Saturday, May 30, 2009

Moving Again....For The Last Time! Really!

The decision has been made and it looks like we will be staying in Nicaragua for the next year. Thanks for all the input we received, it was invaluable. We signed a years lease on the new house yesterday and bought our first piece of furniture, a three piece wicker living room set. We move in June 15! And we have lots of room for visitors!!

A challenge we didn't really forsee when we embarked on this journey, was the need to set up a home, somewhere to come home to everyday and feel at home, but also not spending too much money on things, as your have no idea when you will actually go home. If you don't buy enough things to make a home, you will get discouraged and not likely stay very long, if you buy too much, it will be a real waste when you have to leave. It's proving to be a real challenge for us to find the balance on this issue. A missionary couple told friends of ours here that you need to make a little Canada to come home to or you won't survive. We are going to try and do that within a limited budget. Having Nicola means we need to take her needs into additional consideration. When did we become the adults....and why didn't anyone tell me that I wouldn't have all the answers when I did??

We have also been told that you adapt but you never really adopt. That is a loaded statement and we are beginning to see the truth in that. The world around us doesn't seem quite as strange as it did when we arrived, but we feel no more like we belong.

We had our first day time rain this week and the night rain is intense so we have finally entered the wet season....and someone has definitley told the misquitoes! It is so exciting to experience all these seasons and what they bring, for the first time. The heat has yet to break as the day time rain is still lacking but we are well on our way. We have begun to notice that our bodies have adapted to the heat so that it is much less overwhelming than it was when we arrived....but after 3 hours in service you still think you may pass out and you need to hand all your clothes up to dry when you come up, literally. We have no washing machine where we are right now, and as the thought of a stranger cleaning my clothes for me is disturbing, I (we) have been washing them all by hand.

Gary is currently out on a study. Working with an English group has presented it's own challenges, in particular, the smallness of the group and the immenseness of the territory. Often you end up working alone as everyone has studies at different times in different parts of the city....and everyone needs to walk to them. The rewards are also great though and it is exciting to be able to be in on the ground floor like this. We are learning many things, like not having a podeum or a table for the school is okay and the humility that comes from being able to do little more than smile at most of the local friends. There is so much we will never take for granted again. Like air conditioning, and screens in the windows!
I have included a picture of the main market street in Granada. There are no traffic lights and on really busy days they have policemen trying to direct the crazy traffic. Yesterday we saw a woman on a motorbike try and overtake a taxi which ended up hitting her and sending her flying. She was alright, just badly shaken and a damaged leg. It was encouraging too to see how quickly the police responded to the accident.
I have also included a picture of our "twins". Named Fresca & Boots, brother & sister. We will be taking them with us to the new house. We hear they can catch scorpions (did we mention that we found another one here the other day, that makes two!! We definitley have a nest somewhere). Now just to get a puppy!!
Oh and if anyone comes to visit (Dec, Jan & Feb are fabulous)....bring your English talk outlines.....and peanut butter!! :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Back From The Grocery Store.....

Nicaragua is both expensive & cheap, depending on how you look at things, where you choose to shop and how you need to live. We are likely spending more now than we ever will and every month find cheaper ways to do/buy things. It makes a big difference in our expenses that we have been asked to live in Granada, but the extra expense is offset by the beauty and availability of luxury/imported things (like peanut butter & mushrooms!).

I currently shop mostly at Colonia which is a high end foreigner grocery store. Air conditioning and everything! I suppliment this with shopping at Pali which is a low end grocery chain that works at keeping it's overheads down, with means bad lighting and no air!

