99 Years of Solitude Remaining

>> Friday, May 02, 2008

A year ago yesterday I posted about having made it to Nicaragua safely after such a long wait. That seems like such a long time ago, especially when measured in Nica time. Since then we've lived separately with two host families, survived a rainy season, figured out how to get around, and learned where to buy everything we need. That all happened before we even became volunteers. Then we had to leave our host families and move in with a new one while we looked for our own house.

We have worked pretty hard in the schools, but we won't get angry if it seems like all we do is celebrate, though. There were times when it felt like we were missing class for all the wrong reasons. We have seen all kinds of animals running the spectrum from wild all the way to domestic. We've traveled to the mountains twice--the second time almost resulting in divorce or murder, whichever was most convenient.

We entertained visitors and made a comeback, then had summer camp in January.

We since started school again, learned to laugh about what now seems normal to us, and have learned to party the Nica way.

Our Nica 44 TEFL group began with 20 trainees, but five are no longer here. Certainly we, and probably the other 15 remaining volunteers as well, are excited to begin year two of our time here.

It's really appropriate that we mark one year in Nicaragua with a four-day weekend from school. We've already enjoyed a really delicious lunch in Granada with Dora who loves riding on the bus. I think later we'll relax in our hammocks, have Holly's favorite meal, and maybe even stay up until ten o'clock.

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Ya Queremos Pastel!

My counterpart's daughter had her 1-year birthday last Saturday, and Holly and I went to her piñata, which turned out to be really fun. Romel and his family have become pretty close friends to us in Masaya, so it was nice to be there. While a piñata is the general name for a kid's birthday party, it's also the beloved candy-filled punching bag. We had both. The theme was Strawberry Shortcake and as soon as Rosita Fresita hit the ground, it was total madness.

I tried everything to turn this video around, but I failed. So, if you want to watch it, please tilt your head 90 degrees clockwise or your computer 90 degrees counterclockwise.
video

There were also many failed attempts to get Natalia to smile while the photographer was there:

But finally after the paid photographer left, we got a good shot of her being cute:


The Nicaraguan birthday song ends with a verse of people singing, "ya queremos pastel," or "we want cake already!" over and over, so of course there was cake:
And dancing: And balloon fights:
Here Natalia is looking a little afraid again, but I don't think it was our fault. Here we are with Romel, Natalia, his wife Azalia, and their nephew in the bottom left. Also in the family but not pictured here is Jeycob (see balloon fights):
Romel and Azalia definitely know how to throw a birthday party... I can't wait for Natalia to turn two.

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