Thursday, November 11, 2010


Nicaraguans LOVE giving advice and its one thing I truely love about the people here. They have no fear about telling you the best way to cure or do anything, but at the same time they also apprecite hearing advice from me the forigener (specially when it comes to gardens..even though i think that they are sometimes better than me at this!).

Well, everyone´s favorite thing to give advice on is cure for sicknesses. Hence, there are men who get on buses and give you cures for everything from asthma to cancer to freakin toe fungus and people buy said cures, books, etc. Really before I came to Nicaragua I had no idea that all of our medical mysteries were actually being solved on 1980´s school buses traveling through the Nicaraguan countryside. (I´m very enlightened now!) Having a cough means that everyone also has advice to give me about said cough.

Yesterday, I went to pay rent which of course turned into a 2 hour long visit with my landlords. And i love visits because not only are they fun to chat about life, but they usually end in food gifting(yesterday was tortilla and queso). So basically my rent covers not only my house, water and electric, but also one tortilla and half a pound of queso. SCORE! Anyway, I started coughing while I was visiting and the grandma of the house prompley starts telling me that I need cinnamon tea and honey, which made me smile because this is EXACTLY what my grandma in the states told me. Then my landlord told me that I needed armadillo oil. Hmm...maybe?

Well, today I went to the post office and bought 4 stamps for one letter (to equal 16 cords!) and got possibley the best advice ever. The man at the post office told me that I needed to drink an entire bottle of flor de caña (the nicaraguan rum). Too bad he also didn´t include a cure for the hangover I might have the next day.....

Now if only someone can advise me how to get rid of the mice in my house!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

packing. again.

so a little over a year ago i started packing for something known as my peace corps adventure. i litterly had no idea what i should be packing as my out-of-country experiences had been limited to caribbean beachs and canada. so packing for a 2 year journey through a developing country in central america i literally had no idea as to how the packing should go. plus i was working under the 80lb limit given to me by peace corps.

anyway, like most new pc trainees i packed a bunch of useless stuff, not enough clothes, and a lot of stuff that i could have bought in nicaragua anyway.

in the past year i've aquirred more useless stuff ( i don't even know where it all has come from), lots of awesome free stuff (hello stove and table donated by el pueblo de japon), and collected a ton of recycled materials that one day i promise to do something with. really.

so returning from my medevac is kind of like a second chance at packing. which is fun. because now i'm smart. know what i want. know what i can by on my salary. know what i'll be craving. and know what i can share with my nica friends, my pc friends and use in the schools. so here are some of the random things i'm bringing back (and that i'm extremely excited about.)

1) i've washed all my clothes like 1000 times. seriously. i will never complain about doing laundry again as long as it is with a washer and dryer. my laundry smells AMAZING. like amazing amazing. so yes..everything has been washed and is ready to go back to being washed on my pila at like 4am. and i'm bringing back more clothes that i discovered in my house that would be perfect for nicaragua and i don't really care that they will look terrible in a year. but at least for the next few months i will have new clothes to wear!

2) halloween candy. best time ever to buy candy. its also trick or treat tonight here in the states so i of course have to share some with the little kiddes but the rest is going back with me. :)

3) mardi gras beads..yes. i'll use them in school or maybe i'll just have to plan a mardi gras party. either way..i'm cool with it.

4) cake mix. it was a dollar a box. that stuff is at least 60 or 70 cords. and i like cake. plus now i can make someone a cake and they will be amazed.

5) toothbrushes because pc doesn't provide them..which is cool. my family has a collected 100s of toothbrushes so i took a bunch to use over the next year..and now that i think about it maybe i should take some more and give those out as prizes in school too. i mean come on..who wants a teacher who gives you candy. toothbrushes are way cooler. and even cooler porque son de los estados.

yup. anyway. tomorrow i'll be back in my site with a delicious quesillo or maybe just gallo pinto and maduros. but at the very least i'll be have a butterfinger for dessert. :) yum!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

nicaragua hospitals &&& the med evac.....

well..its been a while since i updated and thats mostly because i spent the last month dying. or mostly dying. haha. kidding...kind of. :)

anyway, what was supposed to be SUPER SEPTEMBER..actually turned into SUPER OUT-OF-SITE/SICK SEPTEMBER. litterly. i've now have been out-of-site for 6 and 1/2 weeks. 5 weeks in Managua (with a 1 day trip back to the LPC) and now its been a week and a half in the states on a med evac. this could possibly be a record. maybe. not that i want it to be in the record books.

