I’ve been having trouble sleeping with this fake cast on, & I’ve watched too many tv shows and movies in the past week, so I’m going to write about things that I may have not written about here because they are very day to day, having just realized that all of you (mostly) have no idea what I’m talking about when I reference things. So.
Nica food and housing. I’m living with a host family that consists of a mom (Ena) and her two sons (Denis & Jose), along with their maid (Mari) and another student who is from Northern Nicaragua (Maria Jose). Maria (another UVMer, if you didn’t know) and I share the boys room. Dorm style anyone? Our host gets US$200 to house us. Maria and I get another $200 for food (per month. This is shady considering how much we have to pay UVM for oncampus food. Mandatory through ISEP exchange. But that’s a rant for another time.) We diligently pay Ena the majority of it and receive 2 meals a day (I sleep through breakfast usually…haha). These consist of …rice and beans. In some combination. And a salad that is only lettuce. The whole lunch as the biggest meal of the day holds true, but by American standards it’s actually not that big (go figure. McDonaldstopia will do that to you. Not that I eat there, but you get the idea.) And dinner is a tortilla and gallo pinto. Gallo pinto is fried beans and rice, FYI. And it’s my favorite thing down here, which could be attributed to having it everyday. It’s funny, coming here I thought I’d be eating a lot of fruit. I have only seen fruit in the house when we asked for it at the beginning and in juice (dragonfruit juice…wakala. Maria likes it though…she usually drinks mine.) And Nicas seem to be allergic to vegetables, which makes being a vegetarian a tad difficult. Seriously, everyone I’ve talked to will list rice, beans, and meat and totally disregard other food groups. I don’t get it.
Transport. I’ve talked about the busses, but I don’t think I’ve truly described the amount of people they fit into these busses. Think being at a concert in a mosh pit confined to a high school bus. Those are the chicken busses (camionetas) though. The expresos are smaller and don’t tend to pack as much (although if they could I bet they would.) Taxis… haha well they don’t rip us off as much anymore since we know prices better now. And having them pick you up on the side of the street is the norm. The terror stories we heard are still in the back of our heads, but c’mon, we have to get around somehow, and buses only run ’til 8 or so. And given my ankle condition, are somewhat necessary.
School. Wow. I really don’t know how to describe just how different classes are here. Just saying I am really glad the people who are going to give me credit aren’t reading this. Or here. Anyways, kids (and professors actually) here can answer cellphones during class, can walk out and not come back for an hour, can be on facebook for most of the class (not going to lie, guilty of that one), among other such things. And going over answers with other students and the professor is the norm on take home quizzes. Seriously. I feel like if I did this at UVM I’d get punched or something. Well, not punched, just kicked out of class. Maybe not in the big lecture classes either, but still. My biggest class at UAM probably has 20 people in it. It’s kind of noticeable. The whole laid back culture here is great and all, but c’mon you have to put work into learning.
Going Out. Yes, I do realize that I am only 20, and that I am not legal in the states for another year. However, the legal age here is… well technically I think it’s 18, but kids start going out at 16, if not younger. There were definitely some 14 year olds at the Halloween party. Anyways, the clubs the Americans frequent tend to charge C$20 for a drink …which means US$1. Yes, you can get a beer for a dollar here, and that usually means a free or cheap entrance. Or only C$1 on certain nights, but then the entrance price is a bit stiff..(like, 7 USD. hah.) Or when they charge a lot for entrance its barra libre, which means free rum (which is their national pride. Seriously, go look up Flor de Caña). Given I have nothing to compare this to in the states, I know this is a steal. And Toña is pretty frickin’ great (it’s a Nica beer).
That’s all I can think of for now. Its 2AM and I have to get up early and call the doctors to make sure they have time to take this stupid cast-thing on my foot off.