Thursday, December 10, 2009

Salve a Ti Nicaragua

Long ass time huh? Well, as most of you already know from reading my facebook, I was robbed again when my friend came in July for a visit. We were asked to go out for Chinese food by some of my community English students, and then we went out and had a few drinks, and by the time we got home, I realized that we had been robbed. So this is why I have not had any access to a laptop to write. So The name of this blog is called “Salve a ti Nicaragua”. Thank god school is done with, and the summer vacation has just begun!! I had had it with the students….eeekkss. That’s all Im going to say. I will soon be going home for Christmas (and for the first time since coming here last May) and I am so excited. It will be nice to see all of the friends at home (which a huge party better happen. I’m talking like stretch limo, and paid paparazzi and shit!) It will also be nice to see the family as well. It’s weird to know that when I come home (back to Nicaragua) I will only have 6 months left, and that’s just sad. Ive been here for quite some time, but it has flown by unbelievably fast! Weird to think that this place (where I have been living the last 18 months) will only be a memory in just a few months. I’ve gotten so used to living here and used to the way they live, it’s crazy to think that I will be returning back to Wisconsin, and have to jump back into my old life. Geeesh. So, I’ve been recently thinking about trying to find a job here in Nicaragua, so I can spend more time here, and possibly experience things that I have yet to experience, and other possibilities there are for me. Who knows if I will feel the same way in 6 months, but that’s where I am as of right now. Recently, we had an AVC (All Volunteer Conference) in Managua. All of the volunteers came to meet each other, and go to different presentations from different volunteers from different sectors. Liz and I were asked to give a presentation on current events, and what volunteers may have missed since coming to Nicaragua. I think we were selected because we are the best S.O.Bing presenters on the face of the earth, CLARO! It was a hit, and I think we did so well that I think I even saw a few tears out there, but enough about how awesome we are. The last night of the conference, there was a talent show, and we were in it!! How did I get dragged into it? Well sit back and relax, and I’ll tell you how. Another volunteer came up from the South and spent the weekend in Granada, which means a welcoming party was in order. We walked down “La Calzada” and found a restaurant serving 2 X 1 (DOS POR UNO, BABY!!!) so we sat and caught up for a a short “all-nighter”. Riding back to Liz and Dianne’s house in the taxi, and singing “CELOS, TENGO CELOS” to the radio; someone started singing “Beat It” by Michael Jackson. Upon entering the house, we all started singing the song and began to throw out Michael Jackson moves, we thought we knew. I looked over at Shyra, and I saw the light bulb go off in her head. The then informed us about the email she had received about the talent show for AVC. Then and there the NICA 47, “Beat It” performance idea was born. After hours of back breaking learning, and practicing, we were ready for the performance. I will try to add a link right here so you can see the video. Its pretty hilarious!! We pretty much brought the house down, and will probably be asked to travel across the world as, quite possibly, the best “Michael Jackson cover back up dancers” in the history of back up dancers. But don’t take my word for it…. Ba dum dum. That night was a major shit show, that’s all I’m going to say. Recently I have been hanging out with my new wife, Fatima. I met her through a mutual friend of ours, and ever since then she has fallen in love with me. I helped her and Juan move into their new house, and required a lot of work. (IN A NUT SHELL… Fatima got beat up by thieves at her old house and she needed to live with a strong, manly man.) We had to clean her house for a party for her birthday, that was being thrown on the very day they moved into the house. Impossible task you ask? Hellz nah. Not for me and Fatima. We cleaned that house like 2 Merry Maids cleaners on a kilo of blow. (Metaphor of hilarity and in no way explains the quickness of the cleaning) We had the chairs and tables brought to the house and we threw that together faster than you can sing Ba Ba Ra Ba Ba Ba Ga Ga Ra Ba Ba Ba (inside joke Fatima). The party was a huge success! Except for the fact that they guy who was supposed to bring the music, forgot it. Then to my delight someone had brought a guitar, and I thought the night was saved. While moving in my chair, to hear the music better, he began to bust out all this music that made my ears bleed, I instantly walked back to the jungle juice in the 30 gallon blue cooler and refilled my cup. After everyone had left, we went out to the disco and had a wonderful night! The next few weeks before I go home, I will be very busy. I offered to help a fellow volunteer at the English summer camp in her town. This morning I went to Masatepe and began the workshops we are giving the teachers today, tomorrow, and Thursday before the English camp starts next week. I’m kind of excited because I will very busy so I won’t think about coming home so much. Ok maybe I will. Yeah, I will. Oh yeah, a couple of weeks ago, when my friend Tessa came and visited me, my mom called and let me know that someone had gotten my check card from the States, and stole all my money. It shocked me because I had the check card still on me. After talking to the Peace Corps security coordinator, we decided that my card had been cloned from an ATM machine, or when I used it to buy something at the store. I had to call the bank from here and wait on hold for a customer service rep, and try to figure out what the hell was going on. I had to go through the history of my usage and then fill out a discrepancy form to argue the charges. Found out some one in Managua, now has a brand new $931.17 computer; hope they enjoy it. So I have the money back, PROVISIONALLY, and I hope they don’t take it back. I got a new site mate, she’s cool, but not as cool as me, which may cause problems in the future. Sometimes I have to steal a quote from Liz to remind her and say, “I’m better than you, so get over it!” She knows now. Well Tengo sueño ( I have sleepyness) See you all later! Have Happy Holidays, and a great NEW YEAR!!!!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Reason 844 Why I'm going to Hell

The rainy season is now upon us, which any Peace corps volunteer here in Nicaragua will agree that yes, it is nice that it is no longer 850 degrees on a daily basis, but here in Masaya that means only one thing....pull out your canoes boys and girls!! In many of the more developed cities here, the rainy season is not a problem, but in Masaya the people have yet to learn that throwing all of your shit in the streets is not a cool thing to do. You see, what happens is that when the trash is thrown in the streets and no one cleans it up it, tends to block and clog the gutters where the rain is supposed to go causing major flooding. Matt, Peyton and I were recent victims of said flooding. (Law and Order man's voice) In the city of Masaya, Nicaragua people's littering in the streets is especially heinous, the men and women who volunteer their time in third world countries work for a group known as the Peace Corps... these are their stories DUNG DUNG.....

