Showing posts from January, 2011

Myths for Monday -- Bufeo Colorado

I really like writing series posts. There is so much information to cover, but it helps give me focus. So, here is to the new Series, Myths for Monday. I want to write a myth common in each Colombian Department. This week, I'll start with Amazonas. The Bufeo Colorado The Indigenous peoples of the Amazon region (in Colombia and other Amazon countries) have myth that surrounds the Pink Dolphins (Bufeo Colorado) of the Amazon river. There are several different versions of the story, but the basic premise remains the same. According to the legend, the Bufeo Colorado can change into the shape of a handsome man. As a man, the Bufeo Colorado tries seduce beautiful young girls who live along the river. Typically, the girl is enchanted by the man and becomes his lover. She eventually becomes pregnant. In some versions, the man disappears. In others, certain circumstances happen that convert him back into a dolphin on dry land and he is killed. Either way, the girl eventually give

Most Common Last Names in Colombia

According to the Registraduria Nacional del Estado Civil in Colombia, the most common last names in Colombia in 2010 were the following. Rodríguez Gómez González Martínez García López Hernández Sánchez Ramírez Pérez Días Muñoz Rojas Moreno Jiménez While this is a list that covers all of Colombia, there are some regional differences. In Antioquia, the last names Restrepo, Zapata y Álvarez are the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th most common names and Montoya 8th, while they are not even in the top 10 in Bogotá, Cali or Barranquilla. The last name Castro is the 10th most popular last name in Barranquilla, however, is it not in the top ten of any other major city's list. Additionally, in Cali, the last name Valencia is in 7th place, while it also does not appear on any other city's list.

Nombre de Perro

So, almost ten years ago, when we called home with the joyous news that our first son was finally in our arms, the first question that we were asked was "What are you going to name him?" After having agonized over the name selection for months, we had finally decided on Mateo. It is the Spanish name for Matthew. It means "Gift of God", and we certainly felt that is what he was. However, we were shocked by my brother-in-law's response. "Mateo. Es un nombre de perro." (It's a dog's name.) I admit that I felt a little offended, and for that matter, so did my mother-in-law who responded, "Es un nombre muy bueno. Es un nombre de un Apostol. Nadie debe poner un nombre de un Santo a un perro!" (It is a very good name. It is a name of an Apostle. No one should give a name of a Saint to a dog." I appreciated my suegra's support for our name choice and ignored my cuñado's comment. I was happy to see that many other Colo

Most Popular Male Baby Names in Colombia -- 2000 - 2010

Today, the most popular Male Baby Names from 2000 - 2010, according to the Registraduria Nacional. Here are the names that are en vogue in Colombia for little boys. Santiago Sebastian Alejandro Nicolás Samuel Daniel Mateo Alexander Esteban David Here are the top 10 combined names. Juan David Andrés Felipe Juan Sebastian Miguel Angel Juan Camilo Juan Pablo Juan José Juan Esteban Carlos Andrés Juan Diego

Most Popular Female Baby Names in Colombia -- 2000-2010

For those of you expecting Colombian Daddy's Tunes for Tuesday, you'll have to wait another week. Colombian Daddy will be back next week with his pick #3 for Tunes Most Colombians Will Recognize. For now, enjoy the next entry in our Most Popular Names in Colombia Series. Today, the most popular Female Names from 2000 - 2010, according to the Registraduria Nacional. Here are the names that are en vogue in Colombia for little girls. Valentina Mariana Daniela Natalia Valeria Isabella Sofia Manuela Juliana Alejandra Here are the top 10 combined names. Laura Valentina Maria Camila María José María Fernanda María Alejandra Paula Andrea Ana María Luisa Fernanda Laura Sofia María Paula

