*This post is a day delayed due to internet connectivity issues.
Hey everyone! My name is Patrick Andrei San Jose Romero, and I am an upcoming senior at John Swett High School. As leader of the day, I had to wake up earlier than everyone else (which was easy because Manny always wakes me up an hour early) to wake up the group before breakfast. After breakfast we had our Program Coordinator Noelia lead us in Zumba battle, which unfortunately I missed out on because I got “hypt”. Then we proceeded to have our final program seminar to reflect on the past two weeks here in Granada. As a group, we discussed our favorite moments and most memorable lessons we had on this trip. From our day living like a local to Jackie dropping her glasses in Lake Nicaragua, we relived both the best and worst experiences of our trip. For me, my most memorable moment was during Living like a Local day, where the family along with Kelly Li and me were just sitting on the porch and enjoying each other’s company. This event really opened my eyes on how we do not need much to be truly happy because even though the locals did not have cellphones and computers like we do, they were still extremely happy because they surrounded themselves with their loved ones. Ultimately, this experience with the locals inspired me to be less materialistic and to simply live in the moment from then on.
After our program seminar we walked to Pan de Vida for lunch. As a well-deserved surprise, we had pizza for lunch, with several of us going for more than four slices. As we had practiced last night in secret, the group along with the Global Glimpse Leaders performed a surprise flash mob for Athalia and Noelia as thank you for being awesome Program Coordinators. Soon they joined in and we stayed at the restaurant to eat birthday cake (to celebrate Athalia’s birthday later in the month!) and play our favorite Bay Area “slaps” like Mac Dre and Too Short. After a lot of dancing (and sweating), we headed to the hostel to write our final letters of appreciation and some free time. My group did some last-minute shopping at the city center (big love to Manny for the jersey) and visited La Merced. This church has the tallest bell tower with the most amazing view of the city. From the highest point of Granada, I admired the view and reflected over the unforgettable experiences I had during this trip. It was extremely peaceful yet sorrowful at the top of the bell tower because it was our last full day in Nicaragua.
We then went back to the hostel for dinner and to prepare for English Tutoring. Today’s class was especially important because it was graduation for our students. Despite only being with each other for days, I have developed a special bond with my students and my fellow teachers, and it was very emotional to hand them their diplomas and say goodbye. Throughout each English Tutoring session, I always had a serious demeanor while teaching the class, which the class often grew annoyed with. I would yell “Tenemos prisa” which meant “Hurry up”. In their graduation speeches, the students wrote about how serious I was, but acknowledged that I only did so because I really wanted them to learn, which hit a special place in my heart. Despite language barriers and difficulties in teaching, I’ve come to love teaching my students English and I will never forgot my time spent with them.
Right after graduation, we got ice cream (shoutout to Kelly Kelly for buying me some because I’m broke) to celebrate. We then proceeded back to the hostel for our final nightly meeting, where I passed the torch to Mariah for Departure Day. Over the past 14 days, I have stepped out of my comfort zone and truly emerged myself in Nicaraguan culture. From taking bucket showers to kayaking for the first time, I have tried so many new things on this trip that I would have never done. All the stories I’ve heard, the sights I’ve seen, and most importantly, the people I have met have all collectively made this trip life-changing. I am extremely grateful for having been given this opportunity to travel to Nicaragua and impact the community here, and I would not have done with any other group of people. Being the second-to-last day, I am excited to return back home but also really sad to leave Granada and the group of people I’ve lived with for the past two weeks. For everyone back home I’ll see you soon!