so why might you ask? word. asthma. followed by a bunch of other words. rainy season. pnuemonia. hospital. &&& whooping cough. long story short...the rainy season got to my lungs.

now the long story.
the beginning of september brought about a bunch of celebrations including erin's brithday and our 1 year in country celebration (woo..nica 51!). anyway for erin's birthday, i went up to her site to help her celebrate with her town (who by the way are totally AWESOME!). she lives in a very small community and several of the woman in the town decided to throw a birthday party and it was a PARTY! they cooked a huge dinner, decorated up the house and of course brought out the finest nica party tunes they could find. so we danced the night away (till 4am..haha..or midnight!). well erin has a really cute cat named noche who i also happen to be allergic in nicaragua, the houses are very open and i haven't had any real problems with my allergies ( host fam had 2 dogs and i never had issues with them...inspite of being allergic). anyway, my my asthma problems started and since it was the middle of the night there was nothing i could do till morning.

the next morning i returned to site still not feeling too well and have trouble breathing. yet in my brillant, devoted PC volunteer mind, i still went to school with full intentions of teaching..woo! however, as soon as i arrived at school barely being able to breathe, my teacher told me to go home and drink some limon (lime) for my cough. :) so instead i returned home with full plans to nebulize only to discover that my nebulizer was in fact full of mold. gross! so i called PC to see what i should do a litterly as soon as the words asthma came out of my mouth they were directing me to come to managua to get treated. if only i had known.....
before leaving the lpc, my neighbors came over to inquire also about my cough and then reminded me that i should not just drink limon but also add some miel (honey) to it and that of course i need to cover up my chest because its cold. this is just one thing i love about nicaragua, how everyone really looks out for one another. yay neighbors! :) so i headed to managua, received my meds and then rested all weekend with a minor exception for the the incredible breakfast buffet we had to celebrate our 1 year in country. i litterly took a picture of the bill because it came out to over 8000 cordobas..which is about $400 (for the entire group!)..but it was totally worth every cord we spent!

anway, so resting. lots of it..but i still wasn't getting any better and so PC decided it would be best to have me admitted to the hospital in managua for treatment. now i had only been in the hospital once before..when i had appendicitis in toledo during college. i was only in for 2 days and i was pretty drugged most of the time so i don't really remember much. but what i do know is that the hospital in managua is WAY nicer than the hospital i was in in toledo. i was seriously impressed, the nurses were super nice (although very worried that i wouldn't know any spanish!) and i had a private room with pull-out couch. yup! well after being hospitalized for 2 days they discovered that i had pnuemonia which then extended my hospitalization for a whole lot longer so that i could be treated with IV anit-biotics. sadly..this whole fiasco happened during my town's fiestas patronals :( so sad. i wanted to cry. i also wanted to cry because of my iv. ouch!

thankfully, i was discharged (dado de word i learned in spanish!) just in time for nicaraguan independence day and to join my most favorite person in the world in our hotel room! basically over the next 2 weeks my life consisted of coughing, nebulizing, coughing, visiting various doctors, coughing, getting random advice about said cough (like to drink an entire bottle of caballito..a very cheap liquor), coughing, nebulizing and watching an insane amount of tv and of course coughing.

well all that coughing lead me to be re-admitted to the hospital. which then lead all the nurses from my first hospital stay to joke around with me and say that i missed them and thats why i had returned. haha..of course! well during hospital stay number 2 it was determined that i probably had whooping cough (whoop!), that i would continue coughing for up to 3 months, and that the nica weather wasn't doing any favors to my lungs. thankfully, at the same time they figured this out, PC Washington figured out it might be best for me to return to the states for a bit to rest, get evaluated by my doctor at home, and well miss out the rest of the nicaraguan rainy season.

so i'm home. its nice and i'm feeling better. but i miss nicaragua. although its been nice to watch hours of ridiculous tv and to eat whatever i want, its hard becuase i have no real purpose in the states besides getting better. i miss quesillo and my house. i miss my best friends who love the jonas brothers and my host family (specially my host brother!) and my students and teachers and my counterpart. and i even miss my darn gardens. and of course i miss everyone in PC. so i can't wait to get back and see everyone and re-start all my projects yet again..but at least i'll be productive, have new motivation, and will be totally ready to rock out my SECOND year of service!! woo!!!

so yeah..lungs. woo!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I´ll take some gallo pinto with a fried parakeet on the side!

