The transition back to Minnesota has had its ups and downs. There have been many joys and challenges; moments that we have cherished and things about life here that we had seemed to forgotten about. Above all it has been a time of transition and a search for a new normal that cherishes the memories and friends we currently hold at a distance in Nicaragua.
One thing that keeps us connected to Nicaragua is a sizable latino population in Minnesota. It was my goal to find a job where I could speak Spanish everyday, that has happened. It was my goal to connect Estela to peers and role models that share her background, that is happening. And it was my goal to continue to cook and eat foods that were familiar to us in Nicaragua.
Likewise, Kevin speaks just as much Spanish in his teaching position as he did in Nicaragua and he has loved finding Nicaragua-like foods here in MN. His searching has been very similar to the ways in which he sought out U.S. delicacies while we were in Nicaragua.
Earlier this week we met our friend Jacquelyn, who is Nicaraguan, at the market for coffee and reposteria. We enjoyed chatting with one another, eating our dulces and catching up on life. She then suggested that we go to the supermarket across the street to pick up some groceries. There we found Nicaraguan cheese, she helped us to find the ingredients to make bistec and we purchased some fresh mangoes, plantains and chicharrones.
It was good to be back in the mercado. The sights and smells are very different, more kempt and clean. There are prices and nutritional facts on everything. But the people are the same. The smile across the counter when we spoke in Spanish was priceless and we were introduced to everyone there as we shared our story and learned about those who were working at the market. It felt like we were back in Nica until we walked back out into 10 degree weather.