Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Top Ten

Once again thank you to all have been reading. This is my final post regarding my Nicaraguan adventure, however I am sure with the adventures ahead there will be much more blogging. I leave you all with the top ten things to learn while living in Nicaragua..

10- laxatives and Imodium will began to control your life. Be prepared, not dependant.

9- there are beans and then there are rice, and then if your lucky there is beans and rice together. It's 'Gaillo Pinto' and if your fortunate you will only eat it once a day. :)

8- Rehab may need to be considered when coming back home. Beer is a dollar, and it's super hot.. a pretty dangerous combination.

7- There is an abundance of dogs in Esteli. By day you'd never know it. By night they make up for it. An alarm clock is really unnecessary

6- Getting from A to B can mean anything from walking, hitchhiking, busing, riding on a motorcycle or even many hours on my favourite; the chicken bus etc..

5- 'Timeliness" does not exist and it's best to learn it as soon as possible. Being late doesn't really exist either, It's all 'Nica Time' and it'd be best just to accept it.

4- "I love yous" and marriage proposals are an everyday occurrence. - Don't be flattered and don't accept them.

3- By the time you leave Nicaragua you may be missing clothes and the ones you still have will be stretched and probably with holes, but they will be clean and for that you will appreciate them

2- When the guide book says 'quaint' or 'rustic' be afraid. A rustic bus ride means 2 hours in a cramped bus with chickens, kittens, babies and lots and lots of other people

1- Mangoes fall like the rain. Watch yourself, try not to get hit. You've been warned.

Hope you enjoyed the countdown and all the other ups and downs along the way!

A growing awareness

Awareness of self is a tricky concept to understand and kind of a hard thing to accept if you don't particularly like the new information. If I have come away from this adventure with anything it is a great awareness of self. Many of the things I have uncovered about myself would never have been put into question if it weren't for many of those difficult situations I have since experienced. I had an expectation, a vision maybe that I would enter Nicaragua loving it, if not instantly than very very quickly. "They" said I would pick up the language fairly quickly, and I believed it. I believed that the language barrier would only last a short time, and soon enough I would really be able to communicate with the kids I was working with, the adults I was working for, my family and local friends along the way, however you can't really just 'pick up' a language like you'd pick up some forgotten item at the grocery store. It takes more time, effort and energy than I ever anticipated. In short, I thought I could pick up my life,plant it in some third world country and be the traveling gypsy I have always wanted to be.. but quickly I learned that this 'me' well.. it isn't really me at all.

I had these great expectations for my self and through the last three months I have learned that these are great expectations, wonderful even, but perhaps they are great and wonderful for someone else. At school they push seeing the world, how important it is, how much of a learning experience it will be and how it will forever shape you as a person. All of the above made me want to jump on board , but as I was jumping into this exciting, new, foreign world I thought for some reason I had to leave the other world behind, which has ignited many mixed thoughts and confused feelings. However after the time abroad and many nights spent thinking about it I have finally come to the conclusion that it doesn't have to be one or the other. I know this doesn't sound like rocket science and many probably have no idea why I was thinking such crazy thoughts, but here I am, and yes I was thinking them. I've learned that there is a thing called balance and it can be achieved. I've learned that I can travel to the four corners of the earth, but it doesn't necessarily have to be months at a time, and I've learned that there is no shame in wanting to travel differently. I mean though it is an experience, who really wants to sit in a chicken bus for five hours in the heat? I'll tell you, I think no one! I've also learned that traveling the world and volunteering is a very special experience, but there are also very special opportunities in my own backyard. As much as I thought this trip was about poverty awareness and experiencing a different culture, it was also about me, about who I am, and who in the future I hope to become. Three months took me on a roller coaster of emotions, tested everything I knew and challenged me in ways I never would have expected, and with all that said and done I am a little closer to discovering the true me, and for that i am grateful.

Monday, August 17, 2009

lots of gratitude

With wrapping up the final week of work it has brought many different feelings to the surface. I still have two weeks here but because it's more like a vacation than anything those two weeks have a different mentality. The final days bring happiness, sadness, many goodbyes and an appreciation for all of the wonderful support I have received since leaving three months ago.

Before I left I couldn't tell you how anything would play out, and that even includes the kind of support I would receive from the people I left behind. Now don't get me wrong, I knew everyone would be rooting for me, but I also know that people are very busy. Busy with work, school, family and adventures of their own. However through an abundance of e-mails, letters, phone calls and blog comments I have never felt so loved and supported. Those efforts was enough for me to know 'I'm not alone' especially in the darker days of the trip, and for that I want to thank you all! I couldn't have lasted without the help, I couldn't have lived through the dark days without know the lighter days would come. I am very grateful for having such wonderful friends and family that these last few days have me thinking about you all. Thank you for cheering me on in the times of triumph and comforting me in the times of defeat. Can't wait to see you all!

a little catch up

So first things first, I apologize for basically dropping off the face of the planet and traveling around the rest of Nicaragua. After leaving Esteli the time continued to fly by and I had an amazing time and I am now safe and sound back in the comforts of home. I have a few more posts to add that were written while I was still away and between all of the goodbyes didn't have a chance to post. Hope you enjoy the wrapping up of a very long adventure and thank you for coming along with me.