Here is an example of costs in American Dollars (which is the easiest exchange):

Pinapple: $0.75
Melon: $0.75
Mango (yum!): $0.55
Banana: $0.05 each
Onions: about $.030 each, a little pricey. I don't know why
Avacado: $0.25
Cucumber: $0.40
Milk: $1 a litre
Sour Cream: $1.25 (comes in a bag with a nostle, tastes a little different)
Cheese: $3 small block for cheddar (imported) $3 large Block of local bland tasting white chez
Chicken Breast, boneless, skinless, double with filet: $3 (is really delicious)
Bread: $1
Cookies: Oreo's: $1.50 (it comes in a plastic bag filled with individually wrapped pack of 4)
Box of cereal: $5
Peanut Butter: $2.50 for a TINY jar!!
Rum: 5 Year old Liter Bottle, smooth and tasty: $6 (7 Yr old is $8)
Sugar, kg: $1
Beer: $0.75 can
Wine: $6 Liter Box inexpensive stuff
Toilet paper: $0.50 a roll
So our grocery bill is cheaper than in Nova Scotia and is full of beautiful, tasty fresh fruits & veggies. It is more, much more expensive than any of the locals grocery bill because we are still stuck between two worlds and end up buying things just to make us feel normal (like peanut butter, who'd of thought it would be so hard to give up??) And there are still some things that you simply can't buy (like kitty what??)
Gas is a little cheaper than in Canada but not much. Anything imported (and you wouldn't believe how much that is) from North America is very expensive. Anything made in Central America is VERY cheap and things imported from Asia are cheap both in price and in quality (dollar store quality for just above dollar store prices).
Things are, as always, on fast forward this week and I will have some news about the new house by tomorrow. We have decided to move forward on it as long as a few concerns are taken care of. We will let you know. A big part of our decision process was the room it would give us for company.....a fourth bedroom in a seperate part of the house with it's own bathroom & shower......that and the fact that when the maid saw the scorpion she told us that it was a baby which had likely fallen from it's nest in our ceiling (which is bamboo)! There's a BIG mom & siblings still up there!! We are really hopeful it will go through!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Decisions! HELP!

Hi Everyone, I know that I just wrote in the blog, but today we are faced with a big decision and any input would be valuable.

Oh and by the way, we had our first scorpion in the house last night! Yuck!!

So here is our dilema. We have just moved into this lovely accomodation. It is beautiful, has everthing except electric included, comes furnished, has a pool and is right in town. That said, it is the very top range of what we can afford to pay, it only has one bedroom and one closet, lacks a little in privacy as it is a complex, has no screens so bugs are an issue and it would be impossible to have a vehicle (no parking).

So now, to throw a spanner into the works, Rafael at bethel told us of a witness sister in our Spanish congregation that has a house she wants to rent at an incredibly good price to any need greaters who want it. It is BEAUTIFUL! Brand new (built for her daughter in the States who will come home to live in it one day). It's Brand New! Just being finished, it has 4 bedrooms, three bathrooms. Is on the family estate property so it is secure and private, with views of the volcano. It is completely sealed (screens/roof) from the outdoors so few bugs and has two outdoor covered patio areas. They are also planning on putting in a pool in the not too distant future. They have offered it to us at half of what we are currently paying means we have to get a car/vehicle since it is a 5 minute drive from town on a busy highway and it also means we have to buy furniture and appliances for it. Likely to the tune of about $4000. It also complicates things in that we have to pay all our own bills, which will still be much cheaper but just makes life more complicated in a country where language is still a barrier.

So that's the issue. And we have to decide today or tomorrow. I think it really boils down to how much we want to commit to Nicaragua as this new house would mean "setting up shop" and at this point, we haven't had to do that. Perhaps it's what we need. I have to admit, to have all my own, clean furniture would be nice. But again, a commitment.


P.S. Our kitty's are all doing awesome. Man, it is SOOO much work. They are eating out of the dropper much better now and are becoming quite aggressive about it. If we get this new house, we will keep two (or 4 :D) after all, they eat scorpions! And get a dog or two (security).Hmmmm! Talk about committment!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Cats, Cats, All We See Are Cats!

To be sure, I am not a cat person.

But we seem to be inundated (why couldn't it be dogs!)with them at the moment and they are slowly winning me over!

The new complex that we are living in had three. One of them, Missyfoo (who is apparently a male masquerading as a female) has decided that he lives with us. We wake in the morning to his little faced pushed up against the garden doors, looking longingly inside for a sign of movement. Then when the windows get opened, he hops through and makes himself at home on the couch! He is always underfoot!