So we had just gotten back from watching a movie in Managua, and we caught a microbus ( little van made for about 20 people but they fit about 40 in it making most people stand) back to Masaya. On the way home there was a woman standing behind me who hit (not tapped) hit my shoulder and told me to move because she needed to get out. There was absolutely NO room for me to wiggle my ass around ANYWHERE to let her through. I told her that once the bus stops, we will all get out and allow her safe passage out. She continued to hit my shoulder telling me to move over; patience running low, I explained that there was no room, and not to fret, as she will get out at her stop. This was not good enough for her. She then began to push me and yelling for me to move, then pushing and yelling and pushing and yelling. I had had enough, and most people who know me know that when I confront people who really piss me off, I like to make a big scene, so off I went. Putting my thumb and pointer finger together (for more dramatics I suppose) I spoke loud enough so that everyone in the bus could hear me ask her, “ Por el amor de dios, no tiene orejas, mujer? Acabo de decir que no hay maldita espacio para moverme para que salgas. Hay que esperar hasta que pare el bus, si no quieres esperar puedo ayudarte salir por la ventana. Ten paciencia y maldita respeto para los demas” (sorry for not using accents and stuff, but laptops suck for those) which ruffly translates to “ For the love of god, do you not have ears woman? I just got done saying there is no god damned space for me to move so you can get out now. You will have to wait until the bus stops, if you don't want to wait for that, I can help you get out through the window. Have a little patience and some god damned respect for everyone else.” So when the bus stopped she began to push her way out so I stopped turned around and gave her one of those “Ima slap you in the face bitch” looks. Once we got off the bus she threw her money at the man collecting the bus fare and said there was no F*%@#*$ space..blah blah blah. So we got back on the bus and everyone stared at me for the rest of the ride home. After that (what I like to call) little cultural integration, our stop came and we got off.
On our way home it began to rain...hard. Since we are still young growing boys, we needed food to aid in the growing process so we decided to combat the rain and walk to the nearest comedor (place that sells mediocre tasting food to go) once we reached the comedor, it began to rain like nobody's business. We got our mediocre food and decided to eat it there under the shelter of the tin roof to see if we could wait out the rain... we were wrong. Having begun raining even harder, we thought we could pick up the pace and make it home quick...we were wrong again. The water had now risen onto the sidewalk and Matt and I only had on sandals so we thought we better hurry. We came to the intersection 2 blocks from my house, and we all gasped to see the rough water that lie ahead. We had three options. Option 1: Call the US marine guard to help helicopter us back to my house. Option 2: Spin around in circles and turn into our hero alter egos and fly to my house or option 3: Try to walk through the rain and get as least wet as possible. Sooooo we got out our phones to dial the US marine guard but the number was busy. Damn it. With only one real option left we began to spin around for our “hero change” until Matt and Peyton collided heads. Double damn it. After waving goodbye to Noah and 7 pairs of each animal in his ark flowing down stream, we hiked up our shorts and began the life changing journey back home. Matt went first, at 6'1”, the water in the intersection was up a little over his knees, so I knew I would be in trouble. I jumped in and began crossing the street. I came across 2 men on the way. One was offering to baptize anyone for a low fee, and the other man, a local drunk (Moises), crazily hitting a walking stick on the ground I supposed hoping to part the “sea” like his old Hebrew counterpart Moses. Big surprise, it only works in the movies, and old fiction Books. Barely getting across the intersection alive, I took what I thought to be my last breath.... and there it was... the other side. As I stepped up on the other sidewalk, fighting the current of a thousand yesterdays along with the freezing katabatic arctic winds, my damn sandal began slipping off my foot. “Don't let go Jack” it said to me. As soon as I promised to never let go, there it went flowing down the river like the old paper boats my dad used to make for us on rainy Wisconsin days.(Everything floats down here...get it? The movie It? No? OK) Completely upset for the loss of my dollar pair of Old Navy white shower sandals Danielle bought for me 2 years ago, I took my other sandal and threw it at the water in hope to tame the beast. I'm sure by now, my sandals are either in Costa Rica, or the giant land mass of garbage (the size of Texas) floating in the ocean near Hawaii. They will truly be missed. (a ceremony will be held in their memory. TBD). After giving Peyton a few rescue breaths to revive his almost dead body, we continued back to my
Once inside my house, we peeled off our cloths and headed for the shower (not all together of course.....or did we? ;) ) as the water we just got done walking through probably contained 300 different staphylococcus strains, 15 different STDs and a partridge in a pear tree. We needed to scrub our feet well, don't want any fungus. Upon leaving my shower I spotted a few cockroaches that made their way into my home to find refuge from the rain. Grabbing the new can of Raid, I decided to begin a Holocaust-like genocide of these nasty insects. BIG MISTAKE. As soon as the Raid disbursed into the air and those four roaches began to shake and die, one would have thought I had awoken the scorpion king, as 50-60 cockroaches from the drain began running, nay, crawling for their lives. They were ALL OVER the walls, climbing in my sink, trying to climb on us. HOLY SHIT I had never seen such thing. It almost made me believe in god. OK OK OK it didn't but YOU WERNT THERE, YOU don't EVEN KNOW!!!! After completing the holocaustic genocide of the huge quantity of roaches, and using almost the entire can of Raid, I swept them up into a pile and took a picture for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

