Saturday, September 29, 2012

Getting Together Culturally

We recently had 3 Nicaraguan families over for a brunchy kinda breakfast thing. Overall, it was a lovely morning and all the kids (7 in total) had a great time. It definitely helps that our three kids are bilingual-ish. However, there were awkward moments of silence and some dead-end conversations. I realize that at my current level of Spanish, I am more like a conversation ender. Yet, I found that even the conversations between our Spanish speaking friends, were a slight bit awkward at times.

At a more recent gathering in our neighborhood, I was able to ask a Nicaraguan friend about my observations. I asked if “getting together just because” was a part of Nicaraguan culture. She informed me that, in general, it is not. People will certainly gather for birthday parties and church events, but casual get-togethers are not common. If I understood correctly, having “deep conversations” are not necessarily common either...especially not with 'foreigners.'

These cultural insights were helpful to learn. While Jeff and I are not overly social people, we do enjoy having a few friends over to share a meal and talk. I don't think we will stop having "get-togethers" with our Nicaraguan friends...but it is good to be aware of the “strangeness” they may feel experiencing a “different culture.”

I had the opportunity to share with one of our original brunch guests about how I had just learned, after-the-fact, that casual get-togethers are not part of Nica culture. I somewhat apologized for the cultural blunder. But she said that it was a good experience and she was blessed to get to know another guest from that gathering.

Always learning. Always growing.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Burgers and Bonfires

As a family, we have set aside Friday night as "FAMILY NIGHT".  Sometimes, we play a game.  Sometimes, we rent a movie.  This past Friday, we treated ourselves to burgers and fries at the Fifties-Style Diner down the road.  We intended to come back home and roast marshmallows over a small bonfire; however, while we sat in the diner eating our burgers...Rainy Season decided to finally grace us with her presence.   So, yesterday, about 1 hour before the next torrential downpour...we built a small bonfire in the front yard.  Let me tell you...catching anything on fire in high humidity is a challenge.  Yet, we were eventually successful and had a great time making s'mores in the front yard!

Enjoy some snaphots of the event.  (By the way...someone suggested that peeing on a fire is a great way to put it out...another someone decided that he'd test out this theory.  It made a very laughable end to a fun time!  However, I am not posting the photographic documentation.)

Andrew preparing roasting sticks.


Not sure what's more fun...playing with the spear or eating marshmallows!

Ella and Andrew (not the infamous "someone") putting out the fire with the help of Rainy Season.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

¡Felices Fiestas Patrias!

Today is Nicaragua's Independence Day.  Today they celebrate their independence from Spain.  This past week, our kids' school celebrated the holiday.  On Wednesday, they had an assembly on the basketball court and sang the National Hymn and read parts of the Act of Independence (or at least that is what I understood of it all).  Each class constructs a mural on a different geographic region of Nicaragua.  Typical food (Comida Tipica) is shared in each class.  In talking with some of the other "moms" at school, I learned that the celebration is important in passing on tradition and culture to the next generation.  The party continued on Thursday when the entire school community met at a large dance studio in the city where each class at the school showed off their work in learning a traditional, folkloric dance.  It was hot, humid, loud, & chaotic...but truly a fantastic experience to participate in the celebration.  Noah sat this dance out...but Andrew and Ella gave it their all in their clases' performance. ¡Viva Nicaragua!

The School Assembly on Wednesday. 

Andrew's 'role' was as an Chinandegan Orange Vendor.
Noah--helping to represent the department of Rivas.
Ella tasting some "comida tipica".
"Comida Tipica" (sadly, none of us know exactly what this is.)
Our Beautiful Ella

A very handsome Andrew
The 'almost' pirate Noah cheering for his siblings from the audience.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Seven Stitches

Here's the story of the 'seven stitches'....

We are 10 minutes away from having a little dessert and coffee get-together with our small group from church last night.  I send Noah upstairs to brush his teeth and get ready for bed.  Andrew yells downstairs that Noah "bumped" his eye on the door. There are many bumps, bruises, 'owwies' that occur...we have kids after all.  I don't hear any crying or, I go about my pre-party preparations.  About 5 minutes later, Andrew yells downstairs..."Um, Mom, there is blood!!!"  Still, no crying.  I make my way upstairs and find Noah standing at the top of the steps with a rather bloody eyebrow and a pretty "open wound."  (By the way, in that period of time between injury and discovery, he laid down on my pillow...bleeding.) As I bring him downstairs, I call for Jeff.  Jeff glances at Noah and starts gathering "supplies."  We usher Noah into the emergency room that we also call our living room.  As we talk with Noah about pirate eye-patches (attempting to distract him), Jeff administers the numbing agent into Noah's eyebrow.  Noah isn't happy, but he lies still for the most part.  However, we need a much more effective diversionary measure for the stitching event.  So, we dangle the carrot of watching the movie, Transformers (which Noah has not been allowed to watch but has certainly wanted to), and we are on our way to the 'stitching.'  Andrew holds the portable DVD player up so Noah can watch out of the eye that is not covered by the sterile drape.  Ella opens up packages of sterile gauze.  I lean heavy over Noah to keep him still, well, still-ish.  While our small group guests eat dessert and drink coffee in the kitchen, Jeff puts 7 stitches into Noah's eyebrow.  Noah is one tough kid.  Good thing that he's a boy and scars are cool. 

How did this happen?  According to Noah, he was running in the dark.

Noah said, "Well, at least I'll have a scar. That's cool."