One year later…

On August 25 Marisa and I completed one year here in Nicaragua!  Here are a few of our deeper thoughts on this past year.

Living in Nicaragua has taught us to live life more spontaneously, to go with the flow, and most importantly to learn to be content with not always being in control, because after all life is too big and too complex and too surprising for us to need to be in control all the time.

At a Mennonite youth retreat. Pedro Luis, the guy holding the balloon is a good friend of ours.

This lesson has been learned through the various activities Marisa and I have tried to plan with friends here in Nicaragua.  Whether it’s birthday parties, watching championship soccer matches, or church youth activities our best-made plans rarely work out how we had envisioned.  However, instead of letting this frustrate us, we have learned to embrace it and enjoy the ride.  This had led to never quite knowing who may show up at the party or when they will arrive, menus that always include rice, surprise appearances by folkloric dance groups, watching a soccer game outside on our back dirt plot, and playing embarrassing ice-breaker games that we would never have imagined existed in The States.

Grilling in our back yard

The futbol fans

While these variables and surprises still cause us planning happy North Americans a certain level of stress, they also serve to remind us that we as individuals are not ultimately in control of our lives and that we serve a God who often does the unexpected.

– Written by Adam

Life in Nicaragua is full of ironies or juxtapositions. As MCCers, we feel like our “mission” is to live simply and accompany Nicaraguans in their daily life. Some days this feels like an impossible task – all I want to do is eat pizza and watch a movie. Other days it feels like the way we live our lives is so above and beyond the level of our Nicaraguan friends and co-workers. People unabashedly ask us how much we pay for rent ($200/month), and we often feel bad recounting our vacations.

Our front patio...back when it wasn't an overgrown jungle.

We have been blessed with friends who, despite our differences, understand where we’re coming from. The church has given us grace because we can’t attend all 3 services each and every week, our fellow MCCers understood when we were overwhelmed with handwashing our laundry, and our Nicaragua co-workers understand when we use the wrong word for something and have to explain ourselves.

Our friend Marcos shared his birthday party with Adam.

MCC team

We also have to give ourselves grace and recognize where we are coming from. When people see us on the street, they automatically associate us with wealth. My favorite  is seeing the looks on people’s faces when I get on the public bus. No one believes me when I say I ride the buses, and they are generally surprised when I list off the bus routes that I’m comfortable riding. No other place do I feel as connected to the average Nicaraguan as when I’m riding a stifiling bus at 5pm.

So, life here is not easy, predictable, or free of irony – but that’s what makes it interesting!

– Written by Marisa

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