Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Day 14 Wednesday May 27


Today was our last full day in Nicaragua. 

We woke up.

Ate breakfast.

Watched TV.

Walked on the beach and went swimming in a natural pool.  Took some fun pictures.

Ate lunch.

Took a nap (Kate) and skyped with Josh (Beth).

Watched TV and caught up on our blog.

Ate dinner.

Watched TV and finished our blog.

Packed for our trip home tomorrow!

Oh and somewhere in the middle of the day we finished that buttermilk-passionfruit cake.  Yup, we finished it in less than 24-hours.  But we’re just gonna pretend that it was somewhat of a small cake… 

Veronica blessed us with yet again another amazing dinner.  We decided we would be in big trouble if we stayed here for much longer.  She makes wonderful food.

Overall, one of the most relaxing, lazy days ever.

Day 13 Tuesday May 26


Soo.. not much to report today. It was our first of two days spent having a little R&R at the gorgeous house in Santa Rosa. We did little housekeeping chores, like laundry, packing, and the all-important showering and bathing J We did spend some time swimming in the pool and enjoying the sun.  Veronica made us delicious food and even a buttermilk-passionfruit cake. Oh boy, looks like we shouldn’t try to ride any motorcycles uphill again soon!

Quite a pleasant day J

DAY 12 Monday May 25:


Today, we woke up in Santa Rosa.  Seeing that it was our last day in El Transito, we had a lot to do!  We started off eating breakfast at another woman’s house from the church.  After that, we made our way back to the house to grab all of our gifts and prizes for the kids.  Because it was our last day with them, we decided we wanted to play a fun game.  We came up with our own version of Jeopardy.  In this game, everyone had a partner and we had six different categories.  These included saying the colors in English and Spanish, saying the question words (who, what when…) in English and Spanish, answering questions in English, and translating English answers.  For each category, there were seven choices: 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70 points.  At the end, the top four teams with the most points were our winners.  For these winners, we had t-shirts or hats.  We were also able to hand out two starbursts for each boy and one starburst and a cute hair tie for each girl.  Overall, they seemed pretty happy.  We took pictures with all of the kids and said our goodbyes.  It was kind of sad.  Many of them came up to us after and gave us hugs and kisses.  Too cute. 

After class, we were a little sad, but were happy that we were able to give them the opportunity to teach.  While hanging out on our hammocks, Jorge, the captain of the El Transito baseball team, came over.  I had promised to give him the six baseball mitts and 4 baseballs that I brought.  The baseball gear was donated by a few guys from the Rice baseball team, so thanks guys!  We made our way to the baseball field to hand over the gear.  We were able to take a picture with them and watch a bit of their practice.  Alminton joined us on the trip and of course, while watching the practice, wanted to have another photo shoot.

Then, we had a quick lunch and went back to the house.  This is when we both passed out for 2 hours.  Oops.  We were awaken by our neighbor, Julio, playing the xylophone.  LOL.  Randommmm.  We woke up and prepared for our final class with the older kids.  We decided to just have a fun class and play musical chairs.  Whoever was the last one standing when the music stopped was allowed to re-enter the game if he or she could answer something we had gone over.

After the game, we all just hung out, ate sour patch, played volleyball, and took pictures.  Everyone wanted to go to the beach and play volleyball and soccer, so we decided to quickly pack up our stuff.  It was funny how we told everyone to meet us at the beach but instead they just waited on our porch while we were in the room packing.

After we finished packing, we made our way to the beach. GLORIOUS.  We played soccer for awhile, swam, played more soccer, watched some volleyball, and swam some more.  Then, some of the older guys had a little three vs. three game going on.  They asked us if we wanted to play and we said yes, making it a fun little 4 vs. 4 game.  Beth and I were on the same team.  Our team ended up winning 2-0. eth has some pretty awesome battle wounds for proof and I had a goal and Beth had an assist.  Very nice!

After a fun by hard work out, we took our last swim in the ocean for the day and made our way back to the house, only a two-minute walk or so.  For dinner, we walked across the street to Ronal’s house and had an awesome fish dinner!  After saying out goodbyes and taking one last picture, we got our stuff and made our way to Santa Rosa.

Overall, a very sad but warm and loving, relaxing but busy, and beach soccer-filled day!

