Sunday, December 26, 2010

Picture This

Here´s a quick picture update of my new life here in Nicaragua.

 Our Christmas tree. Bianca decided we should put my statue of Mary in it so that it could be a ¨Mary¨ Christmas tree :)

 My very own room - I affectionately call my bed the taco bed (note how it sinks in the middle)

 Laguna de Apoyo where we spent three days on our first retreat together

 Homemade pierogis for Christmas Eve dinner - I definitely have a greater appreciation for making them in an assembly line!

 Our house

 My community mates in Ciudad Sandino with our dog Muñeco

All of the Jesuit Volunteers in Nicaragua on Christmas Eve

I know that wasn´t a lot of pictures, but I hope you enjoyed them! Merry Christmas to all!

Friday, December 17, 2010

The warmth of the country and the people

This is a combination of a blog that I wrote awhile ago and added some today! Sorry it has taken me so long to send this out. Know that I love you all.

Today, December 7th, we celebrated Purísima here in Nicaragua. It is a national holiday that commemorates the feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. It was like a combination of Halloween and Christmas caroling. We joined the other community of volunteers that live in Managua and went to different houses who had set up altars for the Virgin Mary. As a group we would sing (quite enthusiastically) various songs to honor Mary. The people who lived at the various houses would in turn give us gifts in appreciation for using their altar. We received everything from candy to plastic bowls to combs. I even got some Ramen noodles.

These past couple of days I have been trying to absorb as much as possible. The people I am surrounded by are incredibly welcoming, which has definitely been a blessing. The house I live in is relatively big. There are 6 bedrooms and while there are currently 7 of us living here, soon there will only be 5 after the two volunteers that are finishing their time in Nica leave in less than a week. I have my own room that connects to a bathroom that I share with just one other community mate. In the compound that our house is in, there are numerous trees including grapefruit, lime, and papaya trees. The food here has been good thus far. We’ve had gallo pinto, which is a Nicaraguan style of rice and beans, watermelon, bananas, egg salad, and spaghetti.

I got to see the school where I will be working. It’s called Colegio Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe. I went with the volunteer who has taught there the past two years, and we were able to attend graduation. She introduced me to several teachers and kept expressing how much she loved being at the school, which made me excited to get to work there, too.

This week we are staying at homestay families within our neighborhood for a few nights. Then, we are hosting a going away party for the volunteers who are leaving at our house, which sounds like it will be a lot of fun. The following week we are going to spend a few days and nights with host families out in the campo (country). We’re going to have a retreat sometime and go to language school for about a week as well. It sounds like I will be staying busy for the most part!

I have been so caught up in all the new things that I am seeing, hearing, learning and experiencing that I have gone to bed exhausted every night. I am trying to soak it all in because I am really excited to be here. I hope you are all doing well and know that you are in my thoughts.

Part Two
Both of my homestays were wonderful. The people of Nicaragua are incredibly warm, encouraging, generous, and patient. They have been wonderful helping me communicate with my broken Spànish and teaching me so many new words. We just spent a few days out in the campo with host families and my family had younger kids who loved to play games with me all day. The campo is so beautiful and peaceful. It is good to be back home though and to sleep in my own bed, although I definitely haven´t missed the critters in my room and bathroom!

I cannot believe that Christmas is about a week away! It definitely does not feel like it. We are doing a secret santa with my commuity mates and I might even make pierogis for Christmas Eve dinner J I know this is not thorough but I wanted to make sure I got a blog posted!

Thank you for your encouraging thoughts and words. I´ll try to send some of this warm weather your way!
Love, love, love.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Estoy Aqui (I am here)

I made it to Nicaragua safe and sound! Everything is very new and overwhelming and exciting. There is so much to take in and try and remember: bus routes, how to get to our house, Spanish words. It´s hot here! I´m guessing it is in the 80´s during the day. There is so much to write that I´m drawing a blank :) I´ll have to take time soon to write down some specifics and put up a new post. My new community mates are all incredibly welcoming and supportive. It has been a relatively smooth transition thus far. We have busy weeks ahead of us, filled with homestays with different families, orientation, community bonding, and eventually language school. I don´t start my work placement at the school until the end of January but it sounds like I will stay busy and possibly get to do some day trips! I am looking forward to many new adventures!
Thank you all for your continuous prayers and support and I will try to update more soon!
Lots of love from this warm country.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Adios los estados unidos (Goodbye US)

I leave tomorrow. That is so weird to type. I am filled with a mixture of emotions, but mainly anticipation and excitement. It is going to be difficult to continue to say goodbye to people I love but I have to trust that it is all part of a bigger plan.

A few people have asked for my mailing address so here it is.
Adrienne Hillman
Jesuit Volunteers
Ciudad Sandino, Nicaragua
Central America

Please keep in touch and know that I am thinking about all of you. Thank you for your continual prayers and support.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Waiting Period

Nicaragua, here I come... well, soon! 

These lyrics are from the song "The Call" by Regina Spektor. Not only is it one of my favorite songs, it is also very fitting for this time of transition.

Just because everything's changing
Doesn't mean it's never been this way before
All you can do is try to know who your friends are
As you head off to the war

Pick a star on the dark horizon

And follow the light
You'll come back when it's over
No need to say goodbye

In about a month and a half, on December 4th, I will be leaving for Ciudad Sandino, Nicaragua. I am going to be there for 2 years as a member of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC). I will be living in an intentional community with other volunteers from the United States and teaching English. My hope is that during my time in Nica I will not only be immersed in another culture, language, and lifestyle, but that I will also have the privilege of accompanying the people there.

After working at camp this summer, I have been spending my time reading, traveling to see family and friends, and trying to soak in the little comforts of being at home. I have been experiencing a wide range of emotions: sadness in saying goodbye to friends, family, and places that I love, excitement when trying to imagine what life in Nica is going to be like, anxiety about teaching and speaking Spanish, gratitude for this incredible opportunity.

I cannot wait to begin my journey, but I know God is teaching me a lot during this time of waiting. Thank you for your prayers and support.

May your soul rest in the arms of the Creator.