A couple of weeks ago, my old counterpart that I worked with last year, the English “department head” told me she wanted to have an English singing competition at the school. The reason I no longer work with her is because when we co-planned for classes, she would give me the book, and tell me to create the class while she walked away and did nothing, or had “important” English meetings to go to. After I completed the plans for class, I would tell her what I thought would be a good idea to do. After we were both on the same page, we would go home. Then when I got to class to teach the class I planned, I would begin and then she would tell me that SHE had already taught that class, so I had to create another class ON THE SPOT, and she wouldn't even help, she would sit in the back of the room and do nothing. So I decided that I'm not going to to her job any more and I stopped working with her. OK back to the English competition. So a few weeks ago she told me that we were going to have one, but she didn't know when but she would let me know. I told her to let me know in advance so I could ask a few other volunteers to come and help be judges. Well last Thursday she told me that the competition would be held the following morning at 10 AM and the afternoon at 3:30PM. She reminded me about 20 times and told me, “Now remember to call your friends because you said you were going to have your friends come”. So I informed her that I needed to know in advance because the other volunteers have their own schedules, but I would ask them anyway. Turns out they had off, so they were able to help. The next morning when we got to the school, my old counterpart had not even figured out a place to have to competition. In the end, we had the competition in the small computer lab. There was not even enough room to turn around, but the one good thing was there was air conditioning. So we were told the criteria on which to judge the songs, rhythm, pronunciation, content of the song, and enunciation. They were to be judged out of 100 points. Liz, Diane and I decided that content if the song was not a good indicator so we were going to give everyone the maximum 25 points because I could care less what the song was about, just as long as they sang. Before the contest started, 2 other English teachers came in to be judges as well. After everyone sang, (no Latin American Idols at my school this year) we calculated the points and I went over to the other English teachers to see what scores they had given them to add the points in to find the winner. They had told me that they didn't give any points, but they knew who they wanted to be the winners. The two English teachers of course chose their student to win, and they were telling me that our judging was bad because “so and so used a guitar” and “they sang a rock and roll song” so they shouldn't win, and they completely took the judging into their own hands. I explained that we were told to judge on certain criteria, and that no one never said you couldn't use a guitar or sing rock and roll songs. They wanted their students to win because if their student won, they would look like good English teachers. So I confronted them both and told them that you cannot just pick your student because you know them, as this would be a popularity contest and not a talent contest and if this is how the judging was going to be, I wanted no part of it. (The winners they chose earned 4th and 5th place (out of 8)). They were upset with this, and decided to leave and didn't return for the PM judging. Oh well, I could really care less how they feel about this because that is the point of having many judges and then adding the scores together to find the over all winner. Maybe thats how contests and Ahhhemm ::::elections:::: are done here, but it is not the right way.

This morning while I was planning what to teach for my secondary project: a community English class, there was a knock on my door. Right away I knew it was a Nicaraguan because anyone with manners knows about the 5 knock rule. You knock 5 times, ya give it a minute, then follow that up with 3 knocks to let them know you're still there waiting. But NO, the person knocked about 25 times. So opening the door, and gazing into their fake smile (you know those smiles where head is tilted to the side, and their eyes are almost crossed), and their hypnotized look, I knew right away they were religious. Jehovah's witnesses I guessed to myself. Bible in hand, they began rambling their pre memorized speech they get at their weekly “pep-talks” from the “big guys”. All I could think about was, “How in the hell am I going to get out of this?” They went on about how they were from Guatemala and there are about 40 thousand witnesses there, but in Mexico there are about 400 thousand. At some point in time I sneezed, and it hit me, the perfect exit strategy... SWINE FLU! I began to tell the guys about how coincidentally I had met a witness on my recent trip to Mexico. I tried to remember his name but told them I was too sick to remember, because I had a fever and a bad headache, and thought I may have come down with something, so I sneezed to prove my point. After a few open handed coughs in their direction, I stuck my hand out to shake their hands and asked them their names. The one over confident guy's eyes turned to saucers and he stepped back a bit. He began again with his shpeal about how when so and so was 900 years old she did something really important. He asked me how amazing I thought that was, to which I replied, “What I find amazing is that with all the new technology we have today and treatments for illnesses, we can still barely reach 100 years old. They must have had excellent doctors back then.” I had to end with a deep cough, you know one of those coughs from deep inside. Pointing at myself, leaning into the door frame, I thought out loud what I could have come down with, but I didn't worry because I have faith. I have faith that god will help me get over these FLU LIKE SYMPTOMS I RECENTLY GOT FROM MY TRIP TO MEXICO....I just needed to pray. After a another side step back, he handed me one of their little booklets of information, and they bit me a farewell. Like I said reason 844 why I'm going to hell. This week's witness topic is: How parents can help children cope with the stresses of school, homework, extracurricular activities, and trying to get into good college. Hee hee. If your going to bring an American created religion to Nicaragua, you might want to contextualize the content of the booklet. First off, I have never met a student that worried about ANYTHING to do with school down here. You know that ONE homework assignment per month really wears the kids down. As for extracurricular activities such as huffing glue, defacing government and religious buildings and smoking crack in their schools never appeared in this issue, but volunteering in retirement homes and clean-up campaigns do...right.

The other day during class, my counterpart pulls out this little metallic tube looking thing (looks almost like a tire gauge with the gauge pulled off) and tells me to smell it. So being the dumb American that I am, I do and I ask what that horrible smell is. She then informs me that she confiscated it from a student. When I asked what it was, she let me know that a few days ago, she caught a student smoking crack cocaine out of the pipe in the upstairs portion of my school. I guess I had no clue that crack cocaine even existed here in Nicaragua, but she schooled me on the different ways they smoke crack cocaine and then proceeded to point out the student who she caught smoking it, and the other drug dealers in my school. When I asked her why the student was not expelled, she said she didn't have a reason. She then asked me what I thought she should do with the pipe...ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I told her to go dig a hole and bury that shit. How nice would that be to get caught with a NICA-rigged crack pipe when it's not even yours to begin with.

OH youth.....they're our future you know!!!

Speaking of future, I think I am going to go to Granada this weekend, as Liz's friend is here from the states on a pilgrimage to hear our angelic voices sing karaoke. I guess our vocal reputation has made it to the states. Also I need to download some music for my community class. They told me that they want to learn the lyrics to a few songs. In just a few short days, I will be teaching them “Heal The World” by Michael Jackson, “Isla Bonita” by Madonna and a few pre-cocaine Whitney Houston songs.

Well ladies and gents, thats all I got for ya now. Until next time.

Liz and I celebrating.....something.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


One thing I really hated before I came to the Peace Corps was when I found a blog that I liked, they only updated their blogs once or twice a month and I told myself I wasn't going to be one of those people, but alas, I AM! Whatevs, heres the going ons down here. :::Consults pre-made list::: Ahh yes.....

