Sunday, September 21, 2008


There have been many times here that have been difficult, and I know that I won´t remember those as much as the good. So today, I made a list for myself just in case I was feeling really sad, I could remember what I really didn´t like. So here goes.
5. Being stared at when I´m walking anywhere, doing anything.
4. Being yelled at on the street, adiosssssss mi amorrrr, chelita, gringa, ect.
3. So much about the educational system that it could be its own list
2. The creatures..scorpions, rats, mice, spiders, tarantulas, cochroaches, yuck.
1. Sweating all day, everyday for 2 straight years! And smelling like it.

The bad doesn't even compare to the good, but the bad is a daily thing, and the good sometimes is more hidden. But here is what I will remember and miss, in no particular order.

Farah-the smartest little girl ever. She picked up English so easily and we spent many afternoons together in private English class. She is very creative, funny, and full of life. She invited me to her birthday party, we once took a 5 hour bus ride together on a packed bus and sang Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer like 20 times. I will miss that Farita.
My neighbors, not just these neighbors, but specifically bird. I am holding bird, or pajarito, in this picture, and this kid kept me entertained. The crying, the screaming, the AMAZING dancing, the spaziness of it all. I will miss bird. And speaking of spaz, I will also miss our next door neighbors, a family of 7 women and pobrecito Carlos.
My Telecentro English class. Some of these kids were in my community class for 2 years (Susy, Jared, Maried, Luis); others came and went. We had some good times, and we played a lot of UNO. We had a Halloween party, without costumes, we had a goodbye party before I went to the USA to visit for 2 weeks, and a welcome home party when I got back, and they also threw parties for my visiting family members. I think we actually just liked to throw parties, not learn English. This group of kids made my English class fun. I will miss Luis for never just calling once, but until I answer. I will miss Maried because she's fun and I really wanted to take her back to the states with us. I will miss Jared because she totally gets gringos and she always has something to say. She also helped me teach English to kids....that was fun.
My counterpart Henry. This is one dedicated, great, teacher. We had some great times teaching together for 2 years! We always spoke in English and Henry really took advantage of me working at INCH. It was great. Henry really made my service. I was lucky.
The gemelo. My best friend for 2 years. He is such a great friend, always doing things for me and helping me with things that I really don't want to do, i.e. chasing out an iguana that got itself stuck in a doorframe, killing a tarantula that was stuck in the sink, changing a lightbulb really really high up. You get the picture. In 2 years this kids English went from 0 to conversational. He also knows really great, useful phrases such as "Winner Winner Chicken Dinner" and "Cheater Cheater Pumpkin Eater". I really feel that Jeff and I realized our potential as English teachers with those lessons. But really, the Gemelo is a great friend.
Williams. Thats right, with a s. One of my 5th year students, turned friend. He walked me home everyday when I was being stalked by a taxi driver. He was my Spanish teacher before my interview. Williams is really chill, really good at English, and also an amazing friend. He knows more vulgar words in English than I do.
And of course, I will miss all of my Peace Corps friends. I wouldn't have made it without them! The following is a collection of good memories!

I am currently at home in Minnesota, I just got home last night. It is scary to be back, no place to live, no job, no car, no money! But its also exciting and completely awesome. Jeff and I were given a early COS (Close of Service) date because of a family situation. Jeff is, however, still in Nicaragua for 2 more weeks. So here I am, home, a RPCV. (Returned Peace Corps Volunteer)

Peace Corps is like a rollercoaster; you're up and you're down in a matter of seconds. There were many days were it went from great to crappy, back to normal in a matter of hours. Was it worth it? Ya, totally. I learned a lot: spanish, about Nicaraguan culture, about Central America, and about myself. I am very greatful for this opportunity, and yes, I would do it again. I will miss it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Nicaragua Independence Day 2008

Nicaragua´s Independece Day doesn´t just celebrate the independence of Nicaragua, but of 5 Central American countries: Guatamala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. It´s a pretty big deal. To celebrate, there are parades the two days before Independence Day. The first parade is when all the primary schools march. But not all the students get to march in Chinandega because we´re such a big city with so many schools, only the TOP students. This means the students who have the best overall percentage in classes, the band, and then some baton twirlers. Our neighbors marched with their school, and they carried the school banner.
Our other neighbours also were in the parade for their school. This is taken afterwards, in front of their house. One was a baton twirler, the girl in the middle was one of the best students, and the little one carried the Nicaraguan national symbol.
The big day in the second parade-the parade for all of the high schools. This year 21 high schools marched in the parade. My school has 4,000 students, and a few hundred walked. First come the best of the best, wearing their very military style outfits, or maybe it looks more like a pilot. The best of the best carry the school banner, the school symbol and the flags for all the Central American countries that gained their independence on this day. Its a pretty big deal. And they have to buy those outfits!!! 500 cords! (40 dollars). The teachers walk behind all of the students, which is why we were lucky enough to get to walk too.
Me and my favorite students. Maried, Williams, Carlos, me, Ricardo, Mariela, and Rider.

Jeff and one of his students who is carrying the flag for Jeff´s school, Tomás Ruiz.
The chaos that is the parade.

Danica and me holding our school´s symbol. Danica is a new TEFL volunteer who is replacing me! Yeah!

Jeff school marched at spot number 14. This took place at about 10 a.m. We got to the baskeball court, where this all takes place, at 6:30 a.m. And it was hot. Really hot. Those poor kids in those pilot suits.
And here come Jeff and Elizabeth. Elizabeth is our new sitemate. She is working at Jeff´s school, and will replace him there.

All schools must do a presentation before they leave the baskeball court to march. Here is my schools amazing performance.
And we´re off marching. Thank god. We were the LAST school. Number 21! We left at 11 a.m.
I don´t think that I can fully explain the chaos that is the Indpendence Day parade. So you get there in the morning and wait all day to start. The baskeball court is filled with hundreds, thousands of students and other observers. Then you finally start walking. I was already drenched with sweat when we left. The march is about 2 hours long. The band plays and the girls dance throughout the march. The sidewalks are packed with people watching. People are sitting on roofs, the sidewalk is overflowing on to the street. Then people start walking with you, infiltrating the band. I was walking with kids and adults up on me the entire time. It´s actually scary. The police sort of try and help, but give up after awhile. I was kicking people out and moving people the entire time. It´s hard for the kids to play the drums when someone is standing right next to them. But that is what those baton twirlers are there for. They swing those things right out into the crowd to move them back and keep them away. That part is great.

That was our second and last Nicaraguan Independece Day celebration. I know for sure that I will never experience anything like that again. Tear.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

El Chorizo!!!

The weiner race at the Milwaukee Brewers game!!
In early Aug. we went to the states for 3 days for my brother´s wedding in Milwaukee. It was a lot of fun, although tiring. The day after the wedding we went to the Brewers game with my brother and his wife, Wendy, and a few of their friends. When it came time for the weiner race I cheered with all my might for mi amigo, el chorizo, but it was for not. He was too quick out of the blocks and could not hold, fading face the second half of the race. Que Lastima!

Fish Story!

About a month ago I got the opportunity to go deep sea fishing. Our old sitemate, Ernie, who is working for Peace Corps now in Managua, invited me to go along with him and his dad, that was visiting, and another former PC volunteer from Ernie´s group, down in San Juan del Sur. This was the first time I have ever got to do anything like this, probably cause I suck at fishing. We went out with 2 guides and the 4 of us for the whole day. The guides provided everything, food, drinks, all necessary fishing equipment, etc. All we had to do is get ready. I was the 3rd person to get a chance to reel one in. The first two were good sized fish, but it took them maybe 10 minutes to reel them in. Just my luck when it was my turn I got what seemed to be a good sized one also.

Here is me working hard.
It took me a good half hour to get this fish in the boat. I struggled through fatigue, cramping, and my swimsuit falling almost all the way off me(nothing like showing your ass to everyone on the boat when you are trying to reel in the big one!), because of my weight loss here, but I didn´t let go of that pole. And the results were this...
It was a about a 70 lbs. wahoo. The guide said it was the biggest he had seen caught of that type. Talk about luck! After that we did not have as much luck catching fish, but I did get some awesome sea sickness after I caught my fish. Luckily Ernie´s dad is a doctor and he prescribed me 2 beers and a half a dramamine, which did wonders.
When we got back to port the guide cut up all the fish. We took about 1/6 of the meat from the fish I caught and brought it to a restaurant owned by a chef from California. He cooked it up with some veggie, mashed potatoes and a sauce on top. It was really good, (even Jenny ate some). Here are the catches from the day, minus one which is still in the boat. The two others are Mahi Mahi.
So that is my fish story for my lifetime. I am just glad that it was bigger than the one my dad caught ice fishing and mounted so I can tease him!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

It´s been awhile

Well, it has been quite awhile since we have written! Since our last blog, we have gone to the United States and it was glorious! I was so excited to go, and it lived up to its expectations. We did so many fun and great things. First, we went to our friends Courtney and Nate´s wedding. It was really fun and a great way to start off our trip. And it was the first time that we have looked nice for over a year and a half!
Courtney and Nate had a female minister. Our friends here thought that was strange. We don´t just for the record.
Later, we also went to my stepbrother Aaron´s wedding. Here we are with my stepmom Luann in downtown St. Paul. The twin cities are so great! We also had a really good time at this wedding, as it was also very beautiful. That tornado warning didn´t stop us, even if we were told to move away from the very large windows to the back of the room. There was still beer.
Aaron and Kara got married at the James J. Hill Library. When we got back we showed the pictures to our Nicaraguan friends who thought it was so funny and strange to get married in a library. They told me, more than once, oh you gringos really love your books! You even want to get married around them! If you get bored at the wedding, you can read. Followed by laughing by everyone but me. I tried to explain how beautiful it was, but it was lost in cultural differences.
Another favorite pasttime that we have missed was lawn games. Here is Jeff with Renee playing Bag-O. A favorite.
We also enjoyed our favorite local beer, Summit. We have really missed good beer, as there are about 2 options here, both leaving something to be desired. Unless you are a Miller or Bud Light fan, well then, you might be pleased with the beer here. Notice, I am wearing 2 sweatshirts. It was that cold!! (the following pictures are ripped off from Veronica, thanks!)
Jeff also taught some signs that are popular here in Nicaragua. We were remembering that goal number 3 of the Peace Corps is to educate US citizens about our host country. Jeff was on the clock here, giving a short charla on nonverbal communication. We did also go to Southside Family School and give a presentation on our experiences here in Nicaragua. This nonverbal presentation was not included.
We also relived some oldies, but goodies.
And we drank more good beer! Guiness, I miss you....oh, and I miss you too Shaun.
We saw a lot of family and friends and went to 2 twins games! We also ate out at all of our favorite joints. We had a really great time.

Since returning to Nicaragua, Jeff and I have both judged an English singing competition. I judged one for an elementary school where the second place winner was a little 4th grade boy who sang ¨My Heart Will Go On¨ by Celine Dion while wearing a suit and tie. Just thought I would mention that....

Well, at any rate, we are back in Nicaragua and we have 5 months left here. Our replacements are coming next week. And, just for the record, its still really hot here.