Saturday, May 23, 2009

Perfect Timing

So I´ve got to thinking while I´ve been away that in some past life of mine I was a terrible terrible creature. If being robbed, bugged and moved within the first two weeks wasn´t enough, I now have another problem to add to my ever growing list... It was as if with all the fun and excitement that has been happening in the last few weeks my wisdom teeth were beginning to feel left out of the adventure.. so instead of being patient little beauties, one in particular chosen to rear it´s ugly head.- thanks.

Just as soon as my body started to be a smidge forgiving regarding the food, water and weather something else had to jump up causing mucho discomfort. So not only am I 70 Cordoba short and down one entire Nicaraguan family I now have a super inflamed face in a foreign country. The only upside to this has got to be that maybe i will attract less cat calls.. fingers crossed. After popping Advil like it was candy for about a week I finally gave in and went to a dentist, a Spanish speaking dentist, a Spanish speaking dentist in a foreign country. (just in case you forgot.)

Cesar, my Spanish tooth man had his dentists office blaring with some Latin American tunes. A cluttered room full of rosaries, crosses and other interesting figures made me a feel oddly safe. Directly after Cesar took a gander at my mouth he began explaining the situation - IN SPANISH. The only thing that was not lost in translation was-- INFECTION ERUPTION EXTRACTION. one word to describe this- awesome.

After another broken translation I learned my wisdom tooth has great timing and ha s broken through the surface causing a huge infection alone the way, and if it doesn´t come out soon with bad news bears. So i am now on a steady supply of Nicaraguan drugs for the next 7 days, and then the adventure continues to an extraction. Seriously, what next'?

All for now,

Thursday, May 21, 2009


I just wanted to send a quick thank you to everyone who is reading my blog! It is so nice to know that your experiencing this with me, the good the bad and the ugly. Your comments make a world of difference as i often go back and read them on a rough day.. and there have been many.
I just want everyone to know i appreciate you!

I will be blogging soon!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Flying by the seat of our pants

Transportation in Nicaragua only means one thing, whether your destination is only 20 minutes down the road or a 2 hour trip the only way to get there is riding in the back of a pick up truck. Now this may not be the safest alternative, however, it´s the quickest and cheapest and the only method that allows you to keep your personal bubble in tact, that is if you still have one at this point. The other very unattractive alternative is taking the bus. Unlike the buses at home, these ones are not full until there´s at least one person sitting on the bus drivers lap and a few hanging out the window. Sorry mom, I prefer option one.

Yesterday our group of Intercordians set of at an ungodly hour of 4 30 to explore the region of Masaya. 2 hours in the pick up plus 45 minutes in a bus and we finally made it, in one piece. We wanted to explore Masaya and see all that it has to offer. Famous for it´s markets we though we would have an extremely busy day.. once again we were wrong-o, this seems to be staring to become a pattern. Armed with our broken Spanish abilities, no guide book and what felt like a heat wave our first independent trip failed our expectations. However next time we will fly a little less by the seat of our pants and a little more by a flexible plan accompanied by a guide book or two. Fingers crossed our next adventure is a little more productive. Even though it was a let down sort of day golden stars should be awarded for actually making it to the market and back with only getting a smidge lost a long the way.

I feel like our trip to Masaya is a great representation of our lives here in Nicaragua. Nothing, and I mean nothing is as easy as it seems. And if it was easy than we either forgot something or we did it wrong! Frustration is a common feeling here with miscommunication being a common occurrence. Today marks the beginning of our third week here and just maybe with the end of Spanish classes and the start of work some kind of ´routine with present a sort of normal in the air. All for now,


Wash em and dry em

There isn´t a day that goes by that I don´t learn something, get frustrated and confuses, a little less frustrated, unconfused and grow a little more. It´s been ten days here in Esteli.. which only means one simple thing. Ten pairs of underwear have come and gone and my supply is depleting faster than I can type this blog.

