Throughout all of our current conversations, we will just throw Spanish words into our English sentences, i.e. "I gotta go to the baño." Not too bad. It gets really bad when we start to conjugate the verbs and then add English endings to them. i.e. "We vamos-ed a la playa." Plus this isn't just the people like me who are in regular Spanish. I have also caught the kids that are in AP Spanish who are practically fluent doing it, and I have heard Profe say it too. It has become infectious. So in short when we come home and we just start saying stuff like "We're vamos-ing to McDonalds wanna come?" you can thank Nicaragua for that.
Nicaragua has been an incredible learning experience for a multitude of reasons. The first thing I learned upon exiting the plane from El Salvador to Nicaragua was that no matter how hot you think it is in your E period math classroom, it is nothing compared to the Central American heat. I never knew that sweating this much was humanly possible, but Nicaragua continues to teach me new and exciting things every day. Another thing I learned was that no matter how much sunscreen you apply and reapply, if you are as pale or practically translucent as I am, no square inch of skin is ever truly safe. I have most likely applied multiple pounds of sunscreen to my skin at this point, but I have still managed to burn both of my arms. Through this experience, I learned that the Central American sun truly spares no one, even those who rigorously apply sunscreen to every bit of exposed skin every half hour. In addition, when I first was tested with the difficult task of manual labor, I learned that I was actually much more out of shape than I thought I was, and that I probably should have started lifting weights before going on this trip. I also learned that I am much more of an Internet addict than I thought I was, as I now jump at any change to connect to any wireless network available in Nicaragua to check my Instagram feed.
Though the other things I have listed do fall under the category of lessons I have learned throughout this trip, the most important lesson I have learned is this: that I am so incredibly lucky to have what I have. Things like wifi and air conditioning are not necessities, but luxuries that should never be taken for granted. While I watch Netflix on my couch in my sweatpants, there are people who work for eighteen hours a day doing difficult and strenuous work that are never thanked for a job well done and are afforded little pay and benefits. Though I was always told before that I am lucky, I have never truly realized just how lucky I am until I began building Adobe bricks alongside such strong and determined workers here in Nicaragua. These workers may not have all the luxuries that I have, but they work a hundred times as hard and always seem to appreciate all that they do have. I have learned from them that you should not focus on what you don't have, but be grateful for what you do have. The people I have met here in Nicaragua continue to teach me more and more about the significance of gratitude and how much more important community is than material possessions, and I cannot thank them enough.