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I love the way the light falls in this country. There is such a contrast between darkness, shadows, and the full-noon sun. Each tree lends a different type of shade, umbrellas provide a shelter from the midday sol, and gracias a dios, buses have roofs and open windows that let in the right light and keep out the strong stuff.

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As a Peace Corps Volunteer, I have the pretty incredible opportunity of not only passing through towns and villages, but staying. Seeing, observing, and documenting life in tiny little corners of the world. Lately, these times have been providing some incredible photo opportunities with some of the most beautiful families and children, quiet city streets, and sunrises over mountains.

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As I look towards wrapping up my time here in Nicaragua, I have been going through pictures and figuring out what I have not been able to record yet. There is so much here and I so want to capture it in its essence. Light, smiles, architecture and more light.

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Waldo’s Nicaraguan Adventures.

My amazing dad came down to visit me for a brief, but adventure-filled, week right before Christmas. What a gift. We spent the week trekking around in our little rented car, finding all sorts of adventures down random dirt roads, zip-lining, exploring beaches, mountains, coffee farms, historical cities, and drinking coffee multiple times a day. It was a grand time.

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About 10 years ago, he and I started a tradition/joke in our family around Christmas time. My mom has a ridiculously large Santa collection that she puts out every year on the living room mantle. My dad and I decided that display looked like a page from a Where’s Waldo book, so he printed out a cutout of Waldo and we hid him. It took my mom a couple days to find it, and her reaction was priceless. Needless to say, it became a tradition and every year that sneaky Waldo finds a place to hide in the Santas.

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My dad brought me down a bunch of Christmas goodies, and in one box my mom had packed Waldo! After discovering him, we quickly decided Waldo needed a grand tour of Nicaragua. So, without a legit passport and an ever-constant grin, Waldo joined us on our quick jaunt around the lakes of volcanoes. Check out where we found him hiding:

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Waldo soaking up some semi-cloudy rays of sunshine and getting salty on a rural beach.

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Posing on the zipline company vehicle in San Rafael del Norte.

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Post-ziplining hang out time with our guides.

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Roadtrip pit-stop for french fries in Managua on the way to Matagalpa.

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Chilling in the hotel in Matagalpa.

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Enjoying a mocha and light reading in Matagalpa city.

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Exploring Selva Negra in Matagalpa.

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Flirting with an indigenous woman…tsk, tsk, Waldo.

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Checking out the art at Selva Negra.

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Learning to make black ceramic pottery in the mountains of Jinotega.

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Enjoying a cocktail in Granada.

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Cheese, chai and fresh bread in Esteli.

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Chilling in the cacti in a mini-botanical garden in Esteli.

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Waldo goes green.

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Checking out cigar boxes in Esteli.

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Woah there, Waldo, lay off the cigars will ya?

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Catching a good night’s sleep in a sweet historical hotel in Granada.

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Taking in the view of the cloud-covered volcano from our hotel room in Granada.

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Enjoying the cathedral from our hotel balcony the last night in Granada.

Well played, Waldo, well played.