La Chureca, Nicaragua

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Looky here!

Piazza di Unita... Gentleman enjoying wine and snacks in the afternoon. 

Sunset by the boats

we went to a Reggae Concert, "Desnuda Playa" in the Canal last night!
(Left to right: Kaitlin, Me, Liz, Kristin, Lizzy)

The guy in the gray sweatshirt made it to the "let me take a stealth picture category"... He had interesting facial hair that i didn't get a good picture of!

Testing my Italian

Testing my Italian...

This morning I made a little mission on my own called: operation wallet return... I left  my apartment at 8 am expecting to make a ten to fifteen minute walk to 'Trieste Transporti' and forty five minutes later I arrived!!!

My phrases that got me through five conversations: dove es... No parlo italiano.. Palare espaƱol o inglesse? And I found all my "I like..' and "I can count to.." an random words I know in Italian Just didn't cut it!!

All of my helpers:
An old lady I met in a park--yes I wandered into a sort of park,  who just finished her shopping--she told me something I kind if understood but then didn't really follow

And then an older gentleman who was super kind but I think was born with or had surgery to remove a big part of his head (there was a big concave inwards cavity in the place where your forehead normally curves out). I wished I  weren't loss and that I could speak better italian to have talked to him more

Then there were the three people in the caffe the old man directed me to. The owners and another elderly lady who took my hand and told me to walk down this steet. I learned, "diestre" and "avanti" from her (right and straight which I probably just spelled wrong).

Last- when finally I had begun tot get frustrated and I finally knew what street I was in but not I was going in the right direction, I stopped this lady with a cute dog that was the color of chip (our old min pin) and looked like Chip but just a slightly bigger breed and asked another new phrase, dove questi via dei lavoratori? ( where is...) an pointed onto my map.

I told her I was going to "trieste transporti" as well and she took my hand and showed me after saying a few things in Italian that I didn't understand. I saw the sign and sighed with relief and gave her a huge "gratzie" smile. I made it!

And by the way people, maps are deceiving, I guess I had been looking or a road which was actually a highway that I actually could not walk on.

Anyway, I just have another reason to be thankful and give the Lord praise this morning. I have my wallet and everything back!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Lost becomes found

My wallet was found!!! Apparently people in Trieste turn in lost things!!! I am so thankful!!! Tomorrow I get to go pick it up!! I hope money is still in it!!! PTL!!!

By the way, posting from my itouch at school again :)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

you win some you lose some...

I have now been in Italy for a little over a week and I'd like to report my first episode of what I'd like to call, 'you win some, you lose some...' Trieste style.

Let me start with some wins (because I like to stick with the positivity of all situations always!):

Win #1. My two roommates: Liz and Lizzy... Did I mention them? what yes, they're awesome, they like to travel, we have an open door policy--which really means open door and we like a lot of the same things, which makes buying food and deciding what to do very easy. They both also speak Italian and have been the best teachers yet!
So, Win #1, definitely the sweetest roommate matchup--Bravo girls you rock !
(Here are Liz and Lizzy with the fantabulous Carrie picking wild berries on our nature walk)

Win #2. Church: It's called "Tre." it's a little church about five minute walk from my apartment that looks like any old shop you would pass on the streets of Italy. It is a very cozy two story space. Everyone is awesome, meaning they genuinely look at you, see you, and welcome you with open arms and the songs that were sung this morning I recognized as some that I have sung back home, but here they were in Italian! I completely shed tears (surprised?) this morning at church as I recognized the tunes and thought of how one day in heaven it will really be a gathering of people from every tribe, tongue, and nation praising the Lord. It was awesome to sit and just soak in all the words and the message! I hope it will also help me as I learn italian. But for real... moving to a new place and meeting a new church family has completely helped with the transition :)
(this is the catholic church near our house--San Giacomo--i don't have a picture of Tre yet)

Win #3. People watching and the introduction to "Trieste-orialist/Mocktorialist"-- (yep a mouthful):
Before I left for Italy, I started following the blog, the Sartorialist (try it it's awesome). On this blog you can find street fashion pictures posted daily with some comments in four major cities: Milan, Florence, Paris, and New York. Obviously, you can see my worry at the fact that Trieste, Italy is underrepresented in the mix of fashion--so today as I traveled around the city, I began to steathily snap photos of people's get-ups. I am happy to say, I would like to post them for opinion. Also happy to say, that I may have a lot of shots of older people--seeing as how the population in this fabulous city is a little older then other Italian places.

