Category Archives: Life Updates

Why Blog?

Like many newly married couples in the 21st century we have an array of media from our wedding online. We have the professional photographers’ photos, digital albums from family and friends, and shakily shot smart phone videos. We even felt like celebrities on Facebook for a bit. As would be expected, after a couple of weeks our Facebook notification barrage & social media fame tapered off. Other than one video.

With over 6000 views on YouTube at the time of launching this blog in 2014 – and for people who don’t run their own channel and only dabble casually in the social media world, that’s a lot of views– it has continued to make the rounds on the web over the years.  The video is of our wedding party surprising Andrew and singing “May I Suggest” by Susan Werner. Emily arranged it all in secret, as her wedding gift to Andrew.

Almost 5 years later it’s still an incredibly powerful, beautiful, and defining moment for us. Continue reading Why Blog?


2015 Seasons Greetings

2015 Christmas Card

Dearest friends and family,

If 2014 will be remembered as a year of adventure for joining the Peace Corps, 2015 will be remembered in our family as a year of anything and everything Nicaragua. We spent the entire year living abroad, working with teachers and community members, learning a new language and new ways of living, as well as trying to build bridges between our cultures.

As the year comes to a close, we enjoy looking back at how far we’ve come. A year ago, everything was new, strange, and well….foreign. Over the year, though, things changed. Andrew likes to say we are Gringo Pinoleros – a combination of our identity with a Nicaraguan national saying of pride. Every day it’s a bit more true. We’ve mastered some slang, set intentions and lived into them, accomplished some incredible feats, and made great friends in our PCV and Nicaraguan communities.

Slowly but surely, Nicaragua has become one of our homes and part of our hearts.

We continue to be thankful for the love and support of all of you. We are proud of the work we are doing here and know that on some level it is making a difference. It is still an honor to be serving our country and soaking up all the lessons this adventure has to offer. Thank you for reading the stories on our blog, for Skype, Facetime, and Facebook chats and messages, and for the hand-written cards and packages. Know we miss you but feel your support from afar.

May your holiday season be filled with love and light. May you embrace the adventures and life lessons that surround you as we try to do the same here.

Feliz navidad y prospero año nuevo.

Emily and Andrew

12 Days of [Nilsen] Christmas 2015

Last year, Andrew had a brilliant idea for lifting our spirits during the holiday season.  We had just arrived to site and were at the beginning of our Peace Corps service. This meant that we could not have visitors nor visit the states.  To dive deeper into local celebrations, fight off feeling homesick, as well as start our own family tradition, the 12 Days of [Nilsen] Christmas  were born!

Each year, we re-write the classic song to include things we could find and explore during the holidays, wherever we are in the world. This year, we shared our tradition with my dad and step-mom as they visited us for a week here in Nicaragua.

The 12 Days of [Nilsen] Christmas 2015

Continue reading 12 Days of [Nilsen] Christmas 2015

Year One: By the Numbers

“Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments, so dear
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?

In daylights, in sunsets
In midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife
In five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, a year in the life?

How about love?
How about love?
How about love?
Measure in love.”

– Seasons of Love, RENT

Measure in love.  A lot can happen in a year. We definitely tried to set our intentions and live into all of those little moments, but it’s still crazy to think that an entire year has past since we arrived in Nicaragua on August 13, 2014.  We’ve had countless of cups of coffee, enjoyed sunsets and sunrises, and definitely shared in laughter and strife.  Most importantly and incredibly, we’ve experienced the love of our new friends and family, Peace Corps and Nicaraguan alike.

It’s impossible to sum up everything we’ve been doing, experiencing, and learning, but in efforts to quantify our year for you all, we pulled out the calculator and tried literally counting our blessings.

Here’s Andrew and Emily’s first year in Nicaragua, by the numbers: Continue reading Year One: By the Numbers

Two is Twice as Tuani

Like any applicant and wanna-be Peace Corps Volunteer, hours were spent scouring the Internet and talking with any RPCV to gather information and get a glimpse into what was to come. We were looking for something a little different though: for information about serving as a couple.

There wasn’t much to be found and the little official information we did find wasn’t too cheery. At the time, only 7% of PCVs were married couples and according to our Peace Corps recruiter, they were the most likely to quit service early. Even the application and initial interview blatantly stated there were specific challenges that we would have to overcome. With all of these considerations in mind, we continued through the application process, drawn by the opportunity to adventure together, to add to our treasure trove of shared memories, to learn a new language, and to take advantage of the end of our twenties before children, grad school, and a mortgage.

As we celebrate our four-year wedding anniversary and 10 months of living in Nicaragua, we thought we’d share why serving as a Peace Corps couple is super tuani (Nicaraguan equivalent of cool/awesome). Continue reading Two is Twice as Tuani

10 Reasons Why We Love Our New Place

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!
Continue reading 10 Reasons Why We Love Our New Place