It's a little bit silly to personify Nicaragua and say that she is treating me, one of her own (how I'd like to be thought of), so harshly, but that's the only way I can have a laugh about it afterwards. There have been so many things that at first have seemed as if though Nicaragua has rejected me, but I have quickly laughed them off. It's so funny actually, and it reminds me of an episode of Modern Family in which Phil travels to Australia (he believes he has a connection to it) to discover what it meant to his mom, but he falls victim to a series of unfortunate events from food allergies to bad animal encounters. At the end, someone tells him that Australia is ok to tourists, but gives tough love to its own people.
Of course, we have all dealt with sickness and other troubles on this trip, not just me. But, like Phil, I thought because I am of Nicaraguan descent, Nicaragua would greet me with open arms. As I write this I am chuckling remembering how I've been called "gringa" and "tu no sos una Nica verdadera" ("you're not a real Nica"), I've gotten diarrhea and constipated (as I'm sure most of us have), and I've gotten two allergic reactions to insect/mosquito bites that resulted in swollen eyes! At the time of their happening, I was a little upset. But looking back upon them now, I am looking at them with a smile and a giggle. "Of course this would happen ... alright Nicaragua, what's next?""
Today, I cried a little during our lunch break/siesta time because I found out that my great-grandma is not doing too well. If it hasn't come across already, I like to think of myself as a pretty positive person, so when my dad and aunt said, "Mama Bertha is sick...she is very bad," (something I've heard about this strong, preservering 101-year-old woman countless times before) I thought to myself, "Oh she'll be fine in no time." However, when the adults start planning goodbye trips to Nicaragua, talking about "staying as much time as she needs," and looking at cemetery plots, then is when it got too difficult to just laugh it off.
After thinking a bit though, I found I was able to smile. If that time does arrive for her, I'll actually be able to be by her side, seeing as though I happen to be in the country as this is happening. I like to think she's had a great run and she just wants to rest now. She is closing a great book of life and opening a new one in Heaven somewhere. It's hard to accept that this time she really won't get better again; I keep thinking, "in two weeks, she'll be better again and we'll gather up again as a family next June to celebrate her 102 years on this earth."
This time, Nicaragua has showed me how important it is to smile, to find the happiness in dark hours, and to keep going. I saw it in Estelí when I was homesick at church and they played a song my mom used to sing to us as kids. I've seen it in the joy filled faces of kids in the street that I originally thought I should feel bad for, but, on the contrary, they were having the time of their lives playing around barefoot, racing in blissful innocence. And I saw it in the unity of the people of San Juan de Limay when two of their own were killed on the 19th. I saw it in the solidarity of the town, the care people had for the families, and in the drawings and messages that little kids wrote for the families.
Whatever happens to my Abuelita Bertha, I know that in the end, I will smile, and maybe even have a little chuckle.
This said, I feel that my independent project has now come to a significant halt. I am at a point where I need to decide whether to continue with my original idea or make it more relevant to how I am feeling now with my grandma's situation.
|my sisters and I last year with our great-grandma|