Monthly Archives: May 2012

Spanish as a Path to Svadhyaya

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I had a moment of triumph this morning when I finally remembered the word for stapler — ingrapadora.  This after almost a month of asking for the…what do you call it again?  Squeezing motions with my hands while I hold up the pile of papers, corners dangling, wishing to be connected by a small metal staple.

Another moment of triumph last night as I spoke with a tour guide from Esteli who was in town touring the yoga studio with one of his clients.  Even though he spoke rapidly, I was able to keep up without asking to ask him to slow down.  (One of the first phrases I learned…”mas despacio, por favor!”)

I find myself slipping into English less often.  Read the rest of this entry

Mmm, mmm, Commmida!

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Nothing gives a sense of place so much as food.  What food is naturally available in a region, and how do the people of use that food to nourish themselves?  What’s a special treat versus everyday fare.?

Here in Granada, Tostones con Queso is ubiquitous.  On my first visit here, I kept ordering this dish accidentally.  In my mind, tostones was tasty toast, and queso referred to the cheese I know and love from the states, not the thick and salty squares of fried cheese that landed in front of me each time I ordered the dish.  “Oh this again,” I would sigh to my friend, unenthusiastically picking up a tasteless round of fried plantain.

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Un Dia en la Vida

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Roosters in Nicaragua behave much as dogs do in the States.  When one crows, they all begin cock-a-doodle-doodeling up and down the street.  There’s one rooster that appears to come from next door and has a voice that sounds like a person doing a poor impression of a rooster.  He’s always second to chime in when the string of cock-a-doodle-doodeling starts up.  Between these guys and the geckos that sound like knuckles rapping at my door and mangoes falling on a tin roof, I slept poorly last night.

My alarm went off early, but I was long awake gazing at the sun shining in the patio garden and the mosquitoes fighting for entry on the opposite side of the mosquitero.  I whirl-winded myself up and to the bathroom, dressing fast so that I’d be ready for the taxi driver at 7:15.  On a whim, I opened my front door at 6:55, and the taxi pulled up 5 minutes later.  Hola! Read the rest of this entry

Shopping

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Weaving through the market, clutching my backpack.  Stepping carefully lest I step on something that squishes.  Avoiding potholes full of muddy water, avoiding lines of horse dung and the gray water running down the sides of each road.  Stepping around people, feeling the gentle ebb and flow of a moving crowd.  Pausing while 2 large vehicles, both going the same direction, attempt a u-turn on an impossibly small road crowded with people, bicycles, children, and tienditas.

The small list of necessities in my pocket reminding me of my new spanish words.  Papel higenicia, afeitadora, queso, platanos, frijoles.  Comida for a small feast.  Then finding my head turned by the lady selling tupperware for 20 cordoba, by the bag of nachos at Pela. Read the rest of this entry

Baby Steps

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When I was a brand spanking new teacher, the first class I was given to teach was called Hatha Star, which meant yoga for beginners.  Talk about a challenge!  I felt then, and still feel that it takes an advanced teacher to be able to break the practice of yoga down for beginners.  The class was a wonderful tool for me as a student of yoga and a teacher, as it forced me very quickly to find my voice as a teacher, to be extremely specific in what I was asking of my students, and to break down my own yoga practice to allow me to serve it in bite-sized pieces to the students coming to my classes.  While I enjoyed the challenge of teaching new students,  I also welcomed the opportunity to teach classes that moved a little faster.  When that opportunity arose, I took it and left behind my Hatha Star class, so I was only a teacher of beginner’s yoga for a short while.

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Compassion and Release

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It was a morning like any other.  I woke at 6:30 and got some tunes playing by plugging my kindle into some speakers I had borrowed from Pure.  I sang as I prepared to leave for my morning yoga class, then set off biking to the gym, enjoying another morning in Granada.  I returned to la casa around 11 am, and was perplexed when my key wouldn’t turn in the lock of the front door.  I tried and tried, as I find that the humidity here often makes locks stick.  Finally, I gave up and asked the security guard next door if he would let me in so I could hop the fence dividing our houses.  He told me that las muchachas who clean the house were also unable to open the door one hour prior.  He let me and my bike into the home he was guarding and showed me where the fence was loose and it was possible to shimmy behind it instead of climbing over it, thus avoiding the electrified barbed wire.  (Daunting even with the electric turned off!)

“I’ll meet you in front with your bike,” he told me in Spanish.  I then struggled with the padlock on the other side of the gate to the patio I entered from, and was finally able to enter the rest of my home.  The first thing I noticed was pillows on the table.  How odd.  Read the rest of this entry

Surrounded by Sound

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Pictures just don’t do Nicaragua justice.  Instead, I wish I had a recorder with me so I could share the sounds of life in Nicaragua.  If I did, then right now, you’d hear the whirring of the abanica as it keeps the heat away, a knife chopping as the amazing ladies here at Pure cook up some almuerza, and the sound of many birds singing their songs.  On any given day, you’d hear vendors calling out their wares in Spanish.

“Queso, queso, queso,” calls one man who I saw a few times this weekend.  “You want cheese?” he asks me, en ingles.  “

“No, no gracias,” I reply.

“You want doodie?”

“What?”  (Doodie!  Is he playing with me?)

“Cookies!  You want cookies?”

Ah, entiendo…”No, no gracias!”

We had this exchange a few times on Saturday, as we both made our way through the streets and markets of Granada.

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Life in Nica

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A friend was sharing a story about getting into the wrong taxi at the airport.  He was in Managua, and chose the taxi that was a fancy car, with a driver who was dressed in nice clothes and wore a good watch.  My friend said he chose this driver because he felt he had less of a chance of getting robbed.  At the time, he was traveling with some friends from North America.  He said the taxi drive was long, going over a dark road through the middle of Nicaragua on a dark night, with nobody around.  Somewhere in the middle of this road, the taxi driver pulled the car over, pulled his gun out, and took everything from the boys in the backseat.  My friend and his companions were left standing in a dark road in the Nicaraguan night,  minus all their belongings.

“How awful,” I gasped at this point in the story.  “So, how did you get back with no money and no passports?”

“Oh,” said my friend, “they always leave you with your passports and some bus money.”

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Wherever You Go, There You Are

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I love noticing patterns in my life, and then noticing the way those patterns, or habits, affect the way I interact with other people, make healthy or unhealthy lifestyle choices, or even affect the way I breathe.  Patterns are the foundations of our lives, from clearly observable patterns in the physical world to the more subtle patterns of action that create our samskaras.  I welcome situations that put me face to face with my patterns and force me to recognize the effects they may be having on my life.  Making such a drastic change as moving to another country has allowed me a rare opportunity to see observe the patterns I use to fill my time.

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” – Mahatma Gandhi

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