Thursday, August 30, 2012

Weird Nicaragua

I don`t think I will ever get used to seeing men pee in public.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

One Month Down!

As of today I have been living in Nicaragua for ONE WHOLE MONTH! I think I am definitely still in transition mode because I cannot honestly say that I have enjoyed all of my time here. It has been a drastic change from my regular lifestyle, and unlike my trip to Germany, the changes here have not all been easily welcomed.  I have learned and have learned to adapt so much though. Here are some examples.....

  • I now love cold showers mainly because they wake me up for my early classes. 
  • I now can keep a straight face while cat calls are being made from every direction.
  • I love gallopinto!
  • I learned to raise my voice to let the bus drive know I want to stop. 
  • I can hail a taxi.... no problemo
  • I can be strong even when I am all by myself. 
  • I understand about 65% of what everyone says to me.
  • My eyes have been opened to the less than humble circumstances that many people live in. 
  • I have a deeper understanding of family relations.
  • And I want to do something in my life to help little innocent children. I have heard too many sad stories, its time to take action.
Time has gone by so fast here, and I only have three months left. Thank you for all the support. I am sure I will be learning so much more as time persists. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Pictures Finally

So yesterday I hit different mall, Metrocentral, and invested in a card reader. Somehow that idea took a couple weeks to cross my mind. Nonetheless, I can now upload the few pictures I have taken. I am still debating wether to invest in a small cheap camera  since the one I have is too large to be consealed. Any Any thoughts?

Here is my new, Nicaraguan home!
The dining and living room. The door on the far wall is the front door.
This is the kitchen. The stove to the left is power by a propane tank that has to be refilled every now and again. There are companies that will deliver full tanks to your house, like water companies in the States.

Here is my room!
 There are also two other bedrooms and two bathrooms that I did not take pictures of. Did not want to be intrusive.

This is a giant butterfly that landed in the living. It was huge! So huge that I was afraid to put my hand by it to show a scale of its size.
 Sorry for the tilted picture. The school computers do not have any editing programs for me to rotate, but this is a bag of strawberry milk, yummm. Several products are sold in bags like water, milk (chocolate, strawberry, and just plain milk), and sour cream. I bought this half liter for 9 cordovas (about 40 US cents) at the local venta or street store.

 Last Thursday was my host mom´s birthday so me and two other host moms threw a small surprise party! Here are some pics.
This is me with my Nica family.

This is Eliza, she is sooo adorable. She loves taking pictures and has many poses.

Here´s Eliza again with two of the other exchange students.

and finally a group picture. The two other moms are in this one. 

Overall the party was a success! We had great food made by the moms and I made a little cake. It was lots of fun!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Craziness.... Help please!

 I firmly believe that I am slowly going crazy in my host home. I had requested to live in a family that has children since I love kids so much, and I also did not want to get stuck with old, boring people. I was super thrilled to learn that my family had three children ages 12, 5, and 3.

 However, joining this family might have been a huge mistake. The children are constantly hitting each other, yelling, and crying about everything. They do things that seem so rude and disrespectful to each other such as a slap in the face as someone is walking by or ripping items out of each other´s hands. They have no respect for anything wether it is theirs or someone elses. The whining is nonstop, and if something is denied to them, screams and crying follows. Ironically, I am not just talking about the youngest two children. The oldest has the same problems. He is even worse though because on top of all this he is lazy, selfish, and decieving. Like a typical preteen he wants the rights of being grown-up but none of the responsibility.

The mom seems more concerned with rising chldren that obey commands than children that have respect. She is constantly yelling at them to sit up straight, eat correctly, not get dirty, and keep the house in order. However, she seems unconcerned when they are tackling, beating, and teasing.

I can not seem to find peace anywhere. The instant I leave my room, I am begged to play or dance, which I love to do just not all day, everyday. If I say no, the cries and screams begin. Even if I do dance and play for a bit and then need a break whining commences. I find myself more and more taking refuge in my room, blasting my Ipod to drone out the noise.

