Maybe call it a lack of pre-planning or foresight, but there are a few things I never imagined happening here in Nicaragua.
The other evening, I sat down and brainstormed the first 30+ that came to mind. So here commences the not-even-close-to-being-finished list of…
“Things I Never Thought I Would Be Doing in the Peace Corps”
Teaching people how to de-seed tomatoes.
Working in operating rooms – with a scalpel in hand.
Learning how to bloodlessly kill a chicken.
Mastering mold-removal techniques for cement walls.
Teaching people how to correctly wash hands.
Pooping out worms.
Learning to identify clay content in soil.
Feeling completely and utterly inadequate on an almost daily basis.
Transporting 100 toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes and floss packets between countries.
Setting and enforcing boundaries with neighborhood kids who want to use my apartment as a recreation center.
Throwing away books and clothes because termites ate through them.
Figuring out that mice are living in my bed.
Knowing the fancy hospital’s lab technicians on a personal basis. Frequent flyer, yo.
Watching a C-section of a young mom. Hi, cute baby!
Thinking about changing my career.
Being peed on by bats while trying to sleep. It burns, folks, it burns.
Riding buses for three hours to buy an iced latte. Worth it.
Running outside at midnight to do a celebratory dance in the first rain after 8 months of dust and dryness.
Enjoying washing my laundry by hand. It is therapy that I swear by.
Correcting my Spanish-speaking students’ spelling errors.
Being congratulated by my community on the Seahawk’s win. Wait, they were in the Super Bowl this year?
Explaining to small children and adults alike that no, vegetables do not make you fat. But that fried cheese you have in your hand? It could.
Feeling like my heart is physically breaking in two at the stories I hear from community members.
Processing the idea that sometimes (almost always), stepping in with money is not helpful.
Dancing to ranchero music at midnight in a dirt-floor cantina with a man I just met, who would soon become someone really special to me.
Standing at the airport and cringing at American mission groups and other tourists who are entering/leaving the country. We are our image here, and it is not always pretty.
Explaining to male professors why I do not wear shorts in public.
Asking male professors to stop cat-calling me in front of their students.
Playing a midnight game of chase with a mouse.
Throwing pottery in a rural mountain town with my dad.
Mastering the art of tortillas tostadas, a specialty in my community.
Explaining to my community on an almost weekly basis that no, Americans are not required to get a microchip implanted in their arm.
Being asked by a national TV show to dance with a towel in order to promote summer vacation, while at a bus busy terminal.
Getting sprayed by fresh, flying cow dung while waiting for a bus.
Getting teary-eyed every time one of my old students tells me that they are now studying in college or have gotten a job.
Chasing after a pig who ate through the Christmas stocking my mom sent, and ate the bag of chocolate. Bacon was almost had for Christmas dinner.