DAY 11 Sunday May 24:


Today was our day off from traveling and teaching, and went quite smoothly J We had an early breakfast kindly dropped off for us by Belkis, a sweet 16 year old girl with maturity beyond her age who teaches at the Christian school we have been teaching in.

After quickly finishing up breakfast, we had to work quickly to get the soccer, basketball and volleyballs together to give to the church. Our little friends Alminton and Ronal were there to help us as usual, and once we got everything together, they (rather unsuccessfully) helped us carry our large bag partway up the massive hill we have to climb to get to school every day. About 1/3 of the way up the hill, the pastor and another friend passed us on their motorcycles. His friend was kind enough to put our large bag on the back and take it to the church for us. In similar kindness, the pastor offered to give us a ride up as well. Funny story, that didn’t go so well. We both got on the back of the bike, and well, I would just like to argue that bikes should have listed weight limits as referance, just like elevators do, to prevent embarrassing situations like ours. We both hopped on the bike, ready to go, when it proceeded to go not forwards, but backwards down the hill. Looks like those beans and rice were finally catching up to us. WOW. Embarrasing. Can’t really defend myself in any way on that one. *sigh* Instead, Ronal and Alminton went on the bike, and proceeded to go up the hill with the pastor without problem. We walked.

Once we actually made it to the top, we were greeted by a large groups of kids, and explained where we were able to get everything we were donating to them. Because we only had one pump, we hung out with everyone while taking turns pumping up each ball. It was quite relaxing to just chill and talk with everyone. Once all the balls were pumped, we took pictures to take back with us to the school, and most people left. However, several of the little children stayed, and we played volleyball and kicked the soccer balls around. Kate began spinning Alminton, and soon all the kids wanted a turn. I decided it would be funny to try to get them to run and sit down in a chair right afterwards. I was right J they often fell from dizziness before making it to the chairs. Very funny J

For lunch, provided once again by Belquis, we ate a type of black tuna that has dark meat which resembles beef in appearance and is very tasty. We decided that for dessert, we were going to give Ronal’s family a little taste of an American favorite-SMORES! Yay! Let’s just say that they were a hit. I’m pretty sure Alminton had like 8 of them. Nommy!

Our next big activity was church, where we needed to prepare a song to sing. Yikes!

We dreaded the possibility of having to sing an English song in front of the entire church since the Sunday before, when the pastor asked us to do it. What gave him the idea that we could sing?! Oh boy. When the moment finally came, we took Kates computer to the front, played the lyrics in a powerpoint slideshow, and just went for it. Probably one of the most difficult things I have had to do in a long time, and considering I just took organic chemistry this past year, I like to think that makes it kinda a big deal. Overall, considering neither one of us are singers, I would say we did pretty well. Afterward, the pastor gave us a too gracious thank you and small gifts to show his and the church’s appreciation. It was so sweet I almost cried. I am going to miss these people so much, I can’t express the gratitude I have for all of the love that everyone has given Kate and I.

A day full of a wonderful mix of happiness and sadness of leaving soon.


DAY 10 Saturday May 23:


After a good night’s rest in Santa Rosa, we got up at went into El Transito with Veronica.  Doña Ele and Ronal had us over for breakfast.  After scarfing down our rice and beans, eggs, and tortillas, we got into Ronal’s truck and said bye to all the kids, only to find that they were ALL coming with us!  YAY!!!  The trip included Beth and I, the Pastor and his son, Ronal and his 3 kids, Ronal’s brother, and Belkis, who is a teacher for the youngest kids at the school we taught at and an active member in the church.

Beth and I sat in the front as Ronal drove and everyone else hopped in the bed of the truck.  After about an hour and a half or so, we finally arrived in Leon.  We drove down a couple of busy streets that had all types of products being sold and people were EVERYWHERE!  Immediately Beth said that she loved the atmosphere and wanted to get out!  Our first stop was: the oldest church in Central America.  We got out and started walking towards the church.  As we crossed the street, one child each grabbed our hands.  It was too cute.  When we got inside the church, Beth kindly informed me of the sweat that was covering the entire back of my dress.  Awesome.  That’s what you get for sitting in the middle of a truck with no AC and very little air reaching you from the windows.  But don’t worry, I made her sit in the middle on the way back ;)