One of my friends who lives in Chinandega, thought it would be a nice gesture to take out to lunch, her landlord's granddaughter and her boyfriend. This would seem a great way to make new friends in a country where everyone thinks you're a tourist, and also living in a big city. So once she brought them out to eat, the boyfriend who owns a moto taxi (rickshaw) brought her to her school so she could begin teaching her classes. She thought it was very nice of him to bring her all the way to school, and really thought she had made some new friends....BUUUUUUTTTT NO! Once he dropped her off at school, he returned to her house and robbed her blind! He stole her apple laptop, her digital camera, her cell phone, and some American dollars. When she got home, she returned to all of her nice things missing, so of course she called the Peace Corp security coordinator (who is AWESOME), and the local police. When the local police got there, they began investigating how the person(s) got in the house. They noticed a shoe print in the toilet, and were able to match the shoe print to the landlord's granddaughter, and when she was taken into custody.....she sang like a song bird......telling the police that the boyfriend had taken all the things to different houses, so they were not all in the same place. When they went looking for the things, a little boy approached the police and asked them if they were looking for the stolen things, and by some cosmic mishap, or he had just gotten home from church; he told the truth and led the police to the stolen merchandise. So the granddaughter and the boyfriend were arrested and placed in jail. Once would think that justice was served......NAY....that was only the beginning. After a few days, she was told that the granddaughter had stolen things from her grandmother in the past and sold them for a lot of money. Not only this, it had been suggested by many people that my friend drop the charges, and let them get out of jail. Now anyone with any sense would say that that is ludicrous, and that how are people supposed to take responsibility for their actions. But it makes sense to drop the charges down here, because everyone knew what happened, and once they actually DID get out of jail, you would have a target on your back and revenge being sought. Later on, my friend decided that she was going to move out and received a phone call from the culprit's family in the United States telling her that if she dropped the charges, she could live there for 2 months rent free while she finds a new place. There are other details to the story that were asked not to be blogged about, but they are awesome (knife and gasoline fights, matrix style battles) the list goes on.
So as my blog title says, IT IS GETTING SO VERY HOT HERE...aHHHHHHHHH. Some days are just absolutely crazy hot, I just sit in my underwear ((and this awesome sleeveless (yes sleeveless) shirt that I bought for 50 cents)) and sweat, and sweat some more and right when I realize that I stopped sweating, I start sweating again just from moving my head to noticed I had stopped sweating..still following me? Then once 9 AM comes around, it gets even hotter. I remember, in Wisconsin, complaining about 70 degree weather, which now makes me laugh, which makes me sweat. I think I started sweating the other day just by THINKING how hot it is. So, basically I've been rendered useless by this ball of fire in the sky that we depend on to survive day in and day out. Here's me: ROCK---> ME <---Hot place.

Next point. There is a child screaming bloody murder and crying nextdoor, and I think I am going to do what my mother used to do to us. NO! I won't beat them with a sock full of oranges and tell them, “I'll give you something to cry about”, I'll simply ignore it. OK since writing this, he has cried so much, he started choking and gaging. Get over it kid. MOVING ALONG!

I did a Biggest Loser video the other day with Liz and it was hell. I was out of breath putting the DVD in the player and pressing play, I needed some fresh air. I lit a smoke.
The next morning, I felt like I had suffered through the Spanish Inquisition, thank god it was Sunday. Day of rest.......and all was good.

This last week, they celebrated Semana Santa (Holy Week) here in Nicaragua, and it was a great time to reflect a new year, and new beginnings, and having a thousand 6 year old girls scream, “¡¡Cristo Viene, Cristo Viene!!” (Christ is coming, Christ is coming!!!) at 2 o'clock in the morning. I mean come on, really? How else would one celebrate the Easter holiday? Now me? I spent it in a much better fashion. I watched 9/11 conspiracy documentaries, and argued them with (who I think might be) the only conservative Peace Corps volunteer I know. We also argued over whether or not we should abolish the Federal Reserve. We agreed on one of them, I'll let you guess which one. Did you know that we have to work for FOUR months out of the year, just to pay our income taxes? We work for four months for free, just to pay back the Federal Reserve (Huge private banks) for only the interest of the money they have generously “provided” us. Makes one think. (

Recently, I was matched with a teacher in the United states through a correspondence match program. It's exciting, he teaches 4th grade in Albert Lee, Minnesota and I received an email with many many letters from the students asking questions ranging from my favorite color to “How long does it take to get to Nicaragua? A day? A month?” It's fun, but very taxing.

So I have been trying to get Internet for my house, and things are not going very well. Every time I go, they tell me that they don't have the equipment, and to come back in a few days. So I go back, and I get the same thing. So I asked the woman if I could have the phone number for the main office in Managua, as I was going to call and complain because honesty how can you advertise promotions on Internet and NEVER have the equipment when Masaya is only 40 minutes by bus or 25 minutes by private car from Managua. She told me that they don't have a phone number, so I asked for the phone number for HER store so I could call and ask if they have the equipment so I didn't wait time walking to the store. She informed me that THEY don't have a phone number to call with questions either. Another thing that pisses me off, is that in the states, cell phone store workers are trained to know how to use the cell phones, so they can show off their selling points. Here, they are not. They do not have ANY knowledge on ANY of the phones that they sell. If you ask how to do something on the phone, or how an accessory works, but they tell you to buy the phone and read the instruction manual. They need to work on that. So, I am still waiting and sweating with no Internet, but at least my site HAS Internet cafes, some places are small and don't have Internet access.

