Familia sin fronteras


We had the incredible honor of visiting family in Guatemala this past week.  As we spent the week learning about the culture and traditions of Guate, we couldn’t help but notice the similarities and differences between them and those we have here in Nica.  The biggest similarity – the most important part of life is the people you spend it with.

Guatemalan Dicho for Spoiling your Grandkids

Throughout my childhood, for many summers I tried (unsuccessfully) to communicate with my uncle Edgar’s parents.  Don Chepe and Doña Uba would come to the US for a few weeks at a time to be with their two sons (Edgar and Alfredo) and their families in the United States.  After 23 months in Nicaragua, it’s a dream to visit them in their home in Guatemala and to be able to fully connect.  Of course, I’m trying to learn as many Guatemalan dichos as possible.  Here is one I learned on the first night:

La abuela alcahueta – The push-over grandma

In addition to being heart-meltingly precious, Doña Uba also has a soft-spot for her grandkids.  So much so, that anything they ask her, she gives them.  Abuela, buy me a toy?  Abuela, give me a candy? Abuela, make a puzzle with me?  The abuela alcahueta is powerless, and adorable, in front of her nietos.:)

Camp CHACA 2016


This past week, we had the incredible experiences of being a part of Nicaragua’s 2nd Annual Camp CHACA.  I had the honor of co-directing and Andrew got to attend as well as a counselor for 52 young men to learn about gender equality, violence prevention, and leadership.  With a song titled Somos Uno” (We are One) as our anthem, workshops about sharing power in relationships, goal setting, HIV/Aids and pregnancy prevention, and condom negotiations, all combined with the magic power of camp songs, games and fun, this week was the week of a lifetime.

While I hope to write up my own account when I get a chance in the next few weeks, if you want more stories, pictures, videos, and lessons learned, head to the GAD Nicaragua blog.  We’ll be sharing more about Camp CHACA there in the upcoming weeks.

I can’t begin to describe how moving this experience was for both of us, the boys in attendance, and the rest of our staff.  As the boys grew throughout the week, we watched the transformation from CHavalos A CAballeros (boys to gentlemen).  We can’t wait to see where their journeys take them and know that they will be a part of making Nicaragua a more equitable place.

#Home in Your Host Country – Photo Challenge

June’s Photo Challenge from Blogging Abroad is all about what makes a home away from home.  May these photos give you a glimpse into how and why Nicaragua is now one of our homes and a part of our hearts.


Blogging Abroad Photo Challenge:
#Home in Your Host Country

Blogging Abroad photo challenge

Digital ambassadors promoting cross-cultural exchange.


Nilsen Sibling Adventures


We love having family visit; not only do we get to spend time with loved ones, but sharing Nicaragua’s beauty, culture, adventures and customs with them is one of the best parts of being a PCV.  This past week we’ve had the privilege of hosting Andrew’s siblings.  From canoeing and jungle camping on the Rio San Juan, traveling on the public bus system, and eating all sorts of yummy foods, this visit was full of adventures and familia love.

A Day in the Life (of my belly)

If you know me, you know that food runs my life.  A generally jovial chap, I become quite melancholic at the prospect of missing a meal.  In the US, weekly meal plans and weekend trips to the grocery store were how I made sure Emily and I were well fed.

However, things have been different here in Nicaragua.  Whether it’s the lack of fridge/freezer space, or the fact that I can purchase all of my provisions within walking distance, I’ve developed a more improvisational style in regards to food preparation.  Sure, I’m still constantly thinking about what we’re going to eat, but I’m mostly focused hours, not days, ahead.  Here’s what a typical day looks like: Continue reading A Day in the Life (of my belly)

In Joy and Pain


This week was difficult for us and the teachers of Estelí; a beloved and hardworking district employee, and dear friend of ours, suddenly passed away.  Between attending the wake and funeral services, we were exhausted and knew the teachers were, too, so in efforts to be culturally sensitive, we canceled our Wednesday conversation group.

Almost immediately after sending the cancellation text, our phones rang off the hook!  One of my counterparts, Regina, got in touch with me and said, “You can’t cancel tonight!  We have a late-birthday surprise planned for Andrew.  We don’t care if we don’t formally have class, but you still have to come.”  So we resent the message, saying we’d have an informal class, for anyone who just wanted to come and be together.

Regina had cooked an entire, delicious Nicaraguan meal in honor of Andrew.  As she says, “he loves all the foods!”  Even in the midst of pain and loss, perhaps especially during these times, our friends have shown incredible care, affection, and love for us.  I hope we can learn from and carry their example with us for years to come.

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


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