Winter shifts in, or at least warns that it’s coming. The threat of rain is overhead, omnipresent in gusting winds, except it’s a welcome threat, a promise that our beating down bright hot sunny days, monotonous as they all feel the same, will be replaced by wet and green rain. Clouds whip in, hiding the sun, and you can feel the barometric pressure changes, rising and falling.
I sat eating lunch with several clients yesterday when, with a burst of wind, the temperature dropped ten degrees, clouds rolled in, and we got our first spill of moisture, a minute or two of light rain. Hair blowing every which way, I went to the patio to have a feel. Very light, teasing me, and the sun came out before we even finished the meal. I’m waiting for rain, for a thunderous downpour. Juan says the first rain of the season is always a celebrated occasion, rejuvenating and cleansing after such long dry months of dust. Right now, it’s the buildup to that rain, the tension as it inches in, and we can all feel it. Last night, cooler than before, we sat on the patio and commented that it smelled like rain.
It’s appropriate, it seems, that things feel different, since things are different. Secundino says the first rain of the season always falls on May 3rd (really? always the 3rd?, I said). If so, my hopes for a rainstorm are in vein, since I depart Nicaragua on April 29: Wednesday! I bought my ticket, and with a very anti-climatic confirmation email, things are different.
Yes, indeed, my time in little Gigante is coming to an end. By the time of my departure, I will have spent eight months total in Nicaragua, six in Gigante, living in my little bunk at Brio. It’s bizarre to think of not being here, sad because of the friends I’ve made that I have to leave behind (and the promise of Spanish every day), but mostly refreshing and exciting like the promise of rain as I consider the prospect of different days in a different place. I’m excited to see my friends and family. Unlike in December, I’m calm, which must mean I’m ready.
I’m also stopping for a week in Guatemala and am very excited about a new adventure and some Megan solo travel time (I’m also very nervous for a solo Megan adventure in a country I’ve heard is alternatively amazing and dangerous. I intend to stay firmly on the gringo trail.) And then… I’m savoring the thought of home and all the comforts and people that await me.
Last Saturday, restless after a very quiet week with no clients, Juan, Nestor and I went out on the town of Tola. Jessica and Dorman are friends of Juan, a married couple who are just great. I’m partial to Jessica; she has an energy and outgoingness rare to many Nicaragua women. And, she loves to dance. I first met her when she and Dorman came to Brio a couple of months back for the Gigante party at the ‘discoteca’—the one that emerged from no where. We were waiting outside to enter the disco, for Nestor to buy cigarettes, and a good song came on inside, and we both immediately started dancing, right there on the street. Once inside, she grabbed my hand, introduced me to various cousins and family members, and we all danced the night away. Anyway, Jessica runs a bar next to her house, and so we wandered in, grabbed a table and Victoria Premiums for 15 cordobas each (75 cents) and started chatting. And there we stayed ‘til the wee hours. It was so much fun, jodiendo y reindo con mis amigos, todito en espanol. Jessica proudly gave me a tour of her modest home that she shares with her husband and brothers, showing me photos on the walls and trinkets around the house, and appologized that the outhouse bathroom wasn’t as nice as Brio. “I don’t care, it’s great,” I said, meaning it.
She brought up her May 5th birthday, and asked my opinion on cakes and colors. When she invited me to help her cook, dismayed, I had to tell her that I would in fact not be in Nicaragua for her birthday, and that I was leaving the following Wednesday. “Nooo, Megan,” she said. She jumped up from the table, went to her house, and came back several minutes later with a silver butterfly ring and insisted I try it on. Ok, I said, and slipped it on.
“Does it fit?” she asked. “Yup.”
“Keep it. As a gift. To remember me by,” she said. “It’s silver. Seriously, you can put alcohol on it, I’ll show you.”
I laughed. “No, I believe you! But, I can’t keep this! It’s yours.”
She insisted (it doesn’t fit me anyway, she said), and I looked down at my hand now adorned with a silver butterfly ring given to me by my Nicaraguan friend Jessica, and around the table to Nestor, Juan, Wilfredo, and Dorman, and smiled.
I gave her a hug and tried to express in Spanish the sentiment “I’m touched” but could at best manage “You touched me” (which certainly has a different ring to it) and so we had a nice laugh.
I told Rob of my departure and he wrote back with various things to say, and ultimately signed his email, ‘savor your last week and make good memories.’ And thus do I focus: making good memories. Three more English classes yet to teach, two to the high schoolers and one to my adult class of four. Beach walks, swim, howler monkeys, my last bit of time mingling with those darn surfers. And most importantly, chattering in Spanish with Juan and the gang.
And, I can now finally post this, twenty-four hours later, as the power went off and stayed off all day yesterday. And so I savor the blackouts, too, scrabble with Nestor and Jackie (Spanish scrabble is hard!), sitting in a chair watching the stars come out for hours, getting ready to head to bed at 8:30. And then the power comes back and life springs back into activity, lights ablaze in our little house on the hill.