Chunche (my cat) has been escaping from my house recently, and the first time she escaped, she was in a space between the wall and the ceiling crying so I thought I would help her. I stood on my lavandero (thing where I wash clothes and dishes) and I tried to get a little closer so I stood on what I thought was the edge of the lavandero, but no, it was where my faucet came out of the wall. Needless to say, the plastic tube snapped, I fell and water started spraying all over the place. NOT FUN! I found the water source and closed the valve and went out in search of my landlord to tell him I needed some help. As it was Semana Santa, he and his family had left, and there was no one to be found to help me with my situation. My neighbor came over, and with a smile and fire-breathing alcohol breath, offered his help. He brought over this major super glue that gave me a headache just catching whiffs of it, and started applying it to the broken tube. While the tube was drying, we sat and B.S'ed for a while (and if you know me, you know how much I like to B.S with people I don't really know :( ) So after offering me a last whiff of the glue, and me declining, Juan takes a big ole whiff, shakes a little and asks me about my family, friends, and mi tierra (my “land”). After waiting a while, Juan decided it was time to check if there were leaks to apply more glue. When I turned the valve on (this is soooo funny) all I heard was him screaming “APAGALA, APAGALA” (TURN IT OFF, TURN IT OFF), but it sounded like he was drowning when he said it. I hurried back into the house to find him SOAKING WET with water dripping out of his mouth. It was a great bonding experience, so to bond more I took a whiff of glue. Just kidding. After realizing that that was not going to work, he offered me another whiff of the glue, and left when I once again declined. So I bathed out of a bucket for a couple of days. I told my landlord about the accident, and he said he would send someone the next morning. That night I had a bad experience sleeping, as Chunche was sad she couldn't leave the house so she was crying. I woke up the next morning with LOUD bangs in the door. When I opened the door up, there was some old mad saying he came to fix my faucet, and that he would come back at 8AM. I thanked him, and looked at my cell to find the time. IT WAS 5 AM!!!!! HE CAME OVER AT 5 AM TO TELL ME HE WOULD BE BACK AT 8?!?1? ARE YOU KIDDING ME. So I grab the cat and a blanket and fall asleep in the hammock. I am awoken with another knock on the door, and it was my landlord. I crawled out of the hammock and opened the door, and he tells me, “Vaya, parace muerto.” (Wow, you look dead.) He then tells me I sleep to late, and he gets up ever morning at 4:30 AM and I should get up earlier. After he leaves, I look at my cell, and it's 7AM!! Maniacally and insanely laughing, I fall back asleep in the hammock. Once again I wake up to pounds on the door, I open the door up and the old man says, “Todavia está dormido, Pues” (Still sleeping, huh?). Instead of trying to explain to him that I TRIED TO SLEEP BUT THEY KEPT COMING OVER WAKING ME UP, I told him I was sick. He then asked if it was el gripe (the flu). ANY time Nicaraguans sneeze, cough, or are too tired, they blame it on the flu, and go to a pulperia and have some random business owner give them an injection of anti-flu vitamins in their asses. So here I am in the same position again, if I say no, it's not the flu, and try to explain, it will take forever and he will challenge me, and tell me about one of his aunts' sisters' brother of a friend who had the same symptoms, and it was the flu, and how I should go get an injection of vitamins at this one pulperia that uses sharp needles so it doesn't hurt as much, which is located at : From where the old lady who survived the 1970 earthquake by hiding in her car used to live until she died, 5 blocks north and 3 blocks west. I gave in.........said it was the flu. So now after recovering from “the flu”, Chunche keeps running away only coming back when she needs water or food, which makes me sweat.

With the recent change in NBC staffing, Conan was taking over for Jay (thank god) and who else but.....wait for it.....wait for it.....JIMMY FALLON was taking over for Conan's spot. With my media prayers answered, I couldn't wait for the changes, which “happened” like 4 weeks ago. For the 1,342,983rd time in my life I have been disappointed. Jays still on, and Jimmy Fallon sucks...bad. I thought because he was so funny on SNL, he was going to be great with his own talk show. WRONG! People who know me know that when I watch TV (ex: American Idol) and someone sings really bad, I tend to hide my face because I am so embarrassed for that person. Many times I find myself doing the same thing during Jimmy's show. I think that the writers for the show should either be shot execution style (I in no way mean this, it is a figure of speech. I have no intentions on having the writers killed from here in Nicaragua) or Don't stop them from smoking their “herbal influence”... I don't know but it's bad. From this poor quality show, I have found a better way to spend my time which gives me more pleasure.....stabbing screwdrivers into my eyes. The countdown clock is ticking until your show gets canceled, Jimmy. STEP IT UP!! SNL is really sucking bad as well. Enough said.

I am thinking of starting a FLIKR web page with all of my photos for you guys to see when I get Internet (why does spell check always want to capitalize Internet??) Much easier then adding a lot of them at an Internet cafe. So thats a work in progress.

Had an uneventful Easter, we tried to make our own version of green bean casserole (which I love by the way) and it didn't turn out how I remember it, but it was good. Wish I was at my grandma's house eating ham, and green bean casserole, and all the other great food. But I talked to my mom for a while and she too had an uneventful Easter, so I didn't feel too bad! (Hi mom!)

Didn't have school for Semana Santa, which was great but school started again on Monday. Even though I KNEW no one was coming to school, I still went, and then promptly turn around on my heels and walked right back home. Then tonight (Tuesday) I sent a text message to my counterpart asking if there was class or not today (to which she never responded). So I went to school and asked her if she received my message and she said she did, but “Fijate que” (which 99 times out of 100 a lie is about to follow that) I didn't have any money on my phone, but she already told me she pays monthly on what she uses, but she just didn't want to spend the money. I told all my counterparts that I will pay for their phone calls if they call me and tell me there is no class.

The cat just came home, but I'm sure she'll leave me when I'm sleeping....whats new.

Killed another bat. Sorry P.E.T.A.

Jimmy Fallon is on, it's time for me to grab the screwdrivers. Check ya'll later!

Diane´s BIG Mangoes

Patties of sweet corn cooked between banana leaves.

Diane searching for cheap clothes, in a VERY Nica mannar...thorw it all in piles and let the customers sort it out.

My neighbor who offered the glue sniffing party.

Liz and I integrating into the community by watching a local parade for Good Friday.

After integrating for over an hour, we were approached by a group of men carrying a bloody christ corpse on their shoulders.

