Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Here is the link to the kodak gallery where I have posted some pictures, more to come! These are from the first few weeks, many of them are already on the blog.

These pictures were taken at a baptism/birthday party that we went to. We played pin the tail on the girafe, and of course there was a piñata!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Paul Rocks!

Paul pretty much rocks. Paul, letter number four, pretty impressive. Kelly has yet to email me 3 times, not that I´m counting or comparing.

So the spider in the bathroom was around AGAIN on Sunday morning, at about 5 am. I went to go and pee and there is was, on the wall across from the toliet. I obviously knew that he did not want me in there, so I went back into Jeff´s room to ask him to kill it or at least come and look at it because it was so huge. He whined, and said he was scared and didn´t want to. He didn´t even want to look at it. So he told me to ask his host mom to kill it for me. Which I did, because she was obviously sweeping the house at 5 am. She is about 5 feet tall, maybe weighs 100 pounds, maybe, and is almost 70 years old. But she stapped that sucked with the broom and crushed the hell out of it. It was amazing. No fear what so ever. I wouldn´t even step foot into the bathroom, but then again, I didn´t have a broom. What are we going to do when we live by ourselves with no Nica mom to take care of us?

Also, on the food note, the other day my friend Kat ate over for lunch. It was pretty much the most exciting thing thats happaned this week. Something different. Anyways, we ate something that I have had before. My host mom knows I don´t eat red meat, and I have questioned some of the meat before this, but it is always pollo, well thats what she says. So after lunch our spanish teacher asked what we ate and I said pollo, and Kat so no way that was not chicken so we asked my mom and she had to tell the truth, it was lamb. I was crushed. I was just going to say that was my first time eatting lamb, but I think that I have had it before in a gyro. Anways, I wonder what else I have been eatting that I don´t even know about. I knew chicken wasn´t supposed to be brown, but I didn´t think that she would actually feed me non chicken. Oh well, it helps me go to the bathroom because it upsets my stomach. So there is an upside.

I also had another language interview and I am now at intermediate mid which is the level we need to stay here. Yeah! I started at novice mid fuerte, which means that I was almost to novice high but not quite, so have moved up quite a bit.

Hope everyone is doing well. Tomorrow is hump day! Jenny

Saturday, October 21, 2006

That´s using your head

One of the projects required of every training town is to start a youth group and do a project during our 11 weeks of training. After a few failed attempts at different projects, the group decided that with the time left (4 weeks or so) they wanted to start a soccer league and have a tournament. So they got everything organized and got 12 teams together with about 2 days. So our youth group went from about 3 kids at its lowest point to roughly 70 now. We play twice a week at the local baptist church which has a basketball-soccer court. The court is a little small so we play with 3 players in the field and a goalie for each team, and we use a size three ball. Oh yeah, and on 3 of the four sides its surrounded by 20 foot tall fences, its kinda like a mix between a steel cage match and soccer. The kids that play are between about 13 and 18, except for Tony and I. But dont worry its not like we are better than these kids... i now understand better way the US struggles in world soccer, these kids are good, or maybe its the fact that ive never played organized soccer. Either way, after two games the team that Tony and I play on has 1 loss and a tie. We even have a ref who gives out yellow and reds cards (and there´s usually a few every game), hes a teacher for the school and he comes and does it for free which is a great help. The highlight so far for a lot of the 60 or so people watching was in our first game, when with in the first three minutes i had the ball kicked directly into my nose. Its one of those ¨oooooh¨for the crowd type moments. Surprisingly there was no blood and i dont know how my nose didnt break, but after a few seconds i was able to mumble to the ref ¨listo¨and i played the rest of the game with a very numb face. We actually have our third reg. season games tonite depending on if it rains or not and if we have power.

Paul, thanks for the continued mailings, i cant find your new email address so you will have to send it to me again.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Semana 7

Today is the first Saturday that we haven´t had some sort of training activity in a month I think. It was great to sleep in a little bit, as much as we could. I´m pretty sure Jeff´s host mom was cleaning the bathroom at 5 o´clock this morning. It was still pitch black.

