Monday, February 6, 2012


Now that I've been in Nicaragua for about 5 months, I feel that's earned me the right to comment on some things I've noticed here both good and bad.

1. Nose you've probably divined from the glorious clip art I've added. It should be called pick art if you ask me (ha ha ha ha). Yes, I realize I have no life. Frankly, I could write a graduate course dissertation on this subject if given the opportunity, but I will limit myself to but a few choice words. It's everywhere--male or female, Witness or worldly, old and young--there's no discrimination here. It's profound--in the "I will soon touch my brain" kind of way. It's distracting--sometimes I've literally had to pause my conversation and look away so whoever I'm speaking with can finish their very important work. And apparently ONLY bothers me. These people (ps, it is just me who sees a big whithering conceited frown in my head everytime I see or hear the words these people?) will have half their hand up their nose and can barely speak and will just continue with whatever they're doing like it's no one's business. There is no shame in this digging game.
2. Double dipping...basically everything here is communal. For example, in the KH, each bathroom only has one glass. That's the glass everyone uses to drink from if they get thirsty. It's common that in the house people will eat directly from whatever dish we're serving from rather than put it on their own plate. Or they'll use a dirty fork to dish up seconds. I can't even tell you how many times in service people have asked to drink out of my water bottle. Now, I'm no germaphobe, but I have my limits, you know?
3. Cheese....first of all, anything dairy here is called crema or cream. It doesn't matter if it's half and half, whipping cream, sour's all cream. That makes it super easy when I'm shopping to cook as you can well imagine. I also hate that all the cheese here is the same. Now, ask any Nicaraguan and they'll list off a bunch of different types of cheeses making you think there's a grand variety. It's a lie. It's all white, hard, and salty. Real cheese here is incredibly expensive. Once I sprung for some nice sharp cheddar to get a break and shared it with my Nica family. You know they had the nerve to tell me they didn't like it and it made their stomach hurt?? This leads me to my next gripe...
4. Condiments...if I hear one more time "this hurt my stomach because it had too many condiments," I'm really going to hurt someone. So lemme get this straight. You can eat food that has cream and meat that's been sitting on the counter for 24 hours straight, but more than 3 ingredients in something gives you the runs?! This leads me to my next gripe...
5. Refrigerator...they exist for a reason, and that reason, simply put, is to keep things cold. So please tell me why every morning when I wake up our fridge is disconnected? By the way, this is a common practice and not just a "my household" kinda thing. Your alternate option is to buy a fridge but keep it eternally on the lowest/hottest setting possible. The excuse is always the same..."but everything's still cold." If I thought it would help to lecture about the specific (cold) temperature certain dairy and meat needs to have to ward off small pests like oh, I don't know, SALMONELLA or E COLI!! I would do it. However, something tells me I'm not going to get very far on that.

Whew! That felt good. Now, on a positive note...

1. Neighbors...for the first time in my life I know my neighbors and actually like them. Every neighborhood here is like an extended family, and it's actually really nice. Sometimes it really costs me to break outta my "I'm a single white female and you're probably going to try to kill me" fears and talk to strangers outside of preaching times. But it's really worth it here. They know me, I know them, they look out for me, they let me use their oven and pans when I want to make a cake, they want to meet my family when they visit. It's nice. It's like a block party from those cheesy '70s movies...I finally know what that's like.
2. Frescos...literally this means refreshments. Basically you take any fruit and/or vegetable, squeeze or blend it, strain it, add sugar and water, and you've got a fresco. Every family makes their own combos and by the way, they are ALL delicious. Pineapple and carrot, pitahaya and beet juice, tamarind and cinnamon, passion fruit, yum!!! And the best part? I can make it myself!
3. Volcanos...never in my life did I think that every morning when I took Ollie out I'd see a volcano. Forget living in a country where there are 6 within a 3 hour ride. They seriously fascinate me. All of them are on the Pacific coastline, and a brother recently told me that scientists think that at one time, Nicaragua's western coast was the lake. But then all the volcanos erupted and created land between the lake and the ocean forming all the large lakes near where I live. Kinda cool, huh?
4. Nails...this is super vain, I know. But I love getting my nails done regularly and for so cheap! Plus the sister in my house, Carmen, does these great drawings on the nails. It's really like art. She did a whole scene once with a beach with the water and sand and a palm tree and a whale tail in the ocean. She's done owls, rabbits with carrots, cherries--she's a genius, I tell you, a genius!
5. Pulperias...that's what they call corner stores. Except the difference is that EVERY corner has one. I just love that chips and flour and bananas and Coke are always just a few steps away. Especially since I don't have a car and am incredibly lazy :)


  1. lil thawn- i hope the locals don't read your blog!! that is pretty gross about the nose picking- yikes!

  2. I don't know if I could survive! I think I could be in a prison camp easier than watching somebody pick their nose to the brain in front of me. My mom would have slapped me for that.

  3. Lol nose picking and cheese, it's juts trivial things that you don't like :) as a Nicaraguan I don't mind about all those stuff ;) and sharing of the glasses, well American-European people has a history of sickness and plages, I understand that it's well carved in the mind of a "gringo" but in Latin America we didn't knew the comun cold a few hundred years ago.

    1. Jose, you're right! They're just little things, and I'm happy to say that as the years have gone on, I've come to love the cheese. I still don't share glasses, though. I prefer to believe colds come from germs...not from eating pineapple or jocote after dark :)