 Several times I have considered asking for a new host home, but I somehow feel that I could bring more love and peace to this family. Although, I am stumped concerning what I should do to help. The whole problem is so multifaceted leaving me in the dark. Do I just show as much love (which lacks in the family) as possible and hope they catch on? (This is what I have attempting to do already) Or do I start laying down the law and punishing rudeness? I have no idea. Also, I do not want to outstep my limits as a guest in the home by appearing to replace the mom with punishments, but I do not know that I can last much longer just sitting and watching.

I am only nineteen and have no children of my own, so I guess I am calling on all the moms that have raised sucessful families to help me. What should I do?????

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Nica Sexy

So in fear that my new diet of rice, beans, and some form of fried food might eventually catch up to me, I decided to try the local gym. Its right down the street from my school, and many people said it was a great place. I severely lack in concentration while exercising, so I knew my only hope was to attend the fitness classes. Some friends said that they were going to zumba, so I decided to tag along.

I had previously gone to a couple zumba classes in Arizona at the Mesa Multigenerational Center. Although the title hints that the center is for all ages, it mainly attracts older women. However, I had a great time at the zumba classes, learning short salsa steps and trying to keep rythem. Since the students in the class had an average age of 57, the steps were basic and slow paced. I did, however still get a pretty good workout.

I expected to attend a Nicaraguan zumba class that resembled my prior experiences, but boy was i wrong!!

This class was choreographed to mainly Pitbull hits and other high energy artists. The music was accompanied by many pelvic thrusts, seductive body rolls, and the frequent butt shake! I felt like I belonged in a gentlemens club, not a salsa competition. With the quick paced movements, I became drenched in sweat after two songs.

The other students acted as though this was perfectly normal for zumba. Clearly, these moves came much more naturally to them as I watched many of them executed the dances with perfection. However, many times I had to stop myself from laughing as I looked at the "sexy" faces they were making in mirror during the songs. But honestly sexy just seemed ingrained in their culture. It was normal for them. I, however, just shyly managed to survive (and embarrass myself) till the end.

Although I was often confused (and honestly felt a little dirty with some of the moves) I had a blast. It was a lot different than what I expected but still fun. I guess over the next couple of months, as I attend zumba,  I will be working to master these  flirtatous moves.  Who knows, maybe by the end I will be Nica Sexy!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Mercado Oriental

After about a twenty minute bus ride, I arrived and was really a bit confused. Sure it looked like a market: random fruit and meat stands, bustling people, sellers anxiously trying to draw your attention, but it did not seem any bigger than the Mercado Huembes I had visited a week prior. However, little did I know that I had not even actually entered the market.  My  unofficial Nica guide, Jose,  clearly knew the market by heart as he darted off into the entrance. My friend and I curiously followed behind ready to see Mercado Oriental had in store.

The first thing that hit me was the smell. Stronger in some areas, it resembled dirty animal blood. Sounds strange, but its the most accurate description. My friend said it might be rotten fish, but my host mom later declared that it is the mass amounts of dirty water! Once I accustomed myself to the smell, I was overwhelmed with the amount of things being sold. Every booth was jammed with anything you could imagine. Some of the booths appeared to be regular store, something you could find at a mall. For example, many of the clothing booths had racks and shelves and were laid out like a mall stores. Other booths like this included: music, baby supplies, school supplies, bras and undies, jewerly, shoes, and even a pharmacy. Of course many of the booths were not like this and offered random items from dried herbs to books to dog treats. I had heard that "if it exists in Nicaragua, its at Mercado Oriental" and now I do not doubt it.

The bustling crowd filled the narrow walkways, pushing and shoving whenever someone paused to gander at a booth. The situation worsened when the occasional traveling fruit stand or restaurant wanted to pass. Then everyone would be crammed into the booths as the cart was maneuvered through the bumpy, uneven hallway.

