We sit. We watch the waves. We take dips in the ocean and pool. We eat and play board games. We read. The boys constantly kidnap Mike to pull him to a hammock, a couch, a bed for another story. "Tell us about Muck the dump truck and Sir Lancelot and Santa." This house has five gathering spaces and one little television tucked away in a bedroom that nobody can understand any show anyway. For the first four days we had no Internet, no phone and all day yesterday we had no power. It's perfect.
The flight down to Nicaragua was one of the easