Thursday, May 31, 2007

Hurray for not being sick!

Well it was just earlier this week that I had my first normal poo in over a month. Being sick for a month really wears on you and to be honest I have really been feeling pretty crappy about living in Nicaragua. I haven´t really had strong urges to come home until now. We are working on our 7th month of service right now and it´s been rough, well at least for me. Being sick and hot and not exactly THRILLED with my job, all amount to Jenny (me speaking in the 3rd person) wanting to come home as fast as possible. Not to mention I found the perfect job for me at a charter school located on craigslist. Thats right, I was even looking for jobs at home.

But just as I thought I couldn´t take the heat anymore, it started raining! And my illness went away and I could finally EAT! Speaking of the rain, when I talked to Ernie about the rainy season, he said ¨Its not like it rains EVERYDAY.¨ Well guess what, it has rained everyday since it started. Hard a lot of the time too. I don´t mind yet. I´m sure it will get old after awhile, but right now it makes me really happy. It´s so much cooler!

And speaking of the rain, when it rains really hard, they cancel school. It floods really fast here so when it is downpouring the streets flood in a matter of minutes. Its amazing. Jeff and I have recently taken some pictures of the rain that we will post soon. The walkway between our bathroom and our living room floods instantly and we have to wear knee high boots to go to the bathroom. Its kind of fun, only because I´ve never HAD to wear rain boots before.

So now I´m feeling better and life in Nicaragua seems normal again. It´s funny what being sick can do to you. I have decided to write 10 reasons why I like living here, because once again....I like living here. Here goes.

1. Our neighbors our awesome!

2. I can wear sandals all year round.

3. I can eat mangoes out of a bag when I feel like it (if they are in season of course)

4. I shower outside (sort of) which I assume I won´t be doing again when I live in the US.

5. I get to learn another language and it doesn´t cost anything! (except for 2 years, 3 months)

6. Most everyone is really nice to me and wants to be my friend.

7. I don´t have to drive. I can walk almost everywhere.

8. I get to meet some really amazing people that I would never have had the chance to meet otherwise, including other volunteers and of course Nicaraguans.

9. I am a specialist at what I do! (there aren´t too many other native English speakers at my school, actually I´m the only one)

10. Many people WANT to learn English. This makes our program a little different from others because people are constantly wanting our help. Nobody ever looks at me and what are you doing here? We have so many requests we have to turn people down. Its great (for us).

So there you go. They are in no order. Tomorrow evening we are having our first youth group meeting. We have space for about 15 people. About 60 have expressed interest. To cut down on our students we did the following:
we charged 20 cords (1 dollar) for the class that we are going to use for a whiteboard. We are ONLY speaking in English. Its at night at our house which is kind of far for many students. So we´ll see how it goes. Hope it doesn´t rain!

Friday, May 25, 2007

how to lose weight in eh, 2 years and 3 months

Well I have contracted my first bacteria! And IT DOESN´T WANT TO GO AWAY! About 3 weeks ago I was feeling sick, couldn´t really eat and had diarrea in the mornings. So I went and did some poo samples and it always came back saying NO PARASITES (but in spanish, obviously) But the Peace Corps kept making me do more samples! So I went to Managua to give a training to the new TEFLers and I got really sick the next day! So I went and did another poo sample in Managua this time, and it turns out that I have a bacterial infection. So lab guy in Chinandega wasn´t doing the correct test and so he didn´t find the bacterias! This was a problem that could have gone away in 3 days, but instead I got to keep it for 2 weeks. Lucky me. So I got the medicine and thought all would be fine. I finished the meds, and still have problems! I still can´t eat very much and have diarrea in the mornings. (I know everyone wanted to know) Its not very much fun. So I´m sure more poo tests are in my future. I don´t know why this bacteria is hanging out for so long. It will not die. My stomach must be a very comfortable space. However, I have lost about 5 pounds. My neighbors make remarks about this all the time. Sos muy delgada! Glad to know they thought I was sort of fat before. So maybe its not the greatest way to lose weight, but Jeff and I have both decided, or it was decided for us, to take this route. We look at pictures of Winter Jeff and Jenny and talk about how fat we used to be! Those were the days when we could eat good food! In case you´re wondering what I am craving the order
1. Cheese Fondue with bread and apples
2. gorgonzola cheese!
3. Thai food
4. fancy lettuce. I love a good salad, and I hate iceburg lettuce!!!
5. pesto...oh how I love pesto
6. cheese, cheese, cheese
7. ceasar salad
8. red onions
9. a good sandwich, with fancy mustard, fancy lettuce, and a red onion
10. Dr. Pepper and Mountain Dew, Cherry Coke, anything with caffinee that isn´t coke or coffee would be nice

When we were in Managua, I had hummus! It was soooo amazing. I would add that to my list above somewhere. I love hummus! So we can get most of this food somewhere in the country, it just costs more than we have in our living allowance! A lot more....but it is so worth is once in a while. Okay, I´m done talking about food now. Can you tell I haven´t really eaten much in 3 weeks?

