As we hinted in a Foto Friday last month, we’ve moved! To celebrate our one month move-iversary we thought we’d share with you a list of reasons of why we are so happy in our new location 🙂
1) Our new host mom is awesome!
One of the main reasons we moved is because were looking for a living situation where we had a little more interaction with our Nicaraguan family, deeper than the landlady-tenant relationship we had before. Success! We share the 2nd story of the house with Zoraida. She moved back to Estelí in 2014 after spending 25 years in the states where she received her PhD in Spanish Literature and worked as a professor. She came back to help care for her elderly mother, and runs a language school out of the house. She composts, shares tasty food and treats with us, chats with us in Spanish, and is truly a sweetheart.
2) We could buy ten 750g bottles of Nutella & 23 pints of ice cream…monthly
The other main reason we moved is that we were paying over 40% of our modest stipend on rent. The place was pretty, centrally located, but our budget was TIGHT. Our new place is much more affordable. Put into terms that our fellow Nica PCVs can appreciate that means we can afford a lot more of this yumminess. 🙂
3) Spanish classes
Don’t worry! We’re not just blowing all of our money on sweets 😉 We taking advantage of the awesome host mom & cost-saving combo and are taking weekly, semi-private Spanish lessons from Zoraida. I’m sharing a class with another PCV in the area who is at a similar level, and we’re currently working our way through Cien años de soledad by Gabriel García Márquez. It’s tough, but great practice!
4) Full kitchen
While our room isn’t too much bigger in terms of square footage, our kitchen and bedroom are no longer in the same space! We have our own bedroom and bathroom, but we share a full sized kitchen with Zoraida. It is so nice having more than just two burners and two square-feet of counter space!
We love being on the second floor and having this little balcony. We’re figuring out how we can get a hammock or two in here…
6) Roof-top garden
The third floor of the house is currently open to the elements, and Zoraida has a cute garden with an impressive variety of fruits, veggies, and herbs. The view is pretty beautiful, too.
7) Nelson is our hero
Zoriada’s nephew, Nelson, and his family live on in first story of the house. He is an incredibly pleasant and interesting fellow, and is super talented! He received a masters in Soil Science from Kharkov University in Ukraine, speaks Russian, teaches engineering at a university in town, is unabashed cook and critic of machismo, and one hell of a handyman. Just this past month he has:
- Built shelves in the kitchen
- Fixed the hot-water in our shower (multiple times)
- Added in a set of hooks in the kitchen to help us hang pots and pans
- Installed a water pump so that our water tank on the third floor can be filled even in the dry season
- Offered design suggestions and future help on how we could potentially loft our bed (stay tuned!)
Basically, I want to be Nelson when I grow up.
8) The location is great
Still centrally located in the city, we’re closer to the bus stations, the Ministry of Education offices, our favorite bakery with delicious donuts, and the open-air produce market.
9) Neighborly love
While we were excited by the potential of buying more cheaper, fresher produce from the city market, we were also a bit overwhelmed by all of the options and our ignorance regarding what everything should cost. Within our first week in the neighborhood Doña Maria del Carmen came into our lives 🙂 Not only has she been our native guide through the market, haggling for fair prices and taking us to the best stall, but she effuses generosity. On top of the hours of friendly chatting, she has already gifted us:
- 2 bowls of home-cooked beans
- 8 bananas
- Salpicón (a traditional Nicaragua minced beef dish)
- Almíbar de frutas
10) Hot Water & Internet
OK, in some ways this may be “last and least” important, but we’re pretty stoked that we still have both Internet and hot water in our place. Sure, they don’t always work, but we definitely count these a couple of blessings that make our Peace Corps service just a little bit more enjoyable.
We know that having a good living situation goes a long way to a successful and happy service. We certainly feel set up for success with our new crib and are excited for the adventures and memories ahead.