1 week down and I’ve managed to avoid the trifecta of heatstroke, severe sunburn, and dehydration (which is almost a miracle because let me tell you, it is HOT) all while only forgetting to take my malaria medication once! With this being said, I’d consider this first week a success as long as you overlook my incessant use of the word “huh,” and frequent wide-eyed looks when people talk to me at a rapid pace. To give a visual of this, imagine it’s late at night and you’re driving down a country road when you come across a timid looking deer in the middle of the road with its eyes as wide as can be; that’s basically me. When you see that look, you can cue the “huh,” but don’t worry, it’s getting better!

Aside from the heat and my slight comprehension issues, my days here are amazing. Thus far, I’ve zip lined over a dormant volcano crater, stood next to an active one, explored the churches and cathedrals of Leon, learned about Nicaragua’s complex history, become a regular at the local smoothie chain “Siembras y Cosechas,” and gained about 8 pounds. From realizing that a selfie stick comes in handy when you want to take a picture with a volcano to eating every piece of food that has been put in front of me, I have learned something from every experience. I now know that Nicaraguans don’t really eat pizza with their hands and that it’s completely normal to lather each slice in ketchup, popcorn combos may or may not come with cotton candy, and that the best air conditioning is at Burger King. I’ve also been informed that the random pounding on my roof is actually fruit falling from the sky or a neighborhood animal out for a stroll, NOT an explosion. OH, and my host mom can cook, like REALLY COOK as in I’m going to get fat here (they even told me*).

*Side note, Nicaraguans are very blunt and from a cultural standpoint being larger simply means you aren’t going hungry, which is a good thing.

On a more serious note, I’ve also been learning how to teach English classes which I’m beyond excited to begin! I’m going to be teaching secondary school kids at a small Catholic school nearby as my primary project while I’m here, and my secondary project is still up in the air.

Whether you’re reading this because you’re my friends/family and I told you to, or you’re genuinely interested in my life here, STAY TUNED and check back next week for another update!

Emily Brown ’18