On Sunday, we caught a hummingbird

Only a few of us were home this past Sunday night. Most everyone in our house had gone to the youth sermon that evening, so only Maria, Rosa and I were at home. On our upper patio we have a big fluorescent light and sometimes that light attracts things at night, big moths especially. So, when I heard something bumping against the light, that’s what I thought it was.

But it wasn’t. It was a frantic, confused hummingbird. The light had attracted it and it couldn’t find its way back out from under the patio roof and back out into the darkness. I just wanted to turn off the light and see if it could escape but Rosa caught it as it bumped up against the kitchen window.  Then it sat perfectly still in her hand for several minutes until I could take a picture and she walked it down to the lower patio where it find its way out into the night.

Here is our hummingbird.

Rosa holds the hummingbird


The hummingbird was so very still. After this we put it down and turned off the light so that it could find its way back out into the night.


Its my party

This gallery contains 12 photos.

It is my birthday today. September 19th. Wherever I’ve been in the world, LOTS of birthdays happen in September and Nicaragua is no different. In my house, we have my birthday on September 19, Raquel’s birthday on September 20, and Amalia’s birthday on September 13th. So we very sensibly decided to combine our birthdays into […]

You get what you ask for

I went to go visit a peace corps volunteer (pcv) friend yesterday and today in a town on the northern pacific coast of Nicaragua. I needed a change of pace and we had off these two days because Sept. 14th and 15th are Nicaraguan independence celebrations. Also, I wanted to go to the beach. I love water and sometimes it is a little bit sad that I live in a tiny country with a lot of water, two ocean coasts and two large inland lakes, and I don’t live near any of it. So this two days were wonderful and they were exactly what I asked for.

This, however, is a story about getting what you asked for, even when  you didn’t know you were asking for it.

So we are near the end of a lovely beach day. I’m with my pcv friend and her Nicaraguan girlfriend sitting in a little “rancho” in front of the beach. (If you were to ever come to a standard, non-resort, Nica beach you would absolutely be spending the majority of your day at a rancho. “Ranchos” are areas, just above the high water mark, where an entrepreneurial Nicaraguan has covered the sand with a banana-leaf roof, set out plastic tables and chairs, and serves cold soda, beer, rum, and fish dishes, and blasts music. For buying a little, or a lot, you get the privilege of sitting in shade right in front of the ocean. Usually there a dozen or so that line the beach and they compete for your business because most Nicaraguan’s hate the sun and when they go to the beach they’ll spend hours at the rancho they select.) Back to my story, we’re finishing up our beach day at our rancho and I notice a little girl is snapping my picture on her cellphone. This type of semi-surreptitious picture taking on cellphones has been happening all day, and I comment on it– all in Spanish–to my friends. My pcv friend hasn’t noticed as much as I have and our Nica lady-friend says it is just a way for people to snap a “hey, check out who was at my beach”  photo.  Kate and I both comment, in Spanish, that this would be a little bit rude  according to the standard of polite behavior we were raised with….you should ask polite permission before taking a photo of a complete stranger who is not engaging in some sort of public, participatory event (say street theater or walking a red carpet).  We discuss the politeness, or lack there of, of taking photos of strangers for a few more minutes and then move on to other topics.

A few minutes later…a young man approaches the table (I think he’s coming over to offer to buy us beer, my pcv friend thinks he’s coming over to ask one of us to dance). He smiles and very, very politely asks: “May I have permission to take a photo with the two of you” (Meaning my pcv friend and I…’cause as gringas we’re apparently a novelty?).  After a stunned two seconds…it dawns on me that he and his friend two tables over had overheard our entire conversation about the relative politeness of  asking permission before taking photos….and now he is following our own recommendation for polite picture taking! So after a few more seconds of  deliberation, in which we decide, that after loudly declaiming how rude it is NOT to ask permission and since Nica men hardly ever ask polite permission for anything…we have no choice but to agree to his polite request and allow his friend to take a picture him, me, and my pcv friend.  We were too embarrassed to ask that he share the photo…also since it would mean providing personal information to complete strangers…so I have no evidence. But needless to say it was a HILARIOUS moment in why you need to be very careful for what you ask for…you just might get it after all.

(P.S. My pcv friend thinks that all of this was a coincidence. That the young men were drunk and just happened to request a photo after we had our discussion. I think there is no possible way that this was a coincidence…it is just too perfect. Thoughts from my loyal readers? Aunts?)

Time Machine: More Pics

This gallery contains 5 photos.

All of these picture are from work that happened in July. All of this work here happened in a community on the outskirts of Esteli. It is called “La Toma” short for “Toma Tierra” (or taken land). Basically people just coopt empty land and start building shanty towns. Eventually the municipalities give in and legalize […]

Earthquakes, hurricanes, and river-realated flooding

I live in Nicaragua. The land of lakes and volcanoes, part of the “ring of fire” responsible for earthquakes in chile and japan, a land at latitudes prone to hurricanes and heavy rains, a country previously nearly destroyed by Hurricane Mitch. And where are the earthquakes, hurricanes, and river-related flooding?

In New York and Pennsylvania.

Not that I’m complaining… because I really would not want to see what would happen in Nicaragua if we were hit by earthquakes, hurricanes, or river-related flooding…even one at a time.

But I have to admit that I find this set of circumstances a little bit ironic.

Time Machine: 5th of July

So we’re still in the time machine.

So the day after my fantastic 4th of July picnic…actually in the middle of the night…my left pinky finger starts to burn and swell. Why? Because I had a teeny, tiny hangnail on that finger, and despite washing my hands with soap and water before and after making the hamburger patties, my finger got infected and blew up to twice its size.

After 24 hours of soaking and antibiotics I had to go to the clinic and have it lanced and drained. Ick. It is totally fine now but it was really nasty for about a week. I wish I had a picture but  never got around to taking one.

Fast forward to present day, I have not cooked with ground beef since.

Time Machine: 4th of July

This gallery contains 10 photos.

So in the Peace Corps, one of our goals is to represent Americans and American culture to host country nationals. Specifically, we are supposed to create opportunities for a better understanding of America and Americans. Hopefully we’ll do America better than Snooki, J-Wow, and the teenagers of My Super Sweet Sixteen (watch it, it is […]