Tuesday, October 16, 2012

One Month Left!?

Geovannia with her new baby girl!

Afternoon Class

9th grade in the morning
8th grade B

Me with Xiomara and Conny! 
The Close of Service conference we had in August went well. They gave us a lot of information to prepare us for leaving Nicaragua. I got Advanced-mid on my language test. I was very happy because I started at Novice-high (much to my surprised I thought I was at least intermediate lol). With only a month left in Peace Corps, lately I have spent a lot of my time reflecting back on the past two years. It’s been really difficult to narrow down everything that I have learned and experienced. I think that I won’t really realize the impact that Nicaragua has had on me until I get back home. A lot of people are asking me, “how do you feel”? I would say it changes from day to day. Some days I am really excited and can’t wait to get home and then other days I am sad and dreading the day when I have to say tearful goodbyes to all of the people I have met here in Nicaragua. But it’s time for a change and time for a new chapter. I am trying to take lots of picture of everything and everyone so I will always have those memories with me. The school year is winding down, as much as the kids drove me crazy they also made me laugh and I am going to miss them. Its so cute when they tell me "no se vaya teacher". Dont go teacher! I am trying to figure out how to pack up all my stuff, sell things and give things away. It’s hard! I have accumulated a lot of stuff over the past two years. Other than that my life has been consumed with studying for the GRE. I really hope I do well. My friend and I are taking it in Costa Rica because there are no more spaces left to take it here in Nicaragua. It’s kind of annoying but asi es la vida. After we finish with the GRE we are heading back to Nicaragua for a few days, going to a friend’s wedding and then heading up to Guatemala for two weeks! Exciting things to come. Also this past weekend we had a little going away party that was thrown by one of the volunteers counterparts. It was a lot of fun to see all the people who came to Nicaragua with me. It's so amazing to see how we have all changed and grown over the past two years. It is going to be weird not to see them on a regular basis. But it's good to know that I will always have people to talk to who shared this experience with and will know where I am coming from. Time is really flying by. Trying to take it all in and not miss a thing. Next time I turn around I will be back home!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Three Months Left!

I just want to say that I only have 3 more months left in Nicaragua! What!? It’s very exciting and also very strange. When I think about going home I feel very excited and also anxious about that adjustment back into my normal life in the states. But anyway I have had a busy couple of months. I had my birthday in June. I am getting really old but I don´t want to talk about that... But it was kind of sad because I was sick the day of my birthday. Those pesky little parasites know how to get into your system and ruin a birthday. But luckily my friend Stephanie came over to cheer me up so the day wasn´t a complete bust. 
In June my friends Mary Helen and Dan came to visit me. It was so much fun. We went to the beach, did a boat cruise and they got to see where I live and how I live. It was so much fun and their visit was too short ha! After that was the Vagina Monologues. My friend Stephanie organized a showing of the Vagina Monologues in Nicaragua. I helped with the production of the show. It was really great and in Spanish! The women that were in it were all Nicaraguan and they did a great job. It was cool to be apart of it from the beginning and see how the women progressed and also formed a bond. Then right after the monologues another group of friends came. All the girls that I lived with in D.C. before I came here. It was such a great time. It was a reunion for all of us because now we all live in different cities (and countries). We also went to the beach and did the same boat tour.  They also saw my house and my town. My friends said that they liked my house but I can imagine they were very shocked when they saw the way I live. I remember someone saying “wow Kellie and I am proud of you”. Lol. But it’s just become normal to me. 
 At the end of August we have our COS (Close of Service) Conference. We are going to talk about transitioning from Peace Corps to the next step and wrapping things up. It’s something we heard about from the beginning our service. Now that it’s almost here it’s hard to believe it. I definitely feel a sense of accomplishment that I have almost completed my service. In September it will be two years in Nicaragua! 

Pictures from top bottom
1. Mary Helen, Dan and I at the Masaya Volcano. 
2. The ladies after the Vagina Monologues
3. The girls and I before getting on the boat

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Overdue Update!

Wow I haven’t written a blog entry in four months! I have been kind of Busy I guess. Since I last wrote school has started of course. It has definitely been a lot easier this time around. I know a lot of the kids and they know me so it makes things run more smoothly in class. Also the things that use to bother me about the school system last year, don’t bother me as much and I have learned to go with the flow. I walk into school and there is no class and no one told me. I don’t get frustrated I just take it as an opportunity to go check my email, get some ice cream or take a walk! I am still doing my community class two times a week. The class is going well. It’s fun and I have a good group! I think they enjoy it and are learning. My mom and Brittany came to visit last month! It was a lot of fun. They felt like Nicaragua experts this time around! We went to the Atlantic coast for a few days and then came back and stayed in my area for the rest of the time. They got to see a volcano also which we didn’t get to do last time!