After seeing the church, we went to the ZOO!  Beth and I were not sure what to expect from this.  And we were definitely not blown away by it.  There was a total of probably 20 animals or so.  A few monkeys, a couple of raccoons, a couple of deer, a duck or two, some chickens, an alligator, 3 turtles, and last but not least, a not so cute anteater/pig looking thing.  We both thought of any zoo in the US and how this zoo was a joke in comparison.  But, the coolest things were the white-faced monkeys.  About three of them would come right up to the fence to look at us.  When I turned my camera on, it’s like they knew I was going to take a picture, so they started posing!  It was great!  Then, the stuck their hands out so that we could touch them.  The four little rascals had no problems grabbing their hands and smiling for the camera.  Beth and I on the other hand were a little more skeptical and talked about possibly using hand sanitizer after we touched them.  In the end, we decided it wasn’t the best decision and moved on.  About 10 minutes later when we left the zoo, the kids grabbed our hands again.  DINGGGG (lightbulb goes off).  The kids were touching the monkeys.  They did not wash their hands.  Therefore, we touched the monkeys without really getting to touch them!  BOO AND LAME!

After the zoo, we went to a small hole-in-the-wall restaurant.  The options were: fried chicken, chicken breast, or something else that chicken that we had never heard of.  We chose fried chicken, one because it was cooked the most, and two, let’s be honest with ourselves here, we like fried chicken!  When it came, it was possibly the smallest chicken wing I had ever seen.  It also came with white rice, some noodle things, and some vegetables.  Beth told me it probably wasn’t a good idea to eat the vegetables (YES!) and I didn’t really like the noodle things, so after I finished the chicken in 2 minutes, I tried to finish some of my rice.  I then ordered an orange fanta.  Very healthy?  You know the answer to that…

After lunch, we told the Pastor we wanted to do a little bit of shopping for small gifts.  He took us to a store that was like a party store/convenient store/the lady followed us around the ENTIRE store.  Did she think we were going to steal something?  I told Beth, if I had  any interest in stealing from the store, which I didn’t, I would probably steal some shampoo.  Then we told them we were going to just walk around the street we were on for a little bit and walked into a few clothing stores.  We saw a couple of cute things here and there, but for their prices, we decided we could probably buy the similar thing in the States.  We did not find any souvenir shops.  Boo L

After that, we went to the supermarket, for what reason I don’t know…  I guess maybe the Pastor thought we might find something there?  Haha  We ended up walking down the candy isle (hmmm I wonder who led the way…)  and I saw hersehy’s chocolate and immediately thought of SMORES!  Yes, my head was dreaming of chocolate deliciousness.  I asked the Pastor if they had ever had smores and he said no, so we bought the chocolate, marshmallows, and graham crackers.  Great success!

After that, we all piled into the truck and head home.  This time I was by the window and wasn’t covered in sweat.  Well maybe just a little.  I forgot to say that after Beth told me I was covered in sweat, I quickly decided it was my defense mechanism against all men who dared to smile or whistle at me.  Perfect.  Beth was wearing a backpack.  SUCKSSSS.  No sweat defense mechanism for her!!!

I fell asleep on the way home and by the time I woke up, we were back!  The kids came over right away and we just hung out for awhile.  We then told them we were going to cook a little dinner and that they should go home.  They didn’t.  So we made omelets and when I say ‘we’ I mean Beth.  All I did was chop up some ingredients.  After we finished eating, it looked like, and sounded like, a storm was coming.  We didn’t know what to do.  By the time we decided we wanted to go to Santa Rosa, it was raining.  We didn’t know who to ask to take us to Santa Rosa.  We decided to run across the street with all of our stuff and ask Ronal to take us.  His wife kindly agreed to take us and we were on our way.

Let me just describe the run over there.  First of all, I was wearing a skirt and my Nike tennis shoes.  A definite no-no.  Also, I had a flashlight on my head.  You know, the ones that construction workers use.  Lastly, Beth and I were screaming the whole run over to Ronal’s house.  Finally, we arrived.  Hallelujah.

Overall, it was an educational, shopping-filled and monkey day with a little splash of God’s sense of humor.

DAY 9 Friday May 22:


Today, after waking up still salty from the sea in Rancho Fifo and having breakfast with Louisa, we went onto class for our last serious day.  We decided to review more vocabulary in hopes that they would be able to use it in the questions we had taught them. 

