Monthly Cultural Corner - November 2022

November 3, 2022

Cultural Spotlight: Lorena Olivo

Hello Penny Lane, my name is Lorena Olivo, and I am the Quality Assurance Coordinator at Come Together Property Management (CTPM). I have been with CTPM for three years. I split my time between North Hollywood, North Hills, and Commerce. My responsibilities include Procurement for Penny Lane Centers, administrative and logistical management of CTPM and quality audits in different areas.

I was born in Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, in the northern part of South America. I am the youngest of six siblings, all of whom live in Venezuela except one who lives in Florida. I have two wonderful children, Eduardo, and Emiliano. I lived in Caracas for many years until I moved for work to a city located in the west of the country called Barquisimeto. There I worked in a chocolate factory for 20 years 😊.

I then made a leap from working with chocolates to a hardware store, imagine that. After, my children and I made another leap to the United States. We arrived in the United States five years ago, seeking to improve our quality of life, due to the political and economic situation in my country.

I listen to all kinds of music and I'm a big fan of concerts and live shows. Living in LA has been great for having access to all the artists I like. I enjoy everything from classical music by my compatriot Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Philharmonic, to contemporary and modern music. I really like music in Spanish and English from the 80's, ballads, romantic music. I like Venezuelan music what is known as Onda Nueva (movements of the late 70's) which is based on the Venezuelan joropo with elements of jazz and bossanova to make it more accessible to younger people. I also like the Gaitas genre, which is traditional in Christmas music, a very happy and danceable rhythm to the beat of four, maracas and drums.

My work in the chocolate factory gave me the opportunity to meet the best Venezuelan Chefs which motivated me to study culinary arts. It’s difficult for me to say which Venezuelan cuisine dish I like the most, but without a doubt Arepas are at the top of the list - with beef or cheese. Followed by Pabellon - white rice, shredded meat, black beans, fried ripe plantain. Asado Negro - beef with a sweet touch made with papelon/piloncillo cooked for 4 hours. Pasticho - a kind of lasagna. Hallaca - a kind of tamale stuffed with meat, chicken and pork wrapped in banana leaves for Christmas. Chupe de Pollo - chicken soup, with potatoes, corn, milk cream and fresh cheese. Chupe de Pollo is usually prepared to overcome the hangover of the Christmas parties. I cannot fail to mention Marquesa de Chocolate, 3 Leches and Arroz con Leche, which are my favorite desserts.

As for the traditions, being a large family, we always tried to be together to begin the New Year. On this day we exchange gifts and have a big dinner with Hallacas, salad, and pork. The celebration continues until dawn on the second of January. After the expected Chupe de Pollo we spend the night playing bingo. By the way, my eldest son and my nephew Tato always win, lol.

Venezuela used to be known for its oil, baseball players, soap operas (Novelas), and pretty girls (seven Miss Universe and six Miss World winners), but I would like you to know that Venezuela is a country with many extraordinary places and landscapes. We have mountains with snow (Pico Bolivar), we have deserts (Medanos de Coro), beautiful beaches (Morrocoy, Mochima, Los Roques), plains (Gran Sabana) and the largest waterfall in the world (Salto Angel) and above all we have wonderful people.

Finally, I would like to tell you that through food, music, traditions, and memories I always stay connected with my culture and my past. At the same time, I integrate myself into the culture and traditions of this country. I feel eternally grateful to this country for the opportunity it has given me and my family to have a better quality of life.

-Lorena Olivo, Penny Lane Centers

Check out some photos of my family, culture, and more below!