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schools, groceries, housing, transport, safety... (Bogotá)

Hi all -
My family may be relocating to from SE Asia to Bogota in the coming months. We are originally from the US. I have been doing some research on Bogota, but still have loads of questions:
Do most expats live in homes or condos/apartments?
Is housing located within walking distance to grocery stores and schools? Or will we require personal transportation to get around every time we want to go somewhere?
I've heard the northern suburbs are "safer"? Can anyone please tell us specifically the neighborhoods that we should avoid?
How is the public transportation? Are public buses reliable/safe?
Does anyone have any experience or personal recommendation for The English School?
Does anyone employ a live-in domestic helper? What has their experience been? Is it possible to have a live-out helper?
Are there public parks with playgrounds, and are they safe for children?
Do the public libraries have books in English?
Does anyone have any book recommendations for living in Bogota (something besides the typical tourist manuals)?
Does anyone have small blond-haired children - if so, do you attract attention and how do you manage it?
I have no Spanish speaking skills whatsoever - is this going to be a major problem? What is the best way to learn Spanish in Bogota (private tutor, class through university, etc)?
My husband is planning a visit to Bogota next week to help us make a decision about whether we should move there. What are the top things he should do/see to help inform our decision?

Sorry for all the questions - appreciate any help you all can give us!

Regards,
Alissa

Bogotá Forum