And You “Coyol” Yourself Irish?!?!?!

A new blog? ALREADY?!? Wait….how long has it been since my last post? I forget. I do that sometimes.

Anyways…I got a lot done today, and I’m feeling silly, plus there’s a few more recent happenings in my life, so I thought I’d….wait for it….write a blog!

So I don’t quite know were I left off in my last blog and I don’t quite feel like going back to look sooooo. Here we are.

I’m officially all settled into my new apartment with my new Canadian roomies Emily and Adam. Woo! We’ve had a few run ins with cockroaches, had some issues with light fixtures, and have definitely identified ourselves as the gringos by our use of the air-conditioning units provided in each apartment (though we can’t quite figure out why no one else uses theirs). One of my students from my Saturday classes (the one with the 5-7 year olds) apparently lives across from me, so I am still waiting for the impending barrage of young children pressing their faces against our screen door screaming, “Hola profe!” We also met a fellow apartment “dweller” (he works in the apartment complex, but lives a few blocks away) on our way back home from getting Raid (we were currently under attack from a cockroach Adam named Harold). Our new apartment buddy, named Jim, is apparently from Lincoln, NE. He was probably confused by my reaction:

“No you’re not.”

“Yeah, I’m from Lincoln.”

“…..Nah, man. No you’re not.”

“I was born in Omaha, but live in Lincoln.”


Meanwhile, while Emily and I were chatting with Jim and getting some tips from him, Adam was still stationed on a chair outside the bathroom, where Harold was last seen on our shower curtain. In his hand was a can of rose-scented Glade spray, should the moment for a delightful smelling attack present itself.

Since the introduction of Raid into our new home (and the spraying of-literally-everything a cockroach might crawl out of), we haven’t seen anything appear….but just in case we’re still prepared. And by ‘we’, I mean Adam. You’ll find Emily and I perched on some kind of chair/counter/bed/table/etc shrieking and pointing wildly at whatever bug has come out of hiding.

I forget if I’ve mentioned this but I’ve also started teaching kids classes on Saturdays (there are always kids classes on Saturdays but I just started last weekend (the 16th). I teach 5-7 year olds beginners English, which is basically a sure fire way to start drinking heavily. There are hammocks outside in one of the yards, and anytime we go outside to play a game, the kids are drawn automatically to the hammocks, and it takes about 15 minutes to get them off. There are two hammocks, so when I get kids off one hammock I turn around and they’ve migrated to the hammock next to the now empty hammock, and it becomes a vicious cycle of “No, stop, no hammock. Vamos a jugar. Stand up. Vamos,” with my voice getting increasingly more desperate as time goes on.

I’ve also had a few girls who are super shy and overwhelmed in my class. All of my students are brand new, so they don’t really know anyone, and, naturally, this can be upsetting if you are shy. I understand this fear well. So when I’ve had little girls sit in the corner crying silently (and man does it break your heart….big puppy dog brown eyes watering up and lower lip quivering and a language barrier making it hard to comfort them), its been a lot of “No lloras….esta bien…..esta bien….esta bien….” The more I say it the more I feel like its more for my sake than theirs, but eventually one of the little boys in my class has done something (like falling or dropping something) that’s made them smile (nothing makes a child laugh like seeing someone hurt themselves….getting them started early with Schaudenfraude…) to make them laugh, making me relax a bit more.

Each kids class lasts two hours and an hour in there is a 10 minute snack time. This past Saturday my kids were getting restless waiting for snack time and kept saying, “Tengo hambre” (I am hungry). It was harmless at first but before I knew it they were all chanting “hambre! hambre! hambre! hambre!” When I quieted them down, finally, I heard the class next to me had started chanting “hambre!”, but luckily their teacher had the wherewithall to take away the money they were playing with if they kept chanting. When it came time for snack time, all but one of my kids grabbed their snacks and headed outside with the rest of the quicks. When I asked the boy who stayed behind if he had food and he said no. Well, no way in hell was I going to go through another hour of “hambre! hambre! hambre!” so I went into the school kitchen and grabbed some tortilla chips I had bought a few days prior, handed them to him and said, “No mas hambre.”

So those are the kids. Here’s hoping some English sticks eventually with them. Some still don’t have books yet because the shippers who are sending more to the school don’t know when they will arrive, so yay.

Otherwise, the other thing that’s happened (and continues to happen) is the Liberia fiestas. They started Friday, with very loud, bomb like fireworks at 5AM and a 12pm parade (“trope”) along the main road past the school. These fireworks happen everyday for two weeks (yes, even at 5AM) as do the parades (which apparently get bigger as each day passes). The fiestas are a BFD here. People apparently go into debt over these parties buying new clothes and beer (so much beer) or they will quit their jobs if their bosses don’t give them time off. A bunch of the teachers went Saturday and we had a ton of fun. A big seasonal drink here is coyol, which is made by cutting down a tree and collecting the sap from within the tree and letting it sit in the sun for a bit (a natural fermentation process). It’s extremely potent. Like…so potent that if you drink just a little bit and then go out into the sun the next day you will feel its effects all over again. You’re also not supposed to mix it with any other alcohol, but I thought those famous last words, “Meh, I’ll be fine” and with a shrug of my shoulders I was riding the waves into drunk gringa land.

I went back home at one point (before it was…ahem…bad), dodging horses and horse poop and men peeing in the street. I thought to myself as I was walking, “Man, it would suck to be a gringo here….” thinking of people who come to vacation here for a week or weekend and are suddenly faced with these 5AM fireworks and streets laden with horse-shit. One man even congratulated me as I passed him. “You’re damn right, felicidades,” I replied, with a tip of my invisible cowboy hat.

I should mention that I had also imbibed quite a bit of rum before sipping on some coyol, among other things, so the coyol did not help matters. A few hours later I had to peace out and go pass out at home. Quite the experience. But here’s to memories (that I remember thanks to Facebook!), laughter, and friends!

Okay, I’m going to go read now. Pura vida! 🙂


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