So I only have six more months of service left! I can’t believe it. It’s crazy to think about. I have been trying to enjoy my time here in Nicaragua while looking towards the future as well. That can be a little hard sometimes. I am excited to go home but at the same time I am trying to live in the moment because I know that when I get back I will miss living here and all the friends I have made and the crazy experiences. For example a few weeks ago I had to go to a peace corps meeting in a town near by. So I got on the little bus but before we left my town the bus has a flat tire. So they stopped to change the tire. I was calm and said ok this shouldn’t take long. Twenty minutes later I wasn’t as calm and was already late for the meeting. So I decided to get off the bus and catch the next one even though the bus driver said “they were almost done”. So as I am walking down the street the bus I wanted to take passes me… I was not happy. So then I decide to take a taxi because I don’t have time to wait for another bus. I am in the taxi with three other people. As we are heading to our destination. I notice the car slowing down. The taxi driver says “ay no” and I realize that he has run out of gas! At that point I just had to laugh and say is this real? So I had to get out of that taxi and find another taxi… I finally made it to the meeting but of course I was late. As someone said to me the other day I got “Nicaraguaed” lol.

Anyway the next few months with be exciting! I am going to the Palo de Mayo on the Atlantic Coast at the end of the month. I went last year so it should be fun.  Also I have two different groups of friends coming to visit! So I will be a busy lady. That’s all for now.  Peace.

PS for some reason these pictures are huge!!!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Back In Action

Well a lot has happened to me since I last wrote a blog entry. I went home for two weeks, which was amazing! It was a short two weeks, but I think I successfully packed as much as I could in that time. I ate a lot of great food and spent some quality time with my family and friends. It actually wasn't as weird as I thought it was going to be. It felt good being home.

I got back to Nicaragua and it was a little bit of a shock. When I got to my house in Nicaragua on January 4th, there was a huge man hole in front of my door the side of a kiddie pool! It was really deep and I thought I was going to fall in. That was a big surprise. Apparently they were installing a sub-pump underground and they thought they would be finished by the time I got back. I also got back and felt a little bit depressed. I wasn’t expecting to feel as sad as I did. I arrived home late at night and I was alone and without all my family and friends. It was the first time in awhile that I really realized how difficult being a Peace Corps volunteer really is and that this life style isn’t easy. But my sadness didn’t last long, I was back into the swing of things in less than a week.

The 16th-20th of January I did a summer camp with another volunteer. I got back on January 4th and I did nothing but prepare for the camp until it started. It was a lot of work! A lot more than I expected. I think that the work paid off and the kids had fun. The kids learned English and also art, poetry and American culture. We also taught them about HIV and Aids and self-esteem. At the end of the camp we had an “Amazing Race” where the kids went to different stations in groups and had to apply the knowledge that they learned all week. They had a lot of fun doing that. It was a good time.

Right after the camp we had an in-service training (our last one ever). We were able to bring one of our counterpart teachers and have them participate. I think it was good for a lot of us to get a little motivation for this next year and have some new ideas. The training was in this place called Selva Negra in the northern region of Nicaragua! It was really cold there! I was wearing a scarf and a fleece the whole time. It’s so weird how it can be so hot in one part of the country and really cold in another part. It was really pretty there. They make coffee there too, and they export it to the US and sell it in certain stores (I think Whole Foods was mentioned). It was a good training overall and we got to spend sometime with the new group that came this past September. School is starting in two weeks, so I am getting ready for that. I have 10 more months of service so I am trying to make the best of it.

1. Our christmas tree in Bmore
2-3. Pics of me at the camp and some pics of the kids
4. Picture in Selva Negra
5. Picture of me with my counterpart teacher.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Past Three Months

Hello All,
So I haven’t done an entry in awhile! I need to get better at keeping up with this thing! I am been very busy the past couple of months! It is nice to be busy because now it’s December and I will be home in 6 days! SO many Nicaragua have asked me to bring them back a “recuerdo” or souvenir from the States. I am never quite sure how to answer them or if they are serious. This has caused some problems, and I am now bringing back a watch (with a black band) for someone I don’t know very well haha. She gave me an umbrella so apparently we are even. In October Alex, a Peace Corps friend of mine got married! She came to Nicaragua a year before me so she just finished her service. She married a Nicaragua whose name is also Alex. They are a really cute couple and the wedding was really nice! Then the following weekend was a Peace Corps event at the Holiday Inn in Managua. Everyone was dressed up and the theme was masquerade! It was fun to get together with a lot of the volunteers and stay in a hotel with hot showers! The weekend after that was Aguizotes in Masaya. Aguizotes is the Nica version of Halloween (kind of). Instead of people dressing up as nurses, famous people or cartoon characters people here dress up really scary and paint their faces. Last year it was really overwhelming to go to Aguizotes. This year it was so much fun. The people dressed up didn’t scare me or make me nervous. I joined in the fun. I painted my face and watch the parade.

