The Rundown - November 2016
What a whirlwind of a month! It's been nonstop - tying up loose ends in Nicaragua, visiting everyone I could before I left, going out and enjoying the last of the sun and the cheap beer and everything I could, then home to Canada to lots of reunions, culture shock, a new job, and a new apartment! It's been intense and so fun. I'm a happy little bee these days, I must say. I'm gonna try to break out all the pieces!
So many "lasts"! Last pool day in Nicaragua with my friend Kat, hanging and having a drink and just chilling in the sun... Last day at the lagoon with an old friend and a new friend, and more drinks and just chilling in the sun..! Last fritanga (street food/sidewalk restaurant). A number of nights of drinking and dancing and live music and just generally enjoying having spare time and an extra buck for a beer (like, a literal buck) and hanging with new friends and old. The lovely ladies at work had a nice going away lunch for me and we wrapped things up on a good note. Sebas' family had a going away party for me complete with a delicious lunch, sharing stories, and lots of love, hugs, and photos! And I'll admit it - tears. The wonderful woman I was working with took me and another volunteer to these cool thermal hot springs outside of the city. They harness volcanic heat and the sauna was INTENSE! Sulfuric heat waves just rolling up through the wooden slats. Whoa. It was cool. To get there head to Tipitapa, through the town (get off the highway) and ask for directions from there. I arrived home to Canada! It's been a blast figuring things out again, and eating different foods and being cold and just spending lots of time with my people, catching up. And laughing! I've missed just being with people who share my humour. I've laughed more in the last week than I think I did for an entire two years. Not that I was unhappy, it's just humour can be so culture-specific! I got to spend time with my nephew, whom I haven't seen since he was a newborn. I obviously love him, and he is the sweetest, coolest, and cutest kid. I am so excited I get to be around him more and watch him grow. I saw most of my (local) family and got to participate in the family tradition of decorating Grandma's tree for the first time in many years - something I've always loved and missed being able to do. I got to move into my new apartment almost right away! And they let me paint! I am thrilled with the way it's coming together and hope to share more photos of the process when it's all ready. Here's a little teaser, in the meantime: The culture shock honestly hasn't been too severe. I feel it's less severe than when I came back after 14 months in Korea. But the thing that really gets me is the big box stores. I CANNOT with those. All the choices overwhelm and kinda sadden me and I have a really hard time focusing and not getting anxious.
Nicaragua had its' presidential elections, which were really just a farce because the country has devolved into a low-key dictatorship. The president has eliminated all serious competition through various means, changed the constitution so he can run an unlimited number of terms in a row, and falsifies data to make himself and his administration look better. Oh, and has appointed his wife as VP. So. Many Nicaraguans are aware of this and so as you can imagine, voter turnout was very low - because why vote when you know the end result before hand? The New York Times did an op-ed on the ridiculousness, if you care to know more.
The American elections were a pretty big bummer too, amiright? I watched with some friends and frankly we were all a little blown away at the end result.
I left my second home of Nicaragua. Cue the crying face emoji. Seriously. I miss it so much.
I am in such a good mental state these days. The last few months were kind of up and down for many (somewhat obvious) reasons, but I really feel I've come out the other side a happier person. At least for now I feel good about carrying over the personal lessons I learned in Nicaragua into my new daily life in Canada, things like calm positivism and patience. These were hard fought battles and I feel a lot closer to the person I want to be and have wanted to be for those wins.
AROUND THE INTERWEBS
I suspect (and hope) that winter will give me a chance to get back to some more reading. It really is perfect to cuddle in to a comfy chair with a hot bevvie and a good book while the snow whirls outside. It's cliche for a reason. I'm gonna start with these 100 Notable Books of 2016, I think! In fact, I'd like to get into a reading challenge like this one by PopSugar. Anyone wanna do it with me!?
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant - This is a retelling and to an extent, re-imagining, of the Bible story of Dinah, daughter of Leah and Jacob the Canaanites, whose brothers murdered her husband in their marriage bed. But it's really the story of women during the Canaanite era, of mothers and daughters and sons, of childbirth and the cycle of life and death, of women's work and stories. I thoroughly enjoyed it and felt transported while reading it. Consider it the female perspective of the Bible stories you know well and savour the fill-in-the-blanks quality of it, because we all know the Bible was written by a bunch of men and women's experiences are sorely lacking from that era.
MOST LIKED INSTAGRAM
This beauty throwback to my trip to the Perhentian Islands in Malaysia, circa 2013. Followed very closely byB cotton candy on a stick!
Digging intoB my new job, settling into the new apartment, many Christmas celebrations with friends and family, and a trip to Victoria! It's a PACKED first month back in Canada.