What I’ve Learned So Far

So, it looks like a vacation, and feels like a vacation, but it’s not supposed to be a vacation. One of my goals of this journey is to learn something even though when we started off I wasn’t sure what that was going to be. I’m secretly hoping to have a philosophical and metaphysical epiphany, but I think I’ll need to wait a bit longer for any significant paradigm shift of internal wiring. In lieu of said tipping point, I’ve learned the following tangible lessons so far (the only order of this list is the order in which they came to my mind while writing this post Sunday Morning):

  1. Spanish – ok this is obvious, but we’ve been taking classes so I’m learning this language that will be very useful throughout the next 6 months.
  2. Waves are damn powerful and don’t boogie board on 12ft waves without fins on your feet. I was boogie boarding some “double overheads” 2 days ago, and since I didn’t rent flippers to be able to go as fast as the wave while catching it, I ended up at the top of a 10 footer and was absolutely slammed to the surface of the ocean and toppeld, looking for UP for the next 3o seconds.  3 hours later, at dinner, 1 cup of water came streaming out of my nose.
  3. Americans think everyone should think and do what and how they do – whether it’s how to run their business, their household, or family lives, overhearing other Americans talk about life abroad is a shaming experience and an easy one to find yourself a part of.
  4. On the upside, Americans have a much wider and progressive view of the world than many other travelers I’ve met (witholding any Europeans who crush us).  Whether it’s human rights issues, knowledge of current events, or understanding of how propaganda works and not being oblivious to it, we aren’t all idiot Americans.  ex. We recently told our Nicaraguan teacher we are planning on adopting one of our future kids and she couldn’t understand what could possibly have led us to want that voluntarily.  This was her reaction after having just told us a sob story about an orphanage.
  5. Propaganda is rampant in America. Ok, Nicaragua is dangerous for sure, but nowhere NEAR as dangerous as the US State Department would have you believe.  I believe that when governments do not cooperate with us in various political ways, we punish them economically by telling our citizens that these countries should not be visited and rob them of tourist dollars that they need.  Instead, they turn to destroying the world’s rain forests for economic growth.  Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Colombia are certainly safe enough to visit.
  6. There are a tremendous amount of cool, open minded people in the world and traveling to 3rd world countries is a great way to meet them.  Nicaragua is like a coffee filter, filtering out all the old crusties and leaving only smooth tranquil travelers
  7. We have far too much stuff.  Traveling with 5 shirts, 3 pairs of shorts, 6 boxers and a pair of swim trunks, I’ve realized that I could pretty much do without almost everything I own other than my laptop (my livelihood), my camera (my hobby, not necessary but I love it), and some clothes and hygienic products.  I wonder how many less hours I would have to work and how much less shit I would take at work if I didn’t have/want “things.”
  8. Coffee in Nicaragua is damn good.  I’m drinking it now, and it’s waking me up since although I went to bed at 10:30pm last night, the bed I slept in was specially designed by the world’s most sophisticated German engineers to give you a horrible night’s sleep.  It’s strong, but not overly strong and not burnt tasting like Starbucks coffee.  Drink it black for the best coffee experience.
  9. This kid that lives next to us cries every damn morning.  He must not like what mommy cooks for desayuno.
  10. Every day is worth more than I was previously awarding it.  At home it was too easy to let one day roll into the next without giving it too much thought. I don’t know how to remedy this yet really, but I do think that overcommitment has something to do with the percieved speed of time.

Nothing ground shaking here, but we are learning and hope to continue to learn and have better lessons at the end of our trip.

On a totally different note, we went to a boxing match yesterday.  The other thing I’ve learned is 16 year old kids that don’t really know how to fight will consistently get KO’ed in unbelievable fashion until they get a few more fights under their belt.  Unbelievable KO punches were seen last night, crowd silencing ones… Pictures coming soon.

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