Hi, my name is Nicole Saavedra, the owner/operator of Tantakuna, and descendant of many different cultures.
My family is from all over the place, literally, so I guess you can say being a bit of a nomad is in my blood. I was born in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and moved to Charlotte, NC in 2001. I went to college in Auburn, AL then did two internships: one in Bolivia, and another in New York City. I now live in Columbus, OH. I grew up speaking Spanish, English, and Portuguese. I had to take a language in high school, so I took French, and I can probably find the bathroom in Montreal with as much French as I remember.
I was told that my first time in an airplane was when I was only a year old. We were taking a 30 minute flight from Cochabamba to Santa Cruz de la Sierra, to visit my Nana, my father's mother.
My father was born in Cochabamba, Bolivia and so was his father. His mother was born in Michigan and she met my grandfather in boarding school, in Cochabamba, and has since moved to Santa Cruz de la Sierra. Her mother, my great grandmother is from Ohio and she traveled the world often living for extended periods in foreign countries. My dad has followed her example; for most of my life, we have lived separately. He has lived in many different places, such as Brazil, Guatemala, Papua New Guinea, and Chad, but now resides in Cochabamba, his first home.
My mother was born in Brazil but her family moved to Bolivia when she was a baby. Her mom is from Recife, Brazil. She met my grandfather while he was in college there, but I believe he was also born in Cochabamba. His mother, my great-grandmother, lived to be 104 and was born in Tarata, a small Bolivian town that bakes amazing bread. Today, my grandmother lives in Montreal, Quebec while my mom now lives in Charlotte, NC with my little sister.
Recently, I took a DNA test and among the ten different nationalities represented within me, the results showed 25% native South American, and 25% French, although no one understands where the French came from! I wasn't exaggerating when I said my family was from all around the world.
My background is very diverse, and it allows me to have conversations with anyone I meet--I don't think I've ever met a stranger! I want to be able to provide that same experience of starting conversations with the items we sell in Tantakuna. These items come from all over the world, and hopefully will work to bring people closer together, wherever they are.