Kristina Elizabeth Rainbow

Whenever I meet someone new, it’s always a challenge. They can never get my name right. First, we face the obstacle of saying “Kristin”. I haven’t quite mastered saying it with the accent so it usually takes three or four tries before they nod and say, “ohh ..Kristina”. I shrug and agree..close enough. Next, I am asked what my second name is. Usually, they think I don’t have one, but I have to explain that we call it a middle name and it’s actually quite common. They never have trouble with “Elizabeth”. The next step only applies to the daring ones. The daring ones ask me what my last name is. The pronunciation is very different, so “Rabil” has become “Rainbow”. It’s like I’m a new person here. I think I like it. Kristina Elizabeth Rainbow.

I bought a guitar the other day. I’ve always wanted to learn how to play but it’s a fact I’m not musically talented. I started taking classes at this music academy that my friend’s family has. It’s legit. It will be difficult, without a doubt. I had my first class, though, and it was really fun. My tiny hands make it much harder than necessary but this is actually the first new thing I’ve tried that hasn’t made me question all my life choices. Progress!

Last week was my host mom’s birthday, so I got my friends to help me make her a cake. Introducing Gary and Martha:

Martha is my host mom’s friend, and the connection that got me into teaching English classes. She teaches Spanish classes at an academy in the city, and Gary is one of her students. He helps with our English classes as well. He also knows how to make a divine cheesecake. We all got together to bake for my host mom and it was so much fun. Something about them gives me the feeling of home.

Teaching English is ..still going. Last class, my helper wasn’t there and the students kept asking me where the translator was. It was rough. I think we all had a good time, though. We just laughed at all my mistakes.

My host sister also takes English classes at an academy and her teacher asked me to come in one day to show how “someone from the U.S. pronounces words”. I’m not sure that I was much help, but he asked me to come back and I’m excited because I think it’s another way for me to meet people and maybe make friends.

I slept through my alarm today. Those preschoolers really wear me out. One time the teacher asked me to draw red dots on the kids’ hands if they were misbehaving. I misunderstood (of course) and I thought she told me to put the dots on my hand. So by the time the class was over my hands were COVERED with red dots.

Today, the teacher left me alone with the class for maybe ten minutes. Not even two minutes after she was gone were kids standing on tables and throwing things and screaming …

That’s all I have to say about that.

This week the electricity went out throughout the entire city all day, for two days straight. Apparently for a couple weeks, each department of Nicaragua loses electricity for a few days. I couldn’t tell you why they do it, but the timing was impeccable. The two days the government chose for Matagalpa happened to be the two days I needed to use the computer and make copies for my final plan for my project. The daily inspiration from my host mom helped me stay patient.

View from the mirador, where you can see the entire city of Matagalpa

I’m not in college, so I haven’t gained the freshman fifteen. But I think I’m close to whatever the gap year equivalent of that is. The food here is just too good. The next quote is one that I’ve said a few times. Yes, I’m going to quote myself because it sums everything up:

“I’ve gained weight. But I’ve also gained happiness.”

I can’t say that I have one person here that I would consider my best friend. It’s interesting because I interact with a lot of different people and I’m closer to some than to others, but a lot of people would still feel really lonely in my place. I’m not sure why, but I’m not lonely at all. The people I spend time with, even if it’s not that much time or I don’t see them that much, make me feel good. I’ve never had the feeling that I’m saying or doing something wrong, or that I don’t belong there, or that they don’t want to be spending time with me. It’s odd. Either they’re really good at faking being nice, or I’ve just finally found the place for me.