This is officially my last week of work at Los Pipitos and it´s got me thinking back to they first impressions I had when I first stepped foot into dear old Esteli and what kinds of thoughts I will walk away with once I pack up and head home. Not to anyone´s surprise I´m sure, all my previous expectations FAILED miserably, yet thankfully most of the feelings I had in May have mostly changed for the better into a much calmer version.
For example, after one week of living in a dodgy neighbourhood I pretty much ´hated´ Esteli. Now I never wanted to come out and say HATE but i´m pretty sure there was some serious emotion I was dealing with. I couldn't take the heat, the men, the lack of organization, the language barrier and the fact that I left cheddar cheese behind. After many many conversations with a lot of helpful and caring people the really bad soon got sorted out and the rest, well it kind of faded into the dust. I mean really, I guess even I can do with a little less cheddar in my diet.
It´s refreshing because I will be leaving Esteli on Monday and free from hate. I still have frustration and confusion, it´s still foreign and I still don´t like everything here but I think you could say that about anything that isn´t ´home.´ Heck, you can even probably say it about home. The heat I have finally gotten used to, the cheese is missed only vaguely (shocking I know) and the language barrier has started to come down a little. The lack of organization would take much longer than three months to get used to and the men- well I don´t think no matter how long I love here I will get used to them, but now at least I can tolerate it. It feels strange to look back and try to feel the way I once did. I think a lot of the mix of emotions had to do with pure confusion. Now that I know the people a little better and the town itself it makes me fear less and enjoy my time more. I wish I would have known beforehand that ´things will get better´ because at times I was seriously doubting this advice.
The mix of emotions have all lessened and now I´m left feeling bittersweet. Part of me is ready to close this chapter and head back home to where my family is waiting and another part wishes I could stay and live it a little longer. It´s been such a long and difficult road to finding ´normal´ here that now I just want to sit back and enjoy it a little. The impressions I had when I had been here for a week were mostly built off of fear and ignorance, however I can now say I feel comfortable here, and maybe even like it. I´m glad that my feelings towards this city has changed even if it took so long to do so. Better late than never.