Soy de los Estados Unidos
Tyler and I arrived in Nicaragua on Sunday night after a long day of traveling. The plan was to stay with a family while taking Spanish classes every morning at the Spanish School of San Juan del Sur. Unknown to us, Semana Santa* celebrations had already begun in SJDS, and Sunday night brought with it a very loud, all-night long street party complete with terrible band/singing, cheering, and fireworks that to the untrained ear sounded exactly like gunshots. We tried to sleep on the “bed” (aka mattress on the floor) in our windowless room at the homestay, but the music/fireworks kept us up all night. We don’t really think we’re that high maintenance, but this room was super bare bones, and the thought of staying there for 2 weeks made us both unhappy. It’s one thing not to have a door to the bathroom or a mirror in the entire room or a window or enough light or no internet or no tv or a crappy little fan or a mattress on the floor as a bed or no drawers/closet, but the whole point of a homestay, in my opinion, is to interact with the family. This was not that type of family. On Monday, miserable and disappointed with our digs and the food (oh rice & beans, I am already so tired of you, and my stomach decidedly hates you as it has made evident on more than one occasion), we decided to quit the homestay and find our own abode. Best decision ever. We moved in across the street at the Secret Cove Inn, which is run by gringos and complete with TV, free WiFi, and even free Vonage calls to the US and Canada (when the internet works). Oh, and it has a bathroom with a door. Cheating? Perhaps. But having a more “authentic” experience by living in a dump isn’t worth it. And most importantly, we need sleep or we will be sick, miserable, and unable to accomplish our goal in SJDS – aprender Espanol.
Our maestro is Ceidy, and she is awesome. She’s 26 and has been teaching at the school for 6 years; she’s clearly passionate about teaching (as evidenced by her making up games for us to play/learn) and is patient and easy to understand. Moreover, she’s funny and interesting and very open about her life and life in Nicaragua. The “school” is one large room, and each student is paired with 1 teacher (or in our case, 2 students with 1 teacher). All of the teachers are between the ages of 25-32 or so and most are women. We have class from 8-12 every morning and then an activity in the afternoon (Thursday was a cooking class – mmmm enchiladas Nicaraguense). We also went on 2 beach trips this week and on a walk to the mirador (lookout) on a beautiful cliff to get a great view of the sunset and SJDS. Absolutely breathtaking – this town is utterly beautiful and super chill. It’s also filled with gringos, which has its pros and cons, but we’re just taking it all in and enjoying it. The authentic Nicaragua will come later, I think/hope, in Granada and Matagalpa and maybe Isla de Ometepe.
Being in school again is strange, but SUPER fun. T’s Spanish was already FAR superior to mine, and he’s definitely learning, grasping, and remembering more than I am. But I am, surprisingly, not doing as poorly as anticipated. I took 4 years of Spanish in high school (at least I think I did- I took AP Spanish my senior year, so it makes sense, but I can’t for the life of me remember the name of my Spanish 2 teacher, so maybe not. Mom, some help?). I probably should’ve spent more time in class trying to learn and less time either at Dairy Queen or just not paying attention or doing work for other classes/clubs/etc. Spanish was my slack class in high school, which at the time made sense because 6 AP classes were kind of intense and I needed some relief, but in hindsight, I should’ve paid more attention in Spanish and less in Calculus. Add that to the list of things my 28-year-old self would tell my 17-year-old self (included but not exhaustive 1. HS & college are not that big of a deal, 2. I don’t have to know exactly what I’m going to do in my life, 3. Get your eyebrows threaded and stop having triangle hair, 4. Blonde haired, blue eyed boys will be your destiny – don’t fight it).
T&I went to Remanso Beach today so Tyler could surf. He did so well! I’ll let him talk about that in his next post, esp. since I took some pretty good pics of him catching some waves. 🙂 We need to plan the rest of our Central America time, especially for Nicaragua since the weeks before Easter are more expensive and everything gets booked up. We’ll figure it out – no hay problema!
*Semana Santa is Holy Week and is a very big deal in Central America. There are tons of processions, parades, prayer vigils, and of course it coincides with school/government holiday. SJDS is a big vacation destination in Nica, especially during Semana Santa, so I expect we’re going to see a ton of people in the area soon (and prices go up for everything). April is also apparently the hottest month in Nica, which is sort of scary cause the heat is already incredibly intense, but explains why people leave the cities/interior for the beach towns.