Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Costa Rica, From Ashley´s Eyes

Many people who come for trips are also bloggers. For me, I love reading other people´s blogs. Especially when I´m mentioned in them. Just kidding. I repent of my vanity. Anyway, Ashley holds a special place in my heart. She came with the Nicaragua team...only she´s not from Nicaragua...she´s from Texas. And she spoke very little Spanish. She just graduated high school and decided to come down to Nicaragua for a few months. She got connected with the Vineyard church in Managua (I think she goes to a Vineyard in the States) and heard about this trip literally right before they had to buy the tickets. She had no idea what she was in for. Ashley definitely has boldness. I mean, to go on a missions trip with people you don´t know and who barely speak English to another country is exceptionally brave. It was awesome seeing her grow during the trip and see her learn more about what God has for her life. I stole this excerpt from her blog:  Best Advice? ¨Don´t be an idiot." Changed my life. (Isn't that a great blog title?!?) Enjoy!!

Costa Rica, baby... Pt. 2

Things looked up for me that Thursday when we left the city. I'd been on the verge of tears from not knowing Spanish, but finally the only person I knew from the youth--his name is Abiud, we'd met a few days before on Monday and he could understand English pretty well--stepped back, looked at me, and asked if I was alright. I explained to him that I was frustrated because I wanted to help out but couldn't because I didn't know any freakin' Spanish, and that it was hard to not know what the heck was going on.

"You don't need to know Spanish to help out," he said, mystified at why I would think such a thing. I gave him a dirty look.

"Look--having you here is a great honor to us. We get to practice our English now, and we never get to because we're always together. We're very glad to have you here."

Huh. I hadn't thought of it quite that way. We had walked several blocks to a bus and were now sitting inside, waiting for the rest of our group to emerge so we could go back to the house. Abiud continued to speak like this to me, and my heart began to feel lighter. We began to talk (in English) about music we liked and sports and different kinds of things on the way home. I didn't feel so left out anymore.

The guys were pretty easy to talk to since most of them could speak decent English. I got along with them very well. The girls were harder to communicate with because only one girl spoke alright English and there were many times when I wondered if they were making fun of me. It didn't help that four other girls and I were sharing a room and bathroom. I mentally rolled my eyes a lot because they took so long to get ready for the day/night, while it took mere minutes for me to be ready. So it took a little while for the girls and I to get to know each other better, but in the end it did happen.

We did a lot around the community. We painted a church member's house, and I went with the guys to put in concrete steps for the same lady. I was all fired up to work, but wound up standing around a lot and taking pictures. Every time I'd offer to do something, one of the guys who was loitering around would jump up and shout "NO! Let me do it." I'm pretty sure it would've been a great blow to their pride if a girl tried to do their work. The lady we were working for provided a pitcher of water and a cup for us to drink from. The guys thought it was absolutely hilarious to yell "WATER! WATER!" at me, thereby dubbing me the watergirl. Soon they took up a cry of "Ashley! Ashley!" and oftentimes would mix it up by shouting "SONIA!" It was our inside joke that I was "Sonia" because when we first came to the house, we had our own individual cups to drink from with a piece of tape that had our name on it. I'd looked in vain for my name but couldn't find it. Apparently a girl named Sonia was expected to come on the trip but didn't... while I wasn't expected to come and did. As a result, I wound up using the cup that said "Sonia". The entire five day trip, whenever someone yelled "ASHLEY" or "WATER" for fun, I'd reply by saying "SONIA" in an unnaturally high-pitched voice. It was hilarious.

I thrive off of making people laugh, which was a bit more difficult to do since not many people could understand my sarcasm and jokes. Thank God that Julie was there, since I could freely joke around with her. One time we were sitting at the table for dinner when Julie leaned back in her chair and announced to me that her Spanish brain was officially fried for the day.

"Yeah, mine too," I said sarcastically. "So you've got a brain fart?"

"More like brain constipation," she replied.

"That sounds like it's really clogging up the brain toilet," I said, grinning.

We both laughed and she got up to put her dishes away. I suddenly realized that Omar, one of the youth, had been sitting between us during this entire conversation and now had the strangest expression on his face of amusement and incredulity.

"Sorry," I told him. "American potty humor." He nodded.

I started to say something about brain toilet plungers, but changed my mind. "I was about to take that joke even further, but I don't think I will."

"Thank you," he said seriously.

I could get away with being sarcastic as long as it was obvious from the tone of my voice and as long as I was speaking to the right people. But words could only go so far. I wound up resorting a lot more than usual to physical comedy. I'm happy to say that everyone laughed more with me than at me and my suckish Spanish ways.

The experiences of the trip will be continued again later today. Pt. 1 was pretty serious so I decided to go with something more lighthearted in this one. This blog post is getting mighty long so I'm stopping for a while. Keep checking back!

1 comment:

  1. I completely found this on accident... It brought a huge smile to my face. Jules, I love you so!