days thirty four and thirty five: león


(this is the same picture that i’m using for my león post on the official mariposa blog but oh well)

anyway. this weekend was león and it was beautiful! it’s my favorite weekend city trip because you get to walk around on the cathedral roof and feel like you’re touching the sky.

nick (another student) and i hit up the sandinista museum (museo de la revolución) and met a lovely man named benito! he asked us if we wanted to see a picture of him when he was our age and when we said yes, instead of pulling out a photo, he pointed out a large picture of revolutionaries on the wall. “that one’s me”, he told us, beaming. 


wild, right?

oh, and i had my first taste of baho — it’s a traditional Nica dish made with beef, plantains, and vegetables, steamed over yucca in a very Very large pot and served with salad.


(tip: for cheap eats in león, hit up the ladies in the indoor market/comedor behind the cathedral. they’re super nice, they’re excellent cooks, they explain all the dishes to you, and they even hand you your food on pretty dishes!)

anyway. it was delicious. 

day thirty one: cyber chase

i’ve spent the past few days doing regular intern work: making reservations, sending emails, talking to volunteers, printing and laminating things…

BUT what makes that last task so much more fun here is that it’s completely different! most people (including us) don’t have a personal printer, so when i want to print and laminate anything i go to the local Cyber (pronounced “see-bur”) where they provide everything from internet access to printing and copying to school supplies. it involves a trip to La Concha and it’s usually a very fun time (i’m still at the point where running small errands in town brings me joy and makes me feel independent).

anyway.

this is what it looked like. 


it had a friendly man who happened to be one of the homestay families for La Mariposa! his name was Julio and we had a long conversation about my internship and his Cyber and La Mariposa’s projects while everything was printing and laminating (again, time is different here… nothing is really quick and so you make the most of your waiting chatting with other people). he shared some Nicaraguan sweets with me and i went and bought pan dulce to share with him and then he had to go and get new laminate sheets because he didn’t have enough but the girl who was supposed to mind the shop was late. but by that point he decided he knew me well enough so he just? left me in charge of the Cyber? while there were a bunch of guys there too? for like fifteen or twenty minutes? 

anyway we joked that my new title was “intern of La Mariposa — and the Cyber Belen” and nothing much else happened and i got my sheets printed and laminated and today was a good day. 

day thirty: pineapples

we went to a pineapple farm!

two important things i learned here: 

1) the pineapple we get in the US is usually from hawaii, usually picked green and sprayed with something to turn it yellow, and shipped for about 15 days. when compared to the nica pineapple, which ripens on the plant and is bought and sold the same day (or within the next couple), it’s no wonder the ones here are so good in comparison.

2) it’s mango season until the end of june! this will become important for later blog posts. 

an unfiltered photo because i am too lazy to process it:

day twenty nine: senderos


on day twenty nine i was feeling stressed

and lonely

and anxious/panicky

and a little bit sad

so i took a run through the school and wandered off through the senderos (trails) at the back of the school and sat on a fallen tree in the sunshine and talked to myself and to the trees and to God for a little bit 

and i was reminded again of how lucky i was to be in a place where sunshine is common and green spaces are close and time is relaxed and freedom is here

nicaragua is good to me.

day twenty eight: “office work”

on day twenty eight, i worked a lot a lot a lot because i was on my own in the office

but office work is far from boring!! 

i gave tours and solved crises and went back and forth and talked to the cooks and the new guests and called people on the phone in spanish because i didn’t have any other options (it was a little anxious but it worked out) also i got rained on

it was a wild time 

here’s an unrelated photo of the beach i went to the day before that (that was fairly relaxing even though i was kinda still working) 


(yes i’m aware my blog posts are getting more and more disjointed give a girl a break)

day twenty five: reading list

so we have a small library in La Mariposa that’s free to all of our guests. despite its size, it’s actually got a variety of books that i’ve been meaning to read (which is fantastic) and so here’s what i’m reading/have read so far:

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
this was so, so good.
when i picked it i had no idea what to expect but it was beautiful and it addressed so many things i’ve been thinking about recently and i loved it that’s all.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

there’s really no explanation or justification for me reading this, it’s kind of a romantic juvenile-lit novel deal, but it was a relatively worthwhile juvenile-lot novel and it was set in oregon so… y’know.

A Burst of Light by Audre Lorde
i regret to admit that before this, despite the fact that i am a woman of color who attends a liberal arts women’s college, i had not read anything of Lorde’s except for the odd poem or essay. there’s no particular reason why… i just hadn’t.
that changed and it changed with a bang and now i need to read everything by her thank you very much 

Luka and the Fire of Life by Salman Rushdie
before we begin can i just point out that i hated the phantom tollbooth?
because i HATED the phantom tollbooth.
i like wordplay and i love words and i love the concept of mythical worlds cleverly spinning in on themselves, and yet i Did Not Like anything about the phantom tollbooth At All despite several people telling me i would love it. i’m also not the biggest fan of Alice in Wonderland. so i’m generally fairly critical of adult literature masquerading as children’s literature and/or combining multiple fantasy worlds in nonsensical ways (exceptions include the Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles and Here There Be Dragons).
despite this, i really liked LatFoL. i liked that it combined multiple myths, i liked that it tipped a wink at modern scifi/fantasy, i liked that it was a little bit sentimental and a little bit magical and didn’t take itself too seriously. i’d recommend this book to my sisters, and i’d read it again.

Saving Fish From Drowning by Amy Tan

this was… all right? i don’t have a lot of thoughts on it. i didn’t love it, nor did i hate it. i read it through and i get why amy tan is considered a good writer but it wasn’t amazing? it’d probably be better if i’d read it not all in one weekend.

Ain’t I A Woman by bell hooks (i’m still reading this) 

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra 

this was a good read but a long one. it didn’t really pick up until the last half but it was really good then? 8/10 for being beautiful and wrapping up in a lovely way despite being confusing and hard to keep track of at the beginning