Enough clutter. Enough confusion. Enough complications.

12 March 2011

La Casita

March marks the third month since I moved out on my own. Living all alone took a little getting used to, but now my home is really home. I'm always happy to get back at the end of a long day at school. When I'm off traveling, sitting on yet another bus, it is my little casita, with my hammock, my tiny kitchen, and my little sphere of personal space that I can't wait to return to. Some days I may go a little overboard and spend too much time there, but in general it has been a great addition to my life here in Nueva Segovia.

It may not be the most stereotypical Peace Corps house of all time— I have tile floors, electricity, and running water (it is cold, but still, it moves), and a real toilet— but learning to enjoy my house and its lack of adversity has been a big step in my Nicaraguan experience. While suffering and overcoming a new kind of living standard were always a possibility, they were never meant to be the reason for, or the defining characteristic of my Peace Corps experience. I came to live, learn, and work. Now I have a wonderful place to relax and reflect at the end of the day, which is a great advantage in achieving those goals. As Peace Corps volunteers, we love to trade war stories, “We haven't had power for a week and the water started running again yesterday but it is coming out orange.” “They canceled all my classes, then the bus broke down, then I got stung by a scorpion, then I came home to my dinner of rice and beans and the dogs were barking so I couldn't go to sleep.” “There's a tarantula in my shoe, again!” All that stuff happens, and it is a part of our life, but there is a tendency to let it start to define our life, to want to one-up the next volunteer and show that your site (or your country) is the toughest or most extreme. I feel that pressure, too, but at the end of the day I know that I didn't come to Nicaragua to prove myself, I came to learn as much as I could and hopefully help some people out along the way. Now I have a sweet little casita to help me achieve those goals.

There's plenty of extra room, so come visit.

Swing on over to my FLICKR page if you want to see some more pictures.

04 March 2011

Guest Posts: Second Edition

This is me.

So what did I liked about Nicaragua? Ok wait, before that, I really like making lists. So here are three lists of three things each about Nicaragua. I know that is not a very big number of things for a list but three is a good number. So is 29. and 11.
  Things I like about Nicaragua:

1. There are a lot of volcanoes. A LOT. I really like volcanoes. They are very, very cone shaped. Not all of them, but many of them are very nice cones, like in the movies. I did not know volcanoes were really like that. And they were everywhere and we saw them all the time and that was awesome.

2. I got to CLIMB a volcano. It wasn't an active volcano, but it used to be. That is so cool. It had a little lake in the middle. I swam in the lake. I SWAM IN A VOLCANO. It was very shallow and the bottom was very mucky and maybe a little gross, but I didn't try too hard to find out what the muck was made of so it was still fun. Oh but it was also cold. Usually I don't like being cold, but this was ok because I WAS IN A VOLCANO. I didn't know it at the time, becuase at the time i didn't know this was a word, but it turns out what i was was TOTALLY STOKED about swimming in a lake in the middle of a volcano. Jonathan said he's been swimming in better craters, but i still like this one best because it was my first.

3. Squishy candies on a bus: we were on a bus going to the beach at jiquillio. It was a nice crowded bus and it was really hot and people were selling things. I didn't know what most of them were, but almost everything was for eating. Except one person who i thought was selling mushrooms becuase I heard her say the word "hongos" which is the Spanish word for mushrooms and one of the few words I know in spanish. only Jonathan said she was actually selling something for curing toe fungus so i guess everything they were selling wasn't for eating. Anyway, one lady was selling bags of little brown squishy things wrapped in plastic and i was very curious about what they were. I looked so curious a lady standing near me bought some and gave one to me. I thought that was very nice but i was not sure what to do with the brown thing becuase it was obviously for eating but also a bit strange looking. but i ate it anyway and it was a brown squishy candy and it was AWESOME. I do not know what it is called but if i could have i would have bought lots to bring home with me. Maybe Jonathan can tell you what they're called. Also tell me please.

Ok there were lots of other things i liked in Nicaragua, but I said I would only have three things in my list and that's three. But some other things I liked in Nicaragua were breakfast, walking on the beach, walking up the hill in El Tisey, hammocks, monkeys, and watching Hot Fuzz. In case you haven't seen it, it is a very good movie. There are probably other things I liked but those are the important ones. Also this is not about why I liked Nicaragua but about why i like Jonathan and that is because he gave me "Avatar: the last airbender" on DVD for Christmas in 2009 and it was awesome. If you don't feel like watching Hot Fuzz you should watch Avatar. The Nickelodeon version, not the other one, and not the one with the blue people.

Things I didn't like:

There are not too many of these but I will try to list them anyway:
1. I bought a little rooster whistle in the market in Granada and i wrapped it in a sock so it wouldn't break but when i brought it home it was broken. But that isn't Nicaragua's fault. It was probably my sock. And it isn't Jonathan's fault because he wasn't even there when I bought it.

2. Lack of coconuts. Nicaragua has the Caribbean sea on one side and the pacific ocean on the other, and we were always really close to the pacific ocean but there were never enough coconuts. I really wanted coconuts and was sad that I did not see them for many many days. I saw many coconut trees but no coconuts for eating. It was sad and strange. Then I made Tim ask someone at a store if they had coconuts and they laughed at him, and i thought that was funny and I was less sad.

3. I actually can't think of a third thing.

Things that surprised me about Nicaragua:

1. I found out that Lago de Nicaragua has sharks in it. I was surprised because I did not know that there were lake sharks. I never saw any sharks in the lake, but i still think they are awesome. I will tell you why. They are bull sharks, or Carcharhinus leucas, which are found all over the world and will often swim from the ocean to fresh water rivers, stay a while, then head back. The lake nicaragua sharks are even cooler than other bull sharks. First scientists thought they were a separate species of shark that was endemic to the lake and had gotten stuck there during the pleistocene. Then they realized they were just bull sharks, and they were kind of bummed that they weren't a brand new species. But THEN they realized that they weren't just stuck in the lake. They tagged a whole bunch of bull sharks that were hanging out near river mouths in the Carribean in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, and a few of them showed up in the lake. The Lake Nicaragua sharks were swimming all the way up the Rio San Juan from the Caribbean Sea! Pull up a map and think about that for a second. And they didn't even figure all of this out until the 1970s. That's not even the cool part. THIS is the cool part: "Bull Sharks were jumping the rapids, much like salmon, to enter the lake". [http://www.jstor.org/pss/1442846] Jumping. Like. Salmon. SHARKS. now that is cool. and I didn't get to see that this time but I think Jonathan should go check it out.

2. There are a lot of Peace Corps people in nicaragua. Sometimes I saw the same people multiple times.

3. I saw Jonathan reading Twilight. I was surprised.