Information. These days in Nicaragua, it seems like there is either too much information coming at us or not enough of it. Either quantity can make it difficult to make confident family decisions going forward.
As each eventful day and night unfolds here in Nicaragua, social media provides a stream of news, texts, and imagery updating the Nicaraguan revolution in real time. Sometimes that influx of information validates our local experience with civil unrest here on the ground. At other times the news fails to capture the lulls, the normalcy, and the positive social interaction that makes it all feel manageable.
Nicaragua is a tropical paradise and I adore it year round, but summer months are more challenging for everyone when temperatures shoot up. It’s strange to think that here in Granada, as we now enjoy temperatures between 80 and 90 °F, we are about to enter our region’s hottest summer months in March and April when we are directly positioned closest to the sun.
If you are heading to Central America during those months you are going to want to remember that a tropical summer requires some practical strategies to make it more pleasant and fun, particularly for kids. Hot is hot no matter where you are, but travelling out of a harsh winter in North America or Europe to Granada can make the temperatures seem particularly extreme when they spike above 95 °F, 35 °C.
If you figure out your strategies before you get here and build them into your stay, you won’t be caught off guard if your kids remind you for the 100th time: I’m, hoooot.
What is it like to live in Granada, Nicaragua? I am pretty confident that if you are interested in that answer or are even reading this blog, you are currently entertaining a case of persistent wanderlust that has you scoping out family-friendly venues abroad for your itchy, adventurous feet.
I am very familiar with that unrelenting desire and challenge to find the right exotic destination to satisfy the impulse for change. But as you probably know as a mom or dad planning a major trek abroad with kids, there is a whole other layer of parental responsibility to your voyagingdeep into the unknown that will have to be addressed, as well.
(And yet, I messed up).
Admittedly,I have made some bad calls in that regard. I started this journey in an area of Northern Nicaragua that wasn’t right for my son, Aiden or me. It was too different for a long-term stay and we excessively struggled with our surroundings. We stayed much too long and although we both can definitely say that yes, we can survive a hardship post (for years!), it’s not the bragging rights that a twelve-year-old yearns to exercise among his peers or across his resume (not applying for a foreign service position, yet).
It has taken me some time to win back his trust in that regard. Aiden had left everything behind in Charlotte, North Carolina: his childhood home, neighborhood, and friends that he had known since he was two years old. Kids don’t really have a choice in these big moves, they come along with parents who are questing, and they are trusting that we are going to make the right choices. And sometimes, although we mean well, we make mistakes. We blow it. And then the next choice, well, it had better be good because getting it wrong the second time around could be even worse, right?
Oh, gosh. It might be just another fruitless quest, but I want to try Granada.
When you imagine your new life with your family in Nicaragua, what does it look like? More family harmony, more peace and adventure- more happiness? I remember envisioning all of these things before we left the States.
A parent’s dream to move to Nicaragua is often fueled by desires to create a different life for busy, maybe disconnected families who ponder what it would be like to slow down, grow closer together and possibly dedicate some freed-up hours to a meaningful volunteer experience.
I love to write about all that Granada has to offer visiting families searching for safe adventures abroad. Granada is a unique city that consistently hosts positive immersion experiences for both kids and adults alike. As we parents know, a foreign trip or temporary move abroad is only going to be successful if everyone involved can relax and enjoy themselves in a new environment. An important attraction of Granada Nicaragua is that a family can create a safe comfortable base here that balances well with the daily new experiences and challenges of a different culture, language and way of doing things.
Nicaragua is full of unique destinations off the beaten path that you can scope out if you want to avoid the main tourist attractions. When you are ready to head down a dirt road with little to no signage, you will find a very pure side of Nicaragua that is best known only to the Nicaraguans, themselves.
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.
I love playing Pokémon with my son, Aiden. The Pokémon trading card game may have been created with kids like Aiden in mind, but it’s roped me into his world too and that’s a good thing. Because my second confession is that even though I am a stay-at-home mom and homeschooled Aiden for his first 4 grades, this also made me a reluctant multitasker. And if I am honest with myself about being a multitasker, it can mean that I am not giving my full attention to any one person or activity exclusively, including being with my son.Continue reading “Parents, you need to learn how to play Pokémon. It is way more than a trading card game for kids.”→
One of the problems that I faced in my first year of living in Nicaragua was that I acutely felt the loss of not living near a world-class library system. We had brought our own physical library of books but as you know with kids, they consume books like paper towels when they love to read and we found that ordering books from organizations like Better World Books didn’t work for Nicaragua, they were simply stolen from out of the mail.
Moms and dads are always pondering about what to pack for a long term stay in Granada. It’s hard to know what can be easily picked up when you arrive and what really requires some preplanning to have ready to go in the suitcase.
Most everything can be purchased in Nicaragua in some form or another. However, it is often not at the price you wanted to pay or the quality that you hoped to find. Shopping is also not the enjoyable experience that it is at home and there is no online retail to be had in Nicaragua.
For those reasons, I highly recommend doing any necessary shopping before you leave home and pay the extra luggage costs for additional baggage. Those fees will seem cheap in comparison to the time and money you will fork out if you wait to find it when you arrive to Nicaragua.
Here is my list of helpful items to purchase before you leave home:
No matter how many days you are staying in Nicaragua, please bring some favorite familiar toys for your kids. The same toys they like back home, they will like here, if not more.
When in doubt and it could reasonably go along with you, bring it. Pack your trading cards games, bags of Legos, dolls and action figures, water toys, and anything else that you feel would help them relax and engage playing on their own or with other kids they meet.