Saturday, February 6, 2016. Day 340 (OMG OMG so close to one year!) I signed up for a 25K hosted by Fuego Y Agua! They offer 25 K, 50 K, 100 K and a survival run. They also aren’t exclusively in Nicaragua. Always open to travel and experience new things, I decided to sign up and kill 2 birds with one stone. Up until this point, I had never been to Ometepe and had never participated in a marathon. It has always been on my bucket list. I traveled 8 hours and an hour boat ride (including sea sickness) to the island of Ometepe. The race was on Playa Santo Domingo on Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua. Although advertised as a 25 K race, they later informed us it was actually 33 K race. Up until the race, I had no formal training. I used the walk to one of my rural schools as a gauge. My school is 8K one way and I was able to do the 16 K walking in 2 hours. So I felt a 25 K would be a challenge but doable. The day before the race, receiving the information about the additional 13 K was a big scary but there was nothing I could do. On the day of the race, I started with two other volunteers with me. One volunteer and I had agreed to walk the entire thing. The other volunteer said she would run a bit. We lined up under the Gatorade advertised start/finish line and raised our right hand as dictated by the announcer then repeated something I can’t remember that ended with, “and if I get lost, it’s my own damn fault.”
325 days in, almost one year since I’ve been in Nicaragua! Today everything broke, I do mean everything. My computer froze, then turned off and then basically gave me the cold shoulder. It was permanently on a black screen. It tried to start up repair and after doing that 12 times, I knew it was at the end of the rope. My basic Nicaraguan phone looked like a bomb that might detonate at any time. The battery swelled so much, I couldn’t even put the back of my phone on. It sucks that everything is seemingly falling apart but I must believe it’s for a reason. We are at an all included resort, one of the very few in Nicaragua. It had food and drinks, even alcoholic beverages with the right color band. Sports, pool, beach, and hot water in the showers, what could be missing? Wifi. Nope, that’s not included in the ridiculously high bill. For four days, I was stuck, unable to do work without a phone, computer or internet.
All the training was in Spanish. My brain feels as if all the life has been sucked out trying to understand it all. But I can say that it gets better as the days go on. The place was beautiful and the ocean sounds were entirely relaxing. I don’t mind any time near a beach. Another in-service training job well done.
I was featured on a RPCV’s Blog. Hannah Harrison featured on her blog. Check it out here.
Thanksgiving isn’t a holiday here in Nicaragua. Of course not. I mean celebrating the genocide of a people by having a mass killing of animals and commercialism sounds ridiculous when you think about it. Still, rituals are hard to keep. My sites mates went to Managua to celebrate. Peace Corps has a tradition of being invited to the Ambassador’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. This year they’re opening the embassador’s house and other PC staff. Keeping in mind the travels I will be having this Saturday (for a PC birthday party), the fact that I will be going to the States THIS (dance party) Tuesday (Managua Monday) and would have to pay to stay somewhere to enjoy the food provided for Thanksgiving, I decided to stay in my site. I asked my host mom to cook fried chicken for me. That’s as close to a Turkey Day meal I am getting. In all honesty, I am ok with that. Last week, we had a Spanish workshop. We stayed in the same homes we were in during training. It was just like training. Spanish lessons all day and an interview at the end to check our Spanish level. I loved my host family and was thankful to see them again. I was received with open arms and was shocked to see that my little nephew is walking now. He is starting to talk and remembered me. Just look at that face! Doesn’t it make you have all the feels?
I don’t think another Nica family could ever warm my heart like my training family. My Nica mom even brought Christmas gifts for my parents in the States. So if there’s anything I’m grateful for this holiday, it’s my Nica family in Masaya. I know that if I need anything, am ever in trouble or am sick again my Nica mom will come to support or help me in any way I need. It’s not easy to let people into your heart, but Nicaragua has made it pretty easy.
Here is my weekend plus one day. The roundup of diary entries. Day 226- Day 230.
I’ve met a lot of volunteers. Inevitably, somehow this one question always comes up.
“Why did you join the Peace Corps?”
It’s the question we’ve been asked since the moment we decided we wanted to join. It’s the speech almost committed to memory. It’s the spiel we gave our parents, our friends, our guidance counselor and wrote on our application to join. But the bottom line is, only 6 types of people really join the Peace Corps. Continue reading Only 7 Types of People Join the Peace Corps
The sounds, the sounds
The soundtrack of life
Close your eyes
Hear the sounds?
Things you never noticed and missed
While you’re too busy, living and you might…
Be missing the sounds…
Of your own soundtrack
Door slams at 5 am
The waking, the rising of people
I hear the sounds of the sun calling me
The children rushing off to class
And bands practicing for upcoming parades
I hear barachos sleeping, too early for them to make a fuss
I hear little women sweeping,
On streets owned by us
I hear a community sharing,
Selling the fruits of their work
Avocate! Tomate, tomate! And fresco!
