6 Days

So much has happened in the last 10 days.

My wonderful friend Andrea came to visit me from New York, where we met in 3rd grade.  And we went to go see Harry Potter 7 part 2.  I have to say, it was splendid.  So splendid that I went and saw it again this past weekend with Reggie when he came to see me for a few days.

Being in a long distance relationship definitely adds an extra challenge to my journey to Nicaragua.  I already miss Reggie all the time, and the additional communication complications abroad, in addition to the fact that four months is the longest we have ever gone without seeing each other, mean that August through December will provide a whole new layer of challenge for both of us.  Since he plans to move to Chicago right after I return, there is a VERY bright light at the end of the tunnel, which is so encouraging!  Letters, email, and skype will help us get through the upcoming semester.

I did find out some exciting information this week…I’ll be living in a house of 8 students in Managua, only ten minutes from the university.  Even more interesting is that I think I’m going to be the only international student.  Initially I was disappointed that I did not have a traditional host family, but I think this really will be a great fit.  I will be free of some of the dietary and lifestyle limitations that come with a host family, but it is not as though I will just be living with a bunch of Americans either.  I hope it is as great as I am expecting!

With just six days to go, I have lots of packing and sorting to do, and I am feeling so blessed because my friend Kara is coming for two days to help and keep me sane, and then right after that, my mom is coming to see me and help me actually move my stuff.  I am soooooooo glad because I moved myself in May and let me just say, that is not an experience I look forward to ever repeating again.

Six more days.  Ah!!!!  I’m gonna go keep packing now…

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Preparation

In three weeks, I will get up in the middle of the night (or probably just stay up all night, realistically, because I procrastinate), and get on a plane and fly to Texas.  I wish I had a longer layover in the Lone Star State, because I’ve never been there.  If I did, I would try to visit my dear friend Kim, who is converting to Cowgirl this summer, and also buy a good pair of cowgirl boots because that is a dream of mine.

But I’ll only be in Texas, where the state small mammal is an Armadillo, for about an hour before I head off to Nicaragua (aka Ragua by some…).  I’ll be in Managua, the capital city, for the next four months.  My specific location will be at Universidad Americana de Managua.  There are far more unknowns at this point than anything else- I know the essentials, like when my flight is and who to contact in an emergency and what the currency is, but I don’t know what my living situation will be like (just that I’ll have one), or what classes I’m taking, or if I will understand anyone at all for the first bit I’m there, or almost anything about what everyday life will be like.  This is exciting and terrifying, depending on the day, and most days, it is a little of both.

Here is something else that I do not know: what my internet access will be like.  So, if you are someone I like, or if you like me, which probably you are because you are taking the time to read this, I may not be able to skype with you or email you as much as I would like.  I will most likely only have a phone for international calls in the case of an emergency, so that is also not an option for chatty updates and such.  The reason this is important is because, once I am actually in Managua, my goal is to write on here three times a week.  That means that if you are wondering if I’m alive and well, and what the heck I am doing, this is a great place to check!

So, in order to prepare myself as best as I can before I go, I have been trying to study and review Spanish as much as possible (and of course practice when I have opportunities).  I have also been doing some research on the history of Nicaragua, and it’s really frustrating how relatively little information there is on this nation.  Two of the best resources I’ve come across so far are these two documentaries:

Pictures From A Revolution:  If you are interested in photography, or anything having to do with revolutions, social justice, or inequality, you really should watch this.  It’s available on Netflix to watch instantly and is only an hour and a half long.  Totally worth it.

Dreaming Nicaragua:  The cutest sad thing ever.  It’s the story of these four kids, and it shows where the pain of their lives and the beauty of hope intersect.  It made me tear up a few times, to be sure.  This one is extremely entertaining, but harder to locate.  The NPU library has a copy, but it isn’t on Netflix or available online anywhere else that I know of.  Below is the trailer, just to give you a taste of the bitter(but mostly)sweetness of this film.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPianvH3iqw

That’s everything for now- wish me well as I try to tie up all the loose ends here in Chicago, and prepare for a very interesting semester ahead!