Aug 12/13 2014: Staging
Arrived at the airport, POURING OUTSIDE. Looked around at the many strange faces that I would soon come to call my family. We are group Nica 64, or N64. Get it? As a gamer I got a kick out of that. Anyways, N64 spent the next 7+ hours in a room learning the history of Peace Corps, Nicaragua and our sectors. And we were introduced to the possible challenges we would face during our training and volunteering time. For perspective PC volunteers, staging is a little overwhelming. Everything for me was almost blur, and it feels like it took place a month ago. Lot's of information, paperwork and logistical stuff you have to do; but it is also the first time you meet everyone in your group. N64 is made up of 2 sectors: Environment and TEFL. Another thing that I loved about staging: it is the first time you are in a group of people that is fully supportive of your decision to join Peace Corps; first large group I didn't need to justify my reasons for joining. One giant room where everyone is just as excited and afraid about what we are about to embark on. Getting on that plane to Nicaragua was incredible. Looking around at everyone's' faces as we got our first glimpses of our home for the next 27 months. It's no wonder Nicaragua is called "La tierra de lagos y volcanes", "Land of lakes and volcanoes. SO BEAUTIFUL. That was my first time seeing a volcano. It was pretty overwhelming. What were my first thoughts of the country? People are incredibly nice, the food is delicious and the country is beautiful. We got to stay in a Hotel in Managua for all of the Orientation Retreat and it was A-MA-ZING! We have a freaking buffet, room service, a pool, air conditioning, WiFi and the list goes on. This of course is only for the retreat. Trust me, the rest of my Peace Corps experience will not be spent in a luxury hotel.
This was a loooong day. With many new experiences crammed into it. So let's begin:
1. First FULL day in Nicaragua. Yay, that's exciting. And many, many, MANY more to come.
2. First breakfast in the country. Although the hotel is a bit Americanized, I'm still counting it.
3. Learned our official title: PCT (Peace Corps trainee) and won't become a PCV (Peace Corps volunteer) until after I;ve successfully completed training and been sworn in.
4. First language "test". I wasn't really a test at all but rather just a conversation to see what level we are at.
5. Took my I.D. photo.
6. Got my first Nica paycheck. What?! Rolling in money...not really. We are being trained to live off of about $7 a week which a very beautiful and humbling experience.
7. Got my first rabies shot of a series of 3. Surprisingly didn't hurt nor got sore. Taking that as a good sign.
8. Took my first dose of Malaria pills which I've heard many "horror" stories from PCVs and RPCVs but luckily nothing happened. I feel great. No crazy vivid dreams or gastrointestinal problems. It's all good. For now....
Also, during Orientation retreat we have 4 PCVs staying with us so that we may pick their brains, which is AWESOME!! Such a great source of knowledge. We have two enviro volunteers and two TEFL volunteers. They keep real, are honest about their experience so far and have just reinforced our decisions to join :D
Aug 15 2014: Chimbomba
Quick description for the subtitle: today I learned how to say balloon in Nicaraguan Spanish which was definitely my favorite word of the day :) I always use "globo" but come on, "Chimbomba" is a way cooler word. I cannot begin to express the love that I am already gaining for my N64 group! These people are pretty awesome. We are a total of 41 trainees. 20 TEFLeros and 21 ambientalistas.