Nicaragua: A Week in Pics

¡Hola! I have been at a Spanish school in Nicaragua this week. I’ve been journaling in my notebook with the intention to blog, but I realized that it’d take way too long*. Plus I’m writing this on my phone, and that would really take me a long time! Entonces, I have decided to make this post photo heavy. Hopefully the pics will tell the tale! Disfruta!

*Edit: apparently I literally cannot hold back from being verbose, so I ended up writing a post after all. It’s still photo heavy, though, so if you want to skip my babbling, feel free!

Sabado, 9 de enero
11:59pm- EWR -> SJO

Domingo, 10 de enero
4:30am- arrive at SJO airport in San Jose from Newark
5:30am- arrive at Gringolandia to quickly repack
6:30am- leave Gringolandia for the Ticabus terminal
7:30am- leave San Jose for Nicaragua! What a morning!

Crossing the border was really interesting. First of all, we had to cross the CR exit border and then the Nicaragua entrance border separately. On the CR border, we were approached by many people trying to sell us cordobas (Nicaraguan currency), phone chips, and other stuff. There is also a sort of camp with folks from Cuba who are trying unsuccessfully to cross the border. I’m not 100% sure why Nicaragua won’t let them in, but I plan to do more research on it when I get home. It was interesting to see because there were people with tents set up and clothes drying right on the grounds of the immigration office. It got me thinking a lot about all sorts of political things that I won’t write about now. But yes, it did make me check my privilege, as the kids on tumblr like to say.

The Nicaraguan border was completely confusing an overwhelming but a really cool experience. First, the driver collected all of our passports in a plastic bag and made us give him $14 cash. Then, everyone on the bus had to disembark, get their luggage out from under the bus, and stand on this huge, confusing line to get the bags checked by customs. While this was happening, tons of people selling food, drinks, and trinkets were yelling about their goods trying to get people to buy things. I was quite thankful for this because I was starving (I didn’t plan snacks well for my 18 hours of travel), so I had my first typical Nicaraguan food (an empanada and a quesillo). We finally got back on the bus after reloading our bags and continued our journey.

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Nothing much exciting on Sunday night- I was asleep by 7!

Lunes, 11 de enero

First day of classes! From 8-9:50 I had conversation class with Marvin, and then there is a short break from 9:50-10:10. From 10:10-12, I had grammar class with Heydi. ¡Los dos son buenos profesores!

I took a placement test and landed somewhere in the middle (not surprisingly). This started me off reviewing the difference between preterite and imperfect, which made me extremely happy. That’s exactly the concept that has been frustrating me the most since I moved, so I was excited for the review.

I didn’t take photos of my classes, but tal vez mañana I will walk around the school and take some pics of the classrooms. They’re really cute because they’re all over the gardens and grounds and have cute straw tiki-type huts as roofs. I wish all schools could be so tropical!

Our activity for the day was a Nicaraguan cooking class in a town called Masatepe, where we made empanadas and rosquillas (little donut-type things).

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Martes, 12 de enero

School from 8-12 again. This time we went to the reserva, which is a second campus that has tons of vegetable gardens (the school grows most of their own food), ten dogs, and lots of chickens. I didn’t have my phone with me, so no pics.

After lunch, we went back to Masatepe and visited a place where they make candy, a cool park and church, a muebleria (furniture store), and a lookout point where we could see Laguna Apoyo. There were souvenir shops, and I got a little painting done by a local artist.

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Miercoles, 13 de enero

Classes in the morning again. This time I went with Marvin, Heydi, and another student (Julia) to a nearby town called San Marcos. We took a microbus (pronounced mee-cro-boos), which was fun. Basically you just stand on the side of the street until a passenger van stops and asks if you need a ride. Then you get in and pay 10 cordobas (about 50¢) and go where you need to go. Again, I didn’t have my phone, so no pics. But we went to a park, a church, a mercado, and other random places in the own. It was fun and a great way to have conversation class!

After lunch we headed to Laguna Apoyo for our excursion, but this time we went to the lake itself. ¡Qué bonito! We basically just lounged around, swam, and enjoyed the view.

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jueves, 14 de enero

As always, school in the morning. This time for conversation class we went to San Juan, which is the town Mariposa School is in. We chatted while watching hundreds of people line up and get pigs, chickens, and food for said pigs and chickens. It was a government program, where the government provides certain families with one pig, a slew of chickens, one rooster, and feed. The people aren’t allowed to eat the chickens; they are to help the families have eggs to eat. However, I’m not so sure about the pigs…

It was an awesome thing to see, but sadly, I didn’t have my phone again, so no pics. Oh well!

After lunch, we went to a pineapple farm and learned about growing pineapples (piñas). On this farm they only grow the white piñas. The golden ones that we are used to in the states are literally 20x the price! Es una locura! (It’s craziness!)

Of course, we ate some pineapple (fue muy rico), and after that we headed to a restaurant in Ticuantepe (the same town that the finca de piñas was in) and had dinner. I had Nicaraguan gallo pinto, which to be honest really tasted a lot like tico gallo pinto. It was tasty but somewhat anticlimactic after hearing how much smack ticos and nicas talk about whose pinto is the best.

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Viernes, 15 de enero

Last day of classes! For convo class, we went back to the reserve and did some practice with preterite and imperfect. In grammar class, we learned the future tense. A lot of it was review for me, but I was happy to go over the details and learn more specifics about the tiempo futuro gramática.

After lunch, we went to Volcán Masaya, or the Masaya Volcano. It was very cool, and I wish I knew some fun facts to tell you, but tbh my brain hurts a bit and I haven’t done my reading yet. So if you want to learn more, feel free to google it! But I will say that we were able to walk all around on (and I think in?) the volcano. We saw multiple craters (about 4) and hiked up to the top for some great views of the volcano and Laguna de Managua. It was hot. Like, really hot. But it felt great to get some exercise and enjoy the nature! We then drank some agua de coco and headed back to Mariposa.

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I have more pics from Masaya to upload, but the WordPress app is giving me some serious sass and not allowing it. I may come back another time to add them, but if not, oh well!

As always, thanks for reading! This weekend we are going to La Isla Ometepe, which is supposed to be amazing. Hopefully I’ll write about that! But for now, adios!

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