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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Random Thoughts and Happenings, Volume 1

So, a lot of times stuff happens or things pop into my head that I think would be cool to share, but not cool enough to write a blog post about.  I figure every so often I can give you some completely random tidbits for your entertainment or to make you think.

  • Last night was the "purisima" here in Nicaragua.  That means people decorate altars to the virgin Mary in front of their houses and groups of people walk around singing songs.  Some houses, like mine, give out little packages of candies.  Picture tons of kids, adults, and old ladies scrambling and pushing just to get a few lollipops and hard candies.  We also gave out a traditional drink...agualoja...which is made of ginger, fermented corn juice, and dulce (kind of like brown sugar, but made from sugar cane).  Fermented=can get you drunk.  According to my host sister, there were quite a few tipsy children on Thursday night after the mayor's office gave out their purisima gifts.  There are also fireworks and a lot of drinking.  My host uncle made a concoction of about 3 gallons of guaro (really gross, strong rum), a couple bottles of coke, and a liter of beer.  It was pretty awful, but he insisted that we give it out to the people "so that they can sing better" haha
  • At the 6th grade graduation yesterday, they called me up to sit on the stage as a special invited guest.  Which also means I had to kiss all 21 of the graduates and their parents on the cheek as they received their diploma.  Luckily most of the dads opted for the handshake or awkward Nicaraguan upper-arm-grab instead of the kiss. 
  • Nicaraguans, when talking about people, a lot of times will put "el" or "la" in front of the name.  This is something that I have noticed here that I never really noticed in Honduras.  For example they'll say "La Sara" (The Sarah) instead of just using the plain name.  I think it's kind of cool.  Makes you feel like one of those celebrities that just goes by their first name, like Madonna.
  • People are really into taking medicine.  When I have a cold, sometimes I'll take a decongestant or something if it's really bothering me, but mostly I'll just rest and drink lots of water.  If a Nicaraguan notices that you're sniffling, coughing, or sneezing, their first reaction is to tell you to take something for it.  Here, injections are just as common as taking pills for things.  I've started to just lie and tell people that I'm taking pills for things when I haven't (because I know that there's no pill that will cure a cold!).
  •  My host family is obsessed with asking me if I'm bored.  It seems like they ask me every hour or so, every single day.  Yes, of course there are times when I'm bored-- I'm living in a very small town where there's not much going on most of the time.  I just keep telling them I'm not, but I'm not sure how convincing I am.
  • The use of nicknames here is out of control.  Everyone in my extended host family has a nickname and rarely goes by their real name.  In fact, I don't even know most of their real names...Pucha, Paco, Pucho, Pulga, Pelota....  and until this very moment, I hadn't realized that almost all of the nicknames start with P.  Interesting.
  • In case you were wondering, I now answer to Sara, Sarita, Chela, y Chelita.  Even people who know my name still call me Chela when they see me on the streeet (chele and chela are terms for men and women with light skin)
  • I started my garden yesterday-- the soil kind of sucks, so we decided to dig out big trenches so that we can mix the soil we dug out with cow manure and then put it back in and plant.  Apparently that's not how it's done here, and I had to explain my reasoning multiple times.  I also may have gotten a neighbor in trouble.  He was helping dig out the trenches (which I thoroughly appreciated, because what he did in 10 minutes would have taken my host sister and I 3 hours) when his girlfriend/wife/mujer comes over yelling.  The only part I caught was her saying, "Candil de la calle, oscuridad de la casa," which is a Nicaraguan dicho which means "Lamp of the street, darkness of the house"---referring to people who help other people but don't do anything in their own home....woops!
  • Last, and most importantly....I now have an address of a post office box in the departmental capital that's only about an hour away from me.  So, instead of sending stuff to the PC office in the capital city (4 hours away), I can get my mail a lot easier there.  I posted the address on the right side of this page!  I brought a couple of photos from home, but I'd love it if you threw in a few photos if you're going to send me a letter.  That way I can brighten up my tiny little bare-walled, cement floor room!

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