Happy 4th of July! Yesterday I asked Javier if he and his family had big 4th of July plans…and he looked at me with a “Oh child, bless your heart” look…and I assured him I was only kidding:)
It has been a big week for Nette-Nette in Nicaragua with some visitors, some fiestas, and some good work. Monday was a big day for me because typically whenever the phone rings at my desk, I ignore it…what is the likelihood that the person on the other end of the phone will be speaking English? Honestly. However, Monday morning it rang and Norma pointed to it and said, “Contestas…es buen practica para tu” (Answer it, it will be good practice for you) I complied and was ecstatic when I effectively took a message perfectly (I think) completely in Spanish! What a milestone in my life… Also on Monday, I taught Felipe the word “boonies” referring to Cochise. He kept repeating it to make sure he had it right. He came by my desk a couple of hours later and said, “Hey Janette, booties!” I quickly corrected him…:) Everyone was preparing for a visit later on in the week from some executives in the company, and so they were all practicing their English…enter Janette. I felt so helpful and needed here as everyone wanted to run documents or sentences, etc. by me to make sure they were correct….I loved getting to help! Also, my friend Silema and I went to lunch so that we could both practice our new languages. The bad part is that she is much better with English than I am Spanish…but we are learning together anyway.
Tuesday morning Roger came by desk and was giving me a hard time as usual. I don’t know if I have blogged about this or not, but his favorite thing to do is to mock my big eyes and big expressions that apparently occur when I speak Spanish…lets be honest though, it happens in English too and I am totally okay with that. But he was testing my Spanish and said something about a “mochilla” and I said, “backpack!” He said, “Yes, how did you know that?” and I said, “Dora Explorer of course!” and Veronica said, “Oh, Dora la Exploradora”…it was a great moment for all of us as we realized the universal language of a good cartoon:) Later on, I was trying to explain the word ‘token’ to Veronica and I asked her if she knew what Chucke-Cheese is…she said, “Why are you chunkin’ cheese?” Another great moment:)
That day I had double checked my directions to the airport..aka confirmed that Norma could ride with me:) At 5:30 Norma, me, and her friend (who I think is named Fanny?) took off for the airport…in the rain…in the traffic. We took a back route, so the majority of the trip was pretty calm despite the torrential downpours…until we got into Managua. Oh my. In Managua, stop lights are suggestions, the lines that mark the lanes are faded and ignored, and the drivers are loco. Straight up loco. Especially near the airport. Especially in the rain. Especially in the dark. It combined for some interesting moments to say the least. However, Laura’s plane ended up running late and I needed to get Norma and her friend home so they didn’t have to wait. We left the airport and I drove them where they needed to go. The whole evening had been in Spanish, which was fine until it came time for them to give me direction back to the airport. Picture a big eyed gringa getting direction from 2 sweet little Nica ladies talking 400 miles/minute giving directions in the rain and the dark and the traffic. Once again, oh my. I mostly understood what they said, and I even made it to get Laura fine, it just made me chuckle:) Anyway, Laura arrived!!!! I was soooooooooooooo excited to see her and she was sooooooooooooo excited to be here:)
Wednesday was the big day at work that the executives were coming and at the office it felt like we were preparing for Santa Clause or something! At lunch, I went home and Laura and I went to a place called Cocina de Dona Haydee which has delicious Nicaraguan food…Laura really liked it, and I definitely did. I had to go back to work in the afternoon, but that night there was a big fiesta at Roger’s house with the management here at the company and the visiting executives. Let me tell you, they went all out! There was a fancy tent set up in the back where we ate, with beautiful lighting, delicious juices, appetizers (is that the word or is it that h word I cant spell?) of ceviche and shrimp hoodads before the meal and time to visit with everyone…it was wonderful. Everyone loved Laura of course and I was so proud of her and her Spanish since everyone was so impressed with it:) Before the meal started, we were entertained by a very popular Nica band! They were wonderful; Laura and I were sitting there pooling all of our Spanish understanding as we worked to decipher the songs and translate for each other…we were pretty proud of ourselves, though we didn’t get it all. Then the meal came. First with these cute little tamales (made of pollo of course!), then a plate with pollo and some sort of sauce and this really great zucchini with fancy cheese. I was pretty full after eating all that…and then they brought a plate with steak and beans and maduro! Oh my goodness, my eyes were rolling back in my head by the end. Then there was a desert buffet of local Nica desserts…and we couldn’t walk away from that! Actually the desserts were really cool assortments of Nicaraguan little candies, etc. My favorite was cajete de leche (a tan little ball of doughy stuff that was really sweet) and limon y mile (lime in honey)….I love Nicaragua:) We had so much fun with everyone and I loved sharing my work friends with Laura. By the end of the night she understood why I just adore everyone here so much!
Yesterday Laura and I went to lunch together at a place near my house, then I dropped her off at the mall while I went back to work…thank goodness she is such a trooper and can entertain herself. In the afternoon I met with Javier to review my progress on my project here. The meeting was really, really good and it was good to ask questions and affirm what I was doing and where I need more direction. Things are really coming together as far as work though, so I am thankful that I am on the right track (hopefully). I cant believe I only have two and a half weeks left! Anyway, last night it was late when I picked Laura up at the mall and we headed to a “fritanga” restaurant for some more Nica culture. I was so proud of us for not getting lost since it is definitely off the beaten path. Laura and I enjoyed more Nicaraguan food and juice and we were so full from all the food this week that we made a pact to never eat again…ever…we’ll see how long that lasts:) (I have realized that I blog a lot about food…but I think it is just such an easy mark to see of a culture and a fun thing to appreciate and learn about a culture... or maybe it is just that I like food:)) It is so, so, so fun to have Laura here and to share my new country with someone who is truly appreciative of Latin American culture and people and the Spanish language, and especially now that I know my way around more (sorry Neenie!)…plus we have just had so much fun catching up on the summer and getting stay up late giggling like little girls:)
Pans are still ‘to be determined’ for the weekend, but they will be big and many in an effort to show Laura as much of Nicaragua as possible in a short time frame. I am really, really pumped:)As I drove home from work and was admiring Vulcan Mombotombo and the lake view of Managua, I realized that I have gotten so used to all the beauty here and the good things about Nicaragua I think I’ve been taking them for granted…and with only 2 and a half weeks left, I have to soak up every single moment! It still just amazes me at what a blessing my time here has been.