Age is a number on a piece of paper!

Why would I want to title a personal blog that could identify my age?  Well since I come from a family that has a lot of longevity, one day everyone will find out that I’m not 26 anymore, although this is the answer I still give when asked my age.  Let me think, I have been 26 for a long time now.

Here in Nicaragua, it is hard to tell someone’s age even to the nearest decade.  My friends who live in the cities are aging similar to friends in the US of the same age.  However looks can be deceiving.  I am eight years older than the patrons of the compound where I live and yet they look a lot older.  Looks don’t equate to activity, however.  Dońa Carmen and Don Juan are agile hard workers to this day.  Don Juan still moves his little herd of cows back and forth across the road in front of the house to the pasture everyday.  Today I watched him lasso one of the cows who doesn’t wear a “bad animal” collar to tie her up to a tree in the backyard.

OK, a “bad animal” collar is a device made of two or three pieces of wood that are formed into a tied triangle around the animal’s neck to keep them from going through fences.  Pigs were the first animals I saw with these collars eight years ago.  Now, since there are more cows, they are collared as well.  Three of the six Guzmán cows are wearing collars.  Sometimes the cow looks like it is actually dragging a tree the collar branch is so long.

Dońa Carmen is still the mistress of the pulpería (little store) next door to my house.  The family has expanded the pulpería to double the original size from when I first moved here.  Although this is where I buy my bottled water and freshly baked bread, I rarely buy eggs, milk or veggies from here because it is more expensive than the tiendas (stores) in Rivas.  

Dońa Carmen and Don Juan are both literate and have forced their children to go to school in their early years.  I find it strange that some of their grandchildren are not forced to do the same.  Perhaps the difference is that the grandchildren are really latchkey kids whose parents work away from the compound and they don’t actually know if their offspring are going to school or not.

School is a whole subject for discussion and debate here as it isn’t the best system in the world, in fact, it may be one of the worst. In the rural areas, the children don’t have books of their own.  The school days fluctuate upon the schedule of the teacher, who may be attending a workshop or training, or is sick, or one of her children is sick, or it is raining and she can’t get to her school or a variety of other reasons not to show up at the school.  Fortunately for our compound, the school is only about 1000 yds. from here so the kids don’t have far to walk if there is or isn’t school for the day.

The title of this blog was prompted by the recent birthday party of my friend whose family was the original owner of Rancho Santana. Angelica Centeno celebrated her 79th birthday at the restaurant that she opened on the beach at the end of the RS property to the north–Villa Jiguiliste.  Her children and grandchildren came from far and wide to join the GRAND party with mariachi music, ballet folklorico dancers, and a huge barbeque with tons of food–at the same time catering to the guests of her restaurant and little hospedaje that she runs.  Angelica and one of her daughters-in-law were even doing some of the folklorico dances at the side of the costumed dancers.

November ended the month of “waiting” for my residency, for inspection of my commercial property for tax evaluation, and for construction bids for the commercial property, and completion of the outside work on the West Sac house with more “waiting”.  I celebrated Thanksgiving for a week with turkey dinners at two friends homes early in the week and then the BIG BASH at Rancho Santana where there were dinner seatings at 4, 6 and 8 pm.  I chose the 6 pm so I could see my friends at both of the other seatings. All of the events were wonderful and reminded me of the things I am thankful for as I live in my dream that includes “waiting”.

My health continues to be very good.  My car now has a new trunk mechanism so that I am not tying it shut the back seat headrest to keep it from flying open. The mold in the house is going away since the rains have pretty much ended.  (I’m keeping the 14 lbs. of baking soda socks that I made to absorb the moisture for next year.)  Now I have to make covers for the kitchen appliances for the polvo (dirt) that comes with the winds.  One of my RS friends said I could use her new sewing machine.  I simply need to get my body up to her house to work.

The Cuidadores de Personas program didn’t have a student in November and no one showed up again today for an advertised class.  If there is work for one of the existing six cuidadores and word gets around, I think there will be interest in the program.  It takes time to start new programs in any country. Here it is harder with obstacles of the existing culture of caring for your own and travel without transportation.

I will be going back to CA mid-December for a month to spend birthdays and holidays with my family and friends there.  Right now, I am sort of dreading the trip since I read that the temperature in Sacramento this past weekend was near freezing.  I don’t have ski clothes anymore and my blood is used to WARM.  I know, I’m beginning to sound like my father and Aunt Hilda who were always cold.  

If anyone is interested in contributing to a Holiday Party for children of the village of Asentiamento where my nursing student lives, celebrating the day of the Three Kings, January 6th, please contact me.  Melvin, the student, organizes food and pińatas for the village kids.  He needs only about $150 to purchase food and treats.  My Curves friends helped with the event several years ago and it was greatly appreciated.  I’m sorry I lost the photos that he shared of the party two years ago.  

Until an update in 2014, be safe, think peace, and remember Solo el Amor Prevalece–Only Love Prevails.

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Artwork and walls by Don Juan Guzmán

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