It has been raining here for a week straight. I don´t remember when the last time was that I saw sun. Because of this, I have a lot of dirty clothes. My host mom asked to wash them and I said no because it was just going to rain on them. When it rains on clothes after they´re washed, they smell really gross. But she insisted, and now they have been hanging wet in the rain for about 4 days now, really streched out, probably more wet now then right after she orginally washed them, and they will go right into my dirty clothes basket because they will smell so gross and I won´t wear them. I really don´t understand the point of washing them in the first place.

The last week we haven´t had electricity during the evening. There have been a lot of dinners in the dark. It can been nice however because we talk a lot more. But we haven´t really gotten a chance to use the internet because of this.

Jeff and I are coming to the end of training! We will be here all of next week, then we go and visit our site, Chinandega for a week. We have to cut our trip a day short because the election in the following weekend. But then we are only in our site for one more week, off to Managua for 2 weeks and then living for 2 years in Chinandega. I can hardly wait! I will really miss some of the friends that we have made, but am eager to make new friends that will be living near us. Also we will be living with the director of Jeff´s school for the first 6 weeks. That could either be really good or really bad. I´m going to go with good.

This morning I took my first bucket bath! I just found out that my family purchased a tank that holds water for a week and is connected to the bathroom and the kitchen. The bought it when they found out that I was coming! This is why we have always had water when nobody else does. Anyways, we are staying at Jeff´s this weekend so I took a bucket shower. It wasn´t too bad until I was almost done washing my hair ready to soap up and I looked down and there was the biggest spider I have ever seen, sort of hairy, right behind the bucket. We stared at each other for a minute until we decided that the shower wasn´t big enough for both of us, then I decided to get out. Soap was not as important as my evacuation I decided. Jeff didn´t believe me and went to investigate, but sure enough the sucker had disappeared into the shadows of Jeff´s bathroom, and let me tell you, its the darkest bathroom I´ve ever been in. Neither of us were too excited to use the bathroom for the rest of the morning. The spider was definately not the kind of spider that would die on one smack of the shoe. That guy was a survior, and really big. Ehh.

Other than that, the only really exciting thing was watching monkeys from my bedroom last weekend. Jeff and I could see them playing in the trees. That was kind of fun. Mainly this last week has been a ton of work on teaching, our youth projects, spanish class, and I have a teacher workshop that I am working on for next week. That is really all of the excitment. Lots of spiders and work. Talk to you all soon! Thanks to my dad for the book on Minnesota which my host family looked at for an hour and for the 3rd letter from Paul with CD. Pretty much, Paul rocks! Talk to you soon. Jenny

Monday, October 09, 2006

Vamos a vivir en.....

Because Jeff and I are married, and the ONLY married couple in our group, there was really only one site for us. It needed to be in a place that there are enough schools to work with and we will each have our own seperate jobs. Because of this, we found out WAY earlier than anyone else. The rest of our group has to find out the sites, Wednesday, rate their sites, Saturday, and then wait 2 more weeks to find out where they are going. One more reason it rocks being married. So we are going to live in.....the city of Chinandega! I´m sure nobody reading this knows what that means. Neither do we really. I DO know that it is HOT. It is usually referred to as the hottest place in Nicaragua. They only have 2 seasons, dry and drier. It usually stays around 90 degrees or upper 90s throughout the year I hear. However, we are close to many beaches (15 mintues by bus!) and volcanoes for those interested in visiting. We are also close to the famous city of Leon. I also tried to look for some websites about Chinandega, but there really isn´t info on the web about it. Not even that much in the Moon Handbook, the only book on Nicaragua. However, Chinandega is trying to increase their tourism, and are even coming out with a tourism guide book in November. When I get my hands on some info I will let everyone know. We will be visiting Chinandega in a couple of weeks for about 4 days.

Finding out where we were going to live for the next 2 years is pretty much the most exciting moment of our trip so far. Other than that, a few funny or interesting things have happened. One day while taking the bus, a man got on with a machette. They are very common for ¨mowing their lawn¨ ie. cutting grass, and other purposes such as clearing a path on the road less traveled. Anyways, he had to leave it at the front of the bus by the driver. I enjoyed that security check. I think that taking the bus here is the most entertaining thing ever and I always am exciting when we have to go anywhere by taking a bus, which is everywhere we have to go. Everytime something amazing happans. Today, Kat and I went to Masatepe, and I bought two t-shirts for $4. That was pretty cool. She bought one also. I find myself buying clothes that I probably wouldn´t wear in the US. Maybe I would wear them, but they wouldn´t be my first choice.

