Chela, Chele y Cheles.

So far I’ve learned to walk on the shady side of the street.
My Spanish is a lot better than I thought.
My Spanish is a lot worse than I thought.
Yoga in Spanish has taught me I know a lot more Sanskrit names for asanas than I previously thought.
Yoga in 100F+ degree heat makes you more flexible (and it’s not Bikram, gracias a Díos).
Your yoga membership for a month is only going to cost you about $18.
Gym memberships are C$100 less for girls than guys…also about $15 a month.
Going to the gym makes me sweat in places I didn’t know I could sweat…aka my shins.
Walking into grocery stores is like walking into heaven, you are greeted with bright lights and AC.
Your candy bar will melt the second you step out of said grocery store-challenge accepted.
The things I would do for a good Montana beer…
A juicebox of strawberry-banana flavored milk and Oreos is not a sufficient breakfast.
Your stomach will hate you if you drink that strawberry-banana milk. (or any other dairy product after not having drank cow’s milk for 6 years).
You know it’s been a solid day of nutrition when your poop is solid.
Said poop feels a lot nicer on the way out when that nutrition is coming from vegetables.
Chasing the pico lady after class is quickly becoming my favorite part of the day.

The view over the city before the rain from our rooftop bar perch.

Pico is a type of sweet bread that is filled with some kind of delicious cream, but not too much of it. And it comes as big as the slices of pizza at Bridger Brewing before 4pm. A perfect replacement for that breakfast of Oreos and flavored milk.  In case you haven’t noticed, I definitely am not sticking to my vegan diet here. Most of the people I’ve told about my vegetarian-ness cannot, for the life of them, grasp that concept.
“Eres vegetariana…entonces…comes pollo?”
“Absolutamente no.”
“Entonces, qué comes??!!”
Example of a conversation I have had with both mi madre nica y mi profesora. Our host mom, Rosario, is a caterer, and by that I mean she cooks for 30+ people in a kitchen smaller than a dorm room while her three girls, niece, and mom all help. Our host dad, Julio, works for a non profit organization called Just Hope, a group that brings American doctors to Nicaragua with medicines and knowledge that this country just doesn’t have access to. He has travelled to the U.S. many times through work and is in charge of all the volunteer doctors while they are here, including their meals, which Rosario cooks.

When can I move in?

Our house is set off the street a little bit, and it’s not the one pictured above. You walk through a big wooden door and the first space you walk through is actually our host dad’s sister’s house, which then leads into a long brick corridor that directs you to our house. The walls are pure cement, grey and rough. The floor is my favorite part, it’s made out of tan red tiles with mandala-like designs. The kitchen morphs into an open air laundry area, there’s a smooth cement washboard and multiple buckets, a system I am still perfecting.

The yoga center.

Honestly I feel overwhelmed by the amount of things I could write here about my first week in this country. I don’t want to summarize, but let me say this. Nicaragua is gorgeous. I was prepared for a truly developing and third world nation. While it is developing, we are met with WiFi everywhere we go, cheles running around every corner (chela or chele is the word for white people here), happy people, electricity, clean tap water, and well maintained public spaces. The parts that give away the developing nation are dozens of exposed telephone wires, trash dusting every street, dogs with all their lady and man parts, ribs showing through wiry fur, and malnourished horses pulling heavy carts.

La iglesia de Recolección.

Friday and Saturday were dedicated to hiking volcanoes. The first, Cerro Negro, is the youngest volcano in Nicaragua, forming sometime in the 1800’s. The sand on the west side of the volcano is really fine and tour companies have monopolized on this fact, using sleds with metal bottoms to allow their customers to slide down in orange jumpsuits and lab goggles. It was stupid fun. Saturday we hiked el volcán Telica at sunset, drinking in the views and once the sun went down and the full moon came out, we could peer over 1,000ft down into the caldera and see the lava bubbling and burping. I just never realized how BIG volcanoes are. Looking into that living meowtain really did make me cry. I’ve said it over and over again, but this earth is just so powerful. And I’ve written about it so much because I just can’t wrap my head around the amount of power that it holds.

Telica from afar.
Over the edge at Telica.


Cerro Negro: for chelas and goons.
Looking east on top of Cerro Negro.
Spanish class here gets a little more into it. Toys touched by the hands of children who would now be more than 400 years old.
Pronouncing these is way harder than it looks. (Nahuatl language).


Notice the dying old man on the right…death by technology which is also giving life to a baby…miedo=fear
Somoza under one foot, Uncle Sam the other. Yet again, los E.E.U.U. stepped in when they didn’t belong.
Here, there is no time. No one is in a rush, no one has to be anywhere. They are exactly where they are right now.
Reserva Natural Isla Juan Venado











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