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I have no idea what is going on at all but I am having an amazing time. I thought that there would be a lot more English here in Granada, Nicaragua but that is certainly not the case. I remember telling myself that I would start to practice my Spanish once school started on Monday but that is just not possible. As soon as I arrived in the airport of Managua I needed to speak Spanish. I have not practiced my Spanish since SPAN 300 in my second year of university so you can imagine that it is is more than a little rusty.
Antonio was my driver and without a single word of English we were actually able to have a really funny conversation. I arrived at my homestay in Granada at 1:30 a.m. and after starting my day at 3:30 a.m. the day before you can imagine I was more than a little tired. The father of my house, Winston, couldn´t have been a sweeter man. We talked (in terrible Spanish) for about half an hour until I just couldn´t translate my sentences from English to Spanish anymore. Trying to explain that your Padre serves legal papers for a living is really difficult to do in Nicaragua.
Winston showed me to my room that is up some stairs leading from the kitchen. I didn´t realize how important it is to have a window in your smoking hot room until now. Luckily, I have a fan above my bed which I have been able to blast directly onto me and it has helped keep me somewhat comfortable. I really don´t care about the room. I´m happy as long as there is a bed and a fan.
I slept until 9 the next morning and made my way to the shower. There is no hot water here in Granada but the nice thing is that there isn´t any cold water either. It is naturally the most refreshing temperature one could ask for in this climate. I made my way to the TV room where Winston and his incredible wife Maria Jose were sitting. Maria Jose brought me a plate full of pineapple and melon which I quickly devoured.
It was now time to see my school. A girl named Carmen came and grabbed me from the house and walked me to the opposite side of town where my school was. The streets are so old and just covered in potholes. The other thing is that everyone honks at everyone and everything. When I asked Carmen (remember this is all in my super duper broken Spanish) why people feel the need to honk the whole way down the street she said its because ¨a horn is meant to be used¨. Whatever.
My school looks small and I haven´t been able to meet any teachers or students yet. The one student that I waved and smiled at turned his head back down to his book expressionlessly. I assume he´s just a little jealous that there is a new kid on the block. Carmen then explained to me that she isn´t a teacher and does not work at the school. She said a couple other things that made no sense to me and then bid me fare well. OK, time to explore the city. I made my way to the Parque Central and once I tried talking to the locals that were not from the school I realized how little I really could understand. Instead of rephrasing a sentence when I didn´t understand a word, people would just keep saying the word hoping that it would some how click. Usually it doesn’t.
After I walked around for a couple of hours I spent another hour looking for my house. The houses in Granada are all attached and they just have different metal bars in front of the doors. When I asked a pharmacy owner in the general area of my house if she knew where Winston and Maria Jose lived she luckily was able to point me to the house with a green wall and a white gate. It was from this moment on that I finally realized everything was going to be alright.
I arrived home to find that there were two other students living at my house. The first that I met was Johannes of Nuremberg and the second was Nick of Copenhagen. After conversing in Spanish for a couple minutes Johannes then busted out the English. That was a big stress off my shoulders. I was becoming absolutely exhausted speaking Spanish all day long. When Johannes, Nick and I are at the house we try to speak in Spanish only. It is really cool to meet two other guys who are so stoked to immerse themselves in the Spanish language and Nicaraguan culture. Johan left to fix instruments at a local school started up by a Dane while Nick and I left to get his clothes washed and see the market.
Although it was great to meet a couple others who were in my same position, the best part was meeting Ton and Jersil. Tong (10 years old) and Jersil (12 years old) are the two kids of the family. I soon learned that Jersil was to be my professor while I spoke Spanish at home. In all my travels of Southeast Asia and Australia I have never been able to get this close to the local culture. Jersil invited me to come play ¨Ole¨ with his friends and out to the street we went. We played ¨Ole¨ which is similar to ¨Piggy in the Middle¨ with a soccer ball for close to an hour before Johannes came home and joined us. We played 3 on 3 with rocks in the middle of the street as goals. The kids were alright but they were just no match for the brute strength of this Canuck (they kicked my ass).
After playing Soccer (or Futbol) for 2 hours Jersil, Johannes and me went in to have our dinner. All the food is really plain here but at the same time really tasty. After dinner I had a quick shower and we went to Calle de Los Gringos (Gringo Street) where they have all the pubs. Everyone sits out along the street and orders and of the happy hour specials. The deal is either two nicalibres or two mojitos for 40 cordobas ($1 USD = 24 cordobas). It was a Friday night and it was a friend from Johan and Nick´s school that was leaving the next day. I was very happy to be invited along to party with them. After loosening up on Calle de Los Gringos we left for the discoteca. Don´t worry guys, Gangnam Style is in Nica as well! Even at the night club cervezas are only 25 cordobas so enjoying a night out does not make much of a dent on one´s budget. At 2 a.m. the discoteca closed down and a new plan was made. Sarah, the girl who left today, convinced all of us to head down to the lake where the bars do not close. Feeling so happy about how my day had gone once I met my housemates there was no way I was going to turn this down. We all piled into a taxi with some Nicas (Nicaraguans) we had been dancing with and made our way to the Lago de Nicaragua (the 10th biggest lake in the world). What a beautiful sunrise you get from there. I´m pretty tired today and I think my last sentence explains why. I´ll proofread this later but for now I will update you all. Sorry for the long message. I absolutely love it down here.
SUMMARY (because I know it is too long of a post for most of you)
– I arrived in Managua at midnight and spoke for over an hour to my driver Antonio in only Spanish
– at 1 a.m. I met the father at my home stay, Winston, and spoke some more Spanish before being shown to my windowless bedroom
– I woke up at 9 a.m. and met Winston´s wife Maria Jose who made me an amazing fruit bowl
– I met Carmen who walked me across Granada to my school. It seems small and the only student there ignored my wave. Carmen then said a bunch more stuff that i did not understand and then left me to wander the city
– I was not able to understand the locals accents and then got lost for an hour.
– After receiving help from a shop owner I was able to meet Johan and Nick, my to housemates living with the family
– Things just got better and better as I met the children Ton and Jersil
– Jersil took me out to the street to play soccer with his friends for almost 3 hours
– We ate an amazing meal and then Johannes, Nick and I left for Calle de Los Gringos for a farewell party for a student at Johan and Nick´s school.
– Happy hour two NIcaEspecial for 40 cordobas ($1 USD = 24 cordobas) was taken advantage of by all- I was able to get my Reggaeton on at the Discoteca just off of Calle de Los Gringos
– Once the discoteca closed we made a decision with all of our new friends to go to the lake where the bars do not close
– We stayed until just after sunrise because one of our new Nica friends told us how beautiful it was. She was right.
– More soccer with Jersil and his friends tonight and I can´t wait
– Living in a home stay with such a nice family has been completely amazing and it is only my second day here.
– I know I´m going to love it here
– Chao for now chavalos!