On Saturday, our group went to visit Volcan Masaya and then we went to a cave afterwards. We saw some bats. It was pretty hot out, but the views were amazing. Of course, I forgot my camera. The air on top of the Volcan was really sulfery and it hurt to breathe after about 2 minutes. That was on a very high point directly looking into the Volcan. It was pretty cool. We didn´t get to hike it however. There is a road that you get driven up. I am hoping to hike a volcan before we leave. And in Chinandega there are 2 cool Volcanoes, so I am in luck!

Other than that, things are pretty chill. My youth group is painting a mural on Anti-drugs and we are working with a local artist who is super nice and really really helpful. The mayor is also very helpful, but he is my cousin. And Kat´s too! What a small world.

I changed the setting so anyone should be able to post comments now. That´s for you Beth. I would also like to thank Luke and Sara(h)....sorry...for sending us candy and postcards. We devoured the entire bag of KitKats by the end of the training! Thanks!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Twins ¿que paso?

Why have the Twins lost 2 games in the playoffs. I am really disappointed, even from thousands of miles away. I still use the internet to see what is going on with the Twins and I am DISAPPOINTED two days in a row!

Yesterday Jeff and I were planning on watching the game because it was on cable in Granada, but NO LUZ. So no TV. Another disappointment! Yikes, one minute left. More later.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Granada is HOT!

Well Jeff and I have officially found the center of the sun. It's named Granada, Nicaragua and it is always blazing hot. Not to mention that not having water is a regular occurance, so though you're sweating and dirty, doesn't mean you get to shower! Though I should mention that I am totally a spoiled brat and we almost always have water at my house...even though some of the other part of the pueblo doesn't....I do! Haven't had to take a bucket shower yet, though I'm pretty sure thats all Jeff has taken expect for here, my house, and maybe twice at his house. See what I mean? Spoiled rotten.

Also interesting are the rolling blackouts that occur here because Spain owns the electric company or something....and I guess I don't know if they're rolling because they seem to go out at the same town all over the country, but once again, I'm not really sure about that either. I guess the times that there will not be luz {which everyone refers to electricity, simply...light} are published in the newspaper somewhere but I have yet to see this or know anyone that knows when the luz will be out. But when the luz comes back on at night when its dark, its like the greatest thing thats ever happaned and people scream and cheer they are so excited. It's a mini party every night.

Well as stated above, we are in Granada visiting another married couple who are actually volunteers and have been living here for roughly 3 months now. It is exciting getting to visit them because where they are isn't that far away from us obtaining...they have just recently gotten out of training, well 3 months, and I can't wait to be there! They work in schools so we got to observe those and they are very different from each other, the United States, you name it. We had some interesting experiences. At one of the schools we went to observe, the class that was supposed to be taught by the volunteer we were with got cancelled because the students in 4th year(about 11th grade)went on strike. So we didnt get to see any teaching at that school. But at another school that we went to with him we got to see one of the best behaved classes i have seen anywhere, US included. There were about 30 students in the class and they all were engaged and participating. Hopefully we get classes like that when we get our assignment! But Granada is amazing, just not much to do if you don't have money, and we are in that category. I don't really understand what people do here if they are backpacking and don't have much. However, that said, 20 bucks would go a really long way, we just don't really have that much money. Jeff and I are making about 15 dollars a week right now. Thats right, be jealous. Even AmeriCorps pays better than that! However, I guess we're not really doing this for the money. If we were, we would be in for a big surprise.

We are hoping to watch the Twins game tomorrow as the volunteers we are visiting have cable. We watched the Yankees v. Tigers game tonight once the luz came back on. But, we head back to our training pueblos tomorrow. We have free internet until tomorrow afternoon so now is your chance to write us and get a quick reply back! Hope to hear from everyone. Go Twins.