One of my greatest enjoyments of the Mercado was the many compliments I received from every seller, obviously just trying to catch my attention and rope me into buying something. My nickname here is apparently Chela, white girl. "Chela, mi amor, tell me what you want" and "Oh bonita, I have what you need here"  were probably the most common lines I heard. These comments were in addition to the people trying to grab my hand or arm to really get their point across. I just looked forward and tried to keep a straight face through all the chaos.

After catching up to my guide who seemed to only to want to lose my friend and I, I was able to buy a backpack for school and a pair of cute flats. Jose was in a bit of a hurry to leave, so unfortunately I did not get to explore as much as I wanted. Even with the chaos, I loved Mercado Orienal and hope I can go back and see more!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

When in Nicaragua, just go with it!

My one-legged taxi cab driver is using his crutch to drive.... just go with it.
The water stops running at two pm everyday.... just go with it.

I show up to an event ten minutes early, the event starts 45 minutes late.... just go with it.

My friend`s, cab driver gozzles a soda she bought for another friend and then demands that she return the empty glass bottle.... just go with it.

I just got completely soaked in the 10 seconds it took to run to your car, and now we have to drive home  without wind shield wipers.... just go with it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Its the middle of my second week at La Universidad Americana de Managua and I am loving attending school. First, I know that I have a better chance of actually going to class and being prepared because the teachers really hold you reliable. Also, its one place where I can count on air conditioning!! Apparently, this is the first year that all of the classrooms in the university have had AC, and I am definitely glad. Normally between class periods, I am desperately trying to find a cold room to relax in. In addition, another reason I am glad to be going to school here is the CUSE program.

CUSE stands for College of University Studies in English. An entire section of this university is all English speaking faculty and students. I have a couple classes, fortunately, in this college, and it is great. Instead of feeling behind and confused, I get a break and get to feel smart again simply because I can speak English fluently. The CUSE students are wonderfully helpful too since most want to improve their English. So of course I and other students usually end up in a bilingual conversation, myself speaking (attempting) Spanish and the them English.

The students are wonderful and they have such great ideas. I really see them trying to make a difference in their country. For instance, they have a recycling inciative that is just beginning. In a country that cannot seem to find a garbage can and therefore assumes that everywhere is a good place for trash, its nice to see a  group that is unhappy about the filth and is striving to change the circumstance. Also, the students started Bibloko, an organization that writes and publishes stories online for young students to read. This project is also trying to get more computers into local public schools.

I really feel that I am surrounded by future leaders. The activities that these students are doing are incredible. I can really see the potential that even young college students posses and its amazing!

Thursday, August 9, 2012


Over the past few months I have abandoned this blog, but I am ready to start it up again whole heartedly.

 A lot has changed since I last wrote, the biggest change being that I now live in Nicaragua!! I got accepted to study abroad at the Universidad Amerciana in Managua. I have been here for almost two weeks and am really falling in love with the culture.

It is sooooo different from my life in the states, but everyday I am getting more accostumed to my new life. Here are some ways in which life here is different:

  1. Of course I am speaking a lot of Spanish. The accent is very different from the Mexican Spanish that I was taught. For example Nicas (Nicaraguans) do not pronounce "s", so words like "bus" turn to "boo" and "mismo" turns to "mimo".
  2. There is trash everywhere in the city! Its common to see people chucking water bags, wrappers, and food out the window of their cars .I am not sure why, but people can not seem to find a garbage can around here.
  3. The food is definitely one of the biggest differences. I eat gallo pinto (rice and black beans) constantly paired with something fried, such as a madura(plantain), taco, pollo (chicken), and even hunks of queso (cheese)! I definitely am still trying to get used to all the oil.
Overall though, I am loving this experience. I apologize for the lack of pictures. Apparently, my camera looks expensive, and my host mom worries that it be stolen. As a result, I am not allowed to use it often. However, in the future I will try to find a way to take pictures so that everyone can see what I am experiencing.