A Thursday Afternoon

by Mateo Gomez

mateo

Today marks the completion of my first week back at work. It was exciting, exhausting, and all the emotions in between. While it was a bit of an adjustment from relaxing at home all day, I have to admit that it was rewarding to finally be productive again. Having a vacation period gave me just the energy I needed to come back with more determination for the rest of the semester. Something I didn’t realize I missed so very much about where I work, are the daily hugs that the kids give me. I even got hugged by some of our new students, which was especially motivating.

When I think about how this week went by, it hits me that the first month of this year is almost over. Now more than ever, I find myself conscious of just how short my time here in Nicaragua really is. While I’d like to say that my days will always consist of playing with kids and joking around with my host family, I recognize that my time here is coming to a close.

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Eats

by Sawyer Uecke

Hunger at its finest is a natural human instinct, but what ignites the desire within humans to create food so pleasing to the senses? Has this yearning for flavor overtime coincided with the development of evolutionary traits, such as our taste buds? I have come to ponder the idea of food typical to the multitude of cultures we have on this planet, perhaps more frequently during these last three months in Nicaragua. It is certain that my love for Nicaraguan cuisine has prompted this very post, yet it alone keeps me returning home every night at six to indulge in the miraculous dinner that my host family cooks for me. As a fairly new traveler — right now being my first time out of the U.S. — I have not failed to keep my senses keen and active during my walks through the city of León. I am constantly in search of a new dish to try, whether in simply be a customary snack or the authentic street food. Luckily, my host grandma sells food out in the street in front of our house, so if I’m feeling lazy, my craving can be satisfied three steps away. Needless to say, I have made it a goal of mine to taste the majority of typical Nica comida throughout the region I live in.

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A Taste of Home

by Mateo Gomez

If I was asked what my favorite part of living in Nicaragua was, I’d immediately start talking about my host family. They’ve been the biggest influence in my experience thus far, and without them I don’t know what I’d do. They are smart, funny, and above all, caring. Not to mention, it’s been quite an adventure having four new brothers (Like, seriously. I grew up in an all women household). Though things are great with them, I wish that we had more time to spend together. We are all very busy, so it takes extra effort to carve in quality time. Nonetheless, I try to make sure that we are able to do something together every now and then.

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Lost and Found Again

by Sawyer Uecke

As I take in a slow, steady breath through my nose, the chilled air alleviates the heat that has conglomerated within my lungs. I knew from the moment I stepped off of that bus that I was in a new place; I could smell the change of ambiance. I am in the mountains of northern Nicaragua, Matagalpa to be exact, beginning a well needed trip to escape the infierno of León: my home that just happens to lay beside the ring of fire. Three and a half hours in a revamped school bus put a damper on my legs, so I decide to head into the city where I get lost and found again. I still can’t get over the feeling of the air that I take in. The moment it reaches my nostrils it is as if I can sense the change in composition, the depletion of oxygen to be exact. There is only one word that I can use to describe these feelings: tranquilo.

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Good Even When it’s Bad

by Stone

stone

I’ve had a surprisingly eventful first week and a half with my host family considering I haven’t really done much. My first night I went to the local pulperia, a small store at the end of the block, where it turns out you have to tell the person behind the counter what you want and they’ll get it for you. The next morning, a little while after waking up, I heard the roaring of a machine outside my window. Having grown up in suburbia I figured it was probably a lawn mower, and only later remembered that I hadn’t seen any lawns. A few minutes later the noise got louder and a white colored smoke began floating in through the windows. I opened the door, planning to escape into the main part of the house, but smoke started billowing in through it. I slammed it shut, dropped to the floor near my bed and started breathing in through a sheet. After a few minutes, both the noise and the smoke dissipated and I was able to continue getting ready for work. I didn’t know how to ask what the smoke was in Spanish, so I didn’t try to find out from my host dad when he walked me to Sawyer’s house at which I would catch a ride into work.  When I arrived at La Salle University, my host agency/workplace for the next nine months, I told the program coordinator and director what had happened and apparently the house was being fumigated but I hadn’t been warned. On the upside, as Sawyer’s host dad put it, I had my first funny story.

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