And now, we find ourselves the adopted parents of four kittens who were found abandoned at the front door of one of our landladies buildings. They appear to be about two weeks old and were in desperate need of feeding. We are using a dropper for now and they seem to be getting adequate nourishment. They are adorable! The runt is in the roughest shape and has an double eye infection. She eats well though and if she survives, we will take them all to the animal clinic when it opens next week for treatment and deworming. Nikki's allergies are on over drive but you can't keep her away from them!In the meantime, Lilly the landlady, is looking for homes for them. Let's hope we can let them go........

And if we're cooking chicken Pachino the doberman always come through the door and waits for some scraps! Good job we're animal lovers!

So, that's the excitement this week. No break in the heat yet, although our new place is a good 5-10 degrees F cooler than the villa, just due to the shade it offers and the constant breeze. Life is starting to fall into a routine of sorts. We are getting used to the constant sounds around us, in particular the firecrackers that go off in the neighbourhood constantly (what's up with that?). Being here reminds me of camping since you basically life outdoors, even when indoors. The challenge is proving to be getting used to this being life, not something you leave after a week.

Oh, and I gave my first comment in Spanish last night, silly how nervous I was, especially seeing as how I read it straight out of the paragraph :)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly!

As much as I am staying positive, our blog would not be an accurate portrayal of life here in Nicaragua if I didn't admit that this has been a hard week.

We have moved into our new apartment which we love and really hope to be able to make home. Saying that, moving yet again was harder than we had anticipated despite the fact that we really didn't like the villa over much. It is proving to be a challenge to "stay up". We really need to settle in and find a routine if we are going to make a go of life here for the next while. And we really need to unpack all our suitcases! And if I have to sleep in one more strange bed I'll scream ;)

The wet season is late starting this year, which means there has not been a let up to the heat and humidity. We met a couple who have just arrived here from NY USA to serve for 6 months in Managua and they commented how rough the heat was making things. Nice to know it's not just us!

Okay so here is my vent....I'm tired of the bugs and not being able to keep them out of the house, AT ALL! I'm tired of having my clothes always slightly wet and sticking to me. I'm tired of not being able to understand 99% of the people around me. I'm tired of things being dirty and seeing little dogs on the street struggling to survive. I'm tired of trying to prepare food in the heat (I could just cook it on my head, it would be faster!) I'm tired of walking everywhere and I'm tired of smiling through it all.

But to be honest, it's just a bad week. There is SO much good too. I'm just having trouble recalling it today! This is just another stage of adjustment. Nikki is in an almost constant state of supreme happiness (which means she talks none stop and is annoyingly cheerful) but Gary is beginning to struggle a little too. We spent the day in Managua today trying to find a few comfort things for the apartment (finding what you need can take a long time here where it is not a consumer society). Luxuries like a cheese grater and a paper towel dispenser! We feel confident that we will make it through this week and come out of it feeling better than ever.

Gary is now up to three studies, while I am still at one. I've been down with a cold, what can I say! Our new apartment comes complete with a dog and three cats (belonging to the owner of the complex). It is a lovely setting that was described to us as being like Melrose Place (never saw it, think it was on tv in the 90's). The biggest appeal to us is that it is smack in the centre of Granada, has a pool & cabana and above all, is very secure with night security. Our apartment is small but cute with amazing breezes and views as it is on the second floor.
So, now we have internet and I promise to spend the next couple of days catching up on personal e-mails.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Gary vs Bella

The heat has been climbing daily with the humidity becoming a heavier burden for the body to bear. We are now hitting three digit temps without adding in the humidity factor, but it is soon going to break...any day now....any time.....PLEASE!! Locals tell us that May is the worst month (yesterday a expat from the southern States who has been living here for quite some time, described it as miserable). I have to admit, it’s getting old! Taking some of the shine off us...."winter" should start any day now, the rainy season they call invierno. Bring it on!

We are still having fun though and reveling in the new experiences we are able to enjoy. Yesterday we went on a horse back ride. Not like the ones we have had before in Canada, but the real cow boy style that we’ve always wanted to try. Nikki was in heaven. She rode Coco and was completely at home & in control, even though she had the biggest horse of the three of us. She rode with a natural grace, like she was made for it. I made out long as we didn’t run, at which point I was tossed around like a rag doll, not an elegant sight and today my behind is a mass of bruises!

