By bumpy let me explain a bit. I left home around 3am, drove the 1.5 hours to the airport to discover my flight had been cancelled. My best, only, option catch a bus to Boston and take a flight from Boston to Houston. So, I did…I arrived in Houston and napped in the airport for a bit. Grabbed my last taste of American fast food and hopped on a plane destined for Managua. It was pitch black in the city I. I made it through security and met up with my driver. Where I met another guest at the school, Maia, also American…We were both exhausted from our travel and not a word was spoken after we said our ‘hellos.’ Travelling through the city and up the winding tiny roads to La Concepcion and finally to La Mariposa. All was dark here as well. (I learned later a rain storm had knocked the power out.) My driver and another, gentlemen walked me through the wooded pathway to my cabin. When we arrived at my cabin about all I understood was the click of a light switch and an ‘uh oh’ I knew I had no lights. We used our cell phones to light up the space and I changed my clothes after they left. Moments later there was a knock and one of the men walked me up to the cocina where dinner was waiting for me. It was delicious…I felt very much at home on the porch, eating dinner…A couple of dogs wondered over and a kitten hopped up in my lap. It made me miss my puppy, Lucy as I stroked the kitten’s soft fur. A short bit later the man walked me back to my room where I fell sound a sleep until the wee hours when the power was restored and all the lights in my room came on. In a groggy haze I shut them all back off and climbed back into bed. Dawn approached and I was awakened by the old familiar sound of the rooster, then the monkeys and the birds…I slowly woke myself up and looked about saying to myself, I am really here.
The first day, I was not sure of much so I quickly dressed and rushed out to breakfast where I met everyone who is staying at La Mariposa including; Krissy (my long time email friend) and Paulette (owner and operator of La Mariposa). We all took breakfast together chatting before class. It was great to meet some many people. I no longer felt like I was alone.
Then it was time for school. Dennis, my teacher and I walked to my classroom; an outdoor space much like my classroom in Guatemala. Dennis attempted to give me a placement exam…I FAILED! It was actually funny. We joked and laughed about it then dove into to work. My brain, my ears, my mouth switching back to Spanish was tough but, I muddled through. Two hours later we took a break and I quickly messaged home before my conversations lesson. Where I met Chester, he was great. It helped after two hours of lessons to jump into conversations. What is intense about this program is it is one-on-one so there’s no waiting for someone else, it’s all you…
Then we broke for lunch. What an amazing meal, so much to eat and such an awareness of healthy eating. No wasting food either…One of the biggest dislikes I have being in the restaurant business is watching the mountains of food be wasted. After lunch a small group of us gathered to go on a hike to El Chocoyero. It was an hour ride. We kept taking all sorts of detours and couldn’t figure out why at first and finally our driver stopped and encouraged us to grab our cameras and get out. We scurried out and skipped up the steps of a cathedral. There was a parade getting started. FLSN flags were waving people were cheering it was amazing. Moments later men waving from the back of a truck appeared and the growing crowd cheered even louder…It was the candidate for President passing through and apparently a popular one. As the weeks would pass I would come to learn a lot about the Nicaraguan government and politics, as there is not a soul in Nicaragua unwilling to share their history, government and political thoughts. After the parade we drove a bit more until we stopped at a road side stand and bought fresh pineapple juice and coconut milk. We were presented fresh pina in a plastic bag with a straw in it. My friend Maia was given a coconut peeled with a straw inside. It was so delish. It was like a snack and drink all in one.
We finish our trek up a road I just didn’t think we could make it was so washed out and rutted up but we did it! Upon our arrival we stepped out and walked to a neat museum like display of snakes and bones from within the rainforest. I had not realized at the time but we had a special guest aboard the van we were bringing to release into the wild. A frog (sopa) we walked a long way and it began to rain, and rain hard. One of the men on the trip gave me his rain poncho it kept me and my camera dry…It rained on and off as we made our way. We stopped and saw several cool trees common to Nicaragua and discovered of all things a crab wondering about in the woods…We continued on up several nature created steps to a beautiful waterfall. The walk made me think of several hikes Gary and I had been on this summer…Only much more plush. Finally, we arrived at this enormous waterfall where we released the frog and watched him get acclimated to his new home…Then we made our way back. It was so beautiful. The deep greens all around, the foggy mist over head and the smell of monkeys hiding in the trees. What a moment to take in. I felt like a little girl on her first walk outdoors discovering all the sights and sounds of nature.
After we returned it was dark and dinner was on the table. We were starving and cleaned our plates and I snuck off for a much needed shower…A cold one but I survived. Including not having a curling iron or blow dryer…YUP this girl is going natural…It is actually pretty freeing. I joined my friends back in the common space to unwind with an ice cold beer (Tona) and check out the days photo shoot. I hope you will take a look at them on my facebook fan page. They are really great!!
Internet is limited to conserve power and they keep us good and busy so I likely will not be posting daily but I will do my best…More from Nica in a day or so. J
PS all you Maine folk. I am sitting outside on the porch typing to you in shorts and a tank top, sun down and it is HOT, HOT, HOT and crazy hot in the sun-90 & 90 baby!