Thursday, July 8, 2010

Coming and Going

Servicio completo
In Leon.
Lead singer of La viejo grifa.

The drummer Oscar and I.

Teaching English.

Pizza in Nicaragua.

Roberto and I during Teachers Day.

Teachers Day.

Watching the World Cup.

World Cup watching.

Ryan and Juan Pablo.

Roberto and Alex.

Brothers Alex and Juan Ramon.

Roberto and his heart in art class.

Carlos with German pride.

Tio Nicolas and Carlos.


The beginning of the class.

Trying to maintain control.

Art class.
Alex ready to draw.

Modes of transport.

Via Via our hostel in Leon.

Some shoes.

Workers on the roof.
On the cathedral.

Streets of Leon.

Ding dong.

Ruben Darios burial spot inside the cathedral.

On the streets.

Mamones and mangos.

Market views.



Gonzalo and band.

Julayki, Dalila and Angie in my classroom.

Solomon with his cows.

No no se mañana (I don’t know tomorrow)

As I write this entry I am listening to the very popular song here by Luis Enrique in which the main chorus speaks of not knowing tomorrow and living for today. Although, a bit unrealistic to only live for today it is a mentality that I wish I could achieve more often. The song is also very appropriate because the past week has been filled with a lot of decision-making about the near future and as a result, for those of you who know me well, a lot of tears. 

Months ago, Ryan and I had a serious conversation about our life here at NPH and we decided because we didn’t know what tomorrow would bring to apply for work/positions in the U.S.A. if they seemed like good opportunities. Well, Ryan was actually asked to apply for a Full-time, Associate Professor of ESL, tenure-track at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids. After realizing it was sort of a long shot, we thought, what the heck, why not apply? The exciting news is that last week he was offered the position! The scary and not so thrilling news is that the position begins in August and we were thus faced with the decision of staying here at NPH and fulfilling our commitment of 12 months, or leaving early at the beginning of August to take the opportunity. It was a very stressful couple of days. I kept thinking about my personal relationships with the kids, my work here, NPH, and my lack of direction once I arrive on tierra firma in Illinois. Ultimately and after talking to trusted ones both at home and in Nicaragua, praying a lot, and knowing that this kind of opportunity would not necessarily come around again soon we have decided to take the risk of ending our time here at NPH and leaving our unbelievable lifestyle and return to the glories of the Midwest once again. Now that the decision is made I have a sense of peace that can only mean it was the right one and my second thoughts have been minimal. NPH and the hierarchies have been very understanding and supportive along with the other volunteers. We were even given permission to explain to the kids that we are in a relationship and tell them the complete truth about why we will be leaving together.

So, last night we announced the news to our sections and all the kids were really cool with it and where more focused on the fact that they were right all these months about us being “novios.” I, of course, had some tears flowing, but everyone has just looked at it as leaving a bit early and not abandoning them or NPH. I should have given the kids more credit, they are used to change and by way of survival have figured out to rely on the only thing they can count on – themselves and God. Thus, Vacation has continued and school begins on Tuesday. We have been watching a lot of movies and tonight we have a fiesta!


The city of León is my favorite urban environment in Nicaragua and is a combination of Europe, Nicaragua and the U.S. Last weekend, I thought it would be a good idea to get away from the Island and the kids to think about the decision, so we traveled north of Managua in 3 minivan taxi/buses and finally arrived to the bustling university town. It is walk able, more secure, and filled with so much to do and see. I wish we had had another day. The largest cathedral in Central America is there, a cool modern art museum, a neat market, and the one and only street cleaning/garbage service I have seen in Nicaragua. The people were very friendly and welcoming too. We saw a movie in the theatre, Toy Story 3 (highly recommended) ordered “servicio completo” (bottle of rum, coke, limes, ice all under $5), and saw and amazing, unexpected concert. The concert was conveniently in the bar of the hostel, Via Via, where we were staying. The band, La viejo grifa, was basically an alternative rock cover band. We heard Beatles, Santana, Eric Clapton and more. The lead singer’s English was great. The best part was that the majority of the crowd was middle-class, educated Nicaraguans. Maybe it was the music, but it was one of the first times I felt like I was just one of the many rather than the gringa. It was a lovely treat.

Art class turns into a free for all

Among the soccer games and movie watching this vacation week I have attempted to do a little workshop for the little kids involving art. It has been quite comical actually. I have these plans, my most recent being trying to enforce the idea of looking closely and appreciating our eyes. So the first step was having everyone draw the volcanoes, the sun, the lake, and whatever else they felt is important on the Island with their eyes blindfolded. The next step was to draw the same thing with their eyes uncovered and to then see the difference of how one draws and reinforce how important our eyes are for other things than just drawing. Then they could color whatever they wanted. It all seemed great. I had everything set out, and then chaos erupted. No one would keep the blindfold on, there was peeking tattle tellers, then face painting for the upcoming world cup game and in the end it was a good opportunity for the kids to get their hands on some supplies they don’t often do and draw whatever they want. I became the heart-drawing specialist and some of the kids are really great little artists. I will attempt something else before school, but it may just have the same results. Vamos a ver.

Coming and going

Last week two volunteers left, Tinka and Ilke from Holland, and this week a new one, Marie from France, has arrived. We had pizza to celebrate those leaving and Marie brought French bread for us from her home. NPH and life here is constantly in motion although sometimes you can spend hours doing the same thing – soccer, laundry, cleaning etc. As I now have begun to think about the next month that will soon turn short I am thinking about how I have been coming and going in many directions the past few years and how it may be time to stay in one place for a bit and make some big girl decisions about what my next step in life might be. For now, though, I am soaking up my time with the kids, and thanking God for all my blessings and opportunities that I have come my way.

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