Corralejas de Sincelejo

This comes from my better late than never file. Last week, I forgot to post about an event that is considered an official part of Colombia's Cultural Heritage -- the Corralejas de Sincelejo. For those of you who don't know, Sincelejo is the Capital of the Department of Sucre in the Caribbean region of Colombia. However, don't let the word Caribbean confuse you. Sincelejo is NOT on the Coast. It is located in the interior of the Department on the sweltering plains of Sucre. This part of Colombia is well-known for its cattle. Which leads us nicely, to the Corralejas. The word Corraleja comes from the word Corral -- yep, the round fenced in place where you keep cattle. In this case, it is a round fenced in place with make shift bleachers for the crowd that is going to watch the main event. And what is that event, wait hold on a second, you need some more background. In most of the Spanish speaking world, a Corrida de Toros (Bullfights) is held in a nice stadium with mor

Strangest Colombian Names -- Part 3

I have, on previous occasions, written about the plethora of strange names that can be found in Colombia. This year there are 1,691,862 Colombianos (about 4 % of the entire population of the country) with names that are completely unique to them. Though, I am not sure that this is something to boast about. Here are some SUPER examples that come straight from the lists at the Registraduria Nacional: Teotriste Abalgamar Hildari Migleyxy Leonerso Mingris Mengris To this list of unique names, you can also add the OFFICIALLY longest first names in Colombia. Female: Adriana Clemencia del Corazón de Jesús y de la Santísima Trinidad Male: Fabio Augusto Luis Felipe de Gonzaga y San Mauricio. Unfortunately, these two have 2 additional names that aren't listed -- their last names. Try learning to write that in Kindergarten :) This just adds more laughs to previous posts on the subject. Feel free to check them out:

What month were you born in?

Vacaciones -- the name given to the Christmas holiday season when children get out of school at the end of November and return in February. But, the season seems to spark more than just goodwill and Christmas spirit. According to statistics recently released by the Registraduría Nacional ... it also seems to be a great time to plan (or not plan as the case may be) your pregnancy. Apparently, September is the month when the most babies are always born. There are 960,109 Colombianos who celebrate their birthdays in September, and another 933,264 in October. February is the month with the least births. When I read this, I had to laugh. Long ago, we noticed that the overwhelming majority of people in my husband's family were born in September -- including Colombian Daddy himself. Just an interesting statistic for your next game of Colombian Trivial Pursuit.

Footnotes on the Pollera Colorá and the Simpsons

It is hard to resist adding here the following two footnotes to yesterday’s entry about “La Pollera Colorá.” They were both cited in an article in Colombia’s weekly, Semana, back in August 2006. ( ). First, this song is so well known around the Spanish speaking world that the producers of “The Simpsons” (the version dubbed in Spanish) had Bart sing it in an episode of the show. So here’s Bart singing La Pollera Colorá in Spanish: The second is sadly ironic. Semana reported that during a 2006 concert in Bogotá featuring Cuban star Omara Portuondo and Colombian counterpart Carlos Vives, the audience was delighted when the duet interpreted La Pollera Colorá. When Wilson Choperena, who lives alone in a small room in the outskirts of the city, found out about it, he lamented that he hadn’t been invited. “But even with a free ticket” the article reads, “he still couldn’t have made it. He couldn’t afford t

Tunes for Tuesday; Songs Most Colombians Will Recognize #2

While the ancient Greeks had their muses to inspire their artistic expressions, a clever Colombian composer was more concerned with what a particular muse was wearing: a red skirt. Thus was born the song which I have chosen for today’s Songs-Most-Colombians-Will-Recognize, an integral part of Colombian musical folklore: La Pollera Colorá. By Wilson Choperena. Turns out that a “pollera” is a ruffly colorful skirt. “Colorá” is the costeño way of saying the word “colorada” which means colorful or red. In singing about her skirt, he is really singing about Soledad, the girl who was wearing the skirt. The song is a traditional (some will say THE traditional) Colombian Cumbia, and dates back to the Golden Years of the genre, the 1940s to the 1960s. The man mused by the skirt is Wilson Choperena, who was born in Plato, Magdalena on Christmas day, 1923. As with many other artistic masters, the place and timing of his birth seem premonitory of his future occupation. Plato is one of the