Wow! Its almost the end of AWESOME AUGUST. I still can´t believe how time flies here. Seriously, before I know it the month is over, my bank account is once again full (not for long!) and my service seems to be flying buy. No worries though, SUPER SEPTEMBER is bound to be just as super as AWESOME AUGUST was! Not only do the newbies (the next group of enviro trainees) arrive next week, but it also marks my group, Nica 51, 1 year in country! I absolutely can´t believe that one year ago I was still not packed for Peace Corps, was helping Moniquey move into her new apartment, and didn´t have any idea what I was in for (or speak any spanish for that matter too!) It seems so crazy to think about now, since life in Nicaragua is pretty much the norm now a days!

Lets see, so the past few weeks have been incredibely busy and filled with tons of Nica fun! A few weeks ago I was up visiting Geory in her super campo site on the side of a mountain and I was just amazed that I was still in Nicaragua. This country is so freakin diverse. I mean, me, I live truely live in the "Land of Lakes & Volcanos" and up north in Mataglapa..its like "land of the mountains". No volcanoes! Anyway, while I was in the "land of the mountains, I was staying with Geory´s host family and litterly the first night, while we are eating dinner, her host sister comes in to the kitchen hold something. She starts talking to both of us and telling us to look at the "thing" in her hand. I was totally confused because it looked like a bird, but it was all black, and definately NOT MOVING. So Geory, askes her what happened and her sister tells us that the bird flew into HOT OIL that morning while her mom was cooking. So litterly she was hold a fired parakeet!! Geory and I start laughing and so does her sister and then we turn to our food that we are eating and only one thought goes through both of our heads......Was any of this meal fried??? ;)

Also, this month I began co-planning with my teachers. This way rather than just me teaching overly exciting science classes, the teachers will also be learning fun games and activities to spice up thier teaching. I was extremely nervous at first, that my teachers wouldn´t understand the topics, or they wouldn´t want to co-plan. However, everything has actually been working out wonderfully and co-planning has been proclaimed a success for now! My teachers are very excited about working with me and I´ve found it actually makes thier lives easier! YAY! So hopefully, they will still enjoy it for the next few months! Along with co-planning, I´m finally getting some stuff done with the NGO in town (tree planting project..YAY!), the sister city (compost project!) and the alcaldia (begging them to do trash collection at one of my schools!) WOO!! It defintely has been an AWESOMELY busy august!! :)

So whats up for the next month. Well, definately, more teaching. And of course fiestas patronales! :) Oh, and of course the premire of Survivor: Nicaragua. Which by the way should give you a pretty good idea into to my life as a Peace Corps Volunteer here...yeah. just kidding. :)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Plant & Lizards..another AWESOME week!

Well...the first week of AWESOME AUGUST had been..well awesome! I definately can't complain and I'm looking forward to the rest of this awesome month! Its been so nice to be back in site, being able to get back into the swing of things, and of course visiting everyone around town!

So on the garden front, I successfully planted 4 (count um!) gardens this week, including one exciting planting of sandia (watermelon) inwhich we litterly ate the watermelon, removed the seeds and planted them into the ground. Who actually knows if the seeds will grow (specially since you are supposed to use a mature fruit), but it was an absolutely a blast to devoure the watermelon and then plant the seeds! But atleast I can hope! On the plant front, I finally have GROWING PLANTS!!!!!!! :) I was so pumped when I showed up to one of my schools this week and the sub-director was like..guess what there are plants growing in the garden! I RAN to the garden and was super excited to find 3 beautiful pipian plants (a type of squash) and a bunch of melon (cantalope) plants growing. YAY! I'm finally not a garden failure and this recent success have given me tons of motivation to keep the gardens going and GROWING! :)

Otherwise, life in the LPC is exciting as always. It was so great being back in town and visiting with everyone again..I've missed so many people. I spent a morning at my host families house catching up and while I was there my 6 year old host brother came home from school. Now, I absolutely LOVE this kid...his name is Diego and he always makes me smile! So he comes running into the house screaming ELYSE..and then proceeds to show me a very live baby lizard that him, his other brother and friend caught on thier way home from school! They wanted to keep it as a pet so we spent the next 15 minutes trying to create a home for this lizard. Pretty much we punched some holes in a plastic bottle, shoved some leaves in and then the lizard. Afterwards, my other host brother, Ricardo, took the bottle (and the lizard) outside and I was like don't put in the sun..and as I was leaving I hear my host mom yelling...DON'T PUT IT IN THE SUN!! You'll kill it! oh, so much fun!!