Today I was introduced to that art of washing clothes.. by hand. After dipping, soaping, scrubbing, rinsing, ringing and repeating about 20 times not only did I walk away sweaty with a sore back, I also walked away with clean clothes and appreciated for the way of life here. You can´t just throw a shirt in the washer and 40 minutes have it come out just like new. No- like most things here it take mucho time and even more patience to accomplish anything. The sun failed to disappoint today, like most days in Central America and I was left with a pile of clean clothes AND underwear washed by my own two little hands and dried by the sun' oh the feelings of gratitude. Rather than resorting to the old wear em inside out, they are clean and I am happy.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009


So like most travelers I too have been lucky enough to have terrible stomach pains that can only mean on thing... bad news bears! Who knows exactly what´s hanging out in my stomach and what it´s doing! Fingers crossed that this ´presence´didn´t buy a one way ticket and will be moving along shortly!

After Spanish lessons today ´The presence¨ and I came home to some lunch as usual, however today there was an unexpected surprise waiting for me and presence. Right next to the cucumber salad and rice was Nemo looking right up at me! I mean there were fins, a tale and a FACE! I thought looking down at this poor little fellow.. ¨Nemo, what in the world are we gonna do?¨ After picking my way through the rice and salad I payed my respect to poor Nemo and followed the family trend.. digging in and trying to enjoy lunch regardless of Nemo and his poor poor fate. Sadly ¨Fish are friends, not food¨ doesn´t work in the movie or in Nicaragua.
Happy Dinner!


20 to 70 in the blink of an eye

After the 12 hour day I spent at Miraflor enjoying everything about Nicaragua´s country side I was about ready to jump into my hard mattressed and lumpy pillowed bed that looked like heaven and call it a night- however my host family had alternative plans. A knock at the door and ´Yessica´ with a Spanish accent was enough to drag my sorry butt out of bed and into the family. A night of bonding was clearly on the agenda regardless of the languages barrier. Armed with my pocket sized Spanish phrase book I was about to jump into true Nicaraguan life, not any of that tourist mumbo jumbo I have been experience thus far. (well maybe minus my dictionary) The night began with Tona, Nicaraguan cervesa and ended in shambles. My host brother Ivan and I went to a Spanish karaoke and dance bar. I didn´t attempt the karaoke partly because I wanted to spare my new Spanish friends their hearing and since I can´t even speak the language .. singing it would just lead to trouble. I tried out the Spanish dancing which was a lot of fun, however as the night came to end so did the fun. As Ivan and i left the karaoke bar we walked back to our house thinking that we would save 20 Cordoba ( which in Canada is about equal to 2 very cold wonderful Pepsi's.) Me living day to day in those wooden shoes god blessed me to be in made a bad decision, and ended up losing 70 Cordoba and my sense of security. Not 2 blocks away from home Ivan and I got jumped by 5 Nicaraguan men. It was dark and Ivan and I were to trying to speak in broken Spanish to each other not noticing them around the corner. They took our money and ended up bruising Ivan with large rocks. The money is nothing to lose sleep over however the fear, shock, loss of control and personal invasion brought me to an unimaginable low.

Before the night I was beginning to feel comfortable in Esteli and now I feel as if I have taken five steps backwards and I wear paranoia like it´s a t-shirt that isn´t going out of style. It´s always one of those things that you think will NOT, CAN NOT, possibly happen to me EVER EVER EVER. Well 1 week in, and 1 huge reality check under my belt I now know that walking late at night is not okay, no matter who you´re with., and a taxi is the best option regardless of the cost. Beyond Borders is not simply an extra long worry free stay in a warm climate. It´s real life, with real people, this means the good the bad and the ugly.
All for now,


Monday, May 11, 2009

a hand, a heart beat and an unusual feeling

A hand a heart beat and a very unusual feeling were all jumbled in the adventures of today. During Spanish lessons at Los Pipitos today I met a young man by the name of Alfonzo and though I don´t know a lot about him, I do know he likes to touch people and he likes heart beats and apparently he liked my heart beat.

Alfonzo does not talk a lot. In fact I had no idea of his presence in the room until I felt a hand out of no where land on my chest. INVASION of personal space is what first popped into my head. A little HELLO your in my personal bubble, please step away. I had no idea who this kid was and WHY on earth he was touching me. After a broken translation I discovered Alfonzo was soothed by the feeling of a heart beat- WEIRD. I still don´t really understand it, however it is good to have a warning that he will be back rather than a shocking surprise.

I never realized how different a preconception can very from person to person. Personally I like my individual space and I especially like that people know their boundaries at least at home. In Nicaragua things are different. I don´t believe the term ´personal bubble´ has ever been coined and if it has, it sure is not very strict. I don´t know what it is, but it´s different here and no one seems to mind. People seem to prefer a closeness between them which is something to get used to. It isn´t bad mind you, just different Maybe it´s time I hung up my own individual bubble suit for a while and embraced the lifestyle before me.


