Sunday, December 8, 2013

Spanish Catch Phrase: October 24, 2013

Hola familia y amigos!

Let it be known throughout the land, I have OFFICIALLY FINISHED MY FIRST WEEK IN NICARAGUA, AND I'M NOT DEAD YET! No parasites so far! I'd say that's a success! I might just die from heat exhaustion, though. I am convinced that on his way down through the seven levels
of hell, Dante passed briefly through Nicaragua.

If any of you decided to come and visit me, it would be fairly easy to find me, because I might just be the only gringa (white girl) here. I'm the one with the shiny skin and poofy hair who everyone honks at (everyone..all taxis. Everytime.), blows kisses at/whistles at (five times today), or yells random things I don't understand...which is probably a good thing.

In summation to my last email, we took a bus for 2.5 hours from Managua to Leon, and the driver put on some graphic documentary about wild cats, and so we watched cheetas and lions and jaguars hunt their prey for awhile, narrated in Spanish. Most people on the bus seemed pretty into it..including the driver, who seemed to be paying more attention to the television than the road.  I couldn't really see out of the windows too well because they were tinted, but what I did see was gorgeous--greenery and palm trees everywhere, mountains in the background.

When we arrived in Leon, we exited from the bus in the middle of a muddy cobblestone street busy with traffic, and Hermana Najarro (who might just be an angel--honestly one of the sweetest people I've ever met) got us a taxi. Ten minutes later, I found myself in the middle of nowhere surrounded by shacks and little cement three story buildings placed in close proximity to each other.  I was just thinking to myself, "Wow, how does anyone actually live here?" when Hna. Najarro indicated that the one closest to us was our house (well, the third story corner of one, that is). So, we somehow managed to lug my ridiculously large suitcases up the narrow staircase, and she opened the door. The very first things I saw were cement floors, cinderblock walls, and a lizard that clambered up one of the walls and disappeared in the ceiling. Definitely not at the CCM anymore.

Although our apartment is small and so unbelievably hot (I've consigned myself to the fact that it's going to feel humid and miserable for the next forever), the good news is, I have a shower! Only cold water, but you could not even pay me to take a hot shower here. And I was under the impression I'd be bathing from a bucket, so I was perfectly content.

I'm pretty much out of time (currently in a little internet shack somewhere near our house and it is storming outside), so I will try to sum up a few of the things worth knowing:

* First morning I woke up, felt so disgusting, and was dismayed to find that our water didn't work (apparently happens a couple of times a month). So we took a road trip to Hermana Hawkins' apartment (my CCM companion who is also in Leon) and showered there.  Best shower of my

* There is a termite nest somewhere near my bed.

* Latinas cannot sing. It's actually pretty hilarious. It kind of sounds like a group of middle schoolers when they're reciting the pledge of allegiance, except then you realize they're singing a hymn.
Harmonizing is not possible.

* I play piano for sacrament meetings, and I don't play the piano. With my playing and their singing...well, I'd say we're on our way up to Mo-Tab status.

* The people here have nothing. And I mean...nothing. One room, dirt or cement floors, tiny little televisions--tvs my roommates and I would have refused to buy from DI. Their clothing is neat but
obviously poor, too. I see a lot of princess and tinkerbell shirts, American Eagle and Aeropostale brands...plastic shoes. We stopped by an investigator's house today who use car seats (as in, actual seats from a minivan or something) as their main furniture.

* Everyone's houses are right next to each other and most have the door open, so we just wish a friendly "Adios!" to all who look our way. I attract a lot of weird stares, so I pretty much just smile and say Adios to everyone.

* People here are so friendly and warm--I'll expand more next time, but pretty much everyone stops to talk with us and listens to our message.

* The streets are full of taxis, motorcycles, and bicycles, and they don't move out of the way. You move, or you die.

* Every day I wake up to the same Nicaraguan woman yelling some indistinguishable thing in Spanish that she is selling from a bowl that she is walking around with wearing on her head. I heard her say"tortillas" the other day. So, the next time she says tortillas, I'm going to buy one, if nothing more than to say I bought a tortilla from a very loud woman with impeccable balance.

* I have eaten some weird food here. Including flower juice? Aahh, out of time! More next week.

* Marvelous p-day today in the heart of Leon! Beautiful cathedrals and a delicious lunch.  It is hard, and I barely speak any Spanish, but I love it here.

Working hard and praying for you all.  If I don't die from some random disease or humidity or being hit by a taxi or motorcycle, I'll write more next week.

Les quiero muchisimo!

<3 Hermana Behan

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