Gary however, provided the comedic relief for the group. His horses (and I say horses because he went through three) were all somehow misbehaving on him and so from behind us at one point all we could hear was Gary saying "I’m not having very much fun", "I could get off and walk, really, I don’t mind" and "Please stop, whoa, how can I get him to stop?". To be fair his current horse, Bella, had decided she didn’t feel like having a rider anymore. Every step or two she tried to buck Gary off, who was holding on for dear life. And if any riders came up behind her, she kicked out as she apparently has issues with anyone behind her! And she wouldn’t stop or slow down! It was hilarious! Poor Gary. Bella was the definate winner of that round!

Eventually they took pity on him and traded his horse for one that the guide was riding (which was Gary’s original horse, Nelson, who when we started out wouldn’t move for him). Janice, the owner, said that it was the first time someone rode three different horses on one tour! If anyone comes to visit, it is a must do on the list on things to experience. We rode up through two villages, then through a deep "channel" to a rustic restaurant perched high above the Laguna De Apoyo, breathtaking! Janice then offered Nikki to come up any Saturday (even offered to come pick her up) for riding lessons, free of charge! We’ll have to see.

Wednesday evening the entire English group came over and treated us to a show of some traditional Nicaraguan dancing. We then spent the sweltering hot evening chatting and most of the younger ones enjoyed to coolness offered by the pool. Nicola has made fast friends with a couple of the young girls in the group who are in their late teens. It was a treat to see her having such a great time with them even if she wasn’t allowed to get her head wet due to her cut (which is healing up really well I’m pleased to report). The joy that Nicaraguans have in life is a real lesson for us. They have so very little, in comparison to those in the Western World as a whole, and have to work very hard yet they love life in a way that is humbling & inspiring to us.
We made a trip into Bethel this week too, with our Visa papers finally translated and ready to be submitted. It was an adventure getting there (as always on the public transport system) and we had our first ride in a tiny three wheeled little taxi that is more like a motor bike with a cart over it!

Tomorrow we move, finally....INTERNET!! I am very tired of moving and living out of suitcases and hope that finally, we can feel like we are at home.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Nikki is down...but already bouncing back!

Just a quick update on our trauma yesterday. Nikki cut the back of her head on some razor wire that is on the Terrace of our Villa. Gary was out at the time and it was a good gash (hero that I am, I almost fainted and had to put my head between my legs while trying to console Nikki saying that it wasn´t that bad) in her hair. She wasn´t in pain so much but was frightened.

I cleaned it, dressed it and called Gary who came rushing home from town. He´d called Luis who, bless his soul, was two steps behind Gary, who then sent his wife Marlene over to help us decide if it was bad enough to risk going in for stitches. She arrived with two local sisters who have a truck, ready to take us to the hospital if need be. I have never felt so overwhelmed with appreciation! The consensus was that since it was in her hair and a scar wouldn´t be obvious, we would treat it ourselves and forgo the stitches. She had her Tetnus shot in 2003 so she is still good (Marlene went home and looked it up). So, completely drained and teary eyed, the three of us said goodbye to our wonderful friends and settled in for a snuggle (and a big glass of something....anything). I am keeping Nikki at home for a couple of days and out of the pool (despite the party at our house tonight) until I am sure she has healed over. I must have checked on her three times through the night last night. What for, I´m not sure, but it sure scared me!

So, that was the big excitement. At home in Canada it wouldn´t have seemed a big deal, but it was so much more of a challenge!

We now have personal phones, that we´re pretty sure have free incoming calls, if anyone needs to get hold of us. If you want the number, just shoot us off an email and I´ll get them to you.

Horse riding on Friday as long as Nikki is healed. Moving Sunday. Life marches onward no matter where you are.........

Love to all!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

One Month Down........