Friday, May 8, 2009


BUGS!! When looking back and preparing for this trip I thought of many things. Of the lack of running water, of getting sick, of not enough food.. etc.. you name it, I THOUGHT i thought about it. But apparently I was WRONG-O. My second night in Esteli proved to be more challenging than the first. It had rained all day, no meeting with the other Intercordians and to my dismay bugs. Now i´m not talking about a few buys.. that even I can handle. No No No NO! I have never seen so many bugs in my entire life.. combined! .. and lucky for me they all decided to have a little meet and greet in my room.. on my door. There were SO many they covered then entire face of the door.Needless to say.. I had my very first Beyond borders FREAK OUT, and it was huge complete with tears and all.

Later, I found out that with the first rain came loads of bugs. Apparently they don´t bite but it doesn´t make them any less creeeeepy... at least through my anti bug eyes. My host family all shared a nice laugh about it and kept saying NO PROBLEMO.. however it was a grade problemo at least for me! They moved me into a new room further into the house, and to my delight BUG FREE. I was very thankful that they realized it was important for me, even though it was normal for them.

Today has been a very good day although I still look ahead and think three months away.. can I do it? Do i even want to do it? and mostly what the heck am i thinking!?

This morning bright and early we went to Los Pipitos for our language training and after we toured the place. After only four short hours I can not communicate in Spanish with my family! Mind you it´s pretty broken, but it´s a start. I will never take this form of communication for granted ever again! Los Pipitos is a beautiful place! Its amazing in the same kind of way I found the Working Centre was like Oz! Each building is splashed with bright colors and photos of the children. Immediately I had a bunch of new friends once we met some of the kids and it didn´t matter if we couldn't speak to them because smiles and hugs are the same in every language and that's all they wanted.I think I am going to really like working here, how can anyone not with all of this positive energy floating through the rooms?

The obstacles this week have all taught me something. As Joanne says FRUSTRATION leads to LEARNING and once again she´s right.. I just hope that not every week has so many obstacles in store!


Greetings from Nicaragua!

WOW! What a roller coaster of emotions this past week has brought. When Mary Bee, Joanne and Lisa said to embrace the unknown they were not kidding! Nothing can really prepare you for jumping into a different culture complete with a new language, climate and ways of approaching life. When the five of us met in Toronto all keen and ready to jump into the unexpected I hadn´t the slightest clue what was ahead of me.. and to be honest i still dont!

The first day we were introduced to the way Nicaraguans approach time. Tamara- one of our leaders promised we would meet again the following day at 2 in the afternoon to begin our Spanish classes, our much needed Spanish classes i might add! 2 quickly became 3 turning into 5 that eventually ended up happening the next day. AHH i was so frustrated already! The only thing that got me through the first night was knowing I would soon be reunited with my fellow beyond bordians. Though my host family did their best at including me in their conversations I felt very alone and isolated. - which many of you know, is my biggest fear. If anything this feeling of isolation has been a huge motivator to not only immerse myself into the culture but to learn as much of the language as possible. Those terrible feelings of isolation will return, i am sure but right this second I have found some kind of momentary comfort that I will enjoy for the time being!


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Last night at Home

Tonight is my last night at home, and tomorrow the much awaited adventure begins. If I told you I was excited it would be a lie. Emotions are flowing like no tomorrow and I'm basically feeling nerves galore. I know once I say goodbye to my parents and congregate with the other Students who are headed to Nicaragua things will be better, but until then I am nervous, scared, teary and anxious to say the least. My stomach feels like it's hit the floor, and though it could be the malaria pills, I feel like ti's nerves getting the best of me.

The hardest part about leaving for the summer is not being able to see my family. They are the greatest support system anyone could ask for, however with them in another country things don't feel as warm and cuddly. I have received some wonderful face book messages, e-mails, phone calls and letters from the people that believe in me, and they have meant the world to me. I am planning on printing them off and reading them in those dark moments when home is the number one thought on my brain. I just want to thank everyone for their support and It just a few weeks I will be back with many stories to tell. The next time I will be writing is when I will be settled into my temporary home in Central America, hopefully with a few stories to share as well.