The month of November basically consisted of preparing for the end of school. I was never quite sure when the actual last day of school was. The date seemed to change every week. For about two weeks the students were coming to school even though they had finished all their exams and the grades were in. So there was definitely a lack of motivation for the students to show up. It was exciting for the seniors of the school. I will be sad that they won’t be around next year. They were some of my favorite students. The last weekend in November we had a small Thanksgiving celebration with my friends. I was skeptical about how it was going to turn out but it was really good! We had rotisserie chicken instead of turkey, and stuffing (mom sent me stove top), mac and cheese (made in a toaster oven), green beans, potatoes, bread, carrots. It was so delish! I also enjoyed a few Nicaraguan holiday activities but now I am ready to head home on the 21st!

Pictures (bottom to top)
1. Food from Thanksgiving
2. Masquerade Ball in Managua
3. Out in the big city celebrating a friends 30th Bday (Geovannia in the Blue)
4. Picture from my schools graduation
5. Alex and Alex at their wedding

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Round 2

Now that I have been here for a year, I am seeing things again for the second time. I must say that the same things I saw this time last year seem quite different this time around. I feel like I have a better grasp of what’s going on and why people do what they do and say what they say. I feel a lot more comfortable. I think that my second year here will be a lot less overwhelming. I am going to try to have fun and continue to do my best to help my counterparts and students.

Also I am finally starting to make friends! After 10 months in my site, I have to say that I have some friends. Which is nice. Even though our activities include hanging out at their store or pharmacy, talking and people watching. It’s a different kind of life style and I am getting use to it. My neighbor made food for me the other night! She just came over and asked me if I like pork. I said yes and next thing you know I am eating a delish meal. Sometimes she tries to speak English. As she is leaving she say “I wait to hope that you like”. Doesn’t make sense but I understand what she meant! I am sure that’s what I sound like sometimes in Spanish. I had a leak in my roof from a strong gust of wind. The water began to come inside. Now the “floors” of my house are pure concrete so a little water inside isn’t a big deal, but it started to rain really hard and the water was starting to rise. So I had to rig a little mechanism to keep it from coming in. I was proud of myself. My creation is pictured here as well.

I am trying to make an actual meal at least once a week. Often times I just eat a sandwich or something quick for lunch. In my opinion it’s way too hot to be cooking mid-day. I usually sweat to death from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. But I think I can manage to cook at least once a week. I have a few pictures of my creations.

That’s all for now. Year two is starting off great and I am sure there will be more stories and adventures to come.


Food creations
My anti-leak mechanism
Pictures of a trip to Leon with some friends

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My How Time Flies

I have been in Nicaragua for one full year now! I can´t believe it. So much has happened in the past year and also there is so much that could happen in the coming year. One year in Nicaragua means I still have 1 year and 3 months left because it´s 27 months of service. So when I get to November, it will be a real celebration because it´s exactly one more year until I come home.

I have things to look forward to. I am going to plan a trip with my friends to celebrate our one year of service in November. We are planning on renting a house on the beach for a few days. Also in December I will be coming home for two weeks! I am so excited. I can´t wait to see my family and my dog and sleep in my bed! I am also excited about buying some new clothes because my clothes are starting to get really torn! I must admit that I am also a little nervous about coming home. I know things will be different and I am little different so I am sure it will be strange. More importantly I am going to freeze to death! I will have to tell my mom to bring me a big coat or sweater to the airport. I have no warm clothes with me!

Overall I am really proud of myself! I was nervous that I wouldn't make it though this experience and here I am one year into it! I am confident that I will be able to do the last 15 months of service. OK well Below are some pictures of me and friends that i never posted and also some of my favorite quotes from past blogs...

"At the end of the day I feel really tired and mentally exhausted from speaking so much Spanish."

"At the lagoon, two of the boys were using four 2 liter coke bottles as floating devices"
I have realized that feel the most out of place here when I am at a social event."

"Then there is cake, which here in Nicaragua, they usually eat in napkins with their hands."

"I must say that teaching is hard! I give all the teachers that I had in the past a lot of credit because it’s not easy!"

"Today was my first time going to the gym with my host mom and her friends. It was really funny, because a lot of the Nicaraguans are really short, so here I am considered tall. There were several machines that I literally couldn’t use because they were made for people who were 5’3 and below. Well maybe I could have changed the height on them but I didn’t know how!"

"I am very excited because my mom and sister are coming in about 6 weeks! I can’t wait to seem them."

“Oh didn’t hear that man driving around in that truck with that megaphone announcing that it’s time to pay your energy bill.” Apparently I have to pay some man that drives around in a van."