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?
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
“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
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
Four years ago today. May there be countless more laughs and adventures to come.