Birthday, Quinceanera, Leon, Nicaragua, expat

My First Quinceañera

I watched as family was prepping for a birthday party this evening.  What I didn’t know was that tonight I would find myself in the midst of my first Quinceañera. A Quinceañera is a Hispanic tradition of celebrating a girl’s 15th birthday. It’s a rite of passage. A coming of age. After today, she is no longer considered a girl, but a young woman.

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Leon, Nicaragua, construction, builders, permits, architects

Finding a Builder

I had received several bids for the construction project on the house that I purchased in León, Nicaragua. The project was to be completed in two phases: 1) remodel the existing structure and 2) construction of additional rooms on two floors.  I wish things were so simple.

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Selva Negra, Matagalpa, Nicaragua, Cloud Forest, hiking, eco-hotel, eco-resort

The Black Forest
Hidden just out of downtown Matagalpa, Nicaragua is beautiful eco-resort called Selva Negra. About two hours from hot and hectic Managua lies a naturally beautiful hideaway. It is more than a resort. It is more than a place to stay for the night. It is well disguised in the cloud forest where adventure, relaxation, and a pleasant detox from the bigger cities awaits. The air is clean, fresh, and crisp. You are rocked to sleep by the sounds of nature, a cool breeze, and howler monkeys.

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Border run, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Leon, chocolate, San Jose

My First Border Run

My visa was due to expire this week. I had tried to get my visa extended a few different ways here in Nicaragua, nothing worked. In the end, I was forced to make my first border run.

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street vendors, leon, nicaragua, sidewalks

Street Vendors

In León, street vendors sell everything from fresh fruit to used clothing to freshly cooked tortillas on the streets and sidewalks. When I first started coming to Nicaragua, I thought, “how convenient”. Even when I first moved to León, I enjoyed walking to the end of the block to buy fresh fruit.

Last week I bought six luscious mangoes for C$20 (about $0.65). A dozen bananas run about the same. Hawaiian pineapples, with the perfect balance of sweet and acid, set me back C$25 (about $0.80). A dozen kinds of fruits and vegetables that I’ve never seen before coming to Nicaragua are also dirt cheap. All organic, all fresh, and ready to eat. No need to wait for fruit to ripen. In fact, if I don’t eat the fruit by the next day, it usually so over ripe that it ends up in a smoothie. So I try to buy what I’m going to eat that day and nothing more.

It is funny how things change. How my perspective has changed. Normally, I wouldn’t give sidewalks a second thought. It’s only been a few months and this “convenience” has begun to irritate me.

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Museum of the Revolution, Leon, Nicaragua, Ortega, FSNL, Sandino, Sandinista, museum, ruin porn

The Museum of the Revolution

To truly understand a culture it is important to be versed in its history. Nicaragua has had a troubled and emotional past. I was old enough to remember watching the news coverage of the troubles in Nicaragua in the 1970s, but was too young to grasp the reality of what was happening. I also remember Oliver North and the Iran-Contra hearings as a teenager, but at that age I wasn’t politically astute and frankly, didn’t care that much.

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Leon, Lion, Nicaragua


(I apologize, in advance, for the language I use in this post.)

Note: This was an unexpected post. I was so pissed off the I felt that I needed to share a rant.

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Beach, Las Penitas, Poneloya, Playa Roca, Leon, Nicaragua

Who Doesn’t Love a Good Beach?

The next phase of construction has begun on the house that I purchased in León. The contract was signed, money was wired, and a set keys were handed over to the contractor. He now has possession and responsibility of the property. He told me that I could leave for four months, that he would take of everything. I don’t trust him that much, but I do trust him enough to go the beach for the day.

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IMG_6196The Dividing Wall (of Hostility)

Damn, how hard is it to build a wall? The first phase of my remodeling and construction project has begun…

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León, Nicaragua, Las Peñitas

The Dark Side of Moving Abroad

Laguna Apoyo, Nicaragua

Laguna Apoyo.

After deciding to move to León, Nicaragua, I was overwhelmed with excitement. In all that excitement, I didn’t give enough weight to how others felt about my move abroad. I had tried to work my future plans into conversation, hoping to slowly acclimate them to the idea of moving. After things started rolling, I became more aware of how others felt. I think that they still felt like a dropped a bomb on them.

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