The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

- Robert Frost

the 1 less traveled by

A move to Nicaragua

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World Vet Team

Volunteering at a Spay and Neuter Clinic

This week I had the pleasure of volunteering at a spay & neuter clinic with the organization World Vets. One of the things I wanted to do while living here in Nicaragua was continue my volunteer work. There are so many opportunities to give back here, its easy to find a non profit already in place who is caring for a cause that interests you. If you’re interested, check out the “Humanity” page of this website.

World Vets is a non profit organization who constructs teams of veterinarians to hold pet health clinics in developing countries around the world, where people’s access to pet healthcare is challenging. Their vision is “to create a world where all animals have access to skilled veterinary care” by providing not only the spay, neuter, & medical treatment clinics, but also supplying disaster relief and training where needed.

World Vets not only came with a fantastic team of veterinarians, vet techs, and assistants, but were also prepared with bilingual staff to help translate important information to the owners of the pets. They were able to preform over 240 surgeries and countless consultations in just 3 days. Working in an old, nearly abandoned community center and a horse stable house. The team was stocked with medicine for a variety of ailments. Every animal seen was given an anti flea & tick topical as well as an oral anti parasite medication.

If you’re looking for an amazing organization to donate to, World Vets is a fantastic option!

American Mindset

Exorcising the North American Mindset

When I first moved to Nicaragua I felt myself getting frustrated easily. I’d put my hands up & mumble obscenities to myself when the the drivers around me did something “stupid”. I’d rush around people strolling aimlessly in the streets and wonder how people could be so self-centered to not notice that someone behind them wanted to walk at a normal pace. I would get impatient with waiters, secretly calculating their low tip in my head. I’d rush my kids through their daily routines, hurry to start the next game, or rush out the gate after dropping off my daughter at school.  My husband even told me I seemed angry a lot. Of course I was mad, why was everyone moving so damn slow?!

It hit me one day as I drove my daughter Azalea to school, passing fields of horses and sheep and hearing her shout out “Caballo!” with glee. Why was I in such a hurry?? Did I really need to be anywhere at a certain time? The drop off at San Juan del Sur Day School is anywhere from 8am-9am, this leaves me plenty of time to go at the natural pace of each morning.

Its taken some mental forcing to change my American mindset from the go-go-go of the North to the more chill pace of Nicaragua. I had to take some deep breaths at times and remind myself that 99% of the time in reality, I am in no hurry. There are only a few times a week that I need to be somewhere at an exact time and that includes the twice a week I volunteer at Barrio La Planta Project. Even there, class usually starts late because the parents of the students are not in a rush.

So now when I drive Azalea to school I enjoy the drive. We sing about the day of the week or practice Spanish words for the animals we pass. I play the songs she requests and listen to her sweet voice stumbling over the lyrics. When I drop her off I stay awhile. I have causal chats with the teachers or other parents. I go for a pleasureful run on the beach before leisurely doing my grocery shopping, knowing I have plenty of time to visit the many shops needed to complete a meal. If my 9 month old, Titus is still asleep when I get home I do some yoga…or not. I read, prepare lunch, or sit on the floor with my baby and savor his delicious giggle. I talk to our house cleaner, Juanita, my Spanish lesson for the day.

If Titus cries when I put him down to sleep, I don’t mind picking him back up.  What’s another five minutes? In Nicaragua, I have five more minutes. Five more minutes to hold my precious boy who is growing up so fast. Five more minutes to imprint his puffy baby cheeks, soft lips, and ridiculously long lashes into the memory of my eyes.  Five more minutes for deep breaths of baby skin. I get in bed with Azalea every night and read her 3 books. I switch off the light and we discuss our favorite things that happened that day. I ask her when she felt sad or frustrated. She opens up to me in ways she never expressed before. I scratch her back, massage her legs, run my fingers through her hair. I cuddle with my ever-in-motion 3 year old, devouring the sensation.

After the kids are asleep I’m usually tired, but we don’t have a TV so the urge to force myself to stay up late isn’t there. I got to bed early and wake up very early. I spend time with my husband over breakfast, lunch, & dinner every day instead of blanking out in front of a TV at night and calling that quality time. With domestic help we are also able to enjoy a date night almost every week.

Exorcising the American mindset did take some time, which means unfortunately, those who visit on a vacation will not enjoy this benefit of living in Nicaragua. To those I say, please do not honk at me when I forget to turn on my blinker because I am in the middle of an epic version of “Let It Go” and be patient when you encounter me aimlessly walking in town. I live in paradise now, where demons go to chill.

Every class starts with looking through books

Volunteering at Barrio La Planta Project

One of the things I wanted to do while in Nicaragua was volunteer. I volunteered with a women’s group called Contemporary Women of North County for the 5 years leading up to our move and its a passion of mine to help the less fortunate. From research, I knew that there were many NGOs (non-governmental organization) already established in Nicaragua. My hurdle was going to be that I lacked in Spanish, so the options to help were limited.

Once moved into San Juan del Sur, I started to put feelers out for non-Spanish speaking volunteer opportunities. Luckily, I mentioned my desire to the right person and only 24 days after moving, I was “interviewing” for a volunteer position at Barrio La Planta Project. As it reads on their website, “The Barrio Planta Project is an education initiative created to empower low-income children and adults living in Nicaragua. Through supplementary schooling with an emphasis on English as a Second Language and the creative arts, BPP provides means for international communication and exposure to enriching cultural activities that enhance confidence and facilitate community development.”

I started “working” April 7th with the preschool/kindergarten class.  Its only 2 1/2 hours twice a week, but its been great fun getting to know the local kids, feeling comfortable saying “hola” to the parents as I pass them on the street, and learning Spanish from the students. The kids are learning English and so I am free to speak my native tongue with no embarrassment.