Hi! Like Nora, I've never been much of a blogger, but I'll do my best to convey some of who I am and the things I've been thinking about related to our trip.
Winter is sunny in Texas, though nowhere near as warm as Nicaragua will be. It's been nice to be able to do nothing here at home, especially before this trip. I'm just beginning to realize how intense this is going to be!
We're planning to do so much in such a short amount of time, and we will be in a drastically different environment than I've ever been in. I've spent significant time in Latin America, but that was mostly in Peru where my family lives, and in my experience traveling to visit family is drastically different than planning your own itinerary. Although I love Lima, whenever I travel there I always feel sort of like I'm in a bubble; most of my time in Peru is divided between hanging out with relatives in their extra-barricaded homes and visiting the exclusive Regattas Club with its private beaches, swimming pools, hair salons, sport fields, and restaurants. Even when we go downtown, I feel unnecessarily sheltered. I love my family and I am extremely grateful to them, but I want to be able to chat on a beach with people who didn't have to pay a fortune to get there. I guess I'm excited for the more genuine travel experience that I think Nicaragua will be. I definitely don't expect to "understand" Nicaragua after one month there, but I hope to have met and, hopefully, befriended some of the country's people from all walks of life.
Reading The Jaguar's Smile before embarking on the trip is a really great step to doing this. (Props to Alice for the required reading!) Although by no means a complete history of Nicaragua, the book is really insightful and makes me curious to learn even more. I'm also looking forward to the tour with Witness For Peace.
It's also good to know that every step of the way we will be reflecting on our actions and making at least a small difference to a few women in San Juan de Limay. These are the reasons I'm so excited to be part of this delegation.
I'm also looking forward to the more obvious things, like the beautiful countryside and the FRUIT!! While I was picking up my malaria pills today, and the pharmacist pulled me aside and engaged me in a 10 minute conversation about how his teenage years living in Central America, where his dad was a pharmacist, were some of the best in his life. The descriptions of a slower pace of life, lush greenery, and kind people, and most of all his genuine excitement at being able to share these memories with another person, warmed my soul.
Thinking about the people, the history, the landscape, the good and bad surprises, the food, and a million other things, I can already tell this is going to be a trip I will never forget.