A few of my favorite things

I’m halfway through my second week in Nicaragua, and I thought I would just share a couple of the things that make life a little more sweet and a little more laughable here…

Our Tiny Pets:

Ok I know this isn’t the best picture, but this little guy is just one of the many, MANY geckos in our house.  At first they kinda grossed me out, but at this point they’re kind of fun.  I think it’s just one of the pleasures of living in a house where the indoors and outdoors are loosely defined; there are always little creatures around.

Nicaraguan Snacks:

What you see right here is called Pico, and it is in my top 5 favorite Nicaraguan foods.  Pico is basically a light flaky pastry that has crystally sugar and crumbly tiny cheese pieces inside.  It is so delicious.  I love it for breakfast with huevos, or basically any other time of the day.
Molasses is something I have always liked, but they do amazing things with it here.  Chocolate is just not a common treat here, but “instead”(I would argue that it is nowhere near an equivalent…) molasses is mixed with any combination of dried fruit, coconut, and finely chopped nuts.  These little treats mostly look like cat poo, but they’re actually delicious in small quantities.
Plantain anything is so so yummy.  Maduros,fried sweet plantains, any time of the day or night, or plantain chips with a little lime and salt, or tostadas, which in Nicaragua refers to green plantains that have been fried (sometimes boiled first) and smashed, and are often served with rice and beans or tortillas and refried beans.  Especially after enjoying plantains so much with Reggie’s family (sweet and fried, or cooked into delicious savory Haitian stews), I’ve really enjoyed learning to cook them in so many different ways.

This weekend I decided not to go to San Juan del Sur with everyone else from my group, because I’ve been pretty sick all week and could use the rest.  Hopefully another opportunity will arise in the coming weeks, because the beaches there are something I do not want to miss out on!

For now I’m going to go walk around campus a little bit and stretch my legs after this communication binge!  Hope you all in the states are having weather that is just as balmy but not so muggy as I’m enjoying here….

Muchos abrazos desde Nicaragua!!!

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Just real quick…

So, still no internet en la casa de las chicas, but I do finally have a snail mail address.  No pressure y’all, but a few people did ask for it so here it is 🙂

Liz Miller
C/O Yeska Walquiria Garcia
Universidad Americana
Campus UAM
P.O. Box A-139
Managua, Nicaragua

I’m still pretty sicky, lots of congestion and headaches, and so yesterdays holiday, Santa Domingo coming down from the mountain, was spent mostly in bed.

Soon to come :  Yankee Jesus in Nicaragua

 

Ya voy

It’s 8:45 on our first day of classes.  My housemate’s class starts at 9:15 and she wants to be sure she gets to the university in plenty of time.  We wait and we wait, and when the shuttle taxi is 5 minutes late, and Amy only has 25 minutes until class starts, she calls him.  “Ya voy!” he says, “I’m coming!!!”

Fifteen minutes later, the taxi arrives from the university, which is only ten minutes away at the most.

And on Saturday, our 3pm barbecue didn’t actually begin until 4:45 at the earliest.

And although we have a made and security guards and so many other luxuries in our home, we have no internet access, which makes communicating so very difficult. But don’t worry, we’re supposed to get it by Wednesday.  Oh wait, last Wednesday.  “Ya voy,” says the company, “Ya voy.”

Oh, Nicaragua.  For a girl who has over-committed and maintained a very tight schedule for quite a few years now, this will be a big transition.

In actuality, the laid-back feeling is really quite endearing.  And it’s only one of the many things that make the Nicaraguan people so different than other communities.

My favorite thing is the hospitality and openness.

A new friend here, Alejandro, drove our entire group to Laguna de Apoyo near Masaya.  Laguna de Apoyo is a beautiful lake surrounded by smallish mountains and two volcanoes.

It was a beautiful day at a beautiful place.  We met a guy named Ismael who shared his little boat with us which was fun, and then he joined us at a bar by the lake we were done swimming.

There we met the Perez family.  I first noticed Jerre (sp?), the four year old son, curling up in one of the many hammocks that hung between the tables and lawn chairs.  Over the loud salsa music, his parents encouraged me to take a picture of him all wrapped up in the hammock, but he got very shy.  Eventually, I started chatting with his mother Gloria and his two older sisters, Jesuara and Jini.  Gloria was obsessed with my lip piercing and asked me more questions about it than I thought possible (What did your mom think?  Can you describe for me how it felt?  How did you decide what side to get it on?  How much did it cost?  How many different jewelry have you tried in it?  What is your favorite?  Do you think a pink diamond would look pretty on me if I got one?), and then she asked if I would ever go with her to get her own lip pierced.  When we were heading out, Gloria gave me her phone number, address, and detailed directions to her home.  She assured me that me and any of my friends would be welcome to come over anytime we were near Masaya.

Her willingness to open her home to me just struck me as so unusual and sweet, but over and over, that is the kind of love and welcome that the Nicaraguans have consistently shown me and my friends.  It certainly has given me food for thought about how international students are treated in the U.S.  I hope we get to visit the Perez family the next time we’re near Masaya, and hopefully sometime I can make someone feel as welcome as these wonderful people made me feel.