Monday, December 01, 2014


We are 30 days from the new year, and I think it's time to resurrect my blog.

30 days ago, we marked 2 years in Colombia with MCC. The time has gone so fast, and the kids have grown so much. Valerie finished her first year in "big kids' school." I am so proud of her for facing a lot of fears, and learning so very much! Gabriel had a good year in preschool, he survived his sister moving up to a new school, and continues to expand his Spanish vocabulary daily.

We acquired two guinea pigs.

More stories coming soon.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

My little monkey turned 4!

So more than a month later I'm finally catching up with some current 4-year-old Gabriel photos...
(he's also wearing my knee-high boots)

helping Dad make pancakes for breakfast

siempre un payaso!


As soon as he saw the cake he ran and got me those candles to put on it

Current favorite toy: "Caterpillar Power!" (This was in Sogamoso on our team retreat)

Every single day, he lights up my life.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

more links

And here are some blogs written by other MCC country reps, my peers.

Michael and Melissa work in Guatemala with their two little girls. Michael was an MK in Peru a "few" years ago. Scroll down to see a couple pictures of Terry and Valerie taken during our Rep meetings in Bolivia in March :-)

Jenny and Jake work in Nicaragua with their three kids. We met them in leadership orientation almost two years ago!

Nearly all the MCC country reps in Latin America are new, having started soon after we did. I think there are two "veteran" families (Haiti and Bolivia). So it's been comforting to be able to get together once a year, share stories and recognize our own learning curves in their accounts. Especially those with young children.

Friday, June 20, 2014

For when I don't post for a long time...

A number of people on my team here have blogs. Interestingly, they are nearly North American and female (with the exception of one married male who co-blogs with his wife). Here are links to all the ones I could remember/find at the moment, with a little blurb about each blogger.

The Llama Diaries
Hailing from the Yukon, Anna spent two years working with MCC in a displaced community on the Atlantic Coast; she now lives in Bogotá and she regularly posts thoughtful, in-depth and often poetic pieces about life as an expat in Colombia.

Latin American Learnings
Bekah is a political advocacy junkie, also Canadian, working out of our Bogotá office as our "Connecting Peoples" person. She's also a fellow Lord of the Rings nut although you won't see any hobbits on her blog. (Oh well!)

Xtina's Crossing
Kristina is yet another Canadian blogging from our office - she works with the Mennonite World Conference and is a social media maven. She's also very handy with a crochet hook, so, a woman after my own heart.

From I to We
Larisa also works on the Atlantic Coast; previously, she spent two years with MCC's Seed program in a rural community and is now doing local-level advocacy work on a more regional level. She doesn't post often, but when she does it's definitely worth reading. 

Giles and Amy live in the sweltering-hot Chocó region on the Pacific Coast, the first North American MCCers placed there. It's an absolutely fascinating place and I love reading their reflections on living and working with the church's social ministry (cacao, HIV/AIDS prevention, and more) projects.
Their most recent post has a photo of me in it - good luck if you can spot me though :-)

Head Pointed Toward the Sun, Feet Moving Forward
Lani is a current Seeder living and working on the Atlantic Coast in a community called Libertad. She posts great stories about

Seed Colombia
All ten young people participating in our 2-year Seed program also post on a shared blog; here you'll find perspectives from 10 different points of view on living and working alongside the Anabaptist social missions here in Colombia. Half our Seeders are male, and half are from the Global South, so here you'll get a very diverse perspective on our lives and work in Colombia.


Friday, June 13, 2014

Little Yarns

Last night Gabriel walked with me to the neighborhood grocery store, just after the rise of the full moon.* He looked up at the little pin-prick stars above and said "Mom, the stars are little tiny hedgehogs, and the moon is a ball of chocolate for them to eat!"

Did I write here about Chetten Mall? According to the kids, Chetten Mall is on the other side of outer space. You can only get there in a rocket or space shuttle. There is pizza at Chetten Mall but no trees or grass. There are mechanical animals to ride on. Ogwerts do not go to Chetten Mall (duh! They live in the rain forest!).

Valerie has developed a fascination with thinking and talking about death and heaven, talking about it pretty much every day. It was kind of kicked off by the kids seeing a dead pigeon on the street near our house. They were grossed out and fascinated, and not a little worried. They asked lots of questions about what happened to the pigeon, and where it went, etc. etc. Gabriel got over it a few days later but Valerie has been mulling over all these existential questions, I guess it's been about a month now? All kids go through this stage, right?

* Can I just stop to express one of my pet peeves? And that is people who don't understand the phases of the moon. The very first My Little Pony episode describes the moon rising when night begins, and setting at dawn to give ascendancy to the sun. Well, sure, for maybe 3 nights around the full moon, but not at any other time during its cycle! Why don't people realize that the moon rises an hour later every night? Is our society so disconnected from the natural cycles of the earth???

