Jade had her first day in the combined third/fourth grade class yesterday and it went well. Pheww. There is less than a month of school left but we decided to take the school’s advice and move her now because she might as well start making friends her own age ASAP. Perhaps she can even play with them during the long break (mid-November to February) and then be all set when the school year starts. She seems happier here in any case, which makes me happier.
Here is an update on the rest of us:
Siena is continuing to do well here. She still loves horseback riding, is making friends, and speaking quite a bit of Spanish. She is starting to answer me in Spanish more and more (as is Jade) so we are slowly becoming a Spanish speaking household.
Saige is on the go non-stop; always moving, exploring and climbing on everything. She is just getting cuter and cuter. She is always smiling and laughing and starting to talk more. She seems to understand what is said to her in Spanish but uses mostly English words. I asked our nanny to talk to her more so that she can communicate in both languages.
Esteban is doing great. He loves his job (says it doesn’t feel like work) and is traveling quite abit. He has been living a “citizen of the world” reality; different continent every week. Seriously, he will be in South America, North America, Europe, Asia and Africa all within the span of two months. But since I hav lots of help here, I no longer complain about his travel so that makes everybody happier.
As for me, all is great! I am really enjoying the adventures here. I am continuing to work with my coaching clients and write a lot. I also spend a lot of time with the girls. Still love our ceramics class and just found a yoga class nearby. I am deepening friendships and making new ones which makes me happy. (I very much miss my US friends though. Every time I talk to a good friend on Skype, I feel little melancholy the next day. Nothing like close friends from the same culture.) Esteban and I are doing well, having lots of date nights and going out with friends. I am also getting more and more involved in the local community. Here are my projects at the moment:
1. School – my fundraiser idea to raise money for the new hand dryers at school has somehow grown into a 15th anniversary gala for the school. Not sure how that happened but guess who is in charge of organizing it? Yep, yours truly. The gala will be next March and I need to assemble a committee of parents to help me with the planning – theme, space rental, food, band. Basically, a huge, dress-up party, Colombian style. Which means that I have no clue what I am doing and will have to be very careful not to step on any toes. I have a tendency to just get down to business American style and that really isn’t how things are done here (the only parents’ committee meeting I have been to, we spent an hour catching up with each other before we got down to the meeting agenda. As Esteban says “the relationships here are more important than getting things done”.) In any case, this should be interesting and provide a lot of material to write about.
2. Helping our former housekeeper – I have continued to visit our former housekeeper to see how she is doing and try to find some support for her situation. Thank you to all of you who have significant experience working in developing countries and sent me words of support and encouragement as well as suggestions re comprehensive approaches to a complex situation like our former housekeeper’s. I have worked with survivors of domestic violence and I know that the problem requires material support (housing, food), educational support (“domestic violence is not OK”), job training, and psychological counseling. And you won’t be surprised to learn that there does not seem to be a single shelter for victims of domestic violence in Colombia. Nor any kind of comprehensive help. I have looked into international agencies that work with the issue of violence against women but so far have not found any resources that could help Noemi. I have also been trying to contact Habitat for Humanity since Noemi and her kids desperately need adequate and sanitary housing. I am still waiting to hear back from them. If any of you have any other suggestions on how to help this woman, I welcome them.
3. School lunches – A friend and I are working on a proposal with the local school re our “sponsoring the kids for school lunches” idea. This is an important issue but I feel more drawn to working with violence against women and children. I am not sure in what capacity yet but I trust that things will become clearer as we move forward.
That’s it for now.