I am Kelly and my goal with this blog is to share my journey as a mother of one living abroad in Granada, Nicaragua.
My story with Nicaragua, searching for solutions.
As a graduate student, I had studied International Development Management at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) but had the nagging fear that after all those books I knew nothing at all about the true reality of developing countries. I arrived to Nicaragua in 2003 as a hopeful United States Peace Corps Volunteer in the field of agriculture intent on gaining real, on the ground training in a rural, corns and beans community in the north.
In those days, I headed to the nearest well for daily water and local news and sent messages to other volunteers with drivers on chicken buses. Early morning plans for the future were made with smokey coffee toasted over a kitchen fire, while observant children peeked around doorways before eventually crawling into our laps. At my site, we tried to be stoic about the persistent drought and worked on improving plant soil, tilapia projects and even baking sweets for extra household income.
There was a solid realness to the experience of searching for solutions to everyday needs in a country that had paused its economic development for a brave revolution and ensuing war that was still fresh in everyone’s minds. I finished my service with perhaps more questions than answers, but knew going forwards that I would have a personal lifelong connection with Nicaragua.
Nicaragua drawing me back
I later traveled back and forth from the US with my family visiting for long stretches of time and watching all the developmental changes that have made the country more inviting as a tourism destination and a home abroad. Mobile phones, computers and cars rapidly began to appear everywhere and the Sandinistas returned to power and made good on pledges to pursue projects and policies that the average Nicaraguan could see and feel.
Nicaragua was happily at last beginning to show promise. I loved witnessing the national improvements that I knew were hard won and yet the people were the same: personal, sentimental, family-focused. I wonder if it is the slow pace of the day’s unfolding that reveals their mindful attentiveness to each other. Undoubtedly, there is a compelling charm and goodness to Nicaragua that I would miss when I was away.
Moving at last to Nicaragua
In 2013 we moved from the United States to live full time in Nicaragua. My son Aiden who is Nicaraguan and American was 8 years old, and despite our many trips over the years to visit family and friends, the permanent move to a new country was dramatic and startling. There was much to learn on the ground all over again, but this time the solutions I was looking for were how to make this huge life change work. We stumbled and strived toward finding our way and learning what we needed to be happy.
Even today we are engaged in the same process, but have more confidently gained ground in years of experience. We have worked out many of the kinks of living abroad and now reside in the city of Granada which makes sense for us. Here we have the international community, bilingual schools and supportive amenities that help us to feel at home but also maintain us firmly immersed and engaged in Nicaragua life, as well.
Let’s skip to the good part
Planning a successful stay in Nicaragua to bring your family together doesn’t need to be difficult. Through this blog, I aim to map out the winning strategies that we have learned to help other families fast-forward to the sweetness of this journey, to enjoy more of that precious reconnect time that can supply a storehouse of unifying memories to draw upon in rougher patches ahead or when life speeds up again back home.
If you are just beginning to put your plan together for Nicaragua, it’s a good idea to start here. In Granada, there is well-balanced blend of foreign and native influences that is unique to the country and makes the city an ideal destination for families journeying abroad to reconnect.
There are few important decisions to make and really the rest is just details. I am here to help you sort it out along the way.