Thursday, June 12, 2014

a bunch of pictures

A lot happened in May ~ We celebrated V's 6th birthday (at Sunday School)

 V. started "Transición" (between preschool and 1st grade, so sort of like Kindergarden) at a new school ~ she loves it so much, she says she wants to go there "forever!"

She decided she wanted to start wearing dresses! They do not slow her down in the least!

 I managed some knitting during some long meetings...
 (my own improvised pattern)

 The kids were generally awesome!

Thursday, May 08, 2014

The definitive treatise on Ogwerts

Some time recently, Gabriel invented a new animal called the Ogwert. Often in lieu of a bedtime story, he will want instead to talk about Ogwerts which means I ask him questions and he answers. In this way, I have learned the following:

Ogwerts are like very small frogs. They are green with black spots. They have round circle tails. They live in treetops in the jungle, making nests out of hay. They do not lay eggs, but have their babies live. They wear little swim shoes but no other clothes. They go to church, but not to school. They drive little cars. They also love music - they play drums, flutes, and guitars. They don't speak English or Spanish, but just say "RABBAT" (very loudly). They like to be wet, so they enjoy swimming and taking baths.

The Spanish word for Ogwert is "ogweta" (not, as I mistakenly believed, ogwerta. When I mispronounced it one time Gabriel emphatically told me, "don't wiggle your tongue! Just say the 'T' sound!")

Valerie is not allowed to talk about Ogwerts, apparently only Gabriel knows about them, so she invented a similar animal called an Ofwert. The Spanish word for Ofwert is Olera.

We will keep you updated as further scientific discoveries are made.

Friday, April 04, 2014


Well, as you can tell I've sort of given up on this blog a little bit... or you might say it has gone dormant. So consider this post something of a snore.

We spent 10 days in Bolivia last month for regional leadership meetings, which was very fun - Terry's and my old stomping grounds, where we met in 1996! Terry's parents were able to be there also so the kids had some fun grandparent time while we were in meetings. But my camera battery died and so I only have the photos that Vern took with his iPhone.

Somehow, though, Gabriel always manages to get sick when we travel. This time he got pink-eye, which came back 2 days after I finished the full treatment. So we are doing it all over again and had to keep him out of school this week.

The kids were super-happy to get home and be re-united with all their toys, their own beds, and their routines.

Some funny things they've been doing lately: they invented an imaginary place called "Chetten Mall" that exists somewhere on the other side of outer space, in "Daytime Land." You have to take a rocket ship to get there. There are lots of riding toys and pizza. They can spend long minutes elaborating tales of Chetten Mall.

Well, March was a crazy-busy month, I'm hoping April will slow down but somehow there seem to be all these little crises erupting throughout our team. Never a dull moment!

Thursday, February 06, 2014


Wow, it's been a while. I still haven't uploaded my photos from our trip to Peru! It was fantastic. I will blog about that soon.

January was kind of a stressful month, as we tried to figure out where and when Valerie will be starting Kindergarten (called Transición here), and I tried to figure out when it will work out to defend my dissertation. Both ends of the academic journey: she just beginning, I hoping to finish, both stressing me out of my mind. I think things are juuuust about settled... but I'm still holding my breath until I feel more absolutely certain about both things.

Meanwhile, Terry and I are back to work... and greatly appreciating more time with my parents who are staying in an apartment a block away from our house! It's been great.

The other day I made a list of the top ten things I like about Bogotá, that I thought I'd share with you:

10. The Transmilenio. People complain about it all the time but we love it. It helps that we live conveniently close to two different lines.

9. Parque Simón Bolivar. It's huge, it's green, it's peaceful. We love taking the kids there.

8. Monserrate. We can see the lovely white cathedral atop this mountain shining in the sunlight from our street, from the office, from pretty much everywhere we go.

7. Street art.

6. Speaking Spanish all the time (even if it is a much more formal version that what we're used to!) I love that the kids are learning Spanish!

5. The smell of eucalyptus as we walk past the university grounds near our house. I know it's not a native tree species, but I still find the smell really relaxing. Since it's been planted all over the Andes, it makes me feel connected to mountain cities I've lived in in Peru and Bolivia.

4. Small parks with playground equipment easily available in every neighborhood in the city. I don't think you can actually find a spot in a residential neighborhood that's more than 5 blocks from a park!

3. Our office building - it's an old and gracious home with hardwood floors and water damage (well, we don't love the water damage... !)

2. Our team/work community

1. Our church community

There are definitely a lot of things I DON'T love, like the human misery we see on a daily basis, the extreme differences between the rich and the poor, and our super-slow Internet service at home (Ok, that last one is a trivial martyrdom...) but on the whole I do feel like we're pretty well settled here. I still feel like a foreigner, but Bogotá no longer feels foreign to me. I wouldn't say it feels like home, really, but we feel at home, if that makes sense.