Correr: the 52 km
Kilometer 52 outside of Santa Teresa makes itself known quietly, a simple wooden stake standing ajar amidst the weeds, flaking red paint proclaiming its name. This marker serves as a bus stop, a resting place for birds, the occasional stray marking post, tired campesino’s elbow rest, and housing for any number of insects. But for me, it calls my mind back from the clouds to the pavement under my feet. At km 52, I reign my wandering thoughts back in from whatever mix of Spanish and English they were rolling around in and begin my jog back into town. Here I push the English aside, and intentionally line up my Spanish, massaging those parts that are tired and weary, stretching myself internally just as my external self is doing. This process is a long one, a sometimes draining effort. But as I make my jogs through the beautiful landscape of my new home, I at least feel like I am actively participating in the rite of passage I have entered. As I partner with my circumstances and realities of this path, I find myself breathing rhythmically, trusting that though this might pain me now, I know that it will be stronger in the future, when I need it to be.
Whistle While You Work
Here in Nicaragua, there is an amazing array of whistles. As someone who cannot whistle very loud, if at all, I am constantly fascinated by these sounds wailing through the air. There is the hello friend, usually passed between males walking on the street or the money collectors/drivers of the buses as they fly by each other on the highways. There is the annoyed whistle, hissing across the lips of the person irritated, usually by bad driving or behavior. Another common one serves to catch a person’s attention in order to direct their attention elsewhere. This one sounds a lot like the hello friend whistle but has a distinct purpose. And of course, there is the “hey sexy lady, check you out” – the wolf whistle. This is also very common unfortunately, but I haven’t been too bothered by it yet. And it’s done universally to chelas and morenas alike, but tends to be directed towards foreigners a lot, since we stick out. I’m sure there are a lot more types with different purposes, but these are the ones I have observed so far.
What a white bread, white rice, beans, 3 vegetables/fruits, 1 meat, and coke daily diet will get you: pants that have to be taken in by your awesome Nica mama and a regular date with Metamucil’s Nica cousin, Mugasen. Como es la vida.
How do Nicas celebrate the patron saint of marriage? By sloughing off the branches, leaves and bark of a really tall tree, tying some bags with hygiene products, money and liquor at the very top, greasing it up with mud/oil and having 6-10 wiry Nica men climb up each other while the town looks in. Add in some loud fireworks, torritos that shoot sparks all over as a kid runs it down the street chasing people, and some cumbia music that the drunks dance-fight to, and you’ve got the San Antonio Festival. It was so fun to see such a different approach to a holiday, and though I don’t know how any of our activities really honored this saint, whom I had never heard of, it was a perfect way to spend my Friday evening. Just sitting and chatting with my two sisters, my nephew and my cousin, I felt like I was where I was supposed to be. I am so looking forward to digging into my community at whatever site I end up at.