Life in the Country!
Do you find yourself wishing you had more time to read or just take a walk, that you could get up whenever you want, that you could eat tortillas, cheese and beans for every meal, saddle up on a horse and ride off into the sunset, well, welcome to my world! : )
I arrived at my site last Friday after about 2 weeks of staying in nice hotels with a.c., hot showers where the water pours out of the shower head like warm honey, the most delicious and well-balanced meals you can think of with fruit galore. I purposely refused any offerings of beans and rice during this time because I knew that once I got to my site I definitely would not be lacking in these food groups! : )
So, more about my town. Like I said, it is a VERY small town in the rolling hills of Chontales. Each time I take the bus to the next nearest town I am just amazed at how beautiful it is and that I get to live in the midst of it for the next two years. So far, I have discovered two stores that sell things in my town, but only the basics...toilet paper, soap, gasiosa (pop), juice, etc. However, when I need to go grocery shopping for milk, cereal or other necessities it´s just a 45-minute bus ride to the nearest grocery store. Speaking of cereal, I think I freaked my new host mom out a little when I asked to have just oatmeal for breakfast...with NO beans and NO cheese. She tried to convince me that it´s simply not done that way here and that one needs to have those basic staple foods with each meal. After some convincing, I finally got her to let me just have the oatmeal. This morning I tried again, but she already had my breakfast prepared...tricky, tricky! I have been trying to get out each day and get to know at least one new family...for those of you who don´t know, one of my principle goals while I am here is to meet all 450 people that live here. I don´t think it´s that unreasonable. You may wonder, ¨Why only 1 family?¨ This is because when you meet someone for the first time, especially here, I usually spend at least 2 hours talking to them and during that time they offer me something to eat, usually ??, you guessed it, beans and cheese (cuajada). So, I´ve tried to plan to visit people when I haven´t eaten for a while because they take offense if you don´t at least eat some of what they offer you, no matter if you have just eaten lunch. Last night, I went to a vela with a family I have come to know. The vela kind of reminded me of a viewing at a funeral, except pre-death. The father of the owner of the one store (pulperia)in town is very sick and therefore, very close to death. Since they don´t have enough money to send him to the hospital, he sleeps in a bed in the middle of the living room. During the vela, people from the town come to visit him daily. It´s actually very sweet, although I felt a little ackward being that I didn´t know him. There were two little girls there that I had just met from the school, so they were teaching me Spanish and I taught them some words in English. It´s funny, but the time I felt the most comfortable was sitting there playing with them on the porch of their house.
Besides that, my life here has been pretty slow and tranquilo as I find myself often saying. I´ve gotten the chance to read a lot, I´ve also been getting into the Spanish soap opera that comes in on our only channel (the dos) at 8:00, after which I am usually tired enough to go to bed. I am looking forward to returning to my first host family´s house for Christmas. So far, I haven´t seen many signs of Christmas in my town, although I doubt many people will be putting up trees or lights considering their level of poverty. I know understand what the other volunteers mean about the days feeling so long, but the weeks flying by. I can´t believe that I have almost been here a week...and in Nicaragua just over 3 months!
As you can tell by the size of my town, I do not have regular access to internet, so I will try to update and check e-mail every couple of weeks. It shoudn´t be that difficult in the meantime considering I won´t be teaching until the beginning of February. Hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are getting ready for the Christmas season. Today, since I am in the ¨big city¨I am going to treat myself to pizza and icecream for lunch! Hasta pronto!