Week 1

Hi all –

So I’ve officially been living in San Juan Del Sur for just over a week now. It’s hard to describe just where to start with all that’s happened since I’ve been here in some organized fashion, but I’ll give it a shot. I’ll start off by sharing a few of my initial reactions and photos:

  • It is no joke HOT here. Like….90 or so all the time. The room I’m staying in for the time being is totally insufferable unless I have a fan blowing in my face. And apparently it will just get worse during dry season…here’s to hoping I adjust.
    El Gato Negro – there has been a lot of time spent indoors to beat the heat

    Also a lot of time at the beach
  • The town itself is really quite small, only 8-10 streets that run in some version of a grid, I can walk to the edge of central SJDS in 7 minutes or so – this is disregarding the outer neighborhoods (barrios) that I’m still not totally clear on

    I live on one side of town and those mountains are 5 blocks away and the other edge of town
  • Family is super important. The family I’m living with is a grandmother and her children living with their spouses and children all in one house
  • The electricity goes out a lot
  • Most tourists can be loosely placed in 1 of 3 groups:
    • backpackers that are here to party or surf or just hang out in a beautiful place for a while
    • Those who are here supporting some sort of social cause or calling with a charity or non-profit group
    • And, those who are retired or have come here because they can afford retirement/a higher quality of life here

                 *many people can fit into more than one of these and of course there are outliers

  • One issue with this sudden and rapid flow of tourism is that prices are going up. While it is still quite inexpensive to go out to dinner and pay rent or participate in activities like fishing, horseback riding, zip lining, surfing, etc. they are all rising pretty significantly while local wages are not

  • I brought 4 cardigans that I can promise you I will never wear
  • The wifi here leaves a lot to be desired…though it is easy to access free wifi at most local bars and cafes and even the park!

With that, I’m  at  very exciting and strange cross roads here in my life as a “blogger” (I use this title lightly as not to offend any real blogger who may beg to differ). In the past I was blogging purely as a tourist for somewhat short periods of time and as someone with loads of motivation and desire to travel on the weekends and experience new things as rapidly as possible. The difference here is that I am here for the next year and I’m working full time which means less travel and more time locally.

A lot of the other blogs I’ve read about Nicaragua read a lot like “how to’s” which I found incredibly helpful when making my decision to move here. I could write about the things I see hear and my opinion of it but run the risk of offending family, friends, co workers, and strangers about my private thoughts and reactions. The point is – I’m not sure where to go with this or what will be the most interesting thing to write about, TBD.

What I do know is that I want to become part of this community over the next year and have no interest is being grouped in with the foreigners that come here to party and be disrespectful of the local culture and environment while they are here. With  this comes the realization that I don’t want to be someone who takes pictures of the “kids” or the “people” here because of the discomfort that I know I’d feel if the local community here traveled to my home and did the same to me. If there is something worth taking a picture, for example the independence day parade I saw earlier today, then of course I will take a photo to help commemorate my time here.

This travel experience is different than anthing I’ve done before in that because the town is so small people will recognize me and I will have a reputation. My goals are to blend in, teach awesome English classes, and grow as a person – all of which I expect I can accomplish here.

So…stay tuned. This blog will hopefully grow into something consistent and interesting where I can share my experiences and learn a thing or two about myself and what I’m passionate about along the way.

Thanks for reading! Hasta pronto!

Alaina

Let’s be honest….

This has always been more of a travel blog anyway.

For those of you who are new to the blog – welcome! Expect pictures and totally inconsistent posting about my travels.

For those of you who have followed before – welcome back! Thanks for sticking around.

As an update — I’m moving to Nicaragua….tomorrow.

For those of you looking for specifics here’s brief run-down:

  • I have accepted a position at a school in San Juan Del Sur (SDJS), Nicaragua (

    PC: 1800 San Juan Del Sur
  • I’m leaving my life in the north east for, at least, the next 9 months to follow my passion for education and international development to see how it goes
  • No, Ellis isn’t coming with me
  • No, I have never been to Central America before
  • Yes, I speak Spanish (for the most part)
  • I am both excited and nervous

So, there you have it. If you are reading this an happen to live in SDJS or Nicaragua and have any advice or would like to play Frisbee when I arrive – let me know.

Stay tuned and expect updates soon. Thanks for reading!

-Alaina

Health & Wellness in College

 

Image by Kayla Hedman

 

Yes… this is usually a travel blog. But lately it’s been more of a life blog, so I’m going to talk about something that has become recently very important to me: Health & Wellness. 

My health/weight/eating habits/lifestyle (Whatever you want to call it, I’ve heard it all) is something I’ve struggled with and thought about the majority of my life. I was always a very active person, played sports, had jobs where I stood on my feet, etc. but love to eat, and I am not picky. I love really healthy, organic, vegan food, I love fast food, I love food that comes out of a plastic bag, and food you buy off a street cart in China…and this has always been my problem.

To combat this I have tried working out. Since I was about 17, give or take, I’ve joined gyms, started fitness classes, and pretty much everything you can think of to improve my overall health…and nothing has truly worked until my friend Victoria invited me to a RIPPED class at Champlain. Now, nearly a year later, I have no idea what it is but I’m totally and completely obsessed with this workout program, and it has encouraged me to try new things and stick with it, such as DaVinci Body Boarding, Tabata, Body Pump, Body Combat, T25, and various forms of Yoga. I started working out nearly daily while I was living in China and figured it was just a matter of time before I fell off the horse again, which has always been the case, and now almost a year later I’m still as committed, if not more than, when I started.