Thanks Kara and Steve for the candy. It was gone in 3 days!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Pictures from Jeff´s School

More photos of Jeff´s school:

Here are some amazing photos from my school, Instituto Tomás Ruiz Romero. My school is a little smaller than Jenny´s, about 1,500 students compared to 4,000. We have classes in the morning,7th -9th grade, and the afternoon, 9th-11th grade. We also have classes all day on Sunday, for non traditional students, but I do not help with those.

This is the front entrance to my school where the security guard hangs out.

This is our "concha", which is used for assemblies, soccer, basketball, and it used to be 2 classrooms before they finished the new classrooms.

11th grade students in one of my classes hard at work.

Friday, May 04, 2007

We got Punk´d (Nica style)!

Yesterday afternoon I was in my house when I recieved a text message from another volunteer that went something like this, "I just saw you get attacked by a monkey on tv! ha!" So, when Jenny´s dad and stepmom were here we went to Granada. We were walking down one of the streets, everyone was smiling and staring at us, which is not usual since we are gringos. Then all of a sudden a gorilla jumped out from behind a car and did a somersault towards us! Well, not really a gorilla but a man dressed up like a gorilla. Jenny´s dad did give him credit for a very realistic growl.
So I ran one way, Jenny and her parents ran the other. Jenny said she was very close to kicking the guy. And luckily for everyone´s amusement they were videotaping it and it is now being broadcast throughout the country. We have already recieved two messages from other volunteers that saw it on tv yesterday and the teachers at my school thought it was hilarious.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Dad and Luann come for a visit

Last week we got more visitors! My dad and Luann came down to Nicaragua. And they liked it! (I think) Except for all the trash in the streets of Chinadega, which I heard that my dad DID NOT like. Altough, who likes that? So we spent two very hot days in Chinandega where we went to dinner at my counterparts house and had traditional Nicaraguan food. It was really good and my counterpart speaks English very well so it went smoothly. Thank god. On Monday, dad and Luann came to my English class at the TeleCentro where the students were ready with questions......sort of. Some of their questions were a little weak because they were so nervous but they did a good job. They were soooooooo excited for them to come. They brought mangoes, coke, and cookies for my dad and Luann and they wrote Welcome Jenny´s Parents on the English! And it was perfect. I was very proud! I totally taught them about family vocab!!!! They were really cute and super excited to have visitors.

Afterwards, we went to Granada and the isletas tour. Thats where we were during this picture. For anyone coming to Nicaragua, it costs about $200 to $250 cords for an hour, don´t let them charge you more. Anyways... We went to Monkey Island with our driver who was really well prepared for tourists and really nice. He and Jeff shared a front seat of a taxi on the way to the boat. They became fast friends because or in spite of this close contact. Anyways, back to Monkey Island, the monkeys that were planted on this island for us to look at, are very used to people and want to come aboard and eat. As did this monkey below. Her friend, who is a he, also wanted to come onboard but I was told hes kind of mean and agressive, so they tried to avoid this and raced around with the girl monkey on top of their boat trying to get her back to the island while the male was trying to get on the boat. It was the highlight of this isleta tour for me. We all yelled and cheered them on, and I was glad they didn´t come on our boat.
Then we went to Pelican Eyes in San Juan del Sur and I was in heaven. You don´t have to leave the compound and you get to eat delicious food and drink normal drinks whenever you want. AND I love to swim in their pools. It was glorious. We swam all day long. This is an infinity pool. They have 3!
Afterwards, we went to Catarina, San Juan de Oriente, and the Volcan Masaya. This time, we took a car to the top even though my dad begged to climb up the volcano.
Here we are! (cute purse, huh Katie?)
I like volcanoes. We don´t have any in Minnesota. Afterwards, we went to Managua where we got to stay in the most comfy beds ever at the InterContinental. I love them. They also have really great bathrooms with hot water that comes out normally...sort of a luxury in hotels in Nicaragua. Well we had a great time.....and then we had to come back to Chinandega.

At first, I really really really really didn´t want to come back. I was clean and comfortable ALL WEEK and I was coming back to sweat, dust and dirt. I thought readjusting would be really hard, but by the end of the next day, I was used to it again, maybe I even missed it a little. I was happy to see people that I haven´t seen in a while and now all is well. But coming back from vacay is hard. But, after some whining, I guess I´m glad to be back in the Chin. No, I am glad to be back.