Yeah, so life is AWESOME!! And i can't wait for another great week or to enjoy this nutella crepe I just got served in this great cafe in Matagalpa. Can't seem to complain about life!!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

It´s Awesome August!!!!

Well, its August 1st. And its also the month that we´ve dubbed AWESOME AUGUST! Why? Because July was not so awesome. Well the first part was, but the past 2 weeks have not been so awesome. I had a ruptured and bleeding cyst on my right ovary. And it was painful and in order to fully recover I was in Managua for over a week. Now, Manauga is great and all for a night or 2 or 3. But 8. Not so much. However, I´m feeling better now! (Yay) And now its AWESOME AUGUST!!!

So, you may be asking yourself what is the plan for AWESOME AUGUST! Well, first off I´m not going to be sick. No parasite, no infections, NOTHING! Secondly, I´m going to be an awesome volunteer. Since I won´t be sick, I´ll be able to really rock it out at my schools, start co-planning lessons with my teachers, and finish up those last few odds and ends with my gardens. Plus, I´m hoping to start working every week with one of the NGOs in my town, start a project in on of the barrio´s of LPC community centers, and get some sort of youth stuff organanzied. Oh, and maybe a HIV billiards tournement. Why not dream big? Anything can happen in AWESOME AUGUST!! And since its our 11th month in country, I´ve got to make it awesome! WOO!!

Alright, enough about how awesome this month is going to be..I´ve got to go out and do it!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Parasite! Parasite! Parasite!

So i have another parasite, YAY! And yes, it is infact my second one in my nearly 11 months here in Nicaragua. The good news is that my parasites are realtively common ones that you could also contract in the not so terrible, right. The funny part is that I currently have a parasite that Cal Fro and I got to deal with at the pool a few summers ago. The bad part is that parasites make you poo alot. The nasty part is that I probably got this parasite by eating something contaminated with feces. GROSS! So i´ve been trying to be really good about only drinking purfied or boiled water and I´ve sworn myself off of fritanga. :( So sad. I love fritanga, which is the food your can buy on the street and is bascially an assortment of deliciously fried, Nica food. I love tajadads (thinly sliced and fried plantains with salad, vinager and chile) and I´m kind of sad thinking about never eating them again. Maybe once my parasite is all gone I´ll try getting some again. Maybe.

Its been a 4 day weekend due to the 31st aniversary of the revolution popular of the sandinistas. Yesterday, EVERYONE and i pretty much mean EVERYONE in my site went to Managua for this big rally thing. I didn´t go and instead went hiking and swimming, but when all the buses were returning from Managua there was a huge crazy party in my central park complete with real fireworks. Pretty exciting. Another exciting part was that I was eating quesillo with some friends in the most famous quesillo restaruant in all of Nicaragua, that happens to be in my town and every single bus full of people was stopping and buying quesillo. Thats a lot of sandinistas and a lot of quesillo. But I have to admit, I love that my town so well know in all of makes my life pretty easy.

Otherwise, its back to teaching and gardens at school. I´m starting to get a bit annoyed because I make plans with teachers to work in their gardens and then when I show up there is always some excuse about why we can´t work on them. Sometimes the students don´t bring their tools, sometimes school gets our early, or once I showed up at 10am just like my teacher told me too and she looked at me and said, oh we were waiting for you earlier. What? You told me 10am, I´m going to come at 10am becuase sadly I can´t just read your mind and realize that 10am actually means 7am. Oh, well. Hopefully, this week things will go smoother because its just so frustrating! But I guess this is all part of working in devlopment and you just have to go with the flow. Just sometimes I wish development work wasn´t so freaking slow. And i´m also wishing (well more like hoping) that my gardens actually grow.

So, thats life right now. I´ve been loving the weather the past few days, cool and rainy. Not sweating is making my life heaven. Oh, last week I had a sweat moustache..which is really nasty. So it makes me even more happy about this bought of coolness. It also makes me realize how Nica I am. I´m freezing at night and its probably still in the 80s.

I´m going to freeze to death when I go back to Ohio.