June 26, 2016

Volcanos

My wife is wonderful. She is the love of my life, the source of much of my joy and the reason why I have smile lines on my face as a 33 year old. Her one fault is that she may tell a joke or story one too many times. For example, whenever she hears the words "it's getting hot in here," or something along those lines, she will normally burst into a rendition of Nelly's 2002 hit.

Lately, there has been a lot of activity along the fault lines and under the world's vents that emit the steam and gases from our earth's core here in Nicaragua. We have been told that the large fault lines found in Lake Managua are moving. Volcano Masaya has been opening and closing to visitors due to regular seismic activity.  The one cone we have left, Momotombo, erupted for the first time in 100 years, emitting large bursts of ash, dust, rock sulfur and lava into the atmosphere. Volcan Telica, which we were hoping to hike, San Cristobal and Cerro Negro have all had seismic activity this year. It is indeed, getting hot in here, take it away Cassie!

Imagen aérea del Volcán Momotombo.

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The eruption of Momotombo in Nicaragua, seen on December 2, 2015.

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Check out this amazing video

Volcan Masaya opened again last month and it is incredible to witness the lava from the top of the crater, though I am not so sure we should be visiting with all this hot activity!

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June 20, 2016

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

I (Kevin) have written about various baseball games we have went to here in Nicaragua. Not only have we been able to visit various venues, but have also seen some pretty good baseball as well. We have seen games back dropped by the Segovia mountains, in the sweltering heat of Managua and international matches between Nicaragua and Cuba. We have seen managers get thrown out of games and then refuse to leave the dugout, and we have seen fights break out amongst players and amongst fans. We have seen seen some really sloppy baseball and some great talent that have now left for the big leagues in the states.

During our most recent outing Cassie leaned over to me and asked if I was going to write another blog about the game, I slowly moved my arm around my girl and asked what more we could possibly say about baseball in Nicaragua. But of course this was our first game with Estela, her first real sporting event in which she decided to cheer for the visiting team (I think she liked their red uniforms), ate handfuls of sunflower seeds at a time and in the end played “kitchen” with a little girl named Angie she met from Rivas.

I think Cassie and I watched more of what Estela was doing then we did the game. I actually spent the 6th and 7th innings making and then eating imaginable tortillas with Estela and Angie. I am not sure who won the game or if it was even close, but I think that this afternoon may have provided us with some of the best memories of all the games we have seen in Nicaragua so far. Here are some highlights from the game!

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For it’s one, two, three strikes your out at the old ball game.

June 11, 2016

Heading Up North to Jalapa

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We wanted to try our hand at camping with Estela in tow. If you do not know, Cassie and I love being in the outdoors. We have taken the opportunity to camp where and whenever we can here in Nicaragua and thankfully, the options continue to increase within country. For this reason, we decided to head up north to a small little place, set up for camping on the outskirts of Jalapa.

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Jalapa is a small market town setup to allow local farmers to sell and trade their agricultural goods for services and other products not raised on their farms. However, Jalapa was well-worth the bus ride north. The city is dropped in among some of the tallest peaks of Nicaragua. Tucked into a valley and surrounded by mist, cool breezes and diverse wildlife. As we pitched our tent I felt for the first time, in a long time, that I was not in the hot city of Managua any more; long away from the bustle and noise of the capital, I was in a remote, take my breath away beautiful environment.

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That being said, Estela was the real highlight of the weekend. We wanted to make sure that her first camping trip created life-changing positive outdoor memories as we look forward to exploring our world together. She helped us set up camp, staked the tent and made up her little bed; making sure that Maya (her doll) was comfortable and keeping her spot for her before we left to have dinner.

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The night went well. We slept good, were not eaten by bugs and slept in until almost mid-morning due to the cool breezes found in the mountains. Our trip was filled with outdoor adventures. We went to some coffee farms, visited some waterfalls, sat in some hot springs, and spent two days visiting various communities, natural reserves and friends in the north of Nicaragua.

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June 4, 2016

Life Lately

Our life lately has been very rich and full.  While we thought that our adoption would be finalized by now and that we would be spending the summer in Minnesota, life looks a little different.  While it has been a long and arduous process, we continually remind ourselves to enjoy each and everyday.  We will miss this!

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We find ourselves at the Mercado Oriental on a regular basis.  Whether we need to get a new pair of TOMS or buy a couple of buttons for my latest sewing project, this is the market that has it all.  The LA Times recently wrote an article about the market, while I don’t agree with everything that is written, it offers an interesting perspective.

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I took this picture on my way to teach class one Saturday morning.  Every day, we see horses, cows and other animals in our neighborhood and on the streets.  I know that the views of Minneapolis and its suburbs will be less exciting for Estela.

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One of our favorite places in Nicaragua is the Laguna de Apoyo.  It is about an hour from our home and always promises a relaxing and beautiful day away.  We have a good habit of going to San Simian and enjoying the day floating on inner tubes, paddling kayaks, reading and resting on the shore.

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We love hosting friends at our home.  Whether it is a Sunday morning brunch or late-night dessert and wine, we love opening our doors to conversation and friendship.

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We always make it a goal to go to cultural events in Managua.  We recently went to a ballet at the National Theater, the picture above is a youth orchestra concert that we attended.  Their last song was Viva la Vida by Coldplay!

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Because of the crazy heat, we recently booked a night at a local hotel with air-conditioning.  We did not leave our room for 24 hours.  Here Estela is “hiding” from mama and papa.

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Every Thursday afternoon, I meet with my Spanish teacher Mayela.  We have met for the past five years on a regular basis, and I continue to learn more each week.  Estela has been very flexible and has learned to take her “siesta” at the coffee shop.

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Back when we went to Leon for a birding weekend, we stopped in at a hand weaving cooperative and bought some beautiful Christmas presents for this next year.  Estela even got to try a hand on the loom.

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I never want to forget how small and precious her feet were.

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We celebrated Kevin’s 33rd birthday at the beach.  Here he is with a new favorite recipe, Peanut Butter Cookie Cupcakes.

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Camping on the beach means taking naps in the hammock.  Estela’s head is popping out just a bit!

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We recently spent some time up north visiting our host family in EstelĂ­.  Here is Mama Carmen, swimming down the Rio Coco in a skirt, first woman ever to do so as reported by the guides in the canyon!

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Our previous neighbor Lela recently had a birthday.  We celebrated together by eating fried chicken, fries and donuts.  She was pretty happy, and we were happy to be with her!

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The Masaya Volcano recently opened up after seismic activity had occurred for months.  We heard that the views of the lava were spectacular from the crater, so we headed there to check it out.  This photo does not do justice!

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Mother’s Day in Nicaragua was celebrated this past week.  Each year I have gone to the local market to buy flowers and then put together arrangements for the special women that I have gotten to know in Nicaragua.

That is a quick summary of life lately here in Nicaragua.  Thanks for reading!