A Fun picture I took

Liz and I on the bus!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Mellow Pong Masters

Hey there, it's been a while since I wrote my last blog, but I figured it's time for another one! Let's see. Paul came to Nicaragua for a visit, and it went really well, we did a lot of things that my parents couldn't do because of time constraints and weather conditions. One thing we got to do was go to the isletas “islands” in Granada. Many people go to the main street in Granada and pay about 10 bucks a person, but they might not know that if you walk or take a taxi to the water edge and go into the park (it costs 5 cords to get in, but only Americans pay the entrance) you can negotiate your own price from the men that try to get you to buy tours. They will start out an a CRAZY price, but if you can negotiate, you'll do fine. A suggestion for people thinking about coming to Granada to go to the isletas is make sure that you verify that the boat will drop you off where they picked you up! What happened to us, was that we said we would go with the first person that solicited us, and we hopped on the boat. After the tour, they brought us to the main “hub” where the boats dock, and told us the tour was over and we had to get off of the boat. But they made sure that we knew that their friends (the taxi drivers waiting for us) would give us a good price on a taxi ride, instead of having to walk 30-40 mins to walk back where we boarded the boat. SCAM!!

I'm really excited, as this visit provided me with the opportunity for my first try at the infamous “Beer Pong” weeeeeellll we have dubbed it “Mallow Pong”. You see, ping pong balls, are not really a hot commodity with high demand down here in Nicaragua, so the only thing that Lara and Adam found that could work, were :::drum roll:::: MARSHMELLOWS!! “What a crazy substitution” you must be asking yourself, but I tell you when you have Liz and her extraordinary “drying assembly line” (These ones are almost dry, these ones are mostly beer soaked, and these ones are completely wet) I had a great time, and I've decided that when I get home, I am going to masterize the “Jai Ho Jam”. That song from Slumdog Millionaire is really popular with some of the cooler Peace Corps volunteers down here (A.K.A. Me and Liz). So after taking it easy on me, Lara and Adam have made me...... a mallow pong man! Thanks guys! When finding a place to quench our recently developed thirsts, we found a great place offering a free sandwich with the purchase of your first beer, which was overly diplayed all over the bar. We though what a great idea, not only do we get a free sandwich, there is karaoke going on, (as I may have mentioned before, Liz and I, recently got Facebook posts and twitter tweets from the “Man upstairs” asking us to join His team and sing to the “new arrivals” at the Pearly Gates.) So after being swept into the bar to spend money, we order our first beers, and upon receiving our beers, we inquired what kind of sandwiches they had, we were informed that not only that they do not have that offer, but there was no karaoke. We then asked for the bill, and the waiter got pissy and and brought the bill. On our way out, I walked up to the manager, and let him know that we were leaving because they lied to us at the door about karaoke, and that there were no sandwiches although it is displayed all over the place, so I called them dishonest, and were going to let the other tourists know about this place. So the manager assured us that when we sat down and got another beer, they would bring us the sandwiches, but we know what upset cooks do to food. We decided to move on.
The next morning when we were getting ready to leave, we stopped in the park for a few things we had to do. We were then approached by a lady who asked for some money to buy milk for her children. I was in a helping mood, so I usually don't give out money, so I decided that I would go to a pulperia and buy her some milk. After leading me to a certain seller in the market, she points to a big container of Nido powder. Nido power is baby formula, and it was 350 Cordobas (17 dollars). I told her that I agreed to buy her milk and not expensive powder. So I bought her a bag of milk, and she took it and walked away leaving me to pay for the milk, without a thanks. When I got outside, Liz and Paul were waiting for me, and I had to walk by the women to say “You're welcome”. We walked around for a little longer and when walking back through the park, we saw the woman that I bought milk for had given it to one of the sellers who sell soda, and water. She only used it to sell it to make money. This is why I do not give money to people asking for money.

This year, the Ministry of education decided to change the curriculum for 1st-3rd year, and all of the teachers are in an uproar. I can admit that it isnt the greatest, but it makes our job easier when it comes to co-planning because they give some ideas on things to use. They include a lot of activities that would make great handouts, but that is not possible because the teachers cannot afford to make photocopies of all the handouts for all of the students, and because they made public school completely free, the teachers cannot ask the students for the money. Teachers have been used to the old curriculum and the way they used to teach the classes because once you made the lesson plan, you can reuse it for many years to come. Now they have to plan every class again for the first time. One more thing that has changed at my school is that because too many kids are failing, there are no more exams, but we will evaluate the students on 8 different homework assignments worth 100 points each. This is to help more students pass. I find this makes class much more difficult when you have 65 students in a class (when the Ministry of Education says there can only be 35 students in each class) who don't have to listen or want to listen, because they know that 1 student in the class understands whats going on, and they will copy their homework. But the best thing I can do is go to school with a smile, and do my best.

Chunche is doing well, she has kind of stopped peeing wherever she wants, but now she likes to climb up my mosquito net, and when she does, the dust from the top falls on my face, and I am woken up. She has also begun some stage in life where she is “playing” by biting me and scratching me and becoming aggressive. I'm not sure if this will ever end, but I have recently been told by Liz that she may be suffering from multiple sclerosis or may have slight kitty retardation. Either way, I love her the way she is. She is doing great as a cockroach killing machine, I guess she gets them during the night, because I wake up and find them peppered all over the floor. Watching her play with them is great, she really messes with their heads before killing them. She will walk up and slap it really hard, and once the cockroach recovers from the initial shock, the then grabs it in her mouth and lays it on top of her blanket, and watches it get out, then runs ahead of it to ambush it, and brings it it back to the towel right after slapping it again. Then she pretends like she wants nothing to do with it, while it desperately searches for any crack it can escape into, then at the last second she runs and grabs it, and starts the process over. Then she kills it.

Lets see, what else. I went down to Granada to do karaoke but when I got there, I was denied entrance into the bar because I was wearing shorts, and it was formal nights, although when I went the first time, I was wearing the same shorts...hmmmmm..... so we went somewhere else, and I watched Avi and Liz glide across the floor dancing the Bachata with their own little Gringo touch.

