I have begun!! My very first week in this year long adventure (well not quite a year long but almost!) I can’t believe that a week has already passed! So for the first 3 weeks I am staying in a home stay in San Juan Del Sur which is a small beach town on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua. It is a very touristy town in a way but still keeps the local culture. Yet, it is still full of backpackers just passing through for a couple of days to party (and when I say party I mean they get ridiculous). There is even a day called Sunday Funday where they have a huge crawl between each of the hostels with pools. I will explain this in a future post when I have actually attended this ridiculous shin dig.
My time here has been much more chill. So lets start from the beginning. I arrived last Sunday around 11:00 am. It has already been an extremely long day as my initial flight left BWI at 5:30 am which meant that I had to get up at 3 am and drag myself and my parents (sorry mom and dad) to the airport at 4 am. I took a flight to Houston and from there to Managua, Nicaragua. Managua is not the safest of places and I wanted to ensure that I arrived at my homestay so I booked a shuttle from the airport with my school. Yet, since I never received a confirmation from them indicating whether they were going to pick me up. So upon my arrival, I have my doubts of finding anyone waiting for me and did not see anyone in the airport. A guy from a shuttle company saw me wandering around lost and asked if I needed any help and he called my school for me where they told me that my driver was heading back to San Juan and I could go with the shuttle service. But then, I turn around and there was a guy with a sign with me name on it (he had been waiting outside by the window?) So now, I get to San Juan de Sur and the school is closed so the guy just drops me off with my homestay family and leaves. They show me to my room which is pretty nice. I have a double bed and my own bathroom with some drawers to put my things. Yet, when I come out to ask them questions about food, or where is the beach, or the ATM…everyone is gone. So I just threw on some clothes and start walking hoping for the best. I did find the beach and chill for awhile. Only later did I figure out what was going on and was able to settle in a bit.
(Emily and I in front of our house)
The rest of the week was really fun! I started classes at Veronica’s Spanish School. At school, I met 3 really awesome girls named Emily, Samantha, and Cassandra. Emily was even living in my house with me but I hadn’t seen her yet. I started classes with my teacher Martin and first he gave me a Spanish test to assess my level. From there we got to work. He is a pretty good teacher, but sometimes I wish he would go a bit faster. Sometimes he just stops and stares and I don’t know what to say. But in general, he is a good teacher and I have finally brought out his personality. I had to take a test on Friday on all of the material learned that week (now I understand when a teacher says to study for a test and the student decides that means they have no homework). I did well though…I got a 95.
(Cocktails on the beach in Playa Hermosa- the cover photo is also Hermosa)
After school, we all did various activities together. One day we just went to the beach in San Juan del Sur. Another day we went to a beach called Playa Hermosa which really went by its name because it was gorgeous! Long wide stretch of white sand beach and hardly anyone there. There was a bar right on the beach with wifi and even had free lockers to use. The waves were really big and fun to jump through and we even got to watch the sunset with a cocktail in hand. It was a really great day! Other days were more chill where we just went and got a beer after dinner.
On Friday, Emily and Casandra left so it was just down to Samantha and I. We decided to go to another beach called Playa Maderas and stay there for the weekend even though it was just a 30 minute ride away. We stayed at Casa Maderas which was a really cute hostel/hotel. We booked a 6 person dorm but we were the only ones in it for only $13/night. There was a pool and a restaurant with really good food. Also lots of hammocks and lounge chairs and great wifi! We just hung out there on Friday.
(Our hostel in Playa Maderas)
On Saturday we woke up really early to hit the beach and get a surf lesson! We had a teacher named Alfredo and he was an older guy from Peru, but he was a GREAT teacher! He went through all of the mechanics and rules of surfing and emphasized all of the technique. Then, we got in the water and I got up on just my third try! Then I got up every time after that! I got quicker and was even able to read the waves and do the paddling myself. Granted this was in the “white waves” as he called them but he says I need to do the about 20 times before tackling the “blue waves” so I guess I have some work to do. Yet, I tore up my body pretty badly on the surf board and didn’t surf Sunday because of that.
So yea, all in all it was a pretty amazing first week. Definitely some awkward and uncomfortable moments, but I feel like that is the way that it is always going to be. I can’t wait to see what the next week holds and I hope we have some more students at our school! See below for a couple more pictures of Playa Maderas.
(Samantha and I with our surf instructor Alfredo)
(The other mystery beach we found when walking)
(Playa Maderas at dusk)
(Playa Maderas during the day)
(Me and my surf board)