I’m not interested in a diet or short term solution, this is a lifestyle improvement. My eating habits are something I think about every day and I’ve been working, along with many of my friends and family, to make healthier choices. At this point I feel like I know nearly all these is to know about health and nutrition, I could practically teach a class on it, I just need to put that knowledge into my everyday life. Which is much easier said than done. This past year I have made significant health and wellness changes and it has been far more wonderful and beneficial than I could ever imagine. I have a #fitfam of 8-10 Champlain students and staff that continue to motivate me and work hard with me day after day. My friends Sara, Larissa, and Brenda are all working toward healthier lifestyles for various reasons and we work to keep each other honest and on track with our goals. My family who has dealt with me and my struggles for almost 22 years understand how I feel and how to support and encourage me.

This was an important step I decided to take a year ago and I feel so proud of myself that I have been able to commit to fitness, and can’t wait until I can pride myself on my commitment to healthy eating. I’m not exactly sure why I decided to write this post, I think it could be because I’m so excited about the upcoming Champlain College Wellness Day and hope that maybe another person will attend the event and decide to start their journey into a longer and happier life by making the decision to eat right and find a form of exercise that they love and inspires them, as I was lucky enough to do. I have a long way to go and this journey isn’t about a number on a scale or dress size, it is about finding a stress outlet and taking care of myself, it is about having more energy to be motivated and involved, it is about making social connections and treating my body with respect,and it is about having a long and happy life.

If you are interested please join us on Sunday at Champlain College for our Health & Wellness Day. It is free and open to the public. Please join the Facebook page if you would like to attend.

Whether you like yoga, RIPPED, personal training, healthy food, or just want to come learn what the hype is about we would be so happy to see you there.

 

Thanks for Reading!

Peace. XOXOX. Alaina.

 

 

I need a job…

If I’m going to run off to CA with my friends in less than 3 months and actually enjoy it and not be super stressed…I need a job. I didn’t think it would be this hard! When my dad was laid off or my friends who had graduated were complaining about the process, I thought they were just being melodramatic. This is like another part-time job, bring on the melodrama! 

However, some days I do truly love the experience, it feels like such an adult thing to do, looking for a job that will be a stepping stone for your career. ~Woah~

I have had a few semi-successful interviews, but I have received just as many, if not more, rejection letters. I worked really hard to get where I am so these rejections won’t bring me down! But….if you know of anyone hiring…send them my way. 😉 

Thanks for reading! 

Peace. XOXOX. Alaina 

I’m going on a Road Trip!

Photo Cred: http://www.escapecampervans.com

BREAKING NEWS:

Just confirmed (over the past few weeks) that I will be going on a road trip this summer with my two best friends, Sara & Brenda.

I was going to jump right into my career and try to find a position that started immediately after my internship but I never do things like this, take time off to enjoy myself. I started working when I was 14, took a month off when I was looking for a job freshman year of college, and didn’t work while I was in Spain (not that I would have been able to do much work there anyway…). So I’m allowing myself a little time off before I become a real person.

As the story goes…  I was casually perusing my typical coupon websites (you know, groupon, living social, ruelala, etc) and I came across a 40% discount for a  camper van   from The Clymb. After a bit of persuading I convinced my friends to live in a van with me for a week & I couldn’t be more excited.

Our tentative plan (that will change 50 times before we actually leave in June) is as follows:

Day 1: Fly into San Francisco, check into an AirBnB room and begin exploring

Day 2: Enjoy the morning in San Francisco, pick up the van and head east to Yosemite , stay overnight at campground there

Day 3: Spend the entire day exploring Yosemite and head back west toward Pismo State beach to drive-on the beach and stay there overnight

Day 4: The next day will be spent enjoying the beautiful sights of Rt. 1 such as Santa Barbara, Malibu, and Santa Monica, hopefully that night we can park the van at my family’s house to spend the next few nights in the LA area (hint hint, family) 

Day 5: LA, Baby

Day 6: More LA, Baby

Day 7: Head West to the Grand Canyon in the early morning, arrive in the afternoon and stay at a campground

Day 8: Explore the Grand Canyon, Head North East to Las Vegas, return the campervan

Day 9: Vegas, Baby (Where we will meet up with my other two friends)

Day 10: Another day in Vegas

Day 11: Fly back to Boston? (This could happen on Day 10 or 11 depending on ticket costs)

Overall we will be driving about 14,000 miles for 25 hours over the ~10 days. Yes, this route is indirect but I’m young and don’t care about the logical way to take this trip, I wanna see what I wanna see.

If anyone has suggestions on places to see or stay along this route please let me know. I’m hoping to update this blog, if I can, with the information about my trip including the stages of planning and the trip itself!

Inexpensive suggestions are welcome and donations for a soon-to-be college grad just livin’ life are welcome! We’ll call it a “graduation gift”.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, expect or remind me to write more soon!

Peace. XOXOX. Alaina

It’s been a while

So…

It has been over 100 days since I last blogged – which is a long time. The intention of this blog was to talk about my travels but why not talk about my life in general? I’m a fairly interesting person, I like to try new foods and go new places and I’m busier than pretty much everyone know I know so why not add something else to do? I renamed this blog “All Things are Difficult Before They are Easy,” because it is quite possibly the truest thing I have ever heard. Life isn’t easy – it’s hard. Remember when it was hard to read? Remember when it was hard to cook dinner or walk upstairs without losing your breath? This is a blog for me to figure it all out – to try and make it easy.

By the by, Here’s a few photos of what you’ve missed the past 100 days:

Thanks for reading!

Peace. XOXOX. Alaina.