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.