I was supposed to get internet installed 2 Wednesdays ago, but they never came. They said they were going to come between 10-11AM, and we waited until 7PM and they never came, BIG SUPRISE! So I called them back, and left a message yelling at them telling them that no one there had any respect to call me and tell me that they couldn't come. I said that their company and customers service is an embarrassment to Nicaragua. So I am looking to a different company to get it. I know some of you think that I am very spoiled by getting it, but when your family and friends call each month, they spend a lot of money on phone cards, but if they all pitched in, they could spend less than a quarter they would normally and we could talk for free WHENEVER, so it just makes sense. Not to mention that if I ever need ideas in class, I can go to and find great activities for class.

I have one quick question here before I depart. I bought a rice cooker when I moved into my house (a spending splurge gone wrong) and when I try and cook the rice, it never turns out right, its either too wet, or way too dry. I have tried experimenting with different amounts of water, but to no avail. I also heard from many people that you need to brown the rice in hot oil for a few minutes before cooking the rice. I tried that. It didn't work. So now, I'm wondering if I should not put the rice in until the rice cooker pops over from warming to cooking. Maybe that will work. It really sucks, because I like rice, but if I don't cook it myself, the only other option is to go to a comedor, but that gets expensive and old really quick.

OK really last thing.. I recently got matched with with a teacher in the States through a correspondence match program. He is a teacher in Albert Lee, Minnesota, which is really nice to be matched with a teacher close to my hometown. I will correspond with the teacher and his students about life in Nicaragua, and answer any questions they have for me about living abroad. I'm really looking forward to it! I'll keep you informed!

Well I have got to get to bed, I have a lot of fake smiling to do tomorrow for class, and it really takes a lot out of a person. Below are a few pics from Paul's visit.

Me tackling Diane on the beach after a wonderful LOBSTER dinner!!

The awesome view from the hostel we stayed at!!

Me taking a quick minute to pose for a pic, before ordering another beer.

Liz and Paul finding songs to sing at karaoke in Granada

Me and Liz after we sang.

Liz's response to a nun asking for donations....what a horrible person!

I thought if I cross my eyes and look at the camera, it might turn out better? Im not so aure about that!

Diane using the public restrooms which drain into the Cocibolca Lake!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I'm going F-ing Batty

Hey there, I'm back again with another installment of the Days of My Life. Lets see what has happened lately... Oh yeah, the other day, I came home from School and decided to take a little nap, and when I sat on my bed, under the mosquito net, I laid my head on the pillow and pulled the covers over me, and was given a great whiff of cat poop, and a little a small hint of cat piss. After a few seconds, I spotted a rather large chunk of poop :( Had it been gold, I probably could have quit the Peace Corps, and retired. So, I took the cat and threw it against the wall, and kicked it a lot... you know, you gotts teach them right? I mean come on, my parents did the same to me, and I learned not to defecate and urinate in bed, so it should work for cats right? OK so maybe I'm kidding...or am I?? Things have been a lit better with the cat, she comes up to me now, and wants her belly scratched and always meows when she wants me to know she is out of food or water, even if it's at 4 AM. I came home from class today and she was passed out on the chair, so of course I had to take a picture.

Classes are really going great! We are having a lot of fun, and I think the students are as well. One of my counterparts, is just great; she really wants to improve her English and is always asking questions, and asking my opinions about activities we do. The other counterpart I work with cannot co-plan, so I tend to go to class and find out what we are teaching that day. This is a little more difficult for me, as I like to know what we are teaching in advance so I can look in my books to make sure I can explain everything in the easiest way. Today the teachers were given their supplies for the entire semester, and what did they get? They each got 1 ream of white printer paper, and 1 black white board marker. I asked if I would be able to get a ream of the paper, because I could really use the paper for teaching materials in class. I was told because I'm not “really” a teacher, I am unable to receive the ream of paper. What I think is funny, is that a lot of the teachers don't even use the paper, but rather sell it to students to take exams, or just pack it away on top of the other reams of paper they received but never used. Oh well what can ya do, eh? I have decided that many of my students were “given” a passing grade in last year's English classes because in my third year classes we are reviewing the conjugation of the verb “to be” ( I am, you are, (s)he is...) and out of 47 students in one of my classes, not ONE student answered a question correctly on their homework!! I have to laugh though, one of the pictures I put on the board was a picture of bottles of perfumes and I wrote the question, “What are these?” LOL and her answer was (and I am not joking) “Yes, sister had are these” Ahhhh English, isn't it fun!
The other night Matt (another volunteer) came over, and we were watching a movie when I saw this quick flash of something fly near my face, and I came to find out it was a bat. And anyone who knows me, knows that I absolutely f-ing HATE bats, they freak me out; I always feel like they are going to jump on my neck and bite me. And really, being a vampire isn't my thing. So I began to throw random shit I found at it, and swinging my broom, and it disappeared. I knew it was still in the house, but didn't know where. When we were making dinner in the kitchen(al) area, when I turned around and BAM there it was hanging onto the wall. I just wanted to get it out of my house, and while I was thinking of ways to get it out alive, Matt grabs my broom and like a steroid infused A-Rod, swings the broom and smacks it onto the floor. Now a normal person would wait to make sure it wasnt moving, but no, he continues to hit the thing while it's on my table and when it falls onto the floor, continues to repeatedly whack it. Watching him do that cannot be described by anything less than a mixture of Lizzie borden, and a young Jeffrey Dahmer. He completely kills the S.O.B., he never saw it coming. Sooooo I'm friends with a killer. I think I even saw a slight smile. But I cannot say anything because as of an hour ago, I too have joined the ranks of bat killers. I was watching Biggest Loser (love that show!!) and another bat flew by my head, needless to say, I followed in Matt's footsteps and used the good ol' broom on it! But because I either wanted to show everyone the bat, or because I am a sick freak, I decided to take a picture of it. I'm not sure how big these pictures go (try clicking on the picture) but you can see the teeth that thing had. I'm glad I got it before it got me.

So I went back to the women's place to find out whether or not I can use a room to teach English to market vendors. She told me that there would be no problem, but then followed that up by asking me how much money I am going to be donating to them. I told her that I cannot donate any money myself, because what I am offering is worth a lot of money, but I will ask the students on the first day to donate what they can. While she tells me how I have to donate some amount of money, I noticed the wall was scattered with plaques saying “This building was donated by the loving citizens of Luxembourg” next to it “Large portion of this building was donated my Japan” and there were about 10 others showing the many other countries that have donated money to their building. So I told her once again that I myself will not be donating money but will ask the students.

