To answer a few questions:
- No, our time in Bogota will not be indefinite. The post is only for a year. It's a crazy lot of work and hassle to do this all for only a year, but we decided it will be worth it!
- We do plan to return to Gatineau in Sept '11. The only thing that would change this is if Peter gets offered a cross-post. Meaning we'd go from Bogota to another overseas posting. This isn't super common though. In the off chance that it does happen, we'd still come back here between posts, I imagine.
- Peter is with DFAIT (Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade). This particular post is as a political officer in charge of reporting on issues concerning educational links (or some such thing) between Canada and Colombia, and Human Rights issues. After being a desk officer for a year here in Ottawa, this will be much more fulfilling and exciting.
- The Mission in Bogota is responsible for finding us housing. The Crown leases them and we pay essentially the same thing we've been paying for rent/utilities here. While being in the Foreign Service is by no means lucrative (*snort* it is a Public Service job after all), they make sure that you'd never lose money by being posted overseas. Because Colombia is a Level IV (out of five levels) for "hardship", there are actually some surprisingly nice incentives for being posted abroad there. Especially with a family of five.
- We will be homeschooling. Yeah! Originally, Peter was adamant that we take advantage of the Government-paid private education that is offered to all overseas employees. In Bogota, there are actually some really highly rated bilingual schools. Unfortunately (I'mnotreallysadaboutthis), the school year starts before we'd arrive and it's far too late to enrol in any of the approved private schools. Nuts. So I've already started a list of all the materials I'll need for Liam and will likely look for some fun, simple workbooks for Simon as well. We will be eligible for a gov-paid French tutor (to keep up with both of Canada's official languages) and may try to find a Spanish tutor as well. Clearly -CLEARLY!- this whole homeschooling thing was meant to be. *grin*
- We're still undecided about what to do with the house. This is definitely our biggest stressor right now. Neither renting it out nor selling it are great options. Not with such a short time frame. Not will all the unfinished projects scattered throughout. Projects we assumed we'd have the summer to finish. I just know it wouldn't show well right now. There are pieces of drywall and stucco missing (where we took out a window and installed a door), painting that needs to be done, some x-small gaps in the flooring since the earthquake last month. Things that we live with, but wouldn't inspire anyone to fall in love with the house on initial viewing. *sigh* This is the biggest decision we have to make.
- And we still don't know when we're leaving! I know when I'm leaving for Regina with the boys, but not when Peter needs to be down there. Without a start date, we can't schedule packing/moving/loading dates. We can't make travel arrangements. We can't do a lot of the STUFF we have to do. I'm really hoping the decide this soon. I know what would be easiest for us, but ultimately it's not our decision.
So lots of decisions to make. So much is still unknown or still up in the air. We did have a good meeting with our trip/move/FSD (Foreign Service Directives) Client Advisor and she was able to answer a lot of the questions we had, so that was helpful. We also have some workshop/briefings scheduled for this week that will give us even more information.
SO. MUCH. TO. DO.
And less than a month (likely) to do it in.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Since my last few posts have been picture-less (even after promising picture-heavy posts... I'm such a liar!), I'll share a couple of pictures from when Peter's parents -Papa and Nana, to the boys- were here in May. We had lots of fun with them, riding bikes, going to the Aviation Museum and the Museum of Agriculture, and jumping in puddles. And worked them like dogs. But even with the amazing (and yet-to-be-blogged) deck (THAT NOW WE'LL HARDLY HAVE HAD THE CHANCE TO USE! *sniff* ) and the house full of clean, freshly folded laundry THAT WAS ACTUALLY PUT AWAY, these pictures are my favourite thing about their time here,
(except that I look a little pregnant here...)
This one is also a huge -HUGE!- favourite. I love how Liam and Simon are laughing and I love Andrew's little tongue sticking out. Man, my kids are cute!
Their flights out of Ottawa were very early morning flights, so they were up and gone by 5am. When Simon woke up and found them gone, he asked us where they were. After hearing that Peter had taken them to the airport, he yelled at us, "WHY DID YOU LET THEM LEAVE?!!" Poor little guy.
We miss you Papa and Nana!