The Life of Liz

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. ~Anne Frank

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Making Lace in Managua

On Fanta:

If there has been one thing that has been my constant travel companion, it’s Fanta.  I never drink it in the States because it is, in many ways, nasty crap.  But set one wee foot outside the borders of our fair county and the humble beverage known as Fanta transforms into a sweet nectar made of the laughing tears of angels.  I first fell in love with it in Spain, rediscovered it in Mexico, and now in Nicaragua I greet it with much rejoicing. 

On Celebrity:

Sometimes, I feel like the pope.  Particularly when I first arrived, but even now, whenever someone enters a room, they immediately come up to me and want to touch my hand and murmur a few soft words.  The first few times I nearly leapt across the room like a startled rabbit.  Then I had to work hard to stop myself from giggling and saying, “bless you, my child.” Now I just take it in stride, kind of like how I’ve learned to accept the fact that people will wait on me hand and foot no matter how much I insist that it isn’t necessary.  When I want something to eat, food and drink is immediately presented to me.  When I finish, my plates is whisked away to parts unknown.  Should I wish to sit, a chair is brought to me; and, even if I do not wish to sit, a chair is brought anyway, just in case.  When I come back in six months, I expect all of you to similarly treat me like the goddess I am.

On Lady Gaga:

Of all the things I expected to hear while in Managua, the very least one was a rendition of “Poker Face” as sung by Cartman from South Park.  And yet, there is was, shooting out of Rosa’s son-in-law’s cell phone.  Sometimes, it’s a very strange world.

On Tatting:

I have taken to carrying around a tatting shuttle in my pocket.  For those who don’t know what tatting is, google it you lazy bum it’s a way of making lace.  I like to be doing something with my hands as it helps me sit still.  Here, it has the added bonus of making me feel less awkward about the dearth of talking I am doing.  Anyhow, usually I would knit, but it’s really too hot here to have a bunch of yarn in my lap.  So I’ve been tatting up a storm, and by storm, I mean little bracelets to give away.  I wish I could be friendly and teach some of the ladies here how to tat but even under the best of circumstances (such as a common language), tatting is nearly impossible to learn.  The most portable craft I know is also the most horrendously difficult.  Bummer.

On Safety:

I know many of you worried about my safety while I’m so far from home.  Well I am here to tell you (and by “you” I specifically mean “you, Mom”) that Rosa and Omar, my surrogate Nica parents, are very protective of me and determined not to let even my own blazing stupidity get me into danger.  I generally don’t understand Rosa very well as she talks really fast, but for some reason, I seem to understand her perfectly when she’ll telling me how to stay safe.  So, rest easy(er), I am very well taken care of. 

On Simple Pleasures:

When you live so far from everything you know or are accustomed to, taking great joy in simple things becomes very important.  It may sound stupid, but I have come to very much enjoy putting sun-warmed lotion on my freshly shaved legs.  I feel so accomplished when I can say something funny and make people laugh (it’s hard to be amusing in another language).  I love sitting outside in the evenings with the cool breeze in my hair.  

And I love it when people hug me.  I didn’t used to like it very much when anyone but my closest friends touched me.  But here, it makes me feel more human.  So often the very fact of where I am from and what that represents makes me feel so different, so horrendously separate.  But when people hug me, I feel like family.  I hope, in some small way, to be able to introduce you to my family here so you can maybe understand why I’m falling in love with them.  

On Irony (Warning, this section is mildly inappropriate):

Danalia and Xochilts wanted me to teach them some dirty American slang, particularly as related to body parts.  I declined, of course, but in the process of this conversation learned something which cracks me up every time I think about it.  The main euphemism for the female genitalia, as it were, is gallo.  If you were in my Spanish literature class, or are otherwise familiar with Spanish, you are probably already laughing too.  Gallo is the Spanish word for rooster.  Somehow, someway, I have wandered into a land wherein cock is something only girls have!

On Truce:

While I am here, I have entered into a kind of truce with things I normally hate.  I have decided to eat every single banana presented to me from now until I get home, at which time I will return to loathing their very existence.  Also, I am voluntarily – more than voluntarily, I specifically asked to – go running.  And not just running, running at 7 in the morning.  Quite a lot of the food here is fried and while that is tasty, if I’m not intentional about getting more exercise, I am going to look like Jabba the Hut by July.

I know what you’re thinking – who are you and what have you done with Jill/Liz? Well, I’ll tell you, when you give yourself wholly over to the special kind of crazy that is missions, all bets are off.


Maeve's Momma February 1, 2011 at 3:23:00 PM MST  

it is VERY odd that you're eating plantains/bananas, but good for you on the adaptation. I'm very impressed you can do tatting, too. It's too funny that gallo means that - one does wonder why.

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A brand new mom trying to navigate the crazy world of mixed families, babies, and working full time. Phew! Just writing that makes me want to lie down.


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