We spent the day at Parque Central Simon Bolivar. Central Park in Bogota is even larger than Central Park of New Your City. There is a giant lake in the middle, just like in NYC, where you can rent boats. It was a beautiful day for a stroll.
There are gorgeous, accessible playgrounds there that are organized by age. The little kids got to play first.
Daddy gives the best pushes on the swing.
Bowen got to go between the little kid and middle kid playground. He thought that was pretty cool. Finally, a benefit to being of short stature!
He and Sofia had fun “surfing.”
I mentioned on Facebook that so many people have mistaken Sofia for Afro-Colombian, like Isabel. She was a little freaked out by this at first, but now she has kind of embraced it. She has even shown an interest in learning some Spanish. That’s a first for her.
The big kids wandered just a little on their own and found a big kid playground. They thought this was the best.
We ate empanadas and arepas for lunch from a little stand in the park. The man working at the stand was so kind. He gave us a giant bottle of soda and cups for all the kids to share it. The empanadas were so tasty and the whole lunch cost us $17, to feed 13 people! Not too bad.
Tess has been doing great with the altitude. We were a little worried because of her heart. She takes breaks when she needs to, and we give piggybacks for her, Gigi and Cate.
My kids who are internationally adopted have been talking about their homelands more than ever because of this trip. Ally and AJ, who came to us at the ages of 6 and 9 years from Ghana, have never said a whole lot about their country of birth. AJ speaks about it more than Ally. She basically shut out Ghana when she got here. She stepped off the plane and became American.
At first, we thought this was her way of trying to fit in with her peer group. Recently, she has admitted that it was too painful to talk about, and that she purposely amputated that part of her life because of the pain. Today, she confided in Joe that she had seen a coconut vendor in Plaza Bolivar and that she REALLY wanted a coconut. Coconuts were available on the street in Ghana too. Vendors would use a machete to chop the end off the coconut and you could drink the milk on the inside straight out of the coconut. It was one of her favorite treats.
When Joe told me she had said this, I sprung into action. We have hired a driver for tomorrow to take us back to the Plaza. We are going to find that coconut vendor if it kills us, and Ally is getting her coconut.
This trip has been a jumble of emotions for her. But, most of all, from it, there has been healing. Ally will turn 16 on paper next month, but in all likelihood, she is really turning 17 years old. It is time for her to embrace her past, to make this connection to all of who she is. At first, I wondered if she would ever get there? Would she ever acknowledge where she had come from.
I think she will, and I think this trip is helping with that.
–FullPlateMom, who is in search of a really good coconut.