Not Bored!

Most people who know me understand when I say that boredom would kill me. Although that may be a somewhat strong statement, the message is true. I am not the person who can sit around doing nothing. My life in Nicaragua gives my multiple opportunities to test my anti-boredom skills.

Since the last blog I have enjoyed several new experiences. I was one of the “public” at the defense of Carmen Guzmán’s thesis for her bar exam. The defense was held at her university in Managua UNICIT in a classroom that represented a courtroom. The defense consisted of 36 slides PowerPoint presentation and a hardbound book of the monologue/thesis to the sitting panel of 2 lawyers and a judge. Carmen and her partner did an amazing job of writing the differences between an older and newly written Codigo of Family Law. The new law was written in 2015 and not well publicized. In their thesis they made recommendations for education and distribution of the law. The experience was fascinating for me. Carmen is now Doctora Miriam del Carmen Guzmán, Abogada. She can now hang her “shingle” out at her new office in Limón #2.

I’ll begin with the lessons of puppy sitting for almost one week at my condo. Caesar, my friends Abby and Felipe’s new puppy needed a home while they went out of the country for week on previously scheduled trips. Puppies are always 1. Under your feet, 2. Chewing on something—including my hands and feet, 3. Peeing everywhere inside and out, 4. Waking multiple times during the night, 5. Entertaining while playing, 6. Fortunately sleeping a lot during the day. I really enjoyed the little guy as he is so smart and CUTE beyond words. Abby and Felipe only got him a week before they had to leave. After the first day we bonded very well, me as his grandmother. I produced some very interesting, to him, toys—an unused chair pillow with buttons and ties all made of a sturdy canvas–, and a twelve oz. empty plastic vinegar bottle with the plastic cap intact. Needless to say the buttons came off the pillow within the first 30 minutes and I had to get them out of his mouth one by one. He loved pulling the pillow around by the ties or picking the whole thing up in his mouth and dragging it around. As for the bottle, I think that was my favorite toy to watch. He would try to pick it up in his mouth and of course it would pop away from him on the tile floors making a popping noise on the tile. He finally grabbed it enough times to almost remove the paper label. I removed the label and Caesar continued to chase it all over the floor jumping after it as it flew across the room bouncing and spinning.

I had visitors from San Juan del Sur for several nights that were originally from Switzerland. Needless to say we toured the area and I introduced them to two of my many Swiss friends here in my area. It is amazing how time flies when one is having fun. My mini-tours with guests offer me opportunities to see my Guasacate house progress and check out new property for sale in the area for my Success Nicaragua business as a real estate representative.

The night after Caesar went back to his parents, I was invited to a new opera in Managua—La Divina, Maria Callas. The invitation came from the family of a young soprano that I had met here a year ago. Deborah Solange Martinez sang the role of the young Maria Callas; the libretto was the story of Maria Callas’s life. It was presented at the National Ruben Darío theater in Managua. Ana Zavala joined me for dinner and the theater. It was such a moving and extremely well done opera. The woman who sang Callas leading roles was a beautiful middle age soprano from Spain. The orchestra was the Nicaragua national orchestra. Good musicians all but not the same quality as the LA, SFO, or other major orchestras in the US. However, the conductor and music were perfect for this opera written in Spanish. The staging was simple and narrated by another Spanish soprano who didn’t sing a word only narrated the story of Callas life with the singing parts following illumination of highlights or changes in Callas’s life. It was definitely worth staying up late and arriving home after midnight. Fortunately Bayron and I always have a lot of things to talk about or me to learn while we are our two-hour trips to and from Managua.

Gail, my friend/business partner, has been gone for several weeks to the US so I have used the time between puppy sitting, tours, and real estate to catch up on reading and a few movies on Netflix.

It has been raining quite a bit. However, we can use a lot more as the rivers are still quite passable in a small car—or maybe there just a lot more foolish drivers now in our area. As October arrives hopefully it will remain true to the myth that “October is the rainiest month and everyone leaves.” I will have more opportunities for reading and listening to Webinars. There is always something new to learn and keep me from being bored.






The Different Cultures of My Nicaragua

It has been almost two months since I thought about getting my act together to write my blog.  A variety of fun and work activities have occurred in those past weeks in my life.  Hopefully you will get the drift that prompts the title of this issue as I progress through time.

In July and until mid-August I was living at Carmen Gúzman’s casita in Limón #2.  One of the fun things about living in the Gúzman campo in the village is that I am forced to speak Spanish.  Although I am far from fluent in the language, I receive fewer “deer in the headlights” or “are you crazy” looks from the people with whom I am conversing.  I can also almost be understood on the telephone before being switched to someone who is obviously bilingual who can understand what I am trying to say.  I am ever the optimist and believe that someday, I will hear Spanish first in my mind.

