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Showing posts from June, 2012

Día 303: We're in the right place.

I awoke up at 5 today and was soon joined by an excited Kate for our drive to the Punte Aereo. There, we checked in and met up with Rosalia and Samuel for breakfast before our flight to Cartagena!

The flight was startlingly short, and we could feel the change in temperature, humidity, and altitude the instant we landed. Kate and I immediately ran into the ladies' room to change into more sun-conducive attire before we all scooted into a taxi and sped to our hotel!

We are staying at a 19th century colonial villa turned hotel -- with a sea of plants making up our lobby and two well-placed fans providing us ventilation.

After dropping off our things, we wandered around the old town searching for lunch and taking pictures of the stunning colors at every corner.

We slipped back into the hotel just as it started to pour, and Kate and I hit the sack -- hard. Something about waking up before dark and being accosted by humidity really takes the energy out of you!

We dragged ourselves …

Día 302: ¡La tecnología me atropella!

Colombian food will be the death of me. I ate 6 meals today; 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 2 dinners. I've truly had a tough time convincing my friends here that I usually don't eat much!

After my already-heavy breakfast of arepas and chocolate had been inhaled this morning, I arrived at the office to calls of "¡empanadas!" from Diana. We went on a mission for these crunchy snacks, which Diana eventually found at a construction site.

I somehow acquired a bag of 4 croissants on this voyage, which, I swear, I proceeded to share with my office mates.

Beyond stuffed, I spent a while exploring the conservation software Miradi further with Diana this morning, creating a fictional project #113 called "¿De donde viene la cumbia?" as an example.

I at first elected not to go out for lunch today and instead chow on some leftover pizza, but this snack left me yet unsated and so I ventured to Miriam Camhi for a wrap Mejicano and a chocolate and nutella souffle. Lord hav…

Día 301: "Eres muy pila."

For my first breakfast this morning, I had rice, potatoes, and Spanish homework.

When I got to work, Diana immediately started raving about one of her favorite conservation-related softwares, Miradi, and encouraged me to read the Open Standards of the same -- a series of best practices for designing, managing, monitoring, and learning from conservation projects.

We took a very sudden break from this pursuit when a craving for pan de chocolate overcame me and I had to get some. Diana and I walked a few blocks up the street to make the purchase that would cause the commencement of my consumption of countless calories for today.

Pan de chocolate, literally "bread of chocolate" is just normal whole grain bread with huge chunks of dark chocolate therein. ¡Dios mio!

Too soon after devouring this delicacy, it was time for lunch. Mauricio showed us the fancy Club Colombia today, and my collegas and I enjoyed huge portions and invasive conversation for a while before return…

Día 300: I like to remember.

I woke up this morning and read about joy in The Power of Now. I then found some joy right away by catching up with my little sis via Skype, swamping her with stories about the last few days as she flaunted her new flute books (again).

I was actually able to eat today, and I happily sucked down some chicken noodle soup this afternoon before meditating at length. I then spent some time convincing my favorite friend to come to National Latin Convention this summer -- I think I was successful!

After some more sleep, I took a very musical shower and enjoyed some "Indian" herbal tea in preparation for my much-anticipated event of the day -- dinner with my colleagues! (Oh, and dad.)

Our dinner was absolutely wonderful, a perfect blend of jocular complaining about my lacking work ethic and more "serious" conversation about our family backgrounds and the story of Gyaan Ghar.

After tonight, Papa finally realizes exactly what I mean when I talk about how blessed I am with t…

Día 299: Development is keeping what you have.

As seems to be common in the story of my existence, I woke up this morning sick with a stomach infection (shame on me for drinking tap water at Iguaque!).

But as Kate and I were discussing just yesterday, there's a world of difference between being unwell in Colombia and in the States! I hopped on Skype for a second to let my boss know that I wouldn't be coming in, and within an instant all of my TNC colleagues were shooting me "¡pobrecita enfermita!" and "get well soon!" messages. People are so warm here. This is the life.

Diana even went so far as to order a medicine for me and have the pharmacy deliver it to my house! My day was a string of naps, crackers, and electrolyte-refreshing drinks.

Continuing to demonstrate Colombian hospitality and sweetness, Paula paid me a visit in the afternoon to chat about life, tell me all the things I shouldn't have been eating today, and aid me in making fun of my father. Her first words upon my opening the door we…


Our very own PSang is currently at Governor's Latin Academy, a place that leaves you in social confusion due to the absence of your cell phone and computer. Please help to allay this poor boy's existential crises over these next three weeks by WRITING. HIM. MAIL.

Mail sent via U.S. Mail should be addressed as follows:

Patrick Sanguineti
Governor’s Latin Academy
Randolph-Macon College
P.O. Box 5005
Ashland, VA 23005-5505

Leave a comment after your letter is in the mail!

Día 298: "I'm everyone's assistant!"

At least one of my colleagues manages to amaze me each and every day. The story we heard this morning was one of maternal resilience and strength, the history of Rosario and her precious five-year-old daughter Gabriela. Gabi was born with her esophagus connected to her windpipe instead of her stomach, and therefore at risk of choking as a result of her lungs filling with any liquid she drank. She underwent a series of incredibly invasive surgeries within the first few months of her life, and the only thing that kept her newly single mother going was the strength which her tiny baby displayed throughout the process. Gabi is a success story. Rosario learned the meaning of “hope” during this indescribably horrid phase, and her optimistic and peaceful description of the countless complications and her young daughter’s wisdom had Kate and me in tears within an hour of getting to work.

Having dried our eyes, we attempted to return to the International Climate Change Initiative proposal, w…

Días 296 y 297: "We're higher than the clouds!"


I woke this morning to yoga and yogurt before my friends came by to pick me up for our adventure!

It was great to meet Diana's husband Fredy, who is a professor and researcher at
La Universidad Externado, focusing on sustainable tourism, tourism research, ecotourism, and community tourism.

We had a coffee (and choco fiesta donut) at the bus terminal and then seated ourselves in our lovely "interminicipial" bus for the four-hour ride ahead.

For the first leg of the drive, Diana filled me in on environmental education initiatives in Colombia, as well as social issues such as guerrilla groups and paramilitaries in the country. Somewhere on the way, Diana acquired an adopted child (Carlos) whom she held in her lap for the ride.

The rest of the time, she pointed out certain ecological features of the ecosystems through which we passed on our beautiful drive to Villa de Leyva.

After purchasing our return tickets from the reggaeton-filled terminal in Villa, the t…

Día 295: I miss everything that wasn't said.

I started my penultimate chapter in The Power of Now this morning, and my yoga was augmented by exercises taught to me by my Tia Elena.

Upon arriving at work, I asked Diana what our plan for this weekend would be -- this is the itinerary that she whipped up for me.

Today’s was the last round of copy-editing for the TNC’s International Climate Initiative proposal, so it was high energy and required a lot of café Colombiana.

Over lunch, Diana and Mauricio introduced me to Wok, where we enjoyed some scrumptious sushi.

We also took a few moments to review the various nicknames I have accumulated from my colleagues over the last two weeks:

Irrespetuosa - disrespectful

Grosera - rude

Maleducada - badly brought up

Consentida - spoiled

Malcriada - badly behaved

After lunch, I finished up my last look at the proposal and then made my way to the World Bank office in Bogotá. Here, Papa introduced me to his wonderful colleagues Daniel and Natália, whom I look forward to getting to know better over th…