Tag Archives: Friendship

In Joy and Pain


This week was difficult for us and the teachers of Estelí; a beloved and hardworking district employee, and dear friend of ours, suddenly passed away.  Between attending the wake and funeral services, we were exhausted and knew the teachers were, too, so in efforts to be culturally sensitive, we canceled our Wednesday conversation group.

Almost immediately after sending the cancellation text, our phones rang off the hook!  One of my counterparts, Regina, got in touch with me and said, “You can’t cancel tonight!  We have a late-birthday surprise planned for Andrew.  We don’t care if we don’t formally have class, but you still have to come.”  So we resent the message, saying we’d have an informal class, for anyone who just wanted to come and be together.

Regina had cooked an entire, delicious Nicaraguan meal in honor of Andrew.  As she says, “he loves all the foods!”  Even in the midst of pain and loss, perhaps especially during these times, our friends have shown incredible care, affection, and love for us.  I hope we can learn from and carry their example with us for years to come.


Adventure and Company

William and Emily

Our trusted guide and friend, William, showing us around Miraflor.  Always an adventure.  Always good company.

Small World, Big Hearts

It’s amazing how traveling thousands of miles away from your house can make you realize how small our world is.  Our travels over New Years were a great reminder of this.

At the beginning of December Emily and I attended the NicaTESOL conference, where hundreds of English language educators and students from around the world met up to discuss teaching strategies.  While Emily and I were trying to decide which breakout sessions to attend, we noticed that one of the presenters is currently studying on a Fulbright scholarship at none other than Southern Illinois University!  Since half of my in-laws have studied at this school 45 minutes from Emily’s hometown, we had to go.  Continue reading Small World, Big Hearts

Feliz Navidad: 2014 Xmas Card

2014 Xmas Card

Dearest friends and family,

Our card and letter from 2013 shared of our crazy idea to join the Peace Corps.  After more than a year of applying, preparation, and anticipation, 2014 brought many adventures for the two of us – some to their beginnings, some to their close.

We said goodbye to our jobs, our home in Portland, our church community, and our family and friends.  We started this blog to share with you our stories, struggles, and triumphs.  We lived up our last few months in Portland, took a fantastic road trip across the United States, and prepared to embark on our Peace Corps journey.  We worked our butts off during our Pre-Service Training and have now moved into our site for the next 2 years of Peace Corps Service as TEFL teacher trainers.  It’s not always easy, but it’s certainly an adventure.  We’re learning.  We’re growing.  We’re trying to live each and every day to its fullest.

While most of you know all of this, and know these stories, you may not know how incredibly grateful and thankful we are for the love and support we’ve received.  We are so very proud to be serving our country, serving each of you who have loved and taught us what’s important in life.  We are honored to get the opportunity to learn about Nicaragua and to teach the Nicaraguans we meet a little about our homes.  We’re loving sharing our stories of Nicaraguan culture and catching up with you through this blog, Skype, Face-time, Facebook, and even a few hand-written letters thrown in there, too.

May we greet the new year with the same hope for adventure and beginnings as 2014 brought us.  May you know we miss and love you dearly.  May we recognize the love and light that are all around us at this time of year, and all the year through.

¡Feliz Navidad y prospero año nuevo!

Every Nica Cloud has a Silver Lining

I’ve been fortunate in my life to have opportunities to travel to many countries. Invariably I hear, and even find myself participating in, some form of this conversation:

Local: “How do you like our country?”

Tourist: “I love it! The people are so nice!”

The tourist in this instance is almost always alluding to how much nicer the people are in X country than they are in their home country. I’ve always been a bit skeptical of these conversations because not only have I heard this from U.S. citizens traveling in other countries, but also from tourists visiting the States. Is it true that people are just magically nicer in every country but our own, or is there something in traveling that pushes us out of our cocoon of familiarity and into interaction with strangers that makes us realize that, on the whole, humans are a whole lot better than we give them credit for?

That being said, the people here in Nicaragua are super nice. So much so that I’ve developed a new favorite hobby: getting caught out in rainstorms. Continue reading Every Nica Cloud has a Silver Lining