Another fun fact I found out: Every three months your body replaces it's eye lashes. In your lifetime you will have had 600 pairs of them.

Well I have to go, my neighbor brought her daughter over for a little help with her English homework. Talk to you later.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Que sera, sera

As someone (probably a teacher) once said, “All good things must come to an end.” By good things , I am lead to believe, mean vacations, and here too good things have ended. I am now back to school, which means dreams of new back packs, pens and the smell of new notebooks bouncing in my head. The government has recently changed the curriculum for schools, and also the content of English classes around the country. The week before school started, all teachers had to take part in a week long seminar on the new curriculum. The first entire day was nothing more than Sandanista propaganda, and what it means to be a good Sandanista, and what values we must have to be one. From then on, we all spoke about the new curriculum, but the only problem was that no one has a copy of said curriculum, and we were more or less told to “just trust” that it was better. So to celebrate surviving the week of boredom, Liz and Diane ever-so lovingly opened their doors to other volunteers and threw a dance party. Volunteers from around Nicaragua came to their house and we went out to dinner and went back to their house and, well, danced the whole night. It was another flawless party they threw, and a great way to end our vacation. I am still working with one counterpart from last year, and also a new one who I think is going to work out very well. The first class, one counterpart and I decided to give a pretest to the students to see what they remember from last year. No no one's surprise, they didn't remember much. There were a total of 54 questions, and the average score was about 7 correct answers, although I had one student who achieved the highest score with 39.
This week, we are going over the exam, mostly having to conjugate the verb “to be” and also playing different games to try and instill the different forms. One game we played was called “El pingüino” (The Penguin) What the students had to do, was put a 5 Cordoba coin in between their knees, and walk across the classroom while saying the conjugated forms of the verb “be” (I am, you are, he is etc.) Once they got to the other side of the room, they had to drop the coin into a container. If at any time, the coin hits the floor during the walk or when they drop it to try to get it into the container, they must start all over. I find that this exercise helps the students lose “pena” to speak English in front of me and the other students, because by the end of the year, each and every student will have “walked like a penguin” in front of each other; and not to mention, it makes class a lot less boring.
Today I went with my counterpart to a local women's building to ask them if they can donate a classroom they have so I can start my English classes for the workers in the tourist markets. I didn't know what I wanted to do for my secondary project until I was walking in the market and saw a vendor reading a book titled, “Learning English Without a Teacher” so I asked her if she was learning anything and she said she was learning a little, but the only problem was, was that she didn't know how the words are pronounced. So I told her I would look into finding a place to hold the classes, and would start classes for her and a few of the other vendors in the market. I hope everything turns out, because I think this would help a lot of vendors to better communicate with the tourists that peruse their goods for sale.
Oh yeah I forgot, I got another cat!! This one, I decided, would not be left in the hands of Diane, as kittens turn out to disappear when left in her care. (Oops, think you got a little meat in your teeth there, Diane ;) ) Its a 5 week old kitten, that was abandoned by it's mother. It's tan with stripes, and has tiger looking stripes on her stomach. The first couple of nights she stayed under my bed, too afraid to come out, but after a while she started exploring the house, and is less afraid. Unfortunately, she has not really learned where to go to the bathroom, for one morning I found a little present left in my t-shirt, she'll learn!
So it's been really windy here lately, and during a night's deep slumber I was awoken by the sound of my roof being ripped off my house. Clearly, first thing that came to mind was that I was getting robbed, and these guys just didn't care how loud they were; so I jumped up, and reached for my machete when I realized it was a random 4AM strong gust of wind, so since that night, every time the wind comes around it sounds like my roof is coming off my house.........I better go ask they landlord to fix that.
The other day, I was coming home from Granada, and once I got home, I realized that I had left the keys to my house on Liz's TV stand. LOL I was soooo pissed, I really didn't have any other option, as since the break in, my landlord provided me with new locks, and gave me all the keys, but returning to Granada and getting the keys. I knew that right inside the door, hanging on a hook, was the other set of keys to my door. Knowing that I couldn't reach them, I took out the long pieces of glass in my “persian” window, and tried to figure out how I was going to get those keys. Next thing I knew, my neighbor lady had shown her creativeness, and was walking towards me with 2 broom handles nailed together, and THAT pole was stuck into a little tube thing with a hook on it. Right behind me were about 6 other neighbors shouting at her telling her how to get the keys, and they all had 6 different ideas. It was F-ing crazy. She was fishing my keys off the wall with this contraption, when she knocked them off the hook onto the floor, everyone gasped in unison. After a little more fishing around, she got them!!! So in return, I gave her a little gift, and the extra set of keys. Don't worry, this is the neighbor I really trust, shes the one that every once in a while, cooks some extra food and brings it over for me, and when I make an American meal I will bring her some.
I finished the Harry Potter series, I'm a little sad it's all over.
Liz recently got bit by a dog, and it's a little gross, but when the dog released his grip and pulled it's teeth out, it ripped a little chunk of fat to the outside of her arm. No worries, she did a little “Peace Corps home surgery” and cut it off. (By the way Liz: I read on web MD, and that green ooze coming out, and the patch of green fur, you either have a staph infection, manic depression, or cancer. I'm not sure, but you should really look into that!) I heard a fun little quote, “Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana”. I thought it was clever .
So I was teaching class right before I came to the internet café to post my blog, and all of a sudden these crazy loud sounds started coming from the doorway, and after a few minutes students started running all over the place, and SMOKE started coming in the classroom from all over the place. The school administration thought that today would be a good day to FUMIGATE the school. Now one with half a brain cell would realize that men coming in with fumigating tools, and gas masks should mean that the students need to get out of the school first, but no. Students were trying to fan the smoke out of the way so they could see where they were going, and even one girl started gagging. I went directly to the principal and asked why they would do this while there were students, because this is toxic smoke and can really cause damage. His response, “The Ministry of Health doesn’t work on the weekends”. How wonderful!!

Well thats it for now folks, I'll see you around.