8. Brisa - Sorry Brisa, you are number 8. We know that you like us, even though you don't like to be held. You were a bit flaquita/skinny upon our arrival, so we will do our best to fatten you up again.
7. Our Faith Community - Last Sunday, we went to La Misa Campesina in Batahola for the first time since we have been back. We decided to walk to church with a friend, which was a lovely stroll. When we arrived, it felt so good to be back in this place. The priest gave a wonderful message, acknowledging and opening a conversation for the congregation about the recent events in France. We prayed together as a community and it just felt right, how church should be. A place where people come, share and relate to one another.
6. Hammocks - While I love Minnesota and all that it has to offer, there is nothing like lying in a hammock every night year round. I have always loved swings, which has led to my obsession with hammocks. I try to spend some time each night in the hammock. Whether it is reading, skyping or hanging out with Kevin, it is always a wonderful time. However, it does not help with getting my daily 10,000 Fitbit steps. Pictured below are Francela and Alison, nieces of David, who came to spend a night with us last week during their school vacation.
5. Fresh Produce - While we do not have access to produce like kale and apples, we live in a fruit and vegetable paradise. This will always be a highlight of our life here, fresh pineapple, mangoes and watermelon year-round. We brought back a dehydrator with us and as I write, I am eating delicious, dried pineapple (pictured below). Thanks Connie!
4. Nicaraguan Fiestas - When we were back in the States, we enjoyed the holiday celebrations and a couple of weddings. They were wonderful and fun in their own way, but there is nothing like a Nicaraguan celebration. People are happy, there are smiles and laughter everywhere, delicious food and always a piñata which always makes for a great party. In just two weeks, we have been to a 75th Birthday party, an amazing wedding, a Christmas/End of the Year party, a birthday lunch for our co-worker and two birthday parties for our neighbor kids.
3. Speaking Spanish - While we were able to spend time with old Spanish speaking friends as well as meet new ones, we missed the daily conversations with our neighbors, friends and co-workers. We are glad to be back using our Spanish, it continues to be both rewarding and challenging.
2. Our Work - We are excited about what this year will bring in our professional work. We are looking forward to teaching again, interacting with students, giving peace building workshops and whatever else comes our way.
1. Friendships - Everyday when we walk up the street after our day of work, we are greeted with friendly hello's from the adults and hugs from the kids. Our Nicaraguan "families" have welcomed us back with phone calls, dinners at their homes and weekend invitations to spend time together.
We thought we would follow-up with a list of things that are difficult about returning here. But we will focus on the positive. In case you are wondering what we might include, our second night home had us finding our first ever snake in the house. Ick! In addition, the dust that covered our home over the past couple of months has been time consuming to clean and a young man attempting to rob Kevin, which resulted in him running several blocks, losing his sandal, but getting away successfully, have all been a bit difficult.