Look at pictures below:
Gutsy see through dress--awesome blue heels--sorry couldn't get a front shot...Typical male.

two men walking with canes and bright colors...

Liz-with let's face it--awesome angled bangs, and a flattering patterned t-shirt dress from a fun store in the city that will not be named...

And the Reason for Trieste-orialist/Mocktorialist:

Guy on the right walks into "Il Pinguino" with popped collar, burnt orange pants, green socks and some type of loafers. He looked awesome!

The guy to the left of him was sporting a nice collar too...

Here he is folks--look at that belt! the popped collar! Hope to find many more inspirations while I'm here :)

Win #4: Having Princess Status in Trieste...

Liz and I were exploring the Castello di San Giusto (yes we have castles about ten minutes from our apartment) and we asked a German family to take our picture. The mother said, "Yes, I'll take your picture as long as you tell my daughter you are princesses." I say, "of course, I'm the princess of Puerto Rico!" and her daughter's face lights up... the mother says, "Heels and long hair... its got to mean princesses!"
(so here I am!)

So yea... awesome--a four year old German girl thinks I'm the princess of Puerto Rico--and yes... that made my day! :)

Ok a brief stint on the "Losses" will now be permitted:

Loss #1 (of one i hope):

I LOST MY WALLET on the Bus on the way to school! Yes! I did it... I'm a penniless, nameless, identity-less pauper now in Italy--take a moment and sympathize with me...I sympathized with myself :)
(one of these bad boys took my wallet--actually it was a bus not a tram!)
My mom said, at least you have your passport! (and I agree!)... and my director and other school veterans said its' a possibility that when everything opens on Monday, somebody could have turned it in in Lost and found--we'll see!

So there you go... you win some... you lose some... and I'll call it a day :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Food, freedom, and friends...round two

This time I will actually include the food part.

So I remembered just yesterday that I wanted to begin to document all of the yummy foods and places that I am blessed to be seeing and experiencing. This way everyone can have a picture menu of what they want to eat and see when they come to visit!

So here we are with some food:
Look Coca Cola Light (with my friend Molly kindly acting as a model in the background)! The information is written in Italian!

Pizza Primavera: Made with prosciutto Crudo e Rucola

My new favorite drink: Latte Machiatto
(oh so sweet and yummy!)

and oops I didn't take any more pictures of food yet... so more to come!

Next some pictures:

Here's my school! It's in cleaning and getting ready stage :)

This is our first grade classroom... Amanda and I will attack it this coming week!

Here is my music resource closet... I get to explore and find out what I have this week!

This is the tram we take up to the Opicina village where the school is located. The tram line was originally opened in 1902 (old!--find more about the actual history via wikipedia clicking HERE)

Here's the inside of the tram car...four of the five original 1935 models of the trams are still in use today! Crazy huh!?

So much to share.... I LOVE ITALY!

food, freedom, and friends...round One

this is the sunset over the Adriatic sea...I'm viewing this from a pier

This is me on our balcony of our apartment the first evening we arrived!

The Plane was a prop plane!

Packing point of view

Luca! Before I left! Nina giving him a quick rinse off after a major Poonami! :)

And I have more.. but my computer was slow to load last night/this morn... .so i'll just start with these five :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

School, thoughts, and notes from my itouch

This morning I am sitting in the outside of My school waiting for our meetings and logistics to begin. 

I am so excited to be here and don't know even where to begin with the things I am seeing, learning, and doing.

Ok so from an itouch-- here are a short few points:
(again pictures will probably follow this post since I am currently on my itouch)

The Ride/View:
- I get to ride this really sweet wooden tram up a mountain (ok hill) to get to my school. The tram is really old!!! As the tram climbs up the hill you get postercard views of the city which is literally right on the water and completely picturesque!! You see tips of red roofs and buildings of all different organic and Earth tone colors...all my favorites!!!

The school:
The school is a small little community and the grounds we are on are near a male foster home/ school that trains the young men in different trades. And I just talked to a man from a
Group visiting playing basketball on the grounds from a home with adults/people with intellectual disabilities that live I think nearby in Opicina an I hope to meet them again soon.

I just saw my music cabinet/materials and there is a lot!!! It is currently a mess but I am so happy to go through it all and discover what I had

I learned the school is about 99% esl and got so excited- they are the kind of students I want!! And all my curry ESOL training will be put to great use here!!!

