Monday, September 04, 2006

First Month at Site

I was waiting to update my blog until after I had found a place to rent, but I'm still waiting, and as this marks the first days of my fifth month in Nicaragua, I decided to update anyway.

Things have been going really well. After the first two weeks, things started to pick up a bit more and since, the days have been moving quickly. My work in the schools involves three sections of around 50 students at the institute and one section of 18 students in the more rural school. Right now, I'm mostly observing and helping out the three different teachers I work with, but I plan on starting to teach more formally within the next week or two. I did have the chance to use a class period to introduce myself which was a nice way to break the ice, and since then, the students are a lot more willing to talk to me and I've really enjoyed the classes. Among the questions I've been asked are "What does 'son of a bitch' mean?" "Do you have a girlfriend/how many?" "Have you been to Yankee Stadium?" "Why are all North Americans tall?"

Besides my work in the school, I still hang out a bit at the youth group building. This past weekend they had a small party which I can best describe as a middle/high school dance. The dance floor, at any given point, was filled with five to six couples dancing (certainly not enough to make me feel comfortable dancing) , and several people around the outside watching. It has been my experience at parties that no matter how many people are dancing or how much I don't want to dance, I am asked, pleaded, expected to dance. This party was no different, and as most of the kids there were students from my class, my entrance onto the dance floor was met with shrieks and screams, followed by all eyes on me for the remainder of the song. Thankfully, my site mate was there to share the spotlight a bit.

My housing search has been a frustrating process that still isn't over. There's been a range of issues that I've run into that disqualifies a certain house (too expensive, too close to loud church, no latrine, broken shower, etc.), and unfortunately, I think I've seen just about all there is to see to rent. There are still a couple of houses that I'm waiting to hear back from the owners, so I still have hope to be back on my own after living with a family for four months (try it, it's hard).

As much as I'm ready to have my own place, my family here is really good. My best friend is my four year old cousin who is ready to play when I wake up and when I'm ready to go to bed. He competes for attention with his four month old brother and I, at times, seem to be the only one he can win over. Otherwise, the house is comfortable, the food is good (I'm actually use to beans for breakfast), and the rest of the family is great.

Though my first two weeks went by rather slowly, things have really picked up. Already, with a couple of meetings in Managua scheduled for September and October, I feel like I don't have much time until the school year ends. I hope I can find a house before then!