I think it’s about time that I give this blog some lovin’. The fact that I’ve neglected this post for so long is starting to make me wonder if I’ve in fact forgotten all of the wonderful memories I’ve made in Nicaragua. Better get right to it.
So, after a couple of very draining and exhausting days in the hospital, we had our rest day where we basically spent the entire day to go see Nicaragua and explore this special city. First stop was a market in Masaya where we went around to shop for little souvenirs. I think my absolute favorite part of being able to go to the market was speaking to the shop owners and being able to practice my Spanish. Spanish was always one of my favorite subjects throughout middle school and high school and it’s just so applicable. Particularly in clinic where we have a large number of Spanish-speaking patients, Spanish is so useful and it always makes me so happy to use what I’ve learned in the real world. I spent quite a while bargaining with a seller who turned out to be around my age and it’s always so interesting to see how different we are as individuals and how the place we come from and the world we live in affects who we are. Sometimes there are small and insignificant moments like these-conversations with a friendly stranger, learning about the taxi driver and his family life, sights of the street, glimpses of another person’s world-that somehow hold so much meaning and make me never want to stop travelling and growing and learning and living.
Next stop: Volcán Mombacho, Nicaragua. We went ziplining on a canopy tour that took us through a lush rainforest. It was already raining by the time we had gotten there, but nothing our team couldn’t handle, obviously. In fact, I would say that the rain may have even made the adventure all the more exciting, especially because it did the lines go just a bit faster! This was my second time ziplining (my first being in Cancún years ago) but this was the first time I had been ziplining in the rainforest, and it was absolutely wonderful and thrilling. I do have to admit, we were ziplining on the cables quite fast so I wasn’t really able to actually enjoy the view for very long, but all in all, being able to see another side of Nicaragua other than the hospital and the city was such a great experience. Besides, being surrounded by so much green is a nice view no matter how fast you’re going.
Hakuna matata all your worries away, team.
After ziplining (completely drenched), we headed to Granada and went on a boat ride on Lake Nicaragua to tour a bunch of the little islands. Everything up to this point had been quite busy, whether it was observing surgeries, helping nurses, shopping, going places, doing things…so it truly felt nice to just sit on a boat and relax. Being out on that lake was so serene and there were so many moments of complete tranquility that I really enjoyed having to myself.
Halfway through the boat tour, we all started screaming in excitement and childish delight when we discovered monkeys on one of the little islands. Apparently they called this island, Mono Island, or Monkey Island. The tour guide driving us probably thought we were a little too crazy when we went a bit overboard in our excitement, but I mean, when else do you get to see monkeys in the wild, swinging from the trees and hanging out with their monkey buddies!? (Monkey buddies not pictured, hahaha).
Well, we’re finally getting to the last stop of today’s excursions. We headed towards the city area of Granada to grab some lunch and do a little more last minute shopping. Granada is well known for their architecture, and the colonial style church behind us in the picture is a very well-known historical building in Nicaragua. There’s so much culture in this place that a couple of hours is simply not enough to absorb it all, but I’ve loved every second I got to spend in all these unique cities. Despite not being able to see all of what Nicaragua has to offer, spending time with my team and taking in all the sights and sounds of Nicaragua was unlike any other place I’ve been to. I think being in Nicaragua was a vivid reminder that this is what I love to do-I love to travel, I love to learn and I want to see as much as I can of this world as I can while I still have the chance.
Throughout all of this, I’ve realized something. You know what? We’re still so young. I’m young, and I live for these adventures where I just learn so much more about others, the world around me, other cultures, and as always, myself. Why should we let so many of these little problems here and there get in the way of enjoying life and celebrating the moments that make up this wonderful life? I may be young, but life is still so short. With the given time we have left here on this earth, I think every place we ever step foot in, every individual we encounter, every moment we enjoy, every obstacle we overcome and every single little thing that comes our way has something to teach us. Sometimes we lose sight of the world around us from being so consumed in our own troubles or we forget what’s truly important from being so caught up in our own routines and judgments. So go out, leave these mundane things behind, and perhaps you’ll rediscover the purpose of your journey, or maybe even expand your horizons-there’s just so much to see and learn, after all.
“We must go beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths and untrodden depths of the wilderness and travel and explore and tell the world the glories of our journey”. ~John Hope Franklin