Today, Kate was the one with a skillful teaching trick. At the end of class, we asked everyone to prepare a question with new vocabulary to share with the class. We asked for volunteers before choosing groups to go. We were happy to have about 6 groups go before we had to start choosing. At the end, as a reward, Kate gave candy to all the volunteers as a surprise. Nicely done J

In the afternoon, we hung out with are little friends Alminton, Ronal, and Julio. Almiton loves Kate’s camera, so it wasn’t long before we were having a photo shoot of our own. For one of the pictures, Julio brought his pet parrot over, and Kate decided to pose for a picture with it. Right after the picture, the bird poo pooed all over her hand.

The camera: $200

The Bird: $5

Her expression while squealing “He just pooed on me, he POOOED on ME!!”: priceless.

Thank you Lord for sweet moments like these J

Not long afterward, we decided to cool off from the heat in the ocean with Amilcar. The tide was rather high and the water rough, so we were too chicken to go far in. Amilcar however, flipped and ran through the waves like no one’s business. Needless to say, having that tiny boy half my size go twice as far out as me was a bit embarrassing, but it’s all good.

We returned to Rancho Fifo soon after, and drank orange juice on the hammock to relax. It was what we in the US like to call “the good life”.  After yet a bit more napping, we held afternoon class.

For our class, we played hangman to review vocabulary. We decided to make it a competition between us and the class, trying to see if we could outsmart them with difficult words or expressions. Turns out, we can’t. Afterward, they decided to give us the same challenge and use difficult Spanish words. I am proud to announce that we won all three games and reclaimed our hangman respect. One of the words was the friggin national bird who’s sounds like someone is gagging, I think we did ourselves proud.

The rest of the day was spent relaxing and hanging out with our little friends. I am sad to say it was our last day of our full week L

DAY 8 Thursday May 21:


Because there was no power last night, we spent the night in Santa Rosa.  In the morning, we taught the kids the rest of the question words and asked two boys to come to the front and say a couple of phrases because they were doing such a great job.  Their pronunciation wasn’t perfect, but it was pretty darn good considering how off it was when they first started, so Beth and I were definitely proud of them. 

Today, all meals were at Yolanda’s house.  The Pastor told us she is one of the oldest donors of the church.  For breakfast, we had, surprise surprise, rice and beans, an egg, a sausage, and calala juice!  We LOVE calala juice.  It kind of tastes like pineapple juice but without the tang.  Beth has been coming up with ways to sneak some back into the United States.  She’s kind of obsessed.  After breakfast, we went back to the house, which by the way, is soon to be a learning center, and caught up on our blog!

For lunch, we returned to Yolanda’s house for what could have been the best fish we’ve ever had.  It was called “Pargo” in Spanish, so I don’t know what that translates into English.  After lunch, we took our usual afternoon nap on our wonderful hammocks.  What a life…  Right Dad? J

In our afternoon class, we had a few more people than the day before and continued working on some vocabulary.  We went over animals and food.  A lot of them struggle with words that start with ‘s’ such as snake.  They always want to add an ‘e’ before the ‘s’ to make it ‘esnake’.  By the end of the class, the Pastor could say rice and beans faster than “arroz y frijoles”. 

Then, all of the students wanted to play volleyball with us.  We agreed to play because they said we could play on the beach and because we had not played with them yet.  We were a little surprised with their volleyball skills.  Not as good as we thought.  And they didn’t really play by the rules, but such is life.  We adjusted.  Beth kept trying to tell them that we had to rotate every time we got the ball again.  They didn’t seem to get it.  All they were concerned about was having Beth or I stand somewhere in the middle.  The two gringas in the middle.  Righttttt.  Sounds good to me.

The ball was constantly going out of bounds and one time it went over the wall of a house on the beach, so Beth and I decided to sprint into the water, for the first time, and soak it up.  It was still hot outside and the water was perfect.  Not too cold and not too hot.  Ahhh.

After we went swimming, we walked back to the house and found the Pastor there.  He was trying to set up a skype account, so Beth and I tried to help him.  We were able to get a little bit of a signal from the house two doors down, and talked to my mom for a little bit.  After that, we returned to Yolanda’s house for our last meal of the day.  We talked for a little while with her daughter in law, Rosaria.

Then we returned to the house for our beauty sleep.

Overall, a refreshing and yummy, fish-filled day.