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!