Nicaragua has been full of lessons and surprises. A year ago, I never pictured myself standing and squished on a more-than-full school bus for multiple hours, taking bucket baths, teaching classes of over 50 students without materials, or even feeling comfortable conversing in a language different from my own. Yet here I am today. Experiences that at first seemed so foreign are becoming more normal, more a way of life for us as well.
A dicho that I’ve been learning to take to heart says, hay mas tiempo que vida – there is more time than life. It speaks to the idea that life isn’t meant to be spent rushing from place to place full of worry, anxiety, and an obsession with time, but rather experienced a bit more slowly. We hopped in a taxi to get to a meeting the other day, in which the taxi driver stopped multiple times to chat through his window with people on the street. He was in no hurry and why should he be? Hay mas tiempo que vida.
This slower paced mentality was quite difficult for me at the beginning of our time in site, but I tried to really lean into it. Now that work has picked up and our projects are gaining momentum, I’m trying not to lose this important lesson. Thus far, I feel that with a little organizational help from the Guide to Getting Things Done, I’ve been able to combine my natural desire for order and extreme color coding with relaxing in a hammock, chatting with our host mom instead of doing some menial work tasks, or enjoying the view on a 2 hour bus ride to a town 25 miles away.
Life is just different here.
I’ve found that I can live with less anxiety, live into my purpose, and still get a lot done by embracing some of these different ways of living and understandings of the world. Some of the ideas that stick with me so strongly – multigenerational living, open air houses, using public transit – do exist in the states, even if they exist here and there for different reasons (poverty vs. affluence). The US is a mix of all sorts of cultures and ways of living after all. But I’m continually being asked to look at something a little differently just by living in and around these other realities.
You can live a fulfilling and meaningful live without really ever traveling far from your home.
You don’t need air conditioning, or hot water, or a private car. They’re nice, but not needs.
Pride for ones home and country exist all over the world.
Your neighbors and community are important. Take care of each other.
I love that a third of our job is to just learn as much as we possibly can about our post in hopes that we can someday share it with the world back home, to help build a world with a little less fear and a little more understanding.