Holy Crap It’s Already September!!

Wow.  That was sure a surprise when I looked down at my wrist watch to see that the little “8” that represented the month had, seemingly mistakenly, changed to a “9”.  It seems like it was just yesterday that it was the start of July, and Emily and I were starting out on our road trip.

Wrong.  It’s September.

While it is true that time flies when you are having fun, apparently it is also true that time flies when you don’t know what you’re eating, or when you can’t decide whether to journal in English or Spanish, or when you accidentally call something a penis.  Our schedule for the last two and a half weeks has been jam-packed. Peace Corps Nicaragua has a very comprehensive, 12-week Pre-Service Training (PST) curriculum in place for all trainees, where they will transform our group of 20 Americans into lean, mean, English-teaching Spanish-speaking culturally-integrating machines. If this sounds like a lot of work, that’s because it is! Thankfully, the PC Nica team is on top of it all, and helps us break down our schedule in bite-sized, weekly chunks.

Wowserz!
Wowserz!

Nerds that we are, Emily and I are loving it (which is probably the biggest reason I can’t believe it is already September). Sure, it can feel overwhelming at times, but we are just focusing on taking things one week, one day, one activity at a time. With all the fun we are having learning and integrating and speaking Spanish and trying to meet deadlines, I keep feeling the urge to blog almost constantly to share and record our memories. In lieu of writing an encyclopedic narrative, here are some of the highlights from our last few days of ST, in mostly photographic form:

Saturday

Our morning and afternoon were filled with Masaya adventures. We traveled to Volcan Masaya for two morning training sessions, followed by a trip to the crater. For a more detailed (and interesting) account of our adventures at the Volcan I suggest you check out the blog entry of a fellow trainee, Char. She even recounts a story about yours truly being a valiant gentleman on a crowded microbus.

PC PST August 402
Yes, that is sulfuric smoke. Pretty intense!

After training, Emily and I ventured into the city of Masaya to the market to purchase cell phones. We’ve had sim cards for a week, which grant us unlimited conversation with all of the PC Nica crew, but we weren’t able to purchase cell phones because the local store was bought out of the cheapest model. It was a bummer not being able to communicate at all during the week. However on Saturday afternoon we were successful in our endeavor to buy phones, and found a model for $15 a piece! Great success!

Yay for communication!
Yay for communication!

 

Sunday

Emily spent the weekend with me in my training town, and we enjoyed sharing our first cup of tea together in Nicaragua.

PC PST August 434
So nice to share this tradition with Emily last weekend. Sharing a cup of tea definitely makes life better, and connected us with home.

After that we headed to la finca for another full day of festivities with family!

PC PST August 437
My first Nacatamal! Sooooo good!!!
PC PST August 443
Emily enjoying a coconut grown on the finca.
PC PST August 454
Ricardo beat me 2 out of 3 times this weekend, but all the games were decided by only two points!
PC PST August 465
10-month old Maricel (a cousin of mine) and Emily became good friends!
PC PST August 472
It was the birthday of Samantha, my host niece. Here she is cutting the cake.

Monday

Our third week started off with a bang, actually many bangs! September 1st was a day for the local school children to parade around the town in preparation for Nicaraguan Independence day on the 15th of September.

PC PST August 495
9 bands passed our house. Look at the crowded street!

After the nine bands and countless students marched by the house in which we were having Spanish class, we got back down to business.

PC PST August 390
Alvaro (our Nicaraguan teacher) being a boss, as usual. Conor Sanchez is the trainee in the Peace Corps, the other husband in the TEFL crew 🙂

We also hosted our first youth group meeting, and had the youth help us create a map of their community to help us understand what places are most important to them.

PC PST August 498

I finished my afternoon with my first co-planning session with my English teacher training counterpart. We had a great session, and I’m excited to work with him in the future.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures. Stay tuned for more information as soon as Emily and I start co-teaching this week!

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12 thoughts on “Holy Crap It’s Already September!!”

  1. Wow Andreas, you are doing real stuff! I love the pictures and all the little gems of your days that you drop into this post. Now you know you need to fill me on on the mistaken penis reference, if not here, than in a private message (pun intended)! So happy to see you thriving instead of just surviving!

    Proud Pappa

    1. We’re definitely doing lots here! Thanks for the comment, and compliment. So far there are two penis-esque words I’ve found you have to be careful with. “Eso chunche” is used a lot here to mean “that thing over there”, and one of our handouts has the feminine version of “la chuncha”. Apparently that needs to be edited, because “la chuncha” means another “thing” altogether!

      The other one is the word for comb – “peine”. If you don’t remember to pronounce that “i” then you could be brushing your hair in a very phallic phashion 😉

  2. Wishing you safe travels. Will offer prayers for you and Emily. You both will be supported by me. Love you both and I am looking forward to wonderful stories when we meet again.

    1. Thank you Dan! It means a lot to have your support, and for you to comment on here to let us know you’re thinking of us. Sending lots of love to you and Kitty!

  3. It was great reading your blog, which expresses so well so much of what i’m doing/feeling! Glad we got to meet up with you TEFLers. I’m planning on posting my photos from DC until now (when I have some more time), and will send email messages about them to folks who want to receive them – if they give me their email addresses. Please pass the word, and text me or send me yours & Emily’s if you’re interested.

    1. Awesome! Thank you Anita! We’d love to receive your pictures. I’ll send you our info over FB. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  4. Andres y Emilia:
    Me da mucho gusto saber que todo anda bien por Nicaragua. Es divertido leer sus descripciones de lo que están viviendo durante esta parte del proceso de aprendizaje linguistico y cultural de su nueva casa por los próximos dos años.
    ¡Pobrecita Emilia! puedo imaginarte tratando de absorver el idioma y normas culturales y costumbres locales, pero estoy seguro que pronto podrás comunicarte y entender tu nuevo mundo. Los errores son parte del aprendizaje.
    I look forward to reading some postings in Spanish soon!

    PS
    Andrew — are you buying any local, typical, culturally representative “chunches” as souvenirs? 🙂

    Take care!

    Edgar

    1. Edgar, I’m so excited to say that I understood 98% of what you wrote me! I’m really making progress, but still have a long way to go. Thank you for your words of wisdom and for thinking of us. I hope to be able to post in Spanish soon as well. Take care!

    2. Muchísimas gracias para tus palabras de apoya. Estoy muy agradecido que ha leído nuestro blog, y espero que podemos estar en contacto por el blog. Espero que estás bien!!

      Nos vemos,
      Andrés

  5. Is a Nacatamal different from a tamale that we have on New Years? It sure looks yummy. Also I wonder how long you’ll be able to keep your $15 phone without breaking it, Andrew 😉

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