First 2011 ICBF Wait List

I got the new wait list Friday -- gracias Nina :). This most recent Wait List was published by ICBF on January 13, 2011. Once again, there has been a lot of movement. Great news for adoptive parents and for Colombian Children!! Remember, the ICBF Wait List applies to adoptions through ICBF only -- not through CASAS PRIVADAS. It also ONLY APPLIES TO NON-COLOMBIAN FAMILIES. It DOES NOT reflect special needs children. The definition of special needs are children with disabilities, children over 8 years of age, and sibling groups of 3 or more. Many dates have advanced again this time!!! YEAH!!! The dates that have moved are in BLUE. Also, this list only reflects that there are no more dossiers at the national office prior to the date shown. Dossiers from before Jun 2007 in the 0-23 months category, for example, may still need a referral, but they have already been sent to a region and are no longer waiting at the national office. Age of Child ------- Date of Application Approval by ICBF Ch

Where to stay? Colombian Mommy's Experience

When we completed our adoption, over 4 years ago now, we weren't sure where to stay. We had the advantage of being in Colombia, where family and friends were plentiful. We also knew that our budget couldn't take 8 weeks in a hotel. We began by asking our agency what they recommended. We were told by our Social Worker that because we were adopting a toddler and not an infant, that we should not plan to stay with family. We were given a list of reasons why. I'll share them here: #1 The child would be grieving his foster parents and previous surroundings. He would be looking for someone to cling to and ideally that would be us. If we were in a place with a lot of other adults around, he might become confused about who his caregiver should be. He may have actually rejected us in favor of another adult, particularly those that seemed more familiar )ie. a Colombian aunt or grandma and not a tall blondish gringa). #2 We would be unable to establish our own rules and

Where to stay in Bogotá? Part 2

When my husband and I received the referral for our son in May of 2010, we considered staying at Zuetana again, but ultimately decided to rent a private apartment for several reasons. The first reason was that we knew we were probably looking at a long stay and we wanted to be as comfortable as possible -- with our daughter we ended up in Bogotá for 9 weeks, and with our son we were there for 7 weeks. For us, this meant that the kids needed to have separate rooms so as not to disturb each other during naps and at night. My husband needed an office since he was going to be working during our stay in Colombia, and it also allowed us to have a "family room" where my husband and I could hang out at night, watch TV, talk on the phone, etc... and not worry about waking the kids. The second reason was that we knew renting an apartment would give us a little more privacy. We could walk out into the hall wearing our PJ's (or less!) and not have to worry about it, and we wouldn&#

Where to stay in Bogotá?

A two-part guest post from adoptive mom Ruth. Thanks Ruth :): When adopting from Colombia, one of the biggest decisions you will face is where to stay. Out of the many options available, the two that I can speak to personally are the "adoption guesthouses" and renting a private apartment. Keep in mind that my experience is in the city of Bogotá only. My husband and I completed our first Colombian adoption in 2008 and brought home the most beautiful baby girl! Our adoption agency recommended that we stay at a hotel called " Zuetana " in Bogotá , which is sort of a Bed and Breakfast that caters to adoptive families. (Some names of similar adoption hotels in Bogotá are the Halifax, Hotel Paris, Betty's Place, Las Palmas , and El Refugio. In Cali, there is Pensión Stein.). Since we had never traveled to Colombia before and were adopting for the first time, we went ahead with our agency's recommendation. We had a mostly good experience there, but as wi

Tunes for Tuesday: Songs Most Colombians Will Recognize #1

One thing has to be clear: there isn't a single type of music which represents ALL of Colombia. The country is divided into 5 or 6 geographical regions ("las Regiones Naturales"-- we call them), each one with a very distinct culture and, therefore, music. However, there is no doubt that the music from the Caribbean region with its African and Cuban influences plays a prominent role in unifying the musical taste in Colombia. Also because these Caribbean rhythms have been around for so long, their influence spans several generations and allows for some generalizations about what old and young might recognize as Colombian, as you will see. Now, and not a moment too soon, here's my pick for today's Tuesday Tunes: Subcategory -- Songs Most Colombians Will Recognize: El Preso. By Fruko y Sus Tesos. The song was released in 1975 during what I consider to be the Golden Years of Salsa in Colombia and the World. Fruko is the artistic name of the band’s founder Ernesto Estra

Monday Movie -- El Paseo

Our family loves to see movies. Thanksgiving found us seeing Tangled and for Christmas Daddy took our older son to see TRON. This year while Tron and Gulliver's Travels were battling it out for the top box office seller here in the US, in Colombia, both were eclipsed by ticket sales for a new Colombian film: El Paseo by Dago García I, of course, have not seen the film -- wish I could have been in Colombia over Christmas, but I wasn't. Here is the trailer -- and BTW -- there are no movie ratings in Colombia so it is hard to know the content before you see the film unless it is obvious in the trailer.

