I write this article from the pristine safety of a California university library where I have taken refuge to sort out our new lives following our self-imposed evacuation from Nicaragua in the first week of July. My son, Aiden and I left Granada with the intention of waiting out from afar the violent conflict resulting from the recent political protests. We optimistically hoped that the remaining summer months would produce a resolution in favor of the blue and whites, a return to security in the streets, and an overall better Nicaragua.
As we reach the end of the month, a Nicaraguan human rights group (ANPDH) reports the growing number of deaths due to the Orteguista state-sponsored civil repression at 448 people. This is devastating news and points to the probability of a protracted conflict without clear victories or endings. I decided that we cannot wager on a spontaneous change in the political dynamic to determine our course this year. We will stay in California and begin again figuring out out each new life step as we go on the fly.
Frankly, when we arrived to California, we were exhausted both physically and emotionally. Living through a developing crisis characterized by violence and the ever looming threat of violence is like being the proverbial frog that delays leaping from heating water that he doesn’t notice is set on course towards a rolling boil. My mind had played tricks on me for months, gravitating towards indications that that all would be well and that we had ample time to react. Strangely, I tended to ignore most signals to the contrary (a sure case of ‘normalcy bias’ that I wouldn’t have predicted for myself).
My son was the opposite. He asked me constantly for details about what was happening around us and the daily death count due to the unrest. He wanted to know if and when we were leaving and told me in no uncertain terms that we were not safe. In the end, I could not deny that he was right. Whether we were directly in harms way through violence on the street, or potentially limited access to basic resources, or that we might have our car and cellphones searched for political material at random there were threats everywhere to our sense of well-being, security, and happiness. Continue reading “Every day I had said one more day, until I couldn’t justify it anymore.”
This post is for all those moms and dads out there that have Granada, Nicaragua on their radar for their dream immersion experience living abroad with family. You may have already noticed how popular Granada has become with families with kids from all over Europe, Australia, and North America. Granada has it all: the bilingual international schools, the beautiful housing, the restaurants and supermarkets, the safest streets in Central America and the most gorgeous natural scenery at its doorstep.
But did you know that Granada is exploding with amazing opportunities to get fit? Yep. You might not see this written about in other blogs but the gym craze is on here in Granada and you are going to want to jump in, too. This is your moment! Think about it. Back home, I know that your family is on the go and you’ve got all kinds of stuff you are heading out to every day. It’s not even just work and all the scheduled activities but you are also planning to spend some time abroad and that takes a lot of effort to organize. I remember all of it!
But fast forward to when you get here (you’re almost there, you’re almost there) and you are going to have more free time to really invest in yourself and your well-being than you have had in a long time. Why not make a commitment to yourself to finally make a fresh new start in a new place by planning to exercise regularly? If not now in paradise with life moving at calmer, healthier pace, then when?
Granada is full of happening gyms for every taste. Continue reading “What are you going to do with all that free time? Getting fit at your neighborhood gym while living in Granada, Nicaragua.”
When I first arrived to Granada, I would take early exploring walks through my neighborhood before the summer heat would begin to hover heavily over the day’s movements. On one such morning, I fell into one of those easy spontaneous exchanges, that Nicaraguans so freely initiate throughout their day, with an older man (in his third age, as they kindly say here) sitting on his porch. He saw me admiring his pretty street and eagerly wanted to know what I thought of his city. I did’t have to embellish the truth.
Granada is surely the most beautiful city in Nicaragua, I said.
He shook his head and smiled at me almost paternally. No, he calmly corrected me. Granada is the most beautiful city in Central America.
Ahh, there it was. That wonderfully compelling Granadino pride. Continue reading “My dearest Granadinos, you have my heart completely.”
Picture you and your child one-on-one, blocking out the crazy world around you for some quality family time that you get credit for because you are playing the Pokémon Trading Card Game and that means in kid world that YOU CARE.*
If you totally focus and read through this tutorial you can learn how to play Pokémon in less than 15 minutes.
*If you want to know why I feel strongly enough about the Pokémon Trading Card Game to write an online tutorial, start with this post Why I Play Pokémon, but if you are already ready to learn keep reading! Continue reading “The easy, encouraging parent tutorial on how to play Pokémon with your kids! You can do this!”