For our last holiday season in Nicaragua, we wanted to be at home in Esteli and spend Christmas and New Years Eve like most Nicaraguans do: in family. We had two main goals, one of for each holiday. For Christmas I wanted to try the seasonal dish lomo relleno, and for New Years Eve Emily wanted to make our own viejo. Continue reading Home is Where the Holiday Is
Two years ago, we began a tradition in our family that would allow us to celebrate the holiday season no matter where in the world we found ourselves. After 2014 and 2015, we figured we were getting the hang of this 12 Days of celebration and fun, but this year Nicaragua threw us a curve ball. ACCESS Camp (the annual intensive English camp we’ve helped with the past two years) dates were changed from January to right before Christmas, so we had to be creative. Nevertheless, our 12 Days were spent remembering to celebrate the small things, to be thankful for what we have, and to invite spontaneous joy into our lives.
The 12 Days of [Nilsen] Christmas 2016
This year, we had the honor of attending the National English Singing Competition with our school and one of our students who qualified for the competition. There were 38 participants representing various departments and autonomous regions of the country. While she didn’t place, Karen rocked it! We’re super proud of her, our teachers, and our school.
We had the honor of helping with the annual municipal (county) English Singing festival this past week. Over 20 schools sent their best English singers to compete for the chance to represent us at the departmental (state) level, and maybe on to the national competition. We’re super excited that our high school, Guillermo Cano, won!
Irela, the English tecnica for the Ministry of Education, one of our dear friends and such a hard worker, was the muscle behind the whole event. She surprised us with framed certificates and almost cried as she told the crowd she’s going to miss us so much next year. We’re not ready to say goodbye yet, but it was a touching reminder that it won’t be easy when the time comes.
With a Spanish version of “Fight Song” as our anthem, workshops about sharing power in relationships, goal setting, HIV/Aids and pregnancy prevention, and redefining ideas of beauty, all combined with the magic power of camp songs, games and fun, this week was the week of a lifetime. Enjoy the smiles and joy that is women’s empowerment. Via GAD Nicaragua
From fireworks starting at 3:30 am and processions at 5 as the sun is peeking over the mountains, to Easter sunday services and that big egg-laying bunny: however you celebrate today, may it be filled with joy, hope, love, and peace.
55 years ago today, President John F. Kennedy signed Executive Order 10924 to establish the Peace Corps. All week volunteers (returned and current), host countries, and the Peace Corps family are celebrating our commitment to world peace and friendship. We build bridges between cultures, provide countries with desired technical trainings, and have the privilege of being hosted and loved by the countries and people we serve.
Last year, in honor of Peace Corps Week, Andrew and I started our PCV Spotlight series – highlighting the service of PCVs around Nicaragua. While we hope to still publish a couple more spotlights, this year, we wanted to try a little something different.
There was this terrific blog challenge back in January/February run by Blogging Abroad – a blogging community of “digital ambassadors” who promote cross-cultural exchange through their stories, videos, pictures, and posts. We’re super excited to be a part of this community and were sad that we were too busy during January/February (but seriously: from Allen and Nilsen family visits, MST, ACCESS Camp and GLOW, an unexpected trip home, and starting the new school year…we never stopped) to participate in their challenge.
A Nicaraguan (and Nilsen) motto – más vale tarde que nunca (better late than never).
Stay tuned for some great posts as we aim to answer the prompts from Blogging Abroad.
Happy Peace Corps Week 2016!