perfect profile for a vegan animal lover. And I actually made drastic changes in my life to accommodate my deep love for our furry friends. I limited my meat intake to once a week (see side note A) and as soon as I could afford my own groceries I started buying only free-range-kind-of-happy-life-happy-animal meat. But the moral dilema of my insatiable love for leather goods (e.g. shoes! See side note B) remains in my brain like a piece of bubblegum stuck in my hair. This dilema tends to grow snow-ball-style every time I visit farms where I can enjoy the company of this gigantic and beautiful animals that we nonchalantly refer to as cows

What can an animal lover do with a love affair with fancy leather goods? Ignore the fact that those Ferragamo shoes that I flirtatously refer to as "lovers"  come from a beautiful calf? Close my eyes and apply the out of sight out of mind principle? As of now dear readers I don't have an answer to this dilema. To promise never to buy leather goods again, sadly is an assertion that I'm not ready to abide by just yet.  However,  after spending a whole day in the country side with Celeste, Penelope, Carlota and her baby, Rosina, Turrón the bull, and a couple of gossipy cows that came to see who the new human was, I have made the conscious decision of buying less often and smarter (i.e. better quality), and when given the option, I'm choosing non-animal products over leather (Stella McCartney I heart you deeply). 

Before leaving the farm I secretly whispered in Rosina's ear the following: "I love you, please forgive me". Did I tell you I love animals? 

Side Note A: When I say meat I mean pig, cow, turkey, fish or chicken. The thought of eating any other animal disgusts me. Is it really necessary to eat frogs, bunnies, or guinea pigs? I don't think so. Foie Gras lovers....go fly a kite. 

Side Note B: I don't buy fur or any other animal material (i.e. sheep skin, dog or cat fur. Damn you Ugg boots!). My dilema is only and purely with leather a.k.a. cow's skin. Any other animal byproduct is off limits. 

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated"
― Mahatma Gandhi
Location: 
"El Tabor" My family farm, a wonderful place where I can connect to nature and enjoy its greatness. 
Thank you my beautiful cow models for being so gentle and allowing me to hang out with you :)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Cali, "La sucursal de cielo"

Santiago de Cali is also known as heaven's branch (to be more technical it's more or less heaven's main subsidiary office). As I type this, I realize that it makes no sense in English, but in Spanish this beautiful nickname has been part of many artistic manifestations including the lyrics of a very catchy and popular song called "Cali Pachanguero", which has been embedded into the DNA of many generations (including my own) as the insignia song of our lovely city. 

Cali adopted me as a bastard child when I was very young. I was born in Santa Fé de Bogotá (Colombia's capital) and lived there for a few years before my family and I moved to the world's Salsa Capital, city where I spent most of my life before heading to New York City-and Philly-fifteen years ago. Am I a "Caleña"? A New Yorker? A "Rola"? All of the above? I like to define myself as a Bogota born "Caleña" living an on and off very passionate love affair with the Capital of the world. My dad's family was from a small town call Pereira and my mom's family is from Ibagué. My accent when I speak either English or Spanish as you can imagine is quite particular.

I met some of my closest friends in Cali. I can spend countless hours telling you wonderful stories about Claudia, Mónica Perea, Felipe, Angela, Ana, Jose Pablo, Maria Isabel, Paola, Camilo, Andrea, Ricardo, Friend (a.k.a. Jenny), CoCo, and a whole bunch of beautiful people that have made my life a rich experience and whom somehow defined who I am today. Every year I try to come back to Cali even for a couple of days just to spend priceless moments with this very special group of humans. Every time I see them is as if time hasn't passed by. I still get the same happy feeling similar to the first day I tried avocado and key lime ice cream: pure bliss ;)

So Cali, Thank you one more time for the craziness, the madness, the love, the friendship, the scorching hot weather that only makes the experience more intense, the lovely breeze, the delicious aguardiente, Río Pance, the mangoes, the beautiful people, Delirio, the lighting show, the helpful staff at this very cool place, and above all thank you for adopting me as one of your own, to me you will always and forever be my sucursal del cielo. 


All pictures by Guachafita Productions (a.k.a. secret male collaborator #2)
Location: Paseo del Río Light Show.
Beautiful vintage dress coming straight from my aunt's closet. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Happy Tuesday! and Wednesday!

..and Thursday, and while you are it happy Friday!
And let's don't forget the weekend!
Wait and how about happy Monday? (Did you forget about this already?)
(God damn it just have a happy life!)
Thanks to my beautiful partners in crime. I love you all.