Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Back to School, Back to School

A lot has happened since my last update. It’s a brand new year, for one. Happy 2011!
On New Year’s Eve, a few of us returned to my campo homestay for a celebration of one of the girl’s fifteenth birthday. It is a monumental birthday here because it marks the transition from childhood to adolescence. There was a Mass and the quinceanera sat up front in her beautiful dress. She also had about 14 damas, which are like bridesmaids or attendants. After Mass, we all processed back to their house where there was music, food, and cake. After most of the guests left, we had fun dancing and lighting sparklers and setting off  firecrackers. It was fun to experience this holiday in a new culture. At midnight, as all the fireworks were going off, everyone went around giving hugs, wishing everyone a happy new year. It was great to be welcomed into the new year by so much love and generosity.

The other week we (the new volunteers) journeyed way out to the campo (a 6 hour trek) to this little community called El Largatillo for a week of language school. The beauty and tranquility of the campo combined with the open arms of the Nicaraguans made it one of my favorite weeks in this country thus far. Each of us lived with a host family and had one on one lessons with a teacher for 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon. One day, we hiked to a waterfall in place of afternoon classes. A different morning, we got up extremely early and hiked all the way up a mountain and spent the day up there. I was in awe of the natural beauty surrounding me. At night, there we were more stars than I have ever seen in my life. The family that I stayed with, a single mom and her son, has such a close and life-giving relationship. It was wonderful to have the opportunity to share with them and to listen to my host brother play guitar and sing with his mom. Being in Largatillo for the week taught me so much more than how to conjugate Spanish verbs and use prepositions. I am slowly gaining confidence in my ability to understand and speak Spanish and I am constantly reminding myself that I have to let go of my pride and be willing to make mistakes. I also learned that I can connect with people here and laugh and joke around with them. I discovered a deep sense of peace that I am where I am supposed to be and that there is so much joy when I slow down and embrace the quiet (well, minus the roosters, donkeys, and other animals) of campo life. I am extremely grateful that I had that experience.
 La Cascada (Waterfall)

 View from the top of the mountain

 Volcano off in the distance

I now have a couple weeks off before I start teacher meetings at school. I am trying to take advantage of this downtime to read, journal, spend quality time with community mates, learn to cook, and decorate my room.

Thank you all for the Christmas cards! I appreciate your continuous support and am sending my love your way.


  1. omg I let out the biggest gasp when I checked your website today and you actually had a new post!!!! Thanks for making my day! Sounds like you're having an awesome time! I like how you said "learn to cook." Good luck! Did the cards I sent make it?

  2. Looks like you are having an amazing time!! and these pictures are beautiful! we miss you and love you so much! you are constantly in my prayers! and Happy New Year :) love, Laurie

  3. I am glad that you are gaining confidence in the language. Spanish never clicked with me haha! The pictures you posted are amazing! I love seeing what nature has to offer, and I feel that I always take it for granted. Keep enjoying yourself and can't wait for the next post!
    Love and miss you!

  4. Thanks for the photos that let us into your world! I am thankful that you are having such amazing experiences and seeing such beautiful places! We all love you and miss you very much! Mom

  5. Your description of the deep sense of peace and continual joy that you feel is evidence that you were definitely called to be there. I am so happy for you! Love the descriptions of life in Nica and the amazing experiences in such a beautiful country. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. Love you! Auntie H

  6. Adrienne!!! :) These pictures are amazing! I am so glad you have been able to explore the area some. It looks so warm there too... compared to the snow and ice that is here in Indy after a major ice storm just came through the past two days. Thanks for the updates! Sounds like you are finding your way and seeing God's joy around you! Keep it up girl! Sending love and prayers! - Natalie

  7. Adrienne,

    I just found out that you moved to Nica and have read all your blog posts. I am so happy that you are at peace with where you are and what you are doing. Isn't that what it's all about?

    It sounds like you are soaking in all the amazing Latin American culture you can! You will be in my thoughts and prayers and I wish you good luck with language and the start of school!

    Much love Adrienne,


  8. Hi Adrienne!

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and I hope all is going well with school (if you have to work year round). Occasionally I will see a photo of you on Facebook that you were tagged on with your friends and it always puts a smile on my face. I am so proud of you and the work that you are doing in Nica.

    Your mom, dad, and brothers spent the day with us on Saturday at our cottage. We had a great visit and tossed the football around while we hung out at the sandbar in the 100+ degree weather. I am not sure how you handle that temperature on a regular basis.

    I hope your summer months are filled with fun.

    Much love,