Brent started out the day with conference calls, while the kids and I got ready, played, and changed over laundry. Generally when I say that, I mean putting laundry from the washer into the dryer. Here, we have no dryer and hang everything to dry. It wouldn't be a big deal except it isn't warm enough to dry clothes quickly at all. We hang them to dry, and then lay them out of the kitchen table to finish drying. Our luxurious American amenities sure are nice: dryer, dish washer, working appliances, garbage disposal, AC and heaters! There should only be one more load of laundry done here, the rest can be saved for home.
The five of us took a taxi to the emerald district. The jewelers are only open Monday through Friday from about 10-3, because they only like to use natural light to look at the emeralds. There are men throughout the square doing business by comparing emeralds held in folded paper looking through a loop. The sign of a deal is a mere hand shake. Most of these men deal in raw emeralds that have not yet been cut or shined. We went inside and dealt with a recommended shop that supposedly didn't try to con you into buying fake emeralds, and gave a great price. We were able to purchase some jewelry for about 40-50% of the cost in America.
Needless to say, dozens of emerald jewelers all lined up is not appealing to youngsters. They were mesmerized by the elevator and became the official elevator greeting committee, which kept them entertained for a good while. Then, their patience was up, and they began driving each other ballistic. After such a marvelous weekend, it was about time for them to act out. It was lovely seeing all the gorgeous emeralds, which are mine and Brent's birth stone after all, but we were ready to go after all of the shopping was done.
We headed to a local hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop for lunch. It reminded us of the cafes in Italy that are on most street corners. The kids had ham and cheese, and Brent and I had a chicken-filled pastry. We all had drinks with our meals, and altogether it was $5. Not bad at all!
As soon as we got back to the apartment, our driver/translator arrived to take Samuel and me on the several errands that we had to run. First, we went to the passport office in order to pick up his passport. The office was packed with hundreds of people, but we were in and out within 5 minutes. Then we headed to the clinic to have his TB test evaluated. This also hardly took any time, and the results were negative.
As we were leaving, the office staff at the clinic asked for the photos of Samuel that had been previously taken. 3 days ago, the dimensions of "official photos " in Colombia changed, so we had to have these redone at a local photography store. Fortunately, there was one halfway in between the doctor's office and the parking lot. It didn't take much time, and was one less thing to have to do tomorrow.
Because everything was working out well with timing, Marieta went ahead and took us to the ICBF office because a letter we needed was completed, signed, and stamped. While there, I filled out a quick survey about our agency in Alabama, and about how I feel the ICBF handled things. My only complaint was that we were never given a written list of Samuel's medications including dosage, amount taken, and time of day taken. Considering his medications are heart medications, only receiving a verbal order from a social worker who had nothing to do with his medical information, I was nervous that he wasn't receiving the correct dosage.
We had all of these appointments and agency meetings completed in under three hours, which isn't bad considering Bogota traffic. We just got back, and we put Samuel down for a short nap just as the girls were waking up from theirs. Brent took the girls to get snacks and some bottled water, while Samuel and I are at the apartment resting.
Tomorrow afternoon, Samuel has his medical appointment, and the following day we should be able to get his Visa from the American Embassy once the doctor officially clears him. It is all coming together nicely, and the steps here in Bogota are really simple and straight forward. We are thankful we don't have much downtime here, and the days are truly flying by. That means that in no-time, we will be packing and boarding an airplane!