Annika Riding On Her Own

Annika is already able to ride a bike on her own (for the most part), thanks to her Strider bike, but it also helps to have someone show her the way like her friend Lexi.  Unfortunately, Lexi and her family's time here in Bogotá has come to an end and we had a little play date picnic to say goodbye.

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Such is life as a diplomat...  

Parents Visit Bogotá

We were happy to host my parents who flew down to pay us a little visit.  We took them to Andres Carne de Res, Monserrat, Plaza Bolívar, Casa de Nariño, and Usaquen. We made an attempt to visit the town of Guatavita which failed due to road constructions and delays.  We did manage to find a scenic off-road route through the mountains that took us back down to Bogotá.

In addition, my parents got to experience a little bit of our life here as diplomats.  We introduced them to our friends and took them to the U.S. Embassy, Annika's school and swim school, showed them areas near our home, and, more importantly, spent quality time at home.  Annika misses not letting her Abuelo nap in the chair and Abuela's hugs and kisses.

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Matarredonda Ecological Park

Just a 45 minute drive from our place -- up a windy road along the Eastern Hills -- is the Matarredonda Ecological Park.  At ~11,200 feet above sea level, the park contains two unique eco systems: Andean cloud forest and Páramo (part of the Cruz Verde Páramo).   We hiked along one of the main trails in the park, a relatively flat trail called camino real allegedly set by the Muiscas and later by the Spanish Conquistadors that connected the Eastern Hills and Bogota.  We hiked along this trail and stopped briefly for lunch while enjoying the beautiful views of the páramo with the clouds rolling up the mountains.  Living in the city has unfortunately made Annika slightly uncomfortable with the experiences of hiking.  The trail was filled with rocks, flowing water, mud, and sponge like grass but she managed to enjoy it for the most part till about 45 minutes into the hike her foot sank so deep in the mud that it got inside her boots and her pants.  With Annika partly wet and the temperature dropping to the upper 40s, we decided to head back.  We still managed to hike for a couple of hours or roughly 2 miles though.  We hope to get Annika back out there soon.

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Heading back after a little spill
Back in good spirits
Puchi's perspective
Nigh Nigh!

Annika's 4th Birthday

Poor Annika was sick for a week including on her birthday, however, she got to enjoy her special day opening gifts from her family and friends, eating long pasta as requested, and chocolate cake again as requested.  Luckily she recovered in time for her birthday party at Monki's Place where she and her closest friends got to play and jump so much a 2 hour nap was needed after to recover.

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Birthday chocolate cake
Don't touch my cake!

Getting her hair did for her party

Getting her hair did

Puchi and the Mamuchi

Birthday photographer!
Little Photographer

Annika playing with her friends from school (Thiago and Jeronimo)

Annika playing with her friends from school (Thiago and Jeronimo)
eSnack Break
Back to Playing
Picsa Break
Annika and Magdalena
Back To Playing
Cake Break
Back to playing
Back to Playing
Passed out!
A Nigh Nigh

Halloween at the Embassy

Got a lot of catching up to do as it has been a bit since our last post.  For Halloween, we headed to the US Embassy for a little trick or treating.  Embassy was very kind in keeping with this tradition so that American's posted abroad can participate, although, Bogota also celebrates Halloween, or Dia de los Niños as it is called here.  Annika was dressed as a mariposa.

Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá

Just outside of Bogota is a town called Zipaquirá known for an underground Roman Catholic church built within the tunnels of a salt mine.  Before the church was built, the miners had carved a sanctuary as a place for their daily prayers before going to work.  Construction of the church began in 1950 and was completed in 1954, and dedicated to Our Lady of Rosary, Patron saint of miners.  With Suzan in town, we decided to do something touristy and took her out for a short adventure.

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Marcela's June 2016 Visit

One of the most special people in our lives is Marcela, Annika's nana from Quito. Marcela raised Annika from the time she was 7 weeks old until we left Ecuador a year and a half later. And I literally mean "raised" and not just "cared for." She is simply one of the most loving and incredible people we have met, and we feel blessed that she has been a part of our lives. Marcela is an ideal role model for our daughter. She is patient, kind, honest, and fun; she values family, exercise, health, and being outdoors. And every day she imparts these values on Annika.

Of course, we begged Marcela to come to Bogota with us, but she politely declined as her family in Quito is too important to her. Still, we take advantage of her proximity and willingness to travel, and it is a treat for all three of us when Marcela is able to visit. Marcela came to spend time with Annika during her 3-week summer vacation...and we loved documenting this very special time for the both of them.

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Just days after the Velazquez family suffered from the flu, the owners of the jardin Annika attends invited us to their house for some Ajiaco, a traditional Colombian soup that consists of several types of potatoes and chicken.  They cooked it for hours over a leña (fire) which gave the soup a fantastic smokey flavor.

Annika just loved it and had 3 bowls.  I wished I had more but my stomach was still sensitive after not eating for 2 days because of the flu.  In any event, a great time was had by all especially Annika with the gallinas.

Annika's Second Birthday

Hard to believe another year has passed and our beloved Annika is 2 years old.  We celebrated her birthday with our good friends here in Bogota and Julia thew a little birthday party at Annika's jardin with the help of the staff.  

Below are pics from the party at the jardin filled with laughter and a couple of tears.

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Videos below...

One more video...

Annika begins 'Jardin'

For the past 2 weeks, Annika has been spending her days at the jardin, which is what they call preschool here in Bogota.  Annika's jardin won us over with its expansive play spaces and loving staff. Annika is in a class with 5 other students her age and 3 smaller babies. She's keeping super-busy, eating well, and making new friends. We look forward to celebrating Annika's birthday with them next week.

Of course, within the first week, she got sick and passed her lovely germs to her father. After a week of the crud, we both are feeling better.  I'm sure many more germs are to come with the hopes of strengthening her immune system.  Not sure about Dad though...

Below are some pictures taken by the teachers at the jardin.

Sunday Ciclovia

Every Sunday and national holiday, certain streets are closed for bikers, skateboarders, runners, and walkers.  This past Sunday we wandered our way to the Simón Bolívar Park by way of the ciclovia.  Total trip was 15 miles but Annika got to enjoy the park at the half way point.

Dogs enjoy the ciclovia as well.
Certain parts get a little crowded
Passing by a dance workout
Annika able to stretch her legs for a bit