Monday, December 29, 2008

Last Blog of 2008!

This was a Christmas full of firsts. This is the first Christmas I've ever spent outside of Minnesota and away from my family. It was a the first Christmas that didn't feel like Christmas because there was no build-up and bombardment of everything Christmas like in the States and it's hot and there's no snow = it's not Christmas. Finally, it's the first time I sang karaoke in public!

I give you, Navidad 2008: A Photo Montage.

John and his new kittie who I'm pretty sure is evil, but for now he fits in his pocket!

Being the multi-faith, open-minded, PCVs that we are, we celebrated Hanukkah with Avi and lit the menorah (also a first):

Singing Hey Jude, which is a favorite song of our group, but all those Na Na Nas get really boring to sing after a while:

Dianne and I singing Don't Stop Believin by Journey. Oh yeah.

I had the good fortune to meet up with my friend Sophia from Macalester who was vacationing in Nicaragua with her family:

Finally, here we are just about to devour an amazing Christmas Dinner:

Despite being far from my family, we had a pretty good Christmas here in Nicaragua. I'll be staying in my site for New Years though.

The Español:
Esta fue mi primera Navidad fuera de Minnesota y fuera de mi familia, sin nieve y con mucho calor. Y la primera vez que he cantado karaoke en publico! Pero pasabamos bien y voy a quedar en mi sitio para el fin del año.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Feliz Navidad!!!!

I didn´t write anything up to post, partly because the electricity went out this morning. But Merry Christmas to everyone, thanks for the support over the last year as I´ve started this crazy journey.

A mis amigos del mundo latino, feliz navidad y gracias por su apoyo en mis aventuras locas!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

And then there was one...

Team Managua takes another hit as the volunteer who lives closest to me is ETing (early terminating). Although it's disappointing for PC to lose her, she's actually going to be staying right where she is since she took a job at a private school. That means that out of the three of us who originally made up Team Managua (basically the only volunteers in the department), I am the only one left until Ryan heals up and is crazy enough to come back or Peace Corps sends me some new friends.

As we once were:

Things have been pretty low-key seeing as I'm on vacation, but this weekend I got out and finally saw the beautiful beaches of San Juan del Sur. SJS is generally considered the best beach and surfing spot in the country and I can see why. It's a small town but very much targeted to tourists. It made me realize just how far the beach area near my site has to come before it can really compete.

Here's the beach in San Juan del Sur:

And the view of the beach from our room in our awesome hostel (Hotel Estrella if anyone's planning a trip):

Here I am with my friends Dianne and Katie with our newly purchased sunglasses after an intense round of haggling:

Surfers at Playa Madera:

Lastly, my friend Zara in San Juan:

It was a good and exhausting weekend. But not to have you all thinking that I'm doing no work and just hanging at the beach all day, on Monday I made plans with the staff of a local NGO to teach them English and then accompanied them to look at some schools that they are going to be repairing and/or adding on to. In January I'll be starting classes with them and also with a group of community members as well. I haven't taught since October so I'm afraid I'm gonna be a little rusty!! We shall see.

En Español
Tengo pereza entonces no voy a escribir todo en español. La voluntaria en El Crucero va a terminar su servicio ahorrita pero ella queda en Crucero para trabajar en una escuela privada cerca de Managua. Antes había tres voluntarios en Managua pero ahorrita soy la unica, así son las cosas.

El fin de semana pasada fuí a San Juan del Sur con Bernd, Vera, Zara, y dos voluntarias. Que linda las playas! El lunes fuí a Villa el Carmen con los de CEDRU para ver algunas escuelas en las communidades. Ellos tienen dinero para arreglar algunas aulas y para construir algunas nuevas. Voy a enseñar una clase de inglés por ellos en enero. Mas o menos este es todo que pasa acá.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Casa Dolce Casa

I'm all on top of things this morning and finally took some photos of my house. And since my Chilean and Bolivian friends that I used to live with have left I'm going to try to write some of my posts in both Spanish and English so they can keep up on the life here.

Finalmente esta mañana sacqué fotos de mi casa. Y porque mis amigos de Chile y Bolivia se fueron voy a escribir en ambos español e inglés para que ellos pueden saber algo de la vida acá. (Rafa, Paula, Felipe: Estoy bien triste que ustedes nunca podían visitar la casa, pero así son las cosas. Les extraño mucho!)

My living room (with maps of course!), I'm hoping to put a whiteboard on the blank wall to have English classes in my house.

Mi sala (claro con mapas), quiero poner una pizarra en la pared para tener clases de inglés en la casa.

The kitchen.

La cocina.

My bedroom, mosquito net and all. My clothes are all draped on a closet pole because I haven't found hangers big enough.

Mi cuarto, con mosquitero. Toda mi ropa esta un disastre porque no tengo ganchas.



The patio in the back.

El patio alfondo.

I still don't have a lot of furniture, but my landlady is going to lend me some more stuff soon I hope. But I love my little house and feel very safe here. Come visit!

Todavia no tengo muchos muebles pero la dueña va a prestarme algunas cosas más. Pero amo mi casita y me siento muy segura acá. Visiteme!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Happy Chicken Day!

I made it safely back to Nicaragua and promptly moved into my casita the same day- I promise to post pictures eventually but I figure it might be nice for there to be some furniture in this place first. I then left again to join some fellow volunteers for Thanksgiving celebrations and I couldn't have spent it any better.

After passing the initial challenge of fording a flooded road in a horse cart...

we were greeted by a brand new facility at this camp/retreat center place that a friend of another volunteer works at (connections connections) and this spectacular view of the Island of Ometepe and its two volcanoes:

We had 15 volunteers and the Assistant Country Director drove down with her husband to pass the day with us (and she brought pumpkin pie!) so we had quite a feast, though we had to substitute chicken for turkey. But we did have real homemade mac and cheese, broccoli casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, salad, stuffing, cornbread, and cranberry sauce. Pretty impressive if I do say so myself:

I've said it before and I'll say it again, it just doesn't feel like Thanksgiving if there are leaves on the trees and it's warm, but that dinner sure did make it pretty close.

A large majority of the group was made up of TEFL volunteers from the group before mine and it was interesting to get their take on things now that they only have about seven more months of service left. Almost all of them are applying to graduate programs to start right after returning next summer and they definitely emphasized how fast the time will go (which is easy to say when you have 7 months left as opposed to being 7 months in, but I do believe they're right). But mostly it was impressive to see how close they all have become and how much they mean to each other, I really felt like I was part of the Peace Corps family.

My list of things I'm thankful for is about a mile long right now, but in general I'm thankful to have a very supportive family at home, amazing friends who continue to send me encouragement in the form of emails, letters, packages, and general good karma, and the opportunity to serve in the Peace Corps- some days I think back to when I didn't think I would or could be doing this right now and I'm proud of how far I've come. Happy Thanksgiving!!