The Art of Storytelling

On a little side note, I want to say that if you read this blog and have defensive goggles take them off. I would never want to say something to put down anyone, including a whole country, unless I was trying to entice some thinking. I am glad that I am making some people mad about what I say, but then I realize that they are completely missing the point. When I post about humor not being present in every day life, most missed that I was able to find it with my close friends… is it better to get it from a stranger or from your buddies? not sure, my point was simply find it!

I have been curious about role playing for a while. Even though I had a previous experience, this past weekend was the first time that I actually played the Serenity game.

I ended up finding a local gamer, who is also a blogger, also a food lover and cook, also into martial arts, also into plenty of other things that I like. We met a couple of months ago during lunch and had a great conversation but busy schedules had prevented us from getting together more than during just social calls. We had met each other’s wifes and this weekend we both blocked out Saturday night to do dinner and hopefully start a game.

After a wonderful dinner at a local Indian restaurant we had not visited, review of that to come in yelp, we were invaded by puppies. Btw, if you are in the KC area and want a puppy come we can direct you the right way. In any case, after we had settled for the night Bea and I embarked on our first role playing experience. I have to admit that I was surprised that Bea wanted to do it, but super excited she got into it. I might go into details on another post, but I want to concentrate and maybe make sense of the title of the post.

Growing up in Colombia I was familiar with “Cuenteros” known here as storytellers. I have actually been told by many of my friends that when I tell an anecdote I go into too much detail, some like it, some don’t. The first storyteller in my life was my Grandfather who would sit and tell me about growing up, or the army or his job. He would always tell me little details that later became part of the story and I loved every single moment.

The closest thing that I have found to storytellers in the US have been comedians. They are the only people that I have seen that transport an audience with words, sometimes simply to their own lives but just from a different point of view.

Role playing games reminded me of storytelling. As the story developed and the people playing started to build a story I felt very excited. I had missed oral story telling a lot, and now I had found a place where I could not just hear it but be a part of building a fantasy world. The more I thought about it, there more I wanted other people to be there so the story could take other turns and other characters could come into play. While storytelling and role playing are a lot different, I find the similarities enticing and cannot wait to get another night of gaming going.

La Burla – To Make fun of

English Version.

Ser inmigrante es una de las cosas mas difíciles que me ha tocado vivir en esta vida. Gracias a Dios estoy casado con una Colombiana y no tengo que lidiar con las diferencias culturales en mi casa como lo he tenido que hacer en el pasado, pero de todas maneras termino siendo alguien que no es ni de aquí ni de allá.

Cuando llega el momento de ser aceptado por una cultura, uno tiene que sacrificar algunas cosas. Una de las cosas que me toco sacrificar por mucho tiempo fue mi sentido de humor. El sarcasmo de los americanos es mucho mas negro que el de los colombianos y la recocha no es lo mismo. Este tipo de humor es solo usado entre amigos cercanos y uno no interactúa con personas particulares a ese nivel en ningún momento. En Colombia si alguien se tropieza la persona mas cercana diría, huy le movieron el piso, pero acá si uno dice lo mismo lo miran a uno como si uno no tuviera respeto. En Colombia esa clase de humor se utiliza para despejar el aire y vivir la vida un poco mas liviana, acá todas las relaciones se manejan a un nivel mas seco.

Ese fue uno de los cambios que le hacen sentir a uno mas solo en este país. Uno se aísla totalmente de los demás porque en realidad hasta para pedir permiso en un supermercado cuando estan pasando con el carro, parece que les cuesta trabajo abrir la boca a la gente, y cuando lo hacen es en un tono afanado y sin nada de cortesía. Yo creo que en Colombia estar listo con frases que uno conoce para muchas situaciones lo mantiene a uno conectado con la gente. Uno ya sabe que al momento que le pase algo inesperado alguien estará ahí rompiéndome el silencio con algún chiste acerca de la situación. Eso hace que uno le mire la cara a la vida de una manera un poco distinta.

Gracias a Dios he sido capaz de hacer de las personas alrededor mío mis amigos. En el trabajo hay varias personas las cuales están listos a cualquier momento de burlarse si yo con torpe que soy me llevo algo por delante, y aunque paresca tonto es algo necesario que le digan a uno al momento que uno tumbe cualquier cosa, “se lo empaco? o se lo lleva así?”

English Version Read more…

Colombians all of over the world stand up.

No Mas Farc

Today, I am leaving early from work to march for something I really believe in… stop the FARC. For more info, visit my wife’s site.

*** UPDATE ***

Check out the flickr group (No More FARC) we created and bellow is a little video we shot there.

Best Food in KC

Everyone loves comfort food, warm handmade tortillas, cornmeal, sweet potato. My comfort foot favorite meal is called Bandeja Paisa. This dish coming from the mountains of Colombia like our coffee is a common theme on most authentic restaurants all over this country. I have had it in Chicago and Miami and now the best on can be had right here in KC.