My first grade classroom is so cute!! Amanda my lead teacher is so welcoming, prepared, and chill. She's petite blond woman with very kind eyes just to paint a picture for ya. We have all these plans already for decoration and set up for the classroom and I"m happy to say folks that we"ll hopefully be equipped with a bathtub, balance beam, and piano (woot woot what a place for learning to happen)

And I"ll post some pictures later today :)  

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I made it to Italy


Nikki asked me if the background was fake!
and just to let you know... It's NOT!

Anyway, made it safe after an overnight flight with Liz Baar (fabulous roommate that I just met that day). Got to the city midday Friday and moved into a really sweet apartment (pictures to follow) where we met up with Lizzy DiMattia (My other fabulous roommate this year) and its been a whirlwind of events and wow moments! More to follow as I process all this stuff :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Two Days...


I have been fortunate enough to be surrounded by family and friends as I get ready for my departure and I can't believe it's just around the corner!

Current Checklist:
  • See "Eat, Pray, Love" (tonight anyone down?)
  • Downsize Things taking over there again for the millionth time (if at all possible i would)
  • Figure out where to put my books!
  • Call people back-- if you are one who has left me v-mail; I'm working on it!
  • Buy International Converters
  • Hit the Bank (not rob it, but hit my accounts--is that break the bank? what's the right term?)
  • Cancel my six-day temporary health insurance the day I leave :)
  • EAT lots of dad's homecooked Puerto Rican food and Scott's PCP (Peppers-Chicken-pasta)
A Pre-Departure Airport Adventure:
By the way I had Sal the III drive me to the airport yesterday with one of my suitcases. We have been having debates here at home as to whether or not our scales are accurate or twenty pounds off. Well, after explaining to the security man that I was "really early" for my Thursday flight, he let me walk over to the weighing stations of the Lufthansa kiosk and find out that my suitcase that weighed 66 lbs in Centreville--weighed 64 lbs at Dulles---so I guess the Rivera scale is working? (that is still under debate since my dad weighed himself on the "most accurate" scale at his school revealing a true weight for him 20 pounds lighter than home). Anyhoo, it was quite a scene--Sal the III did circles around the airport while I weighed the suitcase and we had this whole plan of attack with "Just-In Case" scenarios--like "just in case the cops pull you over for being the sketchy car that keeps driving around the airport" --In the end they were not needed but we had fun drawing up plans regardless.

Ciao for now!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Procrastination and Garage Band = Midnight FUN!

Ok, I just have way too much fun procrastinating and not packing.... procrastinating and not packing go hand and hand currently. Basically, I find people to hang out with, I find fun things to do on my computer... and bam! Hours have gone by without progress in the moving to Italy department :)

Oh well--I did get a bunch of boxes packed and a year's supply of much needed toiletries and cold medicine ready for departure (hoping for good health but bringing all the medicines that got me through the H1N1, "Swine", "swu", or my favorite name, "Dust Cough" from last fall.)

I am attaching a link to a Garage Band song I just made with a Funk Magic mix below: Happy! 10 days and I'm outta here!

*disclaimer: I'm not playing any of the instruments...just singing Funk (and oh how I love funk!)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Flat Tires, Dead Batteries, Alarms and Technology

I truly believe the United States is through with me and cars. And while I believe that, I also have come to believe that I'm God's favorite (ok now, we all are, but he's currently teaching me that lesson personally) and I'm learning and accepting more grace through the area of motor vehicles.

Let's start with example one: I'm driving down a country road 10:05 at night. I hear a bluh-p, bluh-p, bluh-p, bluh-p, bluh-p and a car rattling followed by extreme shaking from my rear left tire zone and I know I have a flat tire (ughh--I'm in a dress!). The windy country road has no lights lining it nor pull off areas and I'm by myself. I know I have friends leaving the same event I was just at and that there's a gas station near by, so I keep moving 20 mphs on down to the gas station and call them to let them know what's up.

I pull in and block a car from exiting from where they were pumping gas. I get out and take a deep breath as I examine it. Now the guy I blocked in comes and stands next to me to also examine the damage. He's from the country, wearing a baseball cap, tan, blue t-shirt, and sporting jorts and sneakers. Follows me to my trunk and says, "Now mam, i'm just tryin' to help; not tryin' to steal anythin'," begins pulling out my spare kit, when his buddy comes out of the convenient store and joins right in. I hear the same line, "mam I'm not tryin' steal anythin', just gettin' some mo' tools out the back." (ok they had an endearing country accent and its hard to recreate). 30 seconds later, my car is jacked. Two minutes later they find my problem--a huge nail. One minute later, they've repaired it (but I've done too much damage to my wheel from driving on it to use it). They give me some instructions and advice, finish servicing my car, putting on the spare, tell me they're mechanics- and drive off after having some pleasant conversations with me, my friend Steph, and Kiersten (who is about to get married the next day), and accepting no kind of gift.

