Well, we are back! Two weeks earlier than planned, but when you travel for a while you quickly learn that plans change under your feet; change, in fact, is the norm.
You might have guessed that because we are back so early, we did not end up going to Guatemala. It was going to cost us $300 to get there and back, and we were only going to be able to visit for 5 days. Which, for the amount of travel just didn't seem worth it. So, we used the $300 to change our flight for Tuesday, July 19th.
Yes, it is Sunday, July 16th, and I promise you that I am sitting in my apartment in Houston :) The youth group that we were working with for the past week ended up having to come back to Houston today, and Scott and I didn't really want to spend 3 days hanging around Managua, so we decided to fly back with them!
It's so nice to be back home, but the longer we sit in our apartment, the more I start to miss Nicaragua. Things as simple as being able to throw my toilet paper in the toilet and not into a trash can have been an adjustment. Maybe this is TMI, but after my first use of a toilet on American soil, which was in our apartment, I held the toilet paper looking for the trash can to throw it in. Then, I found the trash can and noticed that it didn't have a trash bag in it. My first thought was NOT, surprisingly, "Oh wait, dummy, you can just throw it in the toilet because you are back in America." No, my FIRST thought was, "Shoot, why is there not a bag in the trash can? Now I am going to have to throw it there without a bag, flush, go get a bag, fish out my nasty toilet paper, then put it back in the bag." Yes, all of that ran through my head before THEN I realized that I was in America and could thus throw the toilet paper in the toilet and flush it down. And even after realizing that, I hesitated before flushing. It's amazing the things that you find SO strange when you go to another country that quickly just become routine.
Scott and I drove to Goode Company barbecue for dinner tonight (I mean, what better meal to welcome us back to Texas?), and as we were driving I was expecting our car to be approached by Nicaraguans selling cashews and bubble gum on the street. But, no. It was a quiet drive. Absent of hundreds of people walking in the middle of the street approaching our car. I even found myself somewhat missing the hundreds of flies swarming our arms, faces, and food as we ate dinner. Emphasis on somewhat... I don't really miss the flies.
Scott and I were talking about how it's funny the things that your memory latches onto when you remember an experience. Sure, I will always remember our swim through Canon Somoto, our hike up Cerro Negro, tripping over stones in a bat cave, our beautiful walks up and down the Pacific coast. But, just sitting here reflecting on the trip, I find myself more so remembering the little pieces of everyday life that made that rainy, colorful country Nicaragua, the things that made Nicaragua feel like home. Things like the bright colors of the buildings, the buses packed well beyond their capacity, the swarming flies, Dina's smile as she brought us lunch, little Jona sitting on top of an upturned boat to greet us every morning, the children playing with rocks and empty plastic bottles, the language, the rain that came everyday at 2:00 p.m., the rice and beans that covered our plates, the farm animals that roamed the streets with the people, glass soda bottles with plastic straws. That is Nicaragua.
So here, in photos, are my most fond and vivid memories of Nicaragua: