Change for the better

I’m rocking back and forth in my new gray hammock that feels like a stretchy polartec blanket. With each swing to my left my foot and leg pass through a gentle sunbeam and I look past my other foot across the street and see the wild and beautiful trees and vines of the tropical forest. I sip my coffee and savor my warm oatmeal and wonder at the comfort of the moment. True comfort has been elusive for me in a country that I did not grow up in. No carpets, dirt roads, no climate control, few non-plastic chairs, houses open to the bugs and elements, humid heat, few friends, emotionally challenging work, and a more difficult cooking environment have served as barriers to what I think of as the comfort that I grew up in. I didn’t know how to find that sense of sinking into a soft moment. Moving into a house has felt like a fundamental change in my life here. It may be a bit early to declare this, but so far it has made a huge difference in my overall well-being.

I’ve been in this house for three weeks now and my social life has drastically improved, with friends visiting every day to chat, play cards, and help me out around the house. My food situation is better because I’ve got a refrigerator to store leftovers and meat and dairy products. My bed is a significant improvement, so I’m sleeping better. I have more space and light, which have improved my mood. I’m sharing the cost of a 3G modem so I have more access to the internet and my hammock provides me with a perfect place to relax and read.

The house is divided into three rooms with a shower-room attached to the back and a latrine in the back yard. The main room is the living room, where I have a desk, some shelves, and my hammock. Straight through the living room is my bedroom, which has a kind of wardrobe for hanging my clothes, and the kitchen(to the left of the living room) has a place for a woodfire, a tub for storing water, and a window that leads to an outside ledge that serves as a sink. I cook with a gas stove set over the woodfire place and have constructed an indoor sink of sorts so that I don’t have to bend over and out the window to wash. Here’s a link to a video tour of the house right after I moved in(I’ll try to update it soon with my current arrangement).

Work in the high schools has been kind of unpredictable because of the rainy season, the lead-up to the elections next week, busy counterparts, and a trip to Managua I made last week to get some cavities filled. Community classes have been going very well, though, and I’m trying to take make the most of the instability by focusing on my personal life for a bit. Nobody knows what the elections will bring next week and we’re coming up on the end of the school year. Everyone thinks that school could get cancelled if there’s unrest after the election and that the last two weeks of classes will be completely unproductive because final exams and all final grades are turned in a full two weeks before the year technically ends. We’ll see what happens. Maybe my next post can be a primer on Nicaraguan politics.

Snapped a nice pic from the Ferry a couple weeks ago.


4 responses to this post.

  1. Andrew,

    Congrats on your new place! Glad to hear that your life is falling into place so nicely. You did a great job of describing, and then filming, your new house. Thanks for mentioned the “kitchen window ledge.” I’ve seen those, but they never registered before. Of course! Teeth-brushing and dish-washing. Is that a CF bulb on the ceiling in the main room?

    Other PC house/hut videos popped up after yours, which, of course I had to watch. Wow: electricity, running water, kitchens, computers, fans… I really did serve in the Dark Ages. Hard to imagine.


    • Yeah, we’ve got it pretty easy, all things considered. They give us cell phone chips that have free calls to all PCVs in Nicaragua and unlimited texts. I’m actually one of the least connected volunteers in Nicaragua because my phone service is patchy and there is only one (expensive) internet cafe in town. I see my Parents and Amanda every week. Being in the Peace Corps has definitely changed. And yes, all my bulbs are CFs! They were put in before I got here! Might be leftover from the last volunteer who lived here…
      Thanks for the comment!


  2. Posted by Allie on November 2, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Yay! I’m so happy you put up the video – it’s great to get a full house tour from so far away. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s amazing how a small change in setting like this can help other areas of your life so much. Thanks for sharing!

    P.S. You should upload House Tour V.2 and V.3, except speak/act as if you are first on an episode of MTV Cribs and then the guy from my favorite Youtube sensation, Keeping Your Refrigerator Stocked Will Get You Many Women.


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