26

Okay, I’m gonna give you a really brief rundown of my birthday weekend. Caley’s birthday is a few days before mine, so we decided a long time ago (back in training, I think) that we’d want to do something together and have a joint celebration. During training we talked about getting sushi, but the only sushi we’ve seen here is in Managua, and we don’t venture to Managua unless we really have to.

We both ended up getting placed in sites in the department of Matagalpa, and we love the city, so we made a choice to spend the weekend there with friends. All of my training group was able to come, which was awesome because we live all over Nicaragua, from Jinotega to Chinandega to Río San Juan. Thomas and John and Andrea came too, and I was so happy to hang out with all of them.


We got in on Friday (my last day of being 25!) and obviously went to Kiss Me. We got dinner near our hostel and I ate some insanely good vegetarian curry. We went back to the hostel and played cards until after midnight, when my friends sang me happy birthday and I sent a video to Jasmine. 


Saturday, we went to a Mexican restaurant and I ate some vegetarian nachos (I realized at the end of the weekend that the only meat I ate all weekend was one BLT.) and then we went back to Kiss Me, because I’m the birthday girl who can eat as much ice cream as she wants. Next door to Kiss Me, there’s a board game cafe, so we played a couple games of Clue and I won both times.


For dinner, we went to my favorite Italian place and demolished a few pizzas. 


When we got back to the hostel, my friends surprised me with a tres leches cake and Caley and I tried to feed each other/ourselves wedding-style, but we need more practice.



I feel super lucky to have friends here who make me feel so loved on my birthday (and every day, really. They’re the greatest.) 

I wouldn’t have wanted to close out 25 and begin 26 in any other way. Thanks to everyone who made my birthday so special, both in person and otherwise. Love you all ❤️

Ch-ch-changes

Don’t want to be a richer man
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
(Turn and face the strange)
Ch-ch-changes
Just gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time

– David Bowie, “Changes

A lot is going to change over the next two years, and I assume that most of that change will be so gradual that I won’t really notice it until a lot of time has passed. That said, here are a few things that have changed since I moved up north four days ago:

  • My new family calls me Jayce/Jaynes/James/Jay (my old family pronounced my name the Spanish way, kind of like Hah-day). I’ll pretty much answer to anything.
  • I drink coffee every day. I’ve never been much of a coffee drinker before, but now I live in coffee country. Can’t say I hate it.
  • I say maracuya instead of calala when referring to my favorite refresco. The words are synonomous but I sound like even more of a foreigner here if I say calala so I avoid it.
  • I sleep in. Sometimes I don’t get up until *gasp* 8 a.m.
  • I actually like the cheese here. You may recall that I just ~tolerated~ queso seco, but I actually eat the cuajada with some level of enthusiasm.

Home

I’ve spent the last few days living in my new site with a new host family and meeting/working with new teachers. 
Yesterday, I walked about 9 miles around town trying to figure out where everything is.

It’s hot here. When I got home, the camisole under my shirt was completely drenched.

These hills are unforgiving too.

Eventually with these blog posts I’ll find a modicum of eloquence, but for now, I’ll just let the pictures do the talking.

Leaving this gorgeous view mañana. Be back soon. 

Walking to my counterpart’s house to plan a lesson
Walking home after teaching class.

Gotta get me some of that bus quesillo

I just realized how long it’s been since I wrote a blog post. My last one was a massive downer, but I assure you that I’ve been feeling awesome since I wrote it. I’ve just been very very busy and haven’t taken the time to compile my thoughts.

A few days ago, we got our site assignments! I planned to write a long post about the whole process and my thoughts for what it would be like, but it’s too late for that, because I’m actually in my site for a quick visit!

I’m in a lovely town in the department of Matagalpa! I was thrilled with that announcement, because I’m going to be living surrounded by mountains and rivers and places to hike.

The journey here felt a little long. It’s Sunday, so there wasn’t an express bus to my town. We ended up taking two separate ruteados, and one of them blew a tire and added a good hour to our trip. 

When we arrived at the bus terminal in Boaco to change buses, I was starving, and I bought some quesillo from a vendor who came on our bus. (I feel like this is one of many, many inside jokes that I shouldn’t try to explain, but I’m going to try anyway.)

On most buses, there are vendors who come on and walk down the aisles trying to sell you everything from food and drinks to flashlights and razors. For about 10 weeks now, I’ve jokingly said, “gotta get me some of that bus quesillo,” because there’s nothing sketchier than dairy products being sold by a stranger on a crowded bus.

Anyway, I bought and ate the quesillo and it was delicious and I have no regrets.


I’ll write a better post later with more details about my site and new host family, but for now I’ll just leave you with a few random facts about my day:

  • I visited the mother of one of my co-teachers, and she made a comment about my makeup and I thought I misunderstood what she was saying because I haven’t even opened my makeup bag in Nicaragua. When I told her that I don’t have any makeup, she pointed to different parts of her face and asked, “you don’t have anything here?” and I was like, “I mean, I sweat a lot, so…” 
  •  My room is huge and has its own bathroom. Two other volunteers lived here before me, and both of them left some stuff. My room has a bed, couch, desk, dresser, mirror! AND a bunch of floor space where I can pretend I’m gonna do yoga.
  • I got a cold last night. I was doing so well health wise, but now I’m spreading snot germs all over town.
  • (FYI my phone just tried to autocorrect snot to amor. Definitely not spreading love germs all over town.)

Ok I’ve rambled long enough. I mostly just wanted to write a quick something to let you know that all is well in the life of Jade.

Just to reiterate, I haven’t OFFICIALLY moved to my new site. I’m just here for a few days to meet teachers and get to know the town. I’ll move officially after swearing in as a volunteer in a couple weeks.

my host niece is obsessed with my iPhone and took a picture of me in my counterparts’ house