I’m really excited to have a new A Kid’s Life interview on the blog today. As I’ve mentioned before, this is a great way to see how families from around the world live their daily life. We get a peek into a different culture by seeing what an average family’s daily grind is like. So far we’ve had interviews with families from Italy, Japan, America, The Philippines, Canada, Belgium, Germany, Holland, New Zealand and Australia (Tasmania). I’ve loved all the families I’ve interviewed and I hope to meet some in person in the future. Today we have a visit from a wonderful Colombian family. I was put into contact with Andrea through Giova who did our Holland interview. Andrea lives with her family in Bogota, Colombia. She’s an architect who is currently at home with her daughter and an avid and passionate crafter (check out her hair accessory line here on Facebook). Andrea is a hands-on mother who spends every afternoon with her daughter and beloved dog Niebla going to parks, playdates or doing something artistic. After reading the interview I am in shock at what time school starts at Andrea’s daughter’s school. I won’t be complaining about our 6:45 am wake-ups anymore. And I can relate to the birthday parties that she talks about attending so often. We also seem to have one every other week. Oh the joys of having popular and well liked kids! So read on and find out what life is like for this Colombian family.
What country do you live in? We live in Colombia, in Bogotá, the capital city. Bogotá is huge, and it´s hectic and beautiful at the same time. Are you and your husband the same nationality? Yes, we are both Colombian, and we are also Spanish. Do you both work? Or does someone stay at home? I stay at home and sometimes work from home. How many languages are spoken in your house? What one(s)? We speak Spanish. My husband and I also know English. And my husband knows German because he attended a German school as a kid. Now our daughter is attending that same school and is starting to learn German too. I wish I spoke German, but I’ve tried and it’s not easy at all!
How many kids do you have? What are their ages? We have one girl, Gabriela. She is 5 “and a half”, as she would say. Click to continue reading interview! At what age do kids start school in your country? “Big school” usually starts at 4, with a grade we call “Pre-kinder”. Then comes “Kinder” (the grade Gabriela is currently in), and then 1st grade when kids are 6.
Before “big school”, parents usually send kids from when they are 2 years old to small pre-schools. During the school year what time do your kids usually wake up? Not all the schools start at the same time, but there are many that start very early. In our case it starts at 7:20am, which means the school bus picks up Gabi at 6:20am (Yes! With Bogotá’s traffic it does take them almost an hour to get there!), which means we have to wake up at 5:30 a.m.! As you can imagine, she doesn’t really wake. We have to take off her pajamas and put her in the shower while she is still asleep. After some minutes she starts to wake, usually to complain that she´s sleepy and cold. What do your kids typically eat for breakfast? At that early hour she just takes a bite of toast with cream cheese and a sip of orange juice. But they do have breakfast later at school around 8:00am. We pack fruit, a sandwich or something of the sort, and chocolate milk, or yogurt. What time does school start? What time does it finish? What is the weekly school schedule? This school starts at 7:20am and finishes at 12:45pm for Pre-kinder and Kinder. In these grades the kids are allowed to stay twice a week for “after school” activities, in which case they finish at 2:45pm. From 1st grade on, they can stay the five days if they want. The school schedule for Kinder includes Sports, Swimming, Music, Science experiments, Computers, Library, Spanish and German.
Do your kids learn a second/third language at school? From what age? In this particular school they learn German from the very beginning. And then English from 4th grade. Do your kids eat lunch at school or home? What is a typical lunch for your kids? At school two days a week, and at home the other three. At home we usually have: one protein (meat, chicken or fish), one carb (rice or potatoes), and salad. We also always accompany lunch with fruit juice. It´s the custom in Colombia since we are so lucky to have so many fruits available all year long. Do your kids do any after-school activities? This year she is taking tennis and music. Each once a week.
What time do you eat dinner? What’s a typical dinner you would eat? We have dinner at 7:00. We have something small, like a sandwich, a slice of pizza, an “arepa” (baked or fried cornmeal cake of traditional Colombian cuisine) with cheese, or something like that.
How much television/computer time do your kids have on a daily basis? Television, about one hour a day. She is not yet interested in the computer. She is very interested in the iPad, though. If it were for her, she would play in it for hours, it’s become sort of an addiction. But we only allow like half an hour a day. She always begs for more but we have been strong so far. What time do your kids go to bed? At 8:00pm during school days. During weekends we allow a bit more television time. What are some typical family week-end activities? Both my parents and my husband´s parents live in the same neighborhood, so we see them a lot. We visit or meet at some place for lunch. We also have a group of close friends with kids of similar ages and we meet for cooking, playing, going to the movies, or doing sports. And we also attend a lot of birthday parties (almost every couple of weekends). Recently we started buying presents by the dozen! When do your kids have vacation from school? Summer vacation goes from the middle of June until the first days of September. Two and a half months! Christmas vacation is one month, from mid December until mid January. And they have one week at Easter or, “Semana Santa”, as we call it here.
What do your kids do during the summer vacation? Summer vacation is really long, so we sign her up for summer courses, which usually include sports, arts and crafts and music. Most of these courses tend to be expensive so we sign up just for a couple of weeks. But it helps to keep her entertained. And sometimes we get lucky and we make a trip. For example last summer we went to Florida. What are the typical “first foods” for a baby to eat in your country? Fruit purees.
Many thanks to Andrea for taking the time to do this interview. I really enjoyed reading it and finding out about their life in Bogota (and I love how she describes it as a city that is huge, hectic and beautiful at the same time). If you’d like to participate in my A Kid’s Life series I would more than happy to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.