Sorry I didn’t get to write to you before vacation. I don’t get notifications when there are new posts—maybe you can help me out with that Mrs. Proudfit? :)
I hope that you all enjoyed your break from school, but didn’t forget too much! Thank you for all of your questions and stories. I will try my best to answer your questions and tell you a little bit about the holiday celebrations I experienced. I had a wonderful time in Boaco while my family was in Hawaii and I’m feeling much better after being sick in the beginning of December. I wasn’t mad about my family going to Hawaii because I’m having a great time here in Nicaragua so they deserve something fun :)
Christmas here in Nicaragua is celebrated on December 24th. The houses are decorated and Christmas trees are put up in living rooms, similar to the U.S. The trees are all artificial though because they don’t have those kinds of trees here and it would be very expensive to ship them, like they do to other places. They don’t put up stockings here, but I was sent one from my aunt back home. Some people have piñatas for their parties too. Families here get together on the 24th and celebrate by having dinner around midnight, which is chicken, vegetables, and rice, and then they set off fireworks and drink sparkling cider. To me, it felt more like New Year’s Eve, but it was Christmas. I stayed up until 2am with my host family from San Juan de Oriente and then I had to go to bed!
|Little girls in my house in San Juan de Oriente|
There wasn’t anything for December 25th, so I celebrated with some of the other volunteers. We got together at my host family’s house and watched a Christmas movie, drank hot chocolate, and ate cookies :) We tried to make it feel like Christmas, even though it was pretty warm and sunny that day.
I decided to spend Christmas with my old host family in San Juan de Oriente but after that I returned to Boaco and gave some presents to my family there. They don’t give out many presents here, and they usually don’t put any under the tree, so that was different.
|Decorating the tree in Boaco|
I received several packages in the mail from my parents, grandparents, aunt & uncle, and friends so those were fun to open for Christmas. It didn’t feel too much like Christmas to me here because I wasn’t with my family and it was warm, not cold and snowy. I didn’t feel too sad about it though because it sort of felt like just another day.
In Oregon for Christmas, my family puts up a tree with lights, and all different kinds of ornaments. Then we put an angel on top. I love listening to Christmas music while decorating the tree and house. We watch Christmas movies on Christmas Eve and we get to open one present. On Christmas day, my brother and I race down the stairs and run to the tree to check out our stockings. Before opening presents, we have a search for the pickle ornament (like Twyla mentioned). Whoever finds the pickle gets a few dollars. We then open presents as a family (mom, dad, brother, and me). My dad usually makes a special breakfast like cinnamon rolls and then we stay in our pajamas and watch the Christmas parades on TV. Later we visit grandparents and have lunch or dinner with them and exchange gifts. Christmas is my favorite holiday and it was a little sad not being able to share these traditions with my family.
New Year’s is celebrated like it is in the U.S. I was in Boaco with my host brother, but the rest of our family was at their finca (farm). I cooked dinner and we ate some snacks later while staying up for the celebration. We had some friends over, listened to music, hung out, and set off fireworks at midnight. Pretty much the same thing I do in the States. Last year I spent New Year’s in Florida with my family—we played games and stayed up late with relatives and watched the celebration in New York on TV.
I have been here in Boaco for about a month and a half now (Nicaragua for 4 months) and things are going really well. Because Boaco is a much bigger town than San Juan de Oriente, there are a lot more people and things to do. At my house, we have water all the time, which is definitely nice! We have a grocery store, lots of little shops, internet cafes, and a few restaurants.
I haven’t been doing that much because the students are still on vacation, but we are going to have a conference with the volunteers in my group. We will be meeting at a hotel on the beach, so I’m excited about that. I hope we won’t have too many meetings and get to play on the beach a little :) I’m not sure what grade I will be teaching this year because I have to talk to my teaching counterparts to see where they need help.
I do miss my family, but I don’t feel sad being here. My parents might visit me in April because we have a week off from school. That should be fun to show them around Nicaragua.
Wishing you a good rest of the schoolyear in 2011! Do your best and be nice to your teachers--they work really hard to help you :)