election day! (in nica)

Well I’ve returned from my trip up north into the Nicaraguan mountains, a freezing journey five decades back in time. Rustic, remote, rainy. My excitement for coldness diminished substantially when we arrived, soaking wet, and found no respite from this bone-chilling dampness for three days. I literally put on every piece of clothing in my backpack (1 pair of jeans, 2 pairs of socks, 6–seriously–shirts, 1 sweater, all of which actually didn’t do much against the cold that seeps everywhere, undeterred by clothes and layers. Although sometimes miserable, it was ultimately an incredible experience, where I learned a lot about myself, about Nicaragua, and about generosity. 

I should recap this fantastic weekend more, and indeed I will later, but I’m too distracted by a parrot screeching in the background, a woman yelling at her toddler who is also screaming, a delicious pineapple smoothie that just arrived, and of course, that it is November 4, 2008 and we will have elected a new president in mere hours. 

It’s bizarre, a bit bittersweet, to be in Nicaragua on this historic day. My sister tells me that Starbucks is giving out a free cup of coffee to everyone who proves they voted and I say “aww I wish I was there”, visioning myself with an “I voted” sticker, but instead I walk to school among leafy green trees and drink smoothies, worlds away from this place that I come from, that I’m a product of, that I will return to. I feel as though I’m missing out on something, but really, I’m not at all… just because I’m not geographically in the United States to toast to hopeful victory makes me no less a part of that hopeful victory, I suppose. 

No one in Nicaragua seems to care much about this election, which is actually just fine. They have a municipal election on Sunday, which is a BIG deal, so they are focusing on this. And, I didn’t know about their election in 2006. But, bleh, it’s sort of sad. 

I envisioned finding the best gringo bar in town to watch the election returns, but as it turns out, most ex-pats moved to Nicaragua for a reason. They don’t give two shits about the goings on of their native land, and would rather watch a football game than the news (here I quote one greasy-haired owner of a sports bar, who is exactly the angry ex-pat you are picturing right now). So, I will join the American volunteers at one of their houses to watch the news and pretend just for tonight that I’m not in Nicaragua. 

For now, I’ve finished the smoothie. I’m off to go by some gallo pinto from the lady at the corner and a liter of beer. With the beer, I shall either drown my sorrows or, I really hope and anticipate, celebrate ecstatically that my country elected President Barack Obama. EEEEEE!! Cheers to my friends and family.

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