Thursday, May 22, 2008

Estoy Apprendiendo!

Hola familia y amigos!

Can I just tell yall how much I love it here? Also, I totally thought that I had mastered the keyboard here...then at work today I was using one and ALL the sign buttons were wrong, I think someone just came through and switched them all up...who does that?!?!

Anwyay, today was a good day. Honestly, Javier my boss is soooo busy...I told him Nicaraguans talk on the phone more than Americans and he said that wasn´t fair to say just based on him because he is a weirdo. Para mi familia, he talks on the phone possibly more than Ed....I know, I know, crazy, huh? Anyway, he was really busy and we didnt completely have my summer plan mapped out yet so I didnt have a lot to do. I dont like not being busy here because I feel like they are working so hard to take care of me and make sure that I have a good experience that it makes me want to work hard for them and be really productive. This afternoon Javier and I sat down though and I am really pumped about what we came up with. I reckon yall need some background on what I am even doing though.

Just a side note, I am pretty sure that as I am learning Spanish and hearing broken English that my own English grammar is waning....lol

Anyway, Cargill owns Tip Top which is a poultry company...el pollo de mi gente! A few years back they bought some firms that sell embutidos, which is basically further processed meats like sausage, chorizo, etc. Right now they are selling embutidos under about 5 different brand names, so the whole point of my internship is to analyze what their strategy should be as far as what brands are selling what products to whom and for how much in order to make Cargill the leader in this market. Honestly, my brain that enjoys putting puzzle pieces together is already loving this!

Basically for the next few weeks I will be out on the road, always accompanied by an English speaking Nicaraguan of course. Next week I will tour the pollo processing plant, the hatchery where the eggs are incubated, and the farms where the chickens are raised. I am sooo pumped! The week after that I will be visiting various mercados in surrounding areas. Some of them will be just municipal markets, some will be tiny little mom and pop stores or pulperias as they call them, and i will also spend lots of time in supermarkets. It is phenomonal the increasing presence that Wal Mart has down here. The countrys economy is growing at a VERY slow rate, but Wal Mart growth is absolutely huge. Javier said that Wal Mart is backwards integrated in meat and produce in Central America, just an interesting fact.

After these next couple of weeks i will mainly be wishing that my sister Jen was here, and lots of other people too, but especially her since I will be analyzing data and creating lots of....charts. ugh. Hopefully I can learn muy pronto.....

Today I was sitting with Javier and Veronica as they tried to fix my computer. They started talking to each other really fast in Spanish, and then all of a sudden Javier got up and went one direction super fast and Veronica went the other direction super fast....imagine the confused look on my face at this moment. One of many!

Okay, as promised here are some great Roger stories. First of all, Roger is from Argentina and he speaks almost perfect English, just with a very strong accent. It is sooo fun to listen to though. Anyway, the first day I met Roger he was telling me about the volcano near Masaya and he said, so if you hear a loud noise, just start running...i hope you can run fast!. Crack me up brotha. Then today, he told Veronica and I to pick a color for the new reception area because the color someone else picked was absolutely terrible....he was giving us advice on picking paint colors, keep in mind he is color blind. Anyway, he held up a post it note and said if you are going to use this color, it is yellow right? If you are going to use this it look good now but on the wall? You will have a big yellow duck! Nobody wants a duck on the wall! I hope as you read that you are using your best Argentinian accent.

Anyway, onto the good stuff in case some of you arent interested in el aburrido trabajo.

It is funny because there were a few people at work who didnt seem to talk much English, but as soon as I try to talk in Spanish...they bust out the English! I think it is because they see me making a fool of myself in Spanish and they know they can sound nearly as silly as I do....smiley face. Actually, for the past few days Fransisco and I dont have much to talk about after our como estas at the beginning of the ride, but today we talked almost the whole way to the hotel betwixt broken English and Spanish....I love crossing language barriers!

Today, my friend Luis whose office is right up the road had a little Spanish class for me in his office with his white board...he even gave me homework! He was funny though because he said that he was glad to have an American to talk to because his colleagues make fun of his English pronunciation...for sure I dont though. Luis has been added to the list of people who have made a deal with me that they will teach me Spanish if I will teach them English....so fun! One guy today said that he will speak to me in English and i can speak to him in Spanish, that is a really good idea I thought.

Luis and Javier took me to lunch today. We went to a traditional Nicaragua restaurant where I ate fried pig skin, a root called yuka cooked about 5 different ways, plantain cooked 2 differetn ways, cheese that is not really processed, and.....rice cooked with pigs blood! It was all good except the last thing, which I couldnt really handle. Oh, and there was tortillas...woohoo for me! It was super fun though. Especially since Luis had me to try his drink, which was cocoa or cacoa as they pronounce it, and milk. Then he said it isnt good to drink that on an empty stomoch or you will go to the bathroom often....it was sooooo funny.

After lunch I was sitting in Javier´s office and someone came in. I asked if he wanted me to step out and Javier said, no it will be fine. However, after about 10 minutes into their conversation I realized that Javier was actually interviewing this guy for a pretty important position in the company....I would love to have known what the other guy was thinking about the white girl in the corner, random! Javier was really proud of my English though when i told him how much I understood of their conversation.

And the reward for reading this whole long book is that you get to see the best thing of all... perhaps the highlight of my day was that I logged on under my own user name onto my computer today...ready for it? JBENARD....yes, j benard...how great is that?!?!?! I love it...smiley face. It just cracks me up every time I type it.

Tomorrow I am going with a bunch of people to Rogers house after work...any excuse for a party here! Saturday there is some company event I will go to as well and then Roger and Javier have plans for me. Monday is when I move into my apartment, but I feel fairly good about it honestly. We are just adding to the experience bit by bit I suppose!

I feel so thankful to be here and just so spoiled to have this opportunity....but Im sending lots of love a la Estado Unidos!!

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