We have completed our first month here and are feeling pretty good about things....although we are still taking it one day at a time. This is the week though that if we had not been able to hack it, we would have come home. We can’t imagine not staying! So this first milestone seems to be now behind us. I had a nasty dream last night about living in isolation being told that I could never go home again, it was absolutely devastating (bad mood this morning sort of a dream) but ultimately must have been my minds way of working it’s way through some of the emotions that in my waking moments, I suppress.

Nikki & I went to the animal shelter to volunteer this week, but we use the term volunteer loosely. We actually went in, looked around in horror/amazement and within 20 minutes or so I had decided that it was not a safe place for Nikki to be and quietly ducked out. It was slightly organized chaos. The group of volunteer vets from the States were only here for a week and so people were lined up down the street with their animals, some on leads, some in plastic bags, some in cages, some just roaming loose. We went through and entered the shelter and it was even worse inside, animals everywhere, tied to trees, table legs, in cages and some just roaming loose. We were ushered into the courtyard area where newspaper was laid down for animals who had already been in surgery and were waiting come to, most untied, just laying on their sides with the needle still attached to their legs. On a table near the room being used for surgery, animals were being shaved ready for their turn. The courtyard walls were covered in more cages with more dogs and cats inside, waiting for their turns!

Our job was to keep an eye on the dogs who had been in surgery, make sure they were still breathing and then stroke them and keep them calm and still as they came too. Gulp. We watched one tech try and hold down a yelping little dog who came too very frightened and obviously in pain. It took two of them to hold him while he yelped and snapped. While they were doing that, another, much larger, dog came too suddenly and went scurrying off in a hurry toward the reception area while another couple of techs. followed enmass to try and catch it before it hurt itself or someone else. It did not come easy and was snapping, trying to bite them, they managed to get it into a cage but it was scary. It was at this point (duhh) that I realized this was no place for Nikki (or me!), untrained and without Rabies shots. It turns out it was a good call. I later talked to one of the vets in town the next day as she waited for the bus. She said they had done 70 surgeries and had three people get bitten, which had never, ever happened before! What amazing work they do, all volunteer....and they are coming back in August!

There was a dog who lives at the clinic, that they found in the main square with it’s leg mangled, without any hair, completely emaciated. They brought it in to the vets to be put to sleep, but the vets insisted they could save her. She is now named Victoria, only has three legs but is beautiful with shining blonde hair and lovely eyes. For saying that life (and humans) had treated her so badly, she is incredibly loving, trusting and good natured! It really makes your heart break.

Last night three sisters from the hall popped around to say that they wanted to have to party for the new need greaters that have joined the group....but they need a place to have it (any excuse for a party) so they are hosting it at our place on Wednesday night. Should be fun.

Our new place isn’t available till Sunday so we are here a couple of extra nights and then will move out after the meeting. We can’t wait!

So much to say, so little time and space today. I will update more regularly once we are in our new place with the internet at home.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Almost the end of one month!

This week has been crazy busy and doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon. Good, less time to think things through over much!

We are feeling less and less vulnerable here all the time. Language is certainly still a barrier, even with working the English territory, but we are gaining confidence and can begin to see that it is an obstacle that we can overcome, but only with time and effort.

Nikki is like a flower that has closed to weather a storm and is now slowly opening again to see if it’s safe to come out. She seems to have gained a new lease on life this last week and I am SO grateful (at this point :) that we brought her. Watching her grow, taking in this new, foreign world and accepting it, is giving us great joy. Her Spanish is now improving faster than ours. She no longer feels as threatened by the hectic, loudness of the market and central park area. She’s having some experiences already that are changing (for the better) her outlook on the world. She’s spreading her wings and they are a beautiful sight to see! She is so very happy!

A case in point was our first trip into the modern mall in Managua on Tuesday.

It was a wonderful day. We caught the bus here in Granada and paid our fare of C$20 each ($1) and headed in with Marlene & Luis who we had invited. The trip takes about 45 minutes and by the time we got to the mall the bus was so full it was standing room only in the sweltering, sometimes still, heat. We spent the day at the American Style Mall (I found a surprisingly good stylist at the high end salon there....a cut only costing the equivalent of $9) with an awesome meal at a Mexican restaurant where they made the tortillas fresh to order.

