Semana Santa

>> Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Semana Santa, or Holy Week, is the week between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday and is one of the biggest holidays in Nicaragua. We had the entire week off of school and most businesses shut down at least from Thursday to Sunday; even public transportation was less frequent.

Most Nicaraguans try to go to the beach sometime during Semana Santa, but we stayed in Masaya most of the time. Our one trip was to visit another TEFL volunteer in the department of Granada. It was a joint Easter/vacation/birthday pot-luck celebration, and was a great time overall.

Making the trip even more exciting was that we decided to bring Dora along for the ride. We were worried that she wouldn't like being in a loud, hot, crowded bus, but she did wonderfully. From Masaya to the city of Granada, she just slept in our laps and was a perfect little puppy. On the second leg of the journey, there weren't any seats, so I had to hold Dora the whole way:Here's some of the group that was there. There were volunteers from TEFL and Small Business and several volunteers' boyfriends.
Dora took advantage of the patio to hone her new-found calling...
...and then enjoy the fruits of her labor:
Dora also got to meet Ty, our friend's dog. Ty was a dog living on the streets of Granada and was badly injured in a car accident. Some volunteers living there got him all fixed up and now he's a really sweet tripod dog:
It was our friend Nicole's birthday, so she had an authentic Nica birthday party with a Tigger piƱata, and Audra baked a great cake.
Dora got her first stamp on her puppy travel passport, and it was a lot of fun to get to see other volunteers and enjoy our Holy Week Vacation.


Introducing: Dora

>> Monday, March 24, 2008

As you may have noticed, we've been a little less frequent in our blog posts the last month or so. We are a lot busier with school and classes, we're less motivated to do anything that requires movement because of the heat, but there is one overwhelming reason that we've neglected our blog duties. Here are a few hints: she weighs five pounds, loves to eat cheese, and hates to get a bath; her name is Dora.

Paul has been wanting a dog for a really long time, and I (admittedly) was the one dragging my feet. Now we've decided that we were both right: I was right that a puppy is a lot of work and requires a lot of middle-of-the-night potty breaks, but Paul was right that having a puppy is a lot of fun and provides a lot of entertainment and comedy for us. Without further ado, some adorable puppy pictures:

This is Dora the second time we met her, when she was 30 days old. We became friends with a lady in Masaya who sells apples and has a lot of dogs, and she told us about a litter of puppies that one of her friends had. We're pretty sure Dora's a mix with a lot of Cocker Spaniel.
This is Dora on the first night that we brought her home, when she was six weeks old. We struggled a lot with a good name for her, but eventually decided on Dora after Dora la Exploradora. Our surprisingly large segment of friends that are six-year-old girls loves to watch Dora the Explorer, and slowly but surely Dora is living true to her name. Dora is pretty spoiled with her toys. She just learned to fetch and is pretty good at entertaining herself by squeaking her own toys.
Dora really doesn't like getting baths, but she's very forgiving; as soon as she's out of the tub, she's always more than willing to run, play, and try to roll in any dirt she can find.
Dora's ears are constantly growing and they always flop around when she runs.She also gets new manchas (spots) all the time. She started with a few on her feet, then some on her nose, and now she's getting some on her back.Gracias a Dios, Dora's doing really well with housebreaking. During the day we just leave the door out to our patio open, and she runs out and does her business when she needs to. In the middle of the day, though, the patio is really hot, so Dora hates having to be outside in the sun.
Overall, Dora's a pretty happy, tranquila puppy. Like it or not, expect lots of Dora posts and pictures in the future! We hope everyone had a happy Easter!


Festival of St. Lazarus

>> Saturday, March 15, 2008

This coming week is Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Nicaragua and we expect celebrations and fireworks in abundance (but we have the whole week off of school, so we can’t complain). People have already been celebrating a little bit on the weekends to get ready. For example, last weekend was the festival of St. Lazarus, a carnival complete all of the usual carnival trappings--scary clowns, rigged games, a Ferris wheel, cotton candy, and dogs. Oh, dogs aren’t normally there? Well, I think you’ll agree that they made a nice addition. Everyone came to the carnival, which took place at the church just a few blocks away, with their dogs all dressed up in lots of funny costumes. No one can really explain what Lazarus has to do with dogs in clown costumes, so we can safely assume that it doesn’t have anything to do with him.

The afforementioned scary clown. Holly and I were wondering how much money someone would have to pay us to ride this Ferris wheel. We never came up with a number high enough.In case you don't have a puppy to bring to the festival but still really want to fit in, this woman is selling her basket-full of puppies so no one will have to be left out.

These three dogs got the pleasure of wearing people clothes for the day.

This poor dog in the clown costume even had some makeup on.

The bows on this dog's ears were cute but we're not sure we want to know how they were attached.
This is how most people in Masaya get around. One person pedals and the other sits on the frame. Holly and I have been practicing for months and still haven't gotten it but this dog seems to have mastered it with undeniable style and pizzaz.


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