Hacer el Oso -- A Language Lesson

On Monday, I mentioned that my husband does not like to HACER EL OSO. I was surprised when I got a few e-mails asking me what this means. Here is a brief lesson in Colombian Spanish. HACER EL OSO -- literally means to MAKE THE BEAR. So right away you can guess that this is an idiomatic expression that means something else. In Colombia, it means to EMBARRASS YOURSELF or to MAKE YOURSELF LOOK RIDICULOUS. You can often hear people saying things like, "Uy! Que Oso!" This means, "Wow! You just really embarrassed yourself." clip art: =

Friends of Colombian Orphans

Here is another opportunity to help Friends of Colombian Orphans. If you are not familiar with FOCO, please see their website here: If you are long time readers of my blog, you wil recognize the name and want to help Jane and her cause. The readers of this blog have helped FOCO get grants in the past, so please help. You can do so today! Also, feel free to post this information on your own personal blogs as well. Here is the message I got from Jane: Hi all, Another opportunity for big money. Can you go here and just "love" the video our friend Kim made for this contest?? The video is only a part of the application....keep your fingers crossed for us, please. Takes one minute. Thank you all, and happy new year. Jane

Colombian Fulbright Scholars

I was intrigued when I heard that Colombia ranks fourth in the number students that come to the United States on Fulbright scholarships. According to a report by the 'The Chronicle of Higher Education', only Germany (with 199 students), Pakistan (with 130 students) and Chile (with 105 students) send more students to the US than Colombia (with 72 students). On the Fulbright website it states, "The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.” " In Colombia, the Fulbright program was established in January of 1957. Since that time more than 2,200 Colombians have had an opportunity to come to the US and research or teach at the post-graduate level. During that same time period, more than 1,100 Americans have taught and researched in Colombia as Fulbright scholars. The good news is tha

Tunes for Tuesday -- Colombian Daddy

My wife has been twisting my arm for quite some time in an attempt to get me to do this: Write about Colombian music. Of course she knows that I am no authority on the subject. But, how many other people does she know who lived the first 26 years of their lives in Colombia (and married an honorary Colombian who writes a blog)? OK, so having established my credentials, all 26 of them, here we go. . . . Let's first talk about Colombian party music: Every time the two of us attend a "party" in the USA, I try really hard to stay focused on keeping up with the conversations about sports and other trivialities while emptying the corn chip platter. She is in charge of the actual socializing. But after a while I always end up asking her the same question: "So, when is this party going to get started?" She laughs and says, "No. They aren't going to push the chairs against the walls and start dancing!" And here I will quote from a Literature Nobel Price L

Our Colombian Holiday Successes

On a Personal Note I really don't get too personal with this blog very often. But, this year, I wanted to share some pictures from our holiday celebration -- mostly so that you know we actually DO practice what I preach. In our house, we are trying to teach the boys to be proud of both their Colombian and American roots. There is a healthy mixing of many holiday traditions. But, since this is not a blog about American traditions, I'll leave those out of today's discussion. Instead, I wanted to recap our Colombian successes. Noche de Velitas: This year we hosted a Noche de Velitas Open House . Over 70 people came to make their own Farolito and enjoy Colombian Hot Chocolate and American Cookies. The kids from my Homeschool Coop Spanish class sang a Christmas Carol in Spanish. We listened to SALSA and my husband and I even gave a brief Salsa demonstration (very brief as HE can't stand to Hacer el Oso!). I had called it an Open House because I knew that we couldn't fit