They were in one minute, out the other. Totally improved my situation and gave me better service than any professional I probably could have called that night and accepted nothing from me and just left. I mean dark country road people. Total darkness and not so fun--to TWO mechanics ready and willing to help? I just have to be thankful for that and wowed that I'm watched out for.

Example Two: I'm in Baltimore. I'm on my last day as a "freelance researcher" for the DOE (Department of Education), "ready to learn" grant testing to help improve literacy in low-income areas of Baltimore. I jump into my car, put the keys in the ignition and hear a little "put, put put," followed by, "ANH, ANH, ANH, ANH!" My car battery was dead, and my alarm system on the car was going off! Of course I have no clicker for my VW to turn it off since it's a 96' and I'm stranded for all of ten seconds on this unfamiliar street in Baltimore thinking, "What am I going to do?"

A car pulls up beside me, and a heavy-set, tattooed "Mark" with brown scruffy hair, beard, and maroon shirt, and jeans rolls down his window where his "Honey,"a brown-haired, oval shaped, brownish green eyed sweet woman says, "Oh dear, we been watchin' that car all last night wonderin' who it belonged to," and continues through a slightly raspy smoker voice, "we knew it'd be dead this mornin' but didn't know how to find who owned the vehicle." Eek, I left the lights on? Mark leans over his honey and says, "I'm takin' her to work and I'll be right back to jump your car."

They drive off, I stay standing next to my, "ANH-ANH-ANH-ANH!" angry dead car waiting. People walk by and either 1. look at me with pitiful expressions (that was one girl and she actually asked what was wrongt) or 2. Completely ignored my existence and the car which you could probably hear from two to three blocks around.

Mark comes back--Puts on the jumper cables and helps me while my car keeps yelling at us. We end up calling a volkswagon dealer to learn how to turn off the alarm (pretty cool trick if any of you ever want to know, ask) and then my car's back on.

As we wait for it to charge, he tells me how him and his honey have moved to this part of Baltimore because it's nicer area. He says its a shame that the John Hopkins University student just got murdered (he points right behind him where he says it happened), by people who live nearby (he points in front of us where apparently they came from). And suddenly I am struck with major intense grattitude (more so than I already had, and I'm telling you my thankful meter has been off the charts) because I'm realizing that I'm probably not in the safest place. This guy Mark totally saved me in my situation. Got me going, gave me some advice, and said, "Hey, it's my good deed for the day." Then he drives off out of my life.

Again, can't do anything for these people--they wouldn't accept anything from me. I said, "bless you," and expressed my grattitude, then had an intense prayer session asking God to bless them and let him know how thankful I am... but really words are not enough! It seems that I can never do anything at all to repay them for their kindness... I will never be able to give them something back in return for how good they were to me in those moments.
(I feel like I'm up in the clouds)

Anyway, these car scenarios keep bringing me to God's grace. Grace. I love the word. I've learned that grace is unmerited favor--meaning that I didn't do anything to deserve it. That it is God's Riches At Christ's Expense... meaning I get to experience goodness because of what Jesus did for me on the cross. And I truly am reminded of all that through guys like my back country friends who fixed my flat tire, and my tattooed friend Mark, who just pulled up beside me and saved my situation. These were favorable moments--these people didn't owe me anything, I didn't earn a right to their help or their services, but they just gave help freely to a D.I.D (Damsel in Distress--for all you Hercules Disney movie watchers) who could give nothing back. And the fact that I can give them nothing back but accept the gift, just brings me gratitude and love for these people. And gratitude love for God who did the same thing for me when he pulled me out of my dead state to offer life before I knew him. And hey... let the good deeds roll because they have been awesome lessons!

and my last totally off topic side-note that I have been thinking about:
I just wanted to reflect about how cool technology is--that this morning I talked to Savanna and Diane all the way in Bangladesh and got a tour of their apartment and see their new roommate--all because of technology and Skype! So great!

And now, as I'm getting kicked off the roads of the U.S through car troubles, and have sat in Grace abounding thought sessions, while figuring out skype... I believe I can sign off and get some major packing done for Italy!

15 days!