Having been to Nicaragua once before, I didn’t feel too nervous coming into this trip about culture shock, or how conditions would be in a new country. What I was most worried about waiting in the airport that first night was the people who would be my companions for the next three weeks- would we all get along? Would they hate me? Would I manage to find even one friend in the group?
After the first day, all those fears disappeared- our group is made up of incredibly open, caring, and wonderful people, who all have contributed positive energy and attitudes from the very start. We clicked right away, and our bonds have only gotten stronger with each passing day. Fun day gave us the opportunity to really solidify our friendly, loving, and most of all, fun group dynamic, as we had only completely enjoyable activities from start to finish.
Our day started with a 7 am wakeup call, as I blasted Kanye West on a portable speaker and danced through each room, rapping over the groans and moans of the sleepy group that quickly became chatter and laughter as they woke up and began to get hyped for our beach day. We had another fantastic breakfast cooked by Don Angel that gave us more than enough pep for our energizer, ‘Wah.’
We then packed our beach gear, slathered on sunscreen and bug spray, and bussed to the natural reserve Isla Juan Venado. The bus ride went by quickly as we danced the whole time to Spanish dance music, and arrived at the reserve, getting our first glimpse of the wildlife to come as we immediately saw an iguana climbing up the side of the information center building. We loaded into two boats, and were off on our tour!
Cruising through the mangrove forest, we learned more about the trees, and spotted wildlife including crabs, herons, pelicans, raccoons, iguanas, and even a baby bird nest right beside us.
After that amazing boat ride, we arrived at the beach where we ate lunch (thicklip grey mullet, rice and vegetables), and hung out for the next four hours. Assisted by excessively friendly lifeguards, we swam, dove under waves, collected sea shells, walked along the beach, and just had a fantastic time relaxing and enjoying the warm Pacific water (I know!!) under a perfectly cloudy sky.
We loved the beach so much that we actually stayed later than we were meant to, cutting into our free time back at the hostel. Another bus trip back to Leon Imperial was filled with music and dancing, though half of the group slept in the back, exhausted after the long day of fun. Our leaders from the Bay Area, Joel and Victoria, took their much-deserved night off, and the amazing Judith and Anni watched over us for the rest of the night. Before I go on, I’m sure it’s been said, but all of our adult leaders are truly incredible and amazing people, who we are so lucky to have guiding us through this experience- if you ever worry, remember that we are in great hands with all of them caring for us! Most of the group spent the time cleaning off and relaxing before dinner, while a couple of us took the opportunity to quickly visit an internet cafe for the first time this trip, conveniently next door to our hostel (If your glimpser didn’t contact you, don’t worry- we have a free day tomorrow that they can, and more opportunities before the end of the trip- we all are doing great!). Another great dinner was followed by more free time, with us going out as a group to buy ice cream and the bubble tea I’m drinking right now. Before heading back to Leon Imperial we saw a mildly depressing concert outside the cathedral with a very disengaged audience, and passed a much more exciting knife juggler and fire-stick-spinner who enchanted all the tourists, including us. Now we’re winding down for the night back at the hostel, with a couple of card games going as we jam out to a mix of everybody’s music, and are ready for our first free day in Leon tomorrow!
I mentioned it earlier, but again, I can not stress enough how fantastic, interesting and kind every single person on our trip is. I was worried about being leader of the day, and having to manage our group, but with how cooperative and helpful everyone was, the whole day was a blast, and felt like a giant party from start to finish. We all just keep getting more and more comfortable with the program, the city, and most of all each other. Though only a week in, people are already sad at the thought of leaving the trip and the group behind, and we all are confident that we will keep in touch and continue to see each other after this trip. Experiencing a new country and culture with a group of strangers really bonds you together, and this group of people could not be a more perfect one to share this journey with each other. We all honestly are becoming a family, sometimes annoying each other, sometimes not always being the most respectful towards each other, but at the end of the day, truly loving each other.
Thanks for reading this and keeping up with our adventures! Goodnight, lots of love, and I hope your day was close to as great as ours was!
P.S. We love seeing comments on the blog!! Like, so much. We read them out at the end of the day, and its really great hearing from our loved ones back home. So if you’re reading this, it’d be lovely if you could write a note saying hi!