Frijoles bubbling, in prep for almuerzo
Fire crackling in the fuegon
I hear trucks rumbling, motos careening dangerously fast down the street
Cabellos tap dancing past my window, motorcycles puff smoke and niños screaming, “tauni!”
I hear conversations, so many, taking place at once
Teens giggling, TVs blaring, and commercial jingles I can’t forget
There is the sound of rain
Rain on my tin roof
Or is it the sun?
Causing a chemical reaction to the zinc
Popping noises just like the rain,
Background music to my day
Sloshing of hand washing clothes,
Waterfall sprays of bucket showers
Tools clanging on metal,
By the mechanic next door
Trash burning in a gorge in the road
The wind in my palm trees
Hollow thuds of construction that’s always happening
Taxi horns whirling
Peopling calling “Adios” in the streets
I hear the soulful plea, “buenas” in doorways
And me, getting ready to teach
I hear piropos,
I hear their humor in my shame
I hear the sun denying shade
I hear roosters crowing, though it’s neither dawn nor dusk
I hear horses neighing, pigs snorting
Dogs barking at anything passing by,
Students writing every single word I say,
Scared to miss just one
I hear greetings and wave when a student says, “adios profe!”
I hear squeaking park swings, youth having PDA
I hear affection, away from adults that accept no other way
Eskimo bells and juice sloshing in plastic bags
Balls pinging off the concrete basketball court
Bikes tires soft thuds against the strange tiled street
Buses exasperated piston sighs when they come to a stop
And it’s “I think I can” momentum creaking up mountains with heaving loads
Heel clicks and flip flops on the payment
The joyful cacophony as school ends
Procession of energy, uniform colors blending in
Slaps of backpacks and “See you!” lift their sound to my ears
Thuds of my bags on the floor,
The sigh of ecstasy when I lay in my hammock
The swaying as my nap takes me, or is that noise just in my head?
The sizzle of food in too much grease
the call sounding throughout my house, “Nae! Va a cenar?”
And my ever resounding response each day, “SI!”
Chairs dragging on the floor, the small sound of give in the hand-sewn bottom of my chair
The questions of Ingles, as I check my host brother’s homework
The crinkle of papelografos as I try to make them neat
The cow like sound of my fan, as I can’t take the heat
The ping of my hornita for a late night treat
The music blares in English as my host sister sits right in front of the TV
The dusk of the moon whispering, “buenas noches” to me
I hear small shifting of bugs and maybe mice in the night
And the soft protection of my mosquitera’s plight
I hear bar laughter, carried on the wind
I hear karaoke and songs in broken English
I hear announcement trucks
I hear mothers calling for children and cooing infants
Keys jingling to lock doors
Metal doors whining, no WD50
I hear my clothes on the line, waving in the breeze
Book pages rustling
Yoga mats soft collapse on the floor
I hear my final saludos as I close and bar my door
I hear my sheets rubbing, making way for me
I hear early sleep calling,
I hear Nicaraguan routine
I hear the sounds of life
Do you hear them?
Can you only hear mine?
Close your eyes.
Accept your truth.
Disconnect from your phone
There’s a soundtrack of life, you’re missing….
A soundtrack of your own
Barachos – drunk men
Avocate – avocado
Tomate – Tomato
Fresco – soda, or refreshing drink, usually made of fruits
Almuerzo – lunch
Fuegon – a big stove top outside, made of cement and heated with wood started fire
Motos – moto-taxis, smaller and less expensive taxis, made similar to a dirtbike instead of a car taxi
Cabellos – horses
Niños – children
Tauni – cool
“Buenas” – the audio version of a doorbell
Piropos – cat calls
Profe – Professor/ teacher
Chiclero – small, basic, Nicaraguan phone
Adios – goodbye
Va a cenar – Are you going to eat dinner?
Fútbol – soccer
Papelografos – white posters used in teacher classes
Hornita – small oven/ toaster oven
Buenas noches – goodnight
Mosquitera – mosquito net
Saludos – expressions of goodbye
This is a rant about cockroaches… You’ve been warned.
Note: this post is entirely satirical and meant to induce humor.
Where is tomorrow? Nowhere, it is the ever present ghost, a shadow of untapped potential. What would happen if you were 100% present?
Today. Right Now.
Too often we get caught up in planning, thinking two steps ahead, wanting to predict the changes of life and direct our life play, when in reality, no man knows the future. There is only One who is omnipresent and He is God. I am guilty, so, so, so, so guilty of this. I get caught up in the doing of it and forget the experiencing of it. There is a fine line between “failing to plan is planning to fail” and “going with the flow.”