Home is Where the Holiday Is

For our last holiday season in Nicaragua, we wanted to be at home in Esteli and spend Christmas and New Years Eve like most Nicaraguans do: in family.  We had two main goals, one of for each holiday.  For Christmas I wanted to try the seasonal dish lomo relleno, and for New Years Eve Emily wanted to make our own viejo. Continue reading Home is Where the Holiday Is

Read Aloud – Spanish Edition

Read Aloud BookThanks to the Multnomah County Library (and our impending end of service language evaluation), we’ve started a new tradition: reading aloud in Spanish.  It’s the perfect thing to pass the time while one of us (Andrew) is cooking, and or the other (Emily) is doing dishes.  We can already tell our pronunciation is improving!

Peace Corps and the Cultural Blogging Community

One reason we currently write May We Suggest is to work towards the Peace Corps’ third goal: to help promote a better understanding of other peoples (in our case, Nicaraguans) on the part of Americans. We want to share our experiences and a bit of the Nicaraguan world with as many as possible state side and beyond.

And while we think our blog is pretty sweet, we are obviously not the holders of all knowledge.  There are un montón of other blogs out there that deserve to be read.

This post aims to share some of the networks of bloggers we’ve developed over our time in Peace Corps.  Whether you’re looking for country specific information, what to pack, cultural insights, travel tips and routes, general information on Peace Corps, or just good stories, we hope these lists are helpful, inspiring, and insightful. Continue reading Peace Corps and the Cultural Blogging Community

Felices Fiestas from Nicaragua

Dearest friends and family,

christmas-card-2016

When we joined the Peace Corps in 2014, we never thought we’d be this comfortable and at home in a foreign country.  Yet throughout our 27+ months and extension we’ve slowly come to understand and embrace our Gringo Pinolero identities.

Like any year, 2016 brought it’s own ups and downs.

We grew closer to our friends and host families here, but we also greatly missed our loved ones back home.  So we visited home – once to IL (for a funeral) and once to OR (for a birthday/GRE).  And we hosted so many (11) different friends and family members! Showing them our Nicaragua has been an honor and we hope that they now understand a bit more why we love it so much.

We survived a hurricane, and zika, and the long recovery of chikunguyna.  Don’t worry.  None of them were as bad as they sound.

We experienced two national elections – of our host and home countries – through a lens we’ve never had before.  It was quite the experience to be abroad during an election year.

We said goodbye to our cohort since we extended our service, counseled/co-directed 4 camps this calendar year (ACCESS, GLOW, CHACA, and ACCESS again), and celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary.

Gallo pinto is now a welcomed staple in our diet.  We learned a lot from teaching in a completely new setting.  We continued to immerse ourselves in Spanish and up our Nica street cred.

We worked hard and earned our keep.  One of our PC Nicaragua staff members says that the longer we’re here, the more qualified we’ll feel to dive deeper into our work.  Now that we’re almost done, we keep thinking of new projects that we could do if only we had the time.

And we’re starting to feel that pressure of time.  So we’re taking as many pictures as we can, celebrating small moments, and striving to live into the intentions we set to aprovechar our time left in Peace Corps.

Life is full of comings and goings, of challenges and lessons, of transitions and blessings.  We embrace what we can, while we can, and strive to have the lessons we’ve learned from our journey guide our way on.  That is what we wish for you this holiday season, and for ourselves in the (big transition) year to come.

Feliz navidad y prospero año nuevo.

Love and light,
Emily and Andrew

12 Days of [Nilsen] Christmas 2016

Two years ago, we began a tradition in our family that would allow us to celebrate the holiday season no matter where in the world we found ourselves.  After 2014 and 2015, we figured we were getting the hang of this 12 Days of celebration and fun, but this year Nicaragua threw us a curve ball.  ACCESS Camp (the annual intensive English camp we’ve helped with the past two years) dates were changed from January to right before Christmas, so we had to be creative.  Nevertheless, our 12 Days were spent remembering to celebrate the small things, to be thankful for what we have, and to invite spontaneous joy into our lives.

The 12 Days of [Nilsen] Christmas 2016

Continue reading 12 Days of [Nilsen] Christmas 2016

Dicho for Enthusiastic Agreement

One of the most common expressions you’ll hear among Nicaraguans is the following:

Dale pues! (pronounced dah-lay pw-ace) – Yes.  Absolutely!

Few dichos are as simple and effective at signaling your Nicaraguan street cred as dale pues.  Two main characteristics of Nicaraguan Spanish are their abundant use of the filler word pues, and also not pronouncing the “s” at the end of the words.  Therefore, if you really want to impress your Nica friends, get rid of that s!

Nica: ¿Querés ir al cine? (Wanna go to the movies?)
You: ¡Dale pue! (For sure!)

Nica: Nos vemos mañana a las 9am. (See you tomorrow at 9am)
You: Dale pue. (Sounds good.)

Nica: ¡Estás más Nica que gringo!  ¿Querés un cafecito?
(You’re more Nicaraguan than American!  Want some coffee?)
You: Dale pue.  🙂

Musings from Nica | A Couple's Journey in the Peace Corps

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