Weekend plans

This weekend has been busy so far! And I’m glad for it–it lets me meet more people and see more of Nicaragua. It also distracts me from the heat.

Classes, overall, are going well. In class I feel like I’m learning so much I won’t possibly be able to remember it all. Outside class I feel like an idiot that can’t communicate with people.  I do feel quite accomplished in that now I, at least theoretically, know present perfect and preterite past.  I assume the other past tense and future tense will begin on Monday.

But one of my two teachers told me Friday that next week I might switch up teachers. That actually makes me a little sad because I really, really like my other teacher, Elvin. Elvin’s English is fluent, but I routinely ask about words he doesn’t know the translation to. He is much more fluent in French. We talk mostly, rather than having structured grammar lessons, and now he has me reading and writing in Spanish. It’s great because he’s taught me about the ethnic background and history of Nicaraguans, and I taught him about selkies and the Northern Lights. All in Spanish. Well, mostly. So I don’t want to leave him. I think it’s possible to request him back, so I may.

Friday was El Dia de Los Madres in Nicaragua, so the whole family, like 22-25 people, came over to celebrate. It was fortunate then, that I had been invited to go dancing with another student at the school, Mateo, and his family. Mateo (that’s his Spanish name, of course) has been here for three weeks and will be here until August to learn Spanish. He was placed with a family that knows quite a bit of English, so he uses English at home quite a lot. They were impressed that I tried to speak Spanish, and I was impressed that I could understand them. I truly have the hardest time understanding my homestay family’s Spanish.

With that note about my family, here are some photos of them!

Nicaragua 010



Nicaragua 016



Dona Adilila at her sewing machine and Benjamin. He is never without his soccer ball.


Nicaragua 004         Nicaragua 021           Nicaragua 019

And this is Maria, the girl who helps me with my homework.

I was grateful that the night before Rodrigo tried to help me learn salsa. I was pretty bad, and when I stepped on his toes, he jerked back and said, “you’re so heavy!” The bad part was I didn’t even use all my weight when I stepped on his toes.

Anyway, I didn’t exactly have a clubbing dress, but we went out anyway, again to Salvador Allende. There are many bars there with great dancing places. We went to one that was having karaoke night. It wasn’t the best place for dancing, but someone’s boyfriend works there, so we stayed. I was quite intimidated when all the Latinas got up and really started swaying their hips to the rhythm. I’m not sure many white girls can move like that!

But I got up and danced with Mateo for about ten minutes, then his “mom,” who is actually a salsa instructor. Definitely felt out of place among these glamorous girls with their sexy moves. A few couples kept looking at me over the space of ten or fifteen minutes, and I could just imagine the conversation they had with one another:

“Look at the poor epileptic girl over there trying to dance!”

“Oh, the gringa? Yeah, she doesn’t look so good. Wait! Is she having a fit? Should we go help her?”

No, no. I think she’s just trying to dance.”

So we danced until Mateo fell down and hurt his knee. Apparently for the second time this month. And around midnight they took me home.

Saturday, or yesterday, I went to see Maleficent with a friend from Bartahola Norte and her friend, who knows a lot of English. It was an ordeal getting to the theater, even though it was in Metrocentro, about a four-minute drive from my house. It was impossible to find a taxi, and my family didn’t seem willing to drive me there themselves. I was getting very frustrated when Rodrigo said he was available and would take me 30 minutes early.  We went, and he even stayed with me for half an hour until my friends showed up.

I had been told that Maleficent would be in Spanish with no subtitles of any kind, and was prepared to not understand much. But thankfully, it was in English with Spanish subtitles.  I think I would have been able to understand about 35% of the Spanish, had it just been words, and much more because it was accompanied by a movie. It was not necessary, thankfully.

Today I may go to Laguna de Apoyo, if my friends call and I’m able to find some way of transportation to meet them. I hope to go and get out of Managua. I’ve heard it one of the prettiest places in Nicaragua and can’t wait to see it!

Categories: Lost in Translation, Nicaragua | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Weekend plans

  1. Nancy Redding

    It sounds like you are having great fun in spite of the heat and being a virtual stranger. I’m glad! That adventuresome spirit is standing you in good stead!Do you think you will miss your “familia” when you come home? Maria sounds and looks utterly adorable!!So if Mateo has a Spanish name, do you have a Spanish name too? What is it?
    Knowing you, I’m sure you danced far better than you let on. Will you teach me how to dance salsa when you get home???
    I can’t wait to catch up when you get home!

  2. Tanya Karasek

    It is good to see pictures of your extended family in Nicaragua! John and I were remembering back to when our friend Connie came to stay with us from Germany for about 6 weeks. Jordan was still in elementary school and he would come home each day and read his assignments with her. She said that reading children’s books with pictures and having a patient teacher was such a help. The other things that were helpful were just getting out in the community and sink or swim having to communicate. You are doing that and we are so proud of you! Keep up the hard work!

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