We bought very little, mostly window shopped. It was quite an experience as the minute you walk into a store a clerk (or two) joins themselves to you and silently shadows you everywhere. At first I was annoyed and tried to lose them but as it turns out, this is security in a country where labor is cheaper than technology and so it soon became just part of the experience. After a couple of hours we headed back towards the bus, about 5. Bad idea. Rush hour! Every single bus that passed by was filled beyond capacity! And for a Nicaraguan bus that’s saying something. We let a good many pass before we realized that we had to bite the bullet and just get on one. The next one came and we climbed abroad. It was a mini bus and every single seat was full. We pushed our ways passed all the laps & legs stuck out in the middle of the isle and tried to stand sort of sideways to fit in, while we held the bars over our heads. All the while holding clutching our purchases and purses. I had a moment of horror as I realized that both men sitting behind me had no views except my behind! And it was a close up! But this is how they live so I tried to quell my struggle with personal space and just enjoy it. And we did. The driver was crazy (as we begin to realise is normal) and we held on for dear life, laughing and grinning at each other. Nikki, who I had worried would feel overwhelmed by it all, was grinning from ear to ear and she actually seemed disappointed when someone got off and gave her a seat. We made it home safe and sound feeling like we were on step closer to conquering our fears.

Gary had his study this morning and we called on another gentleman that is promising. We are returning on Sunday with the intentions of having a study. So many Nicaraguan work 6 days a week and I am so surprised & impressed that on their one day off they want us to come and chat with them about the bible. My study is with a young Nicaraguan woman who is in University part time and also works 6 days a week. Her only time off is Saturday afternoon after 4 and so she has asked me to come at 5! They have a deep love for spiritual things and are almost always ready to talk to you when you come to their door, often inviting you in to sit down out of the sun!
Tomorrow Nikki & I are volunteering for the afternoon at an animal shelter. Our new land lady was telling us that they have an acute need for help this week as they only have the vets for the week and the animals coming out of recovery are often agitated and in need of calming, but they often don’t have the hands to help with it. So we offered. I’ll let you know how that goes. We went to a mosaics class today and both did a bowl. It was great fun and very relaxing! Another group of expats have recently started a library near to us that we would like to help out with too occasionally. Apparently there are no other libraries in all Nicaragua and children don't even have books at school. I'm thinking a couple of bible story & great teacher books would be very appreciated!

Again, being here has really opened my eyes to the realities of rest of the world. We are so privileged in Canada!

Anyone who is looking for a great diet plan.....I have one for you! Come to Nicaragua to visit us for three weeks! Without watching what you eat, I will can almost guarantee you a drop of 10-20 lbs! A bonus is the great tan you’ll get and all the great things you can experience while you are here! Did I mention tat beer is 75 c a can? ;)

The end of next week we will have internet at home (who know it would be so awful not having it) and I promise to catch up on all our correspondance then! Bear with us! We love to hear from home SO much!

Monday, May 4, 2009

And then it rained......

We had our first taste of tropical rain last night. Around 3 am the heavens opened and torrents of water fell like someone had dumped a bucket on us. It was accompanied with distant lightening and thunder and was so spectacular to novices like ourselves, that Gary & I were unable to sleep through it and just had to get up and come into the main living area to watch it fall, filling the pool to overflowing. This was the first rain we have had since we arrived here almost three weeks ago and I have to admit, the monotony of the weather was getting to be a real drag.

The rain did not bring relief from the humidity that has been steadily building though, in fact, quite the opposite. Today is the most humid yet as the sun quickly starts evaporating the waters that fell. Until then, the birds and street animals are not doubt reveling in the abundance of water that until last night was so scarce. We had been watching little street dogs licking the green/black water from the disgusting channels running down the street to the sewers.

This morning we are off to a local lawyer to see about getting our papers translated for our visas. We have found a place to live (Santa Lucia Social Club) that while although a little more pricey and smaller than we would have liked, is beautiful and safe (including a pool!) for our first six months here, then we will reevaluate. So in just under two weeks, we move in there, literally around the corner from where we are now. Nikki has started to really settle in and is no longer clutching my arm for dear life whenever we walk anywhere. She has started to spread her wings with the language too and actually pipes us to say hello & goodbye to people in Spanish. Everyday we settle in and find a level of comfort, a little more.

