On Tuesday, May 20 I boarded a plane in Tallahassee and by that afternoon, I had arrived in humid, sweltering Managua.
I am staying in Managua for four weeks to learn Spanish at Viva Spanish School and volunteer at Centro Cultural de Bartahola Norte. It’s just me and my passport, so I was a little nervous to be heading out of the country with limited language skills. This is the first time I have traveled alone outside the country, and thankfully, it’s going just fine.
I’m settling in pretty well. My host mother, Dona Adilia does not speak English, but she doesn’t mind that I can only understand about a quarter of what she says (and only when she speaks slowly and repeats things). She has lots of children and grandchildren, which wander in and out of the house a lot. I’m not sure who lives there and who just visits everyday. I guess I will find out as time goes on.
I have my own room with a lock on the door. It has an air conditioning window unit, which is a godsend, because the roof of the house is tin and it is easily 90 F today. Oscillating fans do not cut it. And I have a whole 28 more days to go! I think I need to buy more deodorant.
I began classes on the same day I arrived, for two hours, and promptly realized how much Spanish I do not know. I had one year in high school and one year in college, but that was several years ago.
I am thinking about buying a cheap by-the-minute phone here, just to contact the school and the community center in case I need to. I live about a two-minute walk from the school and the director person assured me that this is nice. He said where I will be volunteering is kind of bad, and quite a distance, so I shouldn’t walk there. I hope taxis won’t be terribly expensive.
There is a mall about a ten minute walk from here that I will go to for whatever I need. I hope to meet some of the students here and go on day-trips with them. I don’t know exactly how it’s all going to work out yet, but I can’t really believe I’m here. It’s a little frightening to think I will be here for a month, but by the end I think I’ll be very happy I came and learned so much. Already I am remembering some of my vocabulary because I am trying so hard to understand Dona Adilia. Thankfully she is very patient with me.
Nicaragua is entering it’s winter now (or rainy season, more accurately), so the weather may cool off a little over time.