Downtown Kansas City, Kansas there is a little Colombian restaurant called El Rincon Colombiano. It was were I had my first meal as a Kansas City resident and I still have the friends I made that first day… actually thanks to them I have met many more. The restaurant has been newly renovated under a new owner. He was actually somewhat of the star of the piece the Pitch wrote some years back.

The Bandeja Paisa is the equivalent of what many Americans think of when they see a plate with turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, cranberry sauce and stuffing. While in the US we only get that dish combination once a year, imagine getting that kind of comfort food every time you go to a restaurant in a distant land.

Aldemar who was the waiter mentioned in the 2005 pitch review of the restaurant, greeted us now wearing the hat of owner operator. In the kitchen there was now a new cook and I was exited but cautious with my expectations. This is the only Colombian restaurant here and if they changed things too much I was going to be disappointed. To my surprise, the Bandeja Paisa was the best one I have had since I was probably back in Colombia.

There was enough meat on my plate to induce a food coma, I kind of feel like I am still recuperating from the meat intake. My only complaint about the place before was that the steak always lacked a little bit of juiciness, and I would ask to get my bandeja with pork instead of beef. This time I actually got a bandeja and none of the things that make it up needed to be substituted. Every single piece was delicious.

A bandeja paisa is composed of rice an beans as a base, the red beans are cooked with Colombian flavor and rice that is plain white but has a flavor that is hard to describe. The meal than start climbing in calories and mouth watered with the delicious arepa , fried plantain and avocado. However the star of the meal is all the protein, a fried egg, a nice and crispy chicharron, a very lean piece of steak and a Colombian sausage. To round the meal up you can order a tropical fruit juice.

This not a meal for the calorie counter but for one that wants to try a little taste of Colombia. I can tell you that you will not regret trying this meal. I seriously think that the 10-15 bucks you spend at this little place will give you a better meal than any of the big fancy chains all over the city. If you are ever downtown KCK, go down a couple of blocks south on Minnesota on 6th street and you will find one of KC’s hidden great eateries.

La Calle – The Street

English Version.

Tengo un nuevo amigo por Internet. Es un Colombiano de Medallo! y conversando vía e-mail nos prometimos hacer un articulo de lo mismo pero desde las dos perspectivas, Medellin, Colombia y Overland Park, Kansas.

Aunque desde mi punto de vista tengo algo de ventaja, yo se que es una calle en Colombia por haber crecido en Cali, nunca he estado en Medellin así que será un poco interesante. El primer detalle del que quiero hablar es que en general la gente acá en los Estados Unidos no camina a ninguna parte. En parte por las distancias, nomas para comprar un galón de leche, acá no venden bolsas, se tiene que manejar a veces unos 5 o 10 minutos. Me acuerdo tanto que después de haber vivido en un apartamento en Chicago como tres anos, me di cuenta que nunca había cruzado la calle… pasado en carro, muchas veces pero nunca cruzado la calle. Tener carro acá no tiene nada que ver con estatus social, es casi una necesidad. Digo casi porque en las grandes ciudades hay transporte publico, pero apenas sales de una de las mayores ciudades así sea la población inmensa no hay transporte publico.

La palabra calle tiene dos significados muy distinto entre los dos países. La Calle en Colombia a veces se utiliza solamente para indicar que uno va a salir afuera de la casa. En algunos sentidos cualquier lugar afuera de donde uno vive es considerado la calle. En los Estados Unidos el termino La Calle tiene que ver mas con el lugar donde vives. El termino es usado negativamente hasta el punto que decir “street walker” que literalmente significa persona que camina en la calle significa prostituta. Cuando uno le dice a alguien callejero en Colombia significa solo que a la persona le encanta salir de la casa, pero acá seria alguien que esta como en malos pasos o en malos negocios en la calle.

Cuando salgo de mi casa veo los apartamentos de mis vecinos y al lado la oficina del conjunto. De donde vivo ahora si he caminado a comprarme una gaseosa hasta le estación de gasolina que queda a unos 200 pasos de la casa y he también salido a tomarme una cerveza al bar que queda casi a la misma distancia de la gasolinera pero hacie el otro lado. También he caminado hasta el parque que queda como a una cuadra a jugar fútbol y también solo a caminar por ejercicio con mi mujer.

La calle que recorro todos los días es la 87, trabajo y vivo prácticamente sobre esa calle. Me demoraría unos 20 minutos en caminar hasta el trabajo, pero la costumbre ya es de manejar hasta la oficina todos los días. Todo acá es cuestión de tiempo. Es cuestión de no gastar mas tiempo de lo que uno tiene y caminar parece una perdida de tiempo… aunque yo se que seria mas saludable y si no fuera por los cambios extremos del clima de acá depronto hasta me animaría a caminar hasta la oficina de vez en cuando.

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