In my last post, I mentioned that some friends and I were planning on going to a beautiful location, hiking, and eating cheesecake.
Turns out, none of that happened.
On Tuesday, I received a text from the wonderful safety and security team, who said that all volunteers would need to leave their sites and consolidate in Managua on Wednesday. Tropical Storm/Hurricane Otto had slightly changed course, and there was a chance that it would affect some of our sites in Nicaragua. They wanted us to all be together to ride out the storm, so to speak.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t at all upset that I had to ditch my plans and go to Managua. Embassy families had invited us to spend Thanksgiving with them, but I’d declined because I didn’t want to pay out of pocket and go to Managua, and I really didn’t want to sit on a bus for ten hours over the course of a couple days. So a few of us had made our own plan, and we were excited about it.
When Otto destroyed the plan, I was a little bummed that I’d miss out on homemade cheesecake (like, they make the cheese there) but I was pumped that I’d not only get to see five of my friends, but ALL of them, and have an actual Thanksgiving meal.
Apparently, this is the only time in about six years that all of the volunteers from around the country were together in one place. I think there are over 150 of us currently in country.
Anyway, thanks to Peace Corps and the awesome people at the Embassy, I got my name on a list so I could have Thanksgiving dinner. I ended up at Ambassador Laura Dugu’s house with about 40 other Peace Corps volunteers. Thanksgiving started when she greeted us at the door and we were immediately offered an assortment of beverages. (I chose white wine, because red would have been an invitation for disaster.)
Thanksgiving continued with food that rivaled my mom’s (which is really saying something.) I was honestly impressed that they could cook so well for so many people.
The ambassador sat at my table, and maybe a minute after we started eating, I felt the table shake, and very calmly realized that we were having an earthquake. (Apparently, it was a 7-point-something in El Salvador. We had a tsunami warning in Nicaragua for a while, but all is well here.)
I ended up eating a couple plates of food. There was no pumpkin pie when I went for dessert, so I ended up eating some sort of delicious apple concoction and drinking cafe con leche out of fancy gilded cups.
Before we left, all of the guests took a picture with our gracious host.
I spent the rest of the weekend with friends: Playing Cards Against Humanity, playing ERS (I lost, so Thomas is now a game up), and talking Harry Potter with Adrian.
Hurricane Otto made landfall on the coast, but it mostly missed Nicaragua. There may be a little damage, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been. All we got in Managua was a little bit of rain, so on Friday we were allowed to go home.
Most of us ended up staying an extra night in Managua and going to a fancy mall where we couldn’t actually afford anything. The prices were so high that they were in dollars.
We saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and then we got some sushi that was waaaaaay over our budget.
I’m back in Matagalpa now, but I’m very thankful that I was able to spend my first Thanksgiving away from home with people who feel like family.
68, see you all at New Year’s.