Orientation and Beyond…

Running along side Lake Nicaragua two days ago was both familiar and foreign. My muscles ached with the memories of running in Minnesota and Wisconsin, but my surroundings consisted of the roaming horses, cows, shanties, broken down playgrounds, and deserted bars that lined the road. Even at six in the morning the humidity made breathing more like drinking, but the heat was much less intense than during the day. It’s rainy season here, so the weather behaves like a fussy sprinkler that turns on and off with no notice and unleashes a deluge for 20 minutes only to revert to light cloud cover for the next hour. It makes for luminous greens and a wonderful patter on the roofs, but if we weren’t in a solid hotel life would be much more complicated.

Speaking of which, tomorrow morning we head out to meet our host families for our 11 weeks of training! I will have a host mother and father and four siblings, ages 23, 22, 15, and 7! I’m getting really excited about meeting them and starting to do all that we’ve been talking about doing during orientation. It has been a lot of information to absorb, and with the schedule, food, and temperature changes we’re all pretty fried. Highlights included going out to have a drink with friends at a bar, wandering around Granada more, going on a surprise boat tour of some islands nearby (and having monkeys board a couple of our boats), and going on runs in the morning. Language sessions have been great too, and I’m ready to jump into more intense training and interactions with the community.

For the rest of the pre-service period we will be in host villages, taking 6 hours of Spanish per day, 4 days per week, meeting with our co-teachers, organizing a youth group for English classes, spending time with our host families, and learning about how to be effective teachers and lesson planners.

We spent our last night together as a big group (we split into small groups in separate villages for training) by having a special dinner, playing in the pool, having a dance party, and learning salsa and Merengue.

Also, a few of us on the way back from the party were witnesses to a rare frog love affair. We stopped when we noticed a frog near a fountain in the hotel, and then saw another not far away. We waited and watched and were rewarded by the swelling of the smaller one’s chest to amazing proportions and the emitting of a surprisingly loud croak. The plot thickened when the male frog (we assume) dove into the pool to swim toward the female and the female responded by jumping in after. I’ll spare the lurid details, but there was some frog wrestling and then what we assume was a post-coital spat in which the female cold-shouldered the male’s insistent croaks. Never before have two frogs’ lives been so observed in all their dramatic glory, and with proper narration throughout. Perhaps even the amphibians here take their cues from the outrageous telenovelas. We can only hope.

More about my host family, my new ‘comunidad’ and probably more exciting animal encounters to come!

Yep, he grabbed a lollipop out of someone's hand.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Deb on September 4, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    You continually make me smile……And what a GREAT writer! Must have been all that reading your mother made you do! HAHA Anyway, I look forward to the travel adventures of ABS!!!!

    Reply

  2. Posted by Shane Harvey on September 8, 2010 at 11:27 am

    Andrew,

    You definitely have your readers on edge. I’m glad I didn’t read your blogs until now as I have less time to wait for the next one! This time it was the fussy sprinkler that made me giggle :-).

    I will say that I’m super jealous of your 6 hours of Spanish 4 days a week! I can’t wait to get that next semester! I should really start writing in spanish and have you send back the corrections if/when you have time :-). It’ll be good extra practice :-). I’m curious as to how you like your home stay!

    Te quiero 😉 …es la verdad!

    ~Shane

    Reply

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