I left little Giant Beach, all my things condensed once more into my backpack.
I am now the ‘content editor’ (a title I bequeathed upon myself) of Between the Waves magazine, Nicaragua’s best (well, only) English-language magazine, as well as a contributor for the Nicaraguan Post. This may seem a bit abrupt, and indeed it feels that way. My life has accelerated exponentially in the past week, days containing so much more now than it did at my quite, peaceful repose at Brio. Less than a week ago, I went to Granada for a night to interview for this job (and interview the editor myself). As this is what some may call a dream job (for my aspiring writerly self), I decided it was time to leave Gigante and relocate to some big city life. Not two days later, I up and left. My finding of this magazine, and my timing to get the job, was all quite serendipitous, and proves that however much you plan your life out, life will get in the way of itself, turn things upside down and change. Ultimately, what will be, will be. This week has been a lesson in relinquishing control and following my gut.
My departure from Gigante was certainly bittersweet, however. My students were all very sad to learn I was leaving them (abandoning them!) without lessons. It was easy to forget how frustrated I had been with Yara, who shows up to class 50 minutes late everyday, when she showed up to my fiesta de despedida in her Sunday best (and on time!). Indeed, on Tuesday evening, I invited all the students to Brio for a little goodbye party, expecting them to eat the million Chips Ahoy I had carted from Granada, play a little Simon says, and head on home. I clearly still have a lot to learn about Gigante. My class attendance had diminished over my stay in this pueblo, so I thought I was inviting the 12 or 15 regulars that still come to class. Ohoho. Every kid who had ever come to class for even one minute came running when they heard of a party–and some showed up who had never once set foot in English class. On the one hand, it was incredibly overwhelming and not at all fun to have thirty 11-to-15 year olds yelling ‘give me water, please’ and ‘Megan. Megan. Megan!’ amid general rousing Spanish chatter. Less so when they decided to turn on reggeton for a dance party and the cheers turned to ‘profe dance with me!’. After two hours of this, I finally sent them home with a lot of tired hugs. It was, however, certainly tangible proof that I did something in Gigante. Forty kids show up to say goodbye to you and you’ve done something… even if only a forth of them learned any English at all. There are a few that I will miss… that I do already, in fact. Ana and her sister Nancy brought me lobster and chicken dinner, which I attempted to share with everyone; Selena arrived all dressed up in a skirt and with a bag of corn; and little Leana danced with me.
I told them I would come back, and I fully intend to fulfill my promise. I plan to be in Granada for at least a month, to get settled in my new, powerful position (I kid) and then re-evaluate in November.
I told Juan I’d come back as well. Juan and I really started to get along quite well my last several weeks there; he was the one who advised me to go to Granada to meet the editor rather than swirl myself into a tizzy at Brio. After the ridiculous student goodbye party, Juan, Jackie and I went to a local restaurant for dinner. The two gringos who live in Gigante came by, as well as Nestor, my gay friend (yes. There is one gay person in Gigante). I sort of felt like part of a community. Now this will be quite trite, so forgive me; it was the very same restaurant I went to at my first night in Gigante, when I was scared and alone. The same table, the six-person wood table in the foyer, listening to the sounds of the beach. Sitting at the very same table, not even two months later, chatting with friends in Spanish, and saying goodbye to a place that I’ve grown quite fond of… that’s change.
In a very random decision that I made quite decisively (no more flip-flopping Megan!), Wednesday morning I hopped on a bus to León and am now wandering in northerly parts of the country. I really have actually progressed–I took a bus three hours north to Managua, switched bus stations (taxi across town) and seven hours later, found myself in lovely Leon. Unbeknowdest to me, Wednesday was the holiday of León’s patron saint, so the city was full, sidewalks crowded with celebrating students and families. I had met a fellow on Ometepe, ran into him in Gigante, and then saw him here–small world. So, we walked around together in the evening and watched the various parade’s around the city. (The focal point being the giant virgin dolls carried through the streets. Catholicism can be downright bizarre.) A firework show capped off the evening, as we watched at the foot of the town’s center cathedral.
Leon is the university town of Nicaragua, so it is full of students and vibrancy. There are also more shops and American-type things here than I’ve seen in months. For example, the grociery store sells cheddar chex mix and there is a Payless Shoe Source blocks away from my hostel. I actually relocated hostels for tonight, and am in a very cheery place with lots of travelers. Last night found me in a very boring, empty hostel run by an abuelita. Walking back last night, I was as close to robbed as I’ve been in any of my travels. Rather than bring out my whole purse, I just had a little bag with my cell phone, cash, a key, and my watch, and a dude came by on a bike and tried to grab it out my hand. It happened so quickly I didn’t have time to react, only with reflex tighten my grip, and apparently it was strong enough on the bag that he didn’t succeed in grabbing my little bolsa. Actually, a great lesson in awareness with no consequences, so I’m rather grateful it happened in such an innocuous way.
I’m exhausted right now. Today was a floater day, wandering through the streets, reading, sitting in plazas. In fact, I sat in a wonderful plaza dedicated to the Nicaraguan poet Ruben Diario and read, you guessed it, my book of Diario’s poems. How perfectly perfect.
In this sort of wandering travel, by yourself, time and space are both condensed and long, meandering. More happens in a day here, but it’s a sort of disconnected happening. I’m in a tired haze, so I shall write more later. Just thought I’d check in with you, bloggero. I shall arrive in Granada on Sunday and figure out my living situation then. It’s complicated, but, to apply the lessons of my week, it will all work out.