Back to local culture: Hipica, the horse show and parade that occurs usually on a Sunday in various towns.  Over the years I have attended hipicas in Matagalpa, Rivas, Tola, Limón and most recently the BEST event was in the small village of San Ignacio about 5 km from Limón.  I took four adults from my Gúzman family and three under age four children to watch my friend Gail Geerling ride her beautiful Genesis in the San Ignacio hipica.  The part that made this event special was the fact that it was a real display of horsemanship with local campo people.  There was not the rowdy drunken riders and crowds that I have witnessed at the larger town hipicas.  I believe there were at least as many participating horses if not more than in the Rivas or Tola hipicas.  There was an impromptu staging ring set up in the soccer field where the performers were announced by Family and area of the town.  Keep in mind this is a small village surrounded by both small family farms and a few large fincas.  There were some very young kids and one young Down’s Syndrome rider who were excellent showmen with their horses.  My adult group and I were mesmerized while our young fry ran around chasing each other with plastic bottles.  I am attaching a photo of Gail who was given a trophy for her elegance and representation of Rancho Santana.  I am so happy that I decided to attend this event although I wasn’t really looking forward to it given my past experiences of hipica.

Mid August my friend Barbara Tenbusch arrived from FL for two weeks.  We started off with doctor’s general appointments at the Vivian Pellas Clinics.  Yes, we do have great medical teams here in NI.  I was shocked to have tomography (photography of the eye) done at the first visit with an ophthalmologist, perhaps because of my age.  Sometime in the not too distant future, I will have cataract surgery by Dr. Rivers.  After our Clinic appointments and lunch in Managua, Bayron, my friend/son/driver took Barb and I to Pacaya Lodge in Laguna Apopyo for R&R for both of us.  We met our friends Brian Block and Erik Wetz, managers from Rancho Santana at Pacaya Lodge and enjoyed two days of just hanging out with them. No trips to Granada or even the Lago Apoya below us.  Interesting fact that I discovered while there.  Laguna Apoyo is a crater lake from an extinct volcano some 23000 years ago.  It is 175 m deep, and occupies 21 square km. The lake’s drainage basin occupies 38 km2; influx and outflow of underground water plays a major role in the lake’s water balance.

Barb and I were able to move back to the condo in RS where Bayron had taken my car.  It was good to be back home again.  Although that meant I had to get to work with my real estate projects.  My crash course in Nicaragua Real Estate is slowly sinking in and I am happy to report that I have made my first successful sales contract on my own–serious coaching from Gail though.  Fortunately Barbara is a great guest without lots of expectations of what I am doing.  She is also a supportive helper who took over in the kitchen helping prepare meals for the several dinner guests we enjoyed while she was in NI–normal at my house.

For those who may have read about my volunteer gig last year at the Latin American PGA tournament, I had hoped to do the same again this year.  Wrote to the last year event coordinators and didn’t hear back at all.  Sad, and glad since I was up to my eyeballs writing contracts in English and Spanish.  The PGA is finishing today and next year I’ll again be asked to volunteer.  Got the details of the communication glitch from my Granada friends who volunteered with me last year and who tracked down the folks running the PGA Flor de Caña Open this year and were begged to help again.

The past week there were two other cultural events that brought joy to me.  The Javier Peréz art opening at the Rancho Santana Galleria was exciting.  Javier completed a painting during the evening.  FYI priced at $5600.  I love the painting but not in my budget.  One of his pieces was sold during the evening, however. A marketing ambassador of Flor de Caña rum gave a mini seminar on rum and Flor de Caña in particular as part of the Art Event.  Lots of fun and lots of really good art at the RS Gallery.  The mini seminar reminded me of the Flor de Caña factory tour my family and I took last year and enjoyed.

Last night was the crowning cultural event for me.  Casa Tres Mundos, an NGO  art and music education program from Granada gave a concert at RS.  Chamber music, choral, and young composer pieces.  For someone–me–who is starved for live performance music, this was akin to miraculous.  The musicians are very talented.  One young man, a baritone, needs to be in an operatic school somewhere.  His voice and operatic presence were outstanding.  Other remarkable young men were a cellist and two violinists.  All of the male performers played more than one instrument and also sang in the choir.  Tears in my eyes and hope to have more of the same here in our rural area.  There is music and theater in Managua.  That means overnight stay since I won’t drive in MGA and have to make overnight arrangements for Bayron too.  Hence music on computer mostly for me.

From rural to classical art forms are in my world here.  I encourage friends to come and see what I see.

Photos included are:  Hengel with his new prosthetic arm and interchangeable hand.         My unique Maldanado San Juan de Oriente pot.   Gail Geerling at the San Ignacio Hipica.  Javier Peréz painting in my friend’s house purchased at the RS Galleria Art Event.  Casa Tres Mundos string chamber group.



Único ceramic pot - Artist Miguel Maldonado 170630