bachata in the kitchen

Oh, how life meanders in funny ways. I’m back in Gigante! I forgot how BEAUTIFUL this place is… or perhaps it took seven weeks in a Nicaraguan city (even a city such as Granada) to inform me how nice life is by the beach in a small town. I realize this is incredibly corny, but I arrived to Brio and felt “home”. Aw shucks. I feel like I chose to come back, that I’m choosing to be here, whereas previously I sort of…landed here and had no idea what to do with myself…and so I’m quite content here. I arrived in Gigante late Wednesday afternoon after a very busy morning in Granada; my morning at the police station turned into an evening watching the sun set over the pacific in quiet Brio. Aaaah, how quiet it is, only the sounds of animals and wind and music. Mmmm. After my crazy house in Granada, telenovelas playing like a soundtrack and banana-ladies passing, and sisters screaming at each other… Brio is blissful. 

The long, hot afternoons, green and dirt roads, the pacific at my doorsteps, and of course, all the Spanish! There are no volunteers here, no guests, and therefore I pass my time with Nicas, speaking and listening to Spanish. The Nicas here are so different than those in Granada: suffice to say, it’s nice to be back to nice people. I appreciate the strange looks I get from the fishermen when I go running as simply curious, much more polite than the grotesque cat-calls I got from the Granada men.

Some of the volunteers in Granada spent a lot of time arranging afternoon ‘intercambios’ with Nicas, setting up appointments to speak half-an hour of Spanish and half of English. Without even trying, my life here is just one huge intercambio. I’ve been meaning to write since I arrived, but find myself so content just being (away from my computer screen). Thursday, I chatted with Juan, and he caught me up on everything I had “missed”. Turns out, October was a raaainy month in Gigante, with power outages for a week and impassable rivers and near-food shortages. Friday I spent the morning chatting with Ioxolina as she made gallo pinto and huevos, and in the afternoon, she with her broom, I with my imaginary partner, we danced bachata in the kitchen. She invited me to her daughter’s birthday party on November 28, at her home in a town about an hour south, so that should be fun—and how lovely to be invited. Last night, I played darts with Juan, Jamie and Brio’s boat captain, Pantera and the ‘cuidante’ Manuel.

My return is still an adjustment, however, as it’s Saturday night and all quiet on the homefront, versus bustling Saturday evenings in Granada. I think… I guess I’ll go to bed and read. Which is certainly a different pace of life and also such a luxury. 

On a side note: In Granada, I lived two blocks away from an Eskimo ice cream parlor. I paid it frequent visits, so much so that the sweet Eskimo ice-cream scooper behind the counter knew my order and would go so far as to get extra dulce de leche ice cream from the back for me when they ran out. There is no Eskimo ice cream parlor here. 

But then again, I got up yesterday morning at 6:30 to go fishing with Juan and the boat captains. I reeled in a Makeral and then ate it for lunch. And ooooh how life in a fishing town is swell. 

Classes are up and running, although much more sparse than before. It seems as though my seven week absence weeded out many a student, which I suppose is actually good, as now I’ve found those who really want to learn English. I went for a walk Thursday morning to sort of alert everyone… hideyho, I’m here! Which was awkward and actually worked quite well, as Friday I gave a full day of classes. I’m also now giving Saturday classes, since I have to return to Granada every other Monday and Tuesday to do Nicaraguan Post layout. My night class is full of six workers from a construction project up the road called Arenas Tola, which is a interesting new challenge I wasn’t expecting. I made hundreds of photocopies in Granada, so I have so good material to work with and feel less blundering. And, it seems as though they actually remember quite a bit of what we learned, which is just fantastic.

A happy return to life by the beach. 


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