Our speaker was a no show for the meeting yesterday and so after conducting the WT Gary had to pitch hit and give the talk also. I was very proud of him to be so versatile. He had competition though as a little street dog kept creeping up to the open side door and looking in while some of those in the audience hissed at him in order to shoo him away! It was adorable. Life will simply never be the same! We can’t help but notice how unfair it is that simply because of where we were born, we have so many more opportunities and privilege. What’s perhaps worse, is that we take it so much for granted!

Gary has a new study that he will do for the first time this week. I will never again complain about the ministry in the cold in Canada! Here, in the almost unbearable heat, we walk the 3 + KM to the hall for the group and then have been working a territory another 4+ km walk from there. Then once your done, you need to walk home! And forget coffee shops (or bathrooms). To test my metal, last Saturday we worked that territory for 3 hours (8-11) in the morning (then walked to town for a pizza and cold beer with Marlene & Lewis) only to have to return again at 4 to conduct a Bible Study. My feet were so swollen by night, that they literally felt like they were going to burst out of my skin. Gross!

But it is all good and to be honest, an amazing opportunity for personal growth for all of us! The little English Group here in Granada is growing and getting a real good spirit. We feel so honored to be a part of that.....most days :)

Friday, May 1, 2009

It's a Love Hate Thing

Things we love about Nicaragua so far
1- Taking a cold shower
2- Walking everywhere
3- Going to bed exhausted at 9.30 but waking up completely refreshed at 6.30
4- Not feeling tired all the time
5- Not being congested (no more sinus head aches)
6- Huge, luscious & cheap fruits & veggies (often brought right to your door)
7- Never being cold
8- Not having to blow dry our hair (or me, wear foundation)
9- $5 bottles of Flor De Cana 7 year old rum
10- Losing weight without having to diet
11- The excitement of the market
12- The passion Nicaraguans have for live despite their often adverse conditions

Things we hate about Nicaragua so far
1- Feeling vulnerable
2- Dirtiness
3- Sharing our living space with an array of four legged creature who poop/pee in the house
4- Insects
5- Seeing badly treated & neglected animals
6- Not being able to communicate properly
7- Not being able to walk around freely once it’s dark (which is 6 pm)
8- Sweating profusely from areas we didn’t know could sweat (not very lady like)

9- The unseen "monster" leaving in the roof above our bed! (think it may be a Iguana) Last night it pee'd on the lamp beside my bed

I’m sure this list will adjust considerably after some time spent here!

Last night we had our evening meeting and for the first time didn’t have the school in English, so the vast majority of the meeting was in Spanish. I had worked on an answer in Spanish for the Service meeting that I was very proud of, even practicing and writing out the proper pronunciation. Much to my chagrin just as I had been about to put my hand up (which was no small feat as I had been having to listen with great effort to figure out where we were and when the right question was asked)
the little 5 year old boy next to me got all excited and stuck his hand up.....was picked...and then said exactly what I had spent the whole second half of the meeting preparing!!! This is a whole new lesson in humility!

Our group was excited last night to have a new sister join us who has just arrived here from Hawaii and has been assigned to join us. We have a great deal of respect for her coming on her own to a strange place. It’s challenging enough for our family and there are three of us!

After the meeting, for the first time, we had to walk in the dark out into the rough neighborhood that the hall in is and make our way to the main street in order to get a cab. Our hearts beat a little more rapidly than normal but we had no problems and were able to flag down a cab fairly quickly. We came home feeling quite elated as life here seems to be "do able" for us and we are feeling more and more confident as the days pass by. The heat is climbing steadily, as is the humidity and by mid afternoon Mombacho Volcano is usually completely covered in cloud which we are told by the locals is a sign that the rains will soon begin.....bring them on, we’ll be dancing in them! Literally last night at the meeting, sweat was pouring in streams down the backs of my legs, I had to stand away from the chair so that I didn’t create a little puddle during the song and have the guy behind me think I had had an "accident" :)

Again, a while new lesson in humility.......Onward.......