Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Cue the AC/DC....

The Mini-Menace and I have successfully returned from our recon trip to Managua...it was a really short trip: flew down on a Sunday, spent 2 days there, and then came back on the 4th.  That was pretty much all the time I could con out of my CDO and the Spanish Department, even though I have about 8 million hours of annual leave that carried over from my previous job.  Still, I'm thankful that they let me go, considering that I am supposedly testing a week from now.  I say supposedly because no one has bothered to tell me when exactly my test is.  Anyhow, back to the recon....we spent about half a day visiting and registering the MM at his future school.  He seemed happy and definitely a little less freaked the eff out now that he knows what to expect.  We also had dinner with the embassy family that volunteered to care for the MM until I can find a permanent solution; they have three boys at the same school, and really, they were just about the NICEST people I've ever met.  They asked the MM what kind of food he would like for dinner, and--naturally--he voted for burgers.  Yes, folks, our first official dinner out in Nicaragua was at a T.G.I.Fridays, a place I have never actually frequented in the US.  Rest assured, Nica food was the only option on the rest of the trip; but conveniently for the MM, he was able to eat panqueques at breakfast every day.  He did discover the joys of passionfruit (aka maracuya) juice, and deep-fried cheese.  Score!!

Our second day, we visited the Masaya volcano, which, according to local legend (thank you, superstitious Conquistadores!) is an entrance to the underworld.  In case you were wondering, this is where the lame AC/DC reference comes in.  No, I was not actually referring to one of my all-time favorites (and most ridiculous) Christmas songs, Mistress for Christmas.  Yes, I like to make random musical references.  So what?

Also on the day-long adventure were a stop at a gorgeous crater lake, the Roberto Clemente baseball stadium, the markets in Masaya, where I had to restrain myself from actually shopping, since really....why cart all that stuff home when I'd just have to pack it up and ship it back?  I did buy the MM a wooden chess set, since he's now apparently obsessed with chess.  Don't ask me how it happened....summer daycare camp is an amazing thing.  Every evening we'd sit on the patio at the hotel, by the pool, and he'd try to teach me to play.  Would anyone like to guess how humiliating it is to have your 9 year old crush you like a bug EVERY SINGLE TIME?  If you answered pretty damn humiliating, you'd be right.  I figure this has to be a major checkmark in the Greatest Mom Ever column.  Right?????

Finally (and still on the epic day-long adventure), we also visited a local pottery market.  This was pretty awesome:  they mix the clay by stomping on it for hours, then spin it on foot-powered pottery wheels.  Pretty damn labor intensive, but best of all, the Mini-Menace got a hands-on (literally!) experience and got to give it a go.

On the way home, our flight on American was delayed so much that we would have missed our connection in Miami...so American put us on Copa, which then routed us through Panama and on to D.C.   I'm now a pretty big fan of Copa....remember when airlines actually used to feed you?  For free?  And left and arrived on time? Take note, American!! 

So, we're back, I'm freaking out about my Spanish exam, and we're off to NE Ohio for what will probably be our last trip home before we leave for Managua at the end of October.  The Cleveland area is the epicenter of both sides of my family, so I have loads of aunts, uncles, cousins, and both grandmothers to visit, plus some really close family friends who I met in VA (and who subsequently returned to the mothership area).  VERY excited to see everyone.  It'll be a nice way for the MM to celebrate the end of his 1st week of 4th grade....thank you Archdiocese of Arlington for starting before Labor Day!!!! 

I'd promise to try and post more often, but you all know that's not going to happen until I'm actually on the ground in Nicaragua, so until I can come up with something interesting to say, I'll just leave you with some photos of our trip.  Enjoy!!

 (OK, so it's not exactly a highway to Hell, but still, pretty damn impressive!)

 (Time to make the donuts clay)

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