October mishaps

So, October has been the month of mishaps for me. Let me fill you in.

My chiclero was stolen

For those of you who don’t know, a chiclero is what we call these relatively worthless phones.

I think I bought mine for $10-12 at the beginning of training, and it served me well. This is the phone that I use to call people in Nicaragua. We were told very early on that chicleros were the way to go—nobody would want it, and they may actually chase you down to return it to you! 

In fact, this happened to me. One day, I left it in a taxi on the way across town to one of my schools. I fretted all afternoon because I was pretty sure I hadn’t left it at home, but I somehow didn’t have it with me anymore. I was a little bit panicked because I didn’t want to have to replace it—it had my Peace Corps chip that allows me to text in-country for free and call everyone in Peace Corps Nicaragua. It had all of my phone numbers. After my classes had finished, I walked 40 minutes from school, and when I was on the corner 2 blocks from my house, a car honked at me. It was the taxi, holding my phone out the window, asking if I’d left it behind. I think it was a total coincidence that we both happened to be at that corner at that moment, but regardless, the taxista was looking out for me, and he returned my phone when it would’ve been easier not to bother.

Anyway, back to the theft. I was in Matagalpa City at the bus terminal. Now, I may have mentioned before that the buses are crazy. For most buses, you have to shove and punch people just to have a chance of getting a seat (and y’all know I need that seat because I get carsick and I ain’t standing for 2.5 hours). Anyway, I’ve started only taking expresos—faster buses that require you to buy a ticket for a designated seat. When I buy a ticket, I’ve even started asking specifically for a window seat so I can get a nice breeze. Expresos are more expensive than ordinarios, but it’s worth it.

Regardless, I got to the bus terminal just as the bus pulled in. I sent a quick text to Thomas (who had left to go to back to site via a bus terminal on the other side of town) to tell him that my bus was here, and to text me when his bus came. A crowd of people swarmed the bus (despite all having tickets, everyone still wants to be on first). Thirty seconds later, I was on the bus and my phone was gone. I assume that I quickly shoved it into my pocket to face the madness, somebody saw a lump in my pocket and assumed it was valuable, and they took my $12 phone. It wasn’t the worst that could’ve happened, not by a long shot, but I was still in a bad mood because I had to travel the next 2.5 hours before I could report it stolen, tell Thomas that I was okay, and have any correspondence with anyone. Also the guy next to me was all up in my space and asking me about my marital status, and I was so not in the mood.

I’ve since replaced my phone with a free one that I got from my sitemate, who got it from the volunteer I replaced. I got a new chip from Peace Corps. All is well, but faltan many phone numbers.

I broke my hard drive

I think this may have happened immediately after I got home on the day my phone was stolen? It was definitely a day that I returned from traveling. Anyway, I have a 2 TB hard drive that is full of movies, photos, TV shows, home videos, documents, music, etc etc. I dropped it on the ground, can’t use it anymore, and I only had some of it backed up elsewhere.

I lost my wallet

Most recently (and maybe most devastatingly?) I lost my wallet. I think I stuck it in my pocket while I was walking at night, then possibly tried to drop it back in my bag? Anyway, I realized it was gone, retraced my steps, and never found it. As far as money, it only held two U.S. dollars (and U.S. credit cards, easily cancelled), but it also had my Missouri drivers license and the cédula that serves as my identification here in Nicaragua. I just got it renewed, then lost it within 2 months. So now I’m in the process of  getting a new one.

During my language interviews in training, one of the situations I had to do with my Spanish teacher was reporting a theft to the police. I’m thrilled to say that reporting a fake theft in an interview situation was much more stressful than reporting a lost ID to the police a year later. I had to spend 3 córdobas to make copies of the police report and my passport, but the police were very nice and it was much less stressful than I thought it would be. Hopefully it doesn’t take too long to get a new ID, because I don’t really like being without it.

Anyway, only about a month until I’m back in the states (without a driver’s license. Guess I’ve gotta get a new one of those too). Hopefully my bad luck is behind me!

September/October recap

I’ve been putting off writing for so long that now I have to give you a recap of what I’ve been up to for the last two months (much of which I’ve forgotten.)

September started off sad. Less than six months after being diagnosed with cancer, my stepmom passed away. I flew back for the funeral. I was glad I had a chance to be there, but I didn’t want to stay long. I flew back to Managua, where all of my favorite people were gathered. I can’t stress enough how thankful I am for the friendships I’ve built here. These folks were my rock during training and after we got scattered around the country. (Thomas took this photo and is obviously included in the aforementioned “favorite people.”)

Anyway, so I went back to my site and got back into the swing of work as much as I could. I taught more STEP classes and classes in the secondary schools in my town. One of my counterparts has started giving me lunch during our co-planning sessions, and it’s always delicious. I enjoy spending a few hours at her house every week (even on days when it turns out class is cancelled.) Her two-year-old daughter is awesome, even though she’s still not so sure about me.

¿Qué más? 

I’ve traveled to Matagalpa and Managua recently, where I unashamedly blow all my money on food. I just got back from a doctor’s appointment in Managua. I got my teeth cleaned, got two corazón suckers for being so great with my checkup and shots. I’m now realizing that I only ate one of the suckers, and I’m not sure where the other one is.

Panic panic panic.

Just kidding, no need to panic. I found it in my purse.

So what’s next?

The school year ends in November, and in December, Thomas and I are headed back to the States for vacation. We’re excited to see family and friends and eat good food. We’re less excited that everything in the U.S. costs dollars, and we don’t have dollars 😬

I plan on posting at least 2 more updates between now and then though, so stay tuned!