Semester Slice: Olivia Tott

September 2022 | Written by Barb Ryczek

     As students head back to school and settle into their new routines, Olivia Tott will be starting a new adventure in her mother’s native country of Colombia. Isabel Tott spent a year in South America four years ago so now it is Olivia’s turn. Olivia Tott is the daughter of Glenn Tott and Carolina Mateus. Carolina shared these thoughts with me, “Living abroad gives you a greater appreciation for what you do have at home. At the same time it allows you to see the beauty and enjoy the things that are different. Our sending the girls to Colombia for a school year provides them with an opportunity to improve on their dominion of the language as well as connect with their family in Colombia and with its culture. What we hope for Olivia and have seen in Izzy upon her return is complete fluency in Spanish, and greater sense of feeling Colombian as well as American.”

     When interviewed in May and asked about what her life will look like this school year, Olivia explained that she will be living with her grandparents in Bucaramanga close to the Andes Mountains. Her mother Carolina lived in Bogota, the capital of Colombia while growing up. The weather in Colombia runs in the 70s all year long. Olivia tells me, “I will be packing summer clothes but the school I will attend is private and I will be wearing a school uniform with the colors red and navy.” If you write to her, besides asking her about school, you could also ask her about the city and its 160 parks. Bucaramanga is known as, “La Cuidad de Los Parques” – The City of Parks.

     Olivia’s favorite subjects this past school year at Faith Academy were Reading and Math. Olivia states, “This coming year in Colombia I will be taking Spanish, English and Math.” Olivia has already taken a test to see any areas in which she may need extra help. Her morning will begin at 6:00 a.m. with her catching the bus around 7:20 a.m. When I asked her if she had made any friends yet she said, “I have one friend who is the younger sister of Isabel’s good friend in Colombia.” Olivia’s mother speaks frequently and fluently in Spanish at home with the girls. It is Olivia’s hope to learn Spanish very well by being immersed in the language at school and by living with her Spanish speaking grandparents.

     When asked what her hopes and prayers are for this year in Colombia, she said, “I want to ‘fit in.’ I can share my faith by being a good friend and  showing kindness.” When Isabel was in Colombia four year ago Olivia would play video games with her sister once a week. Four years ago, the Wi-Fi was limited but it is much better now. It is Olivia’s hope to FaceTime with her family in Kansas City. One thing Olivia remembers about Colombia is the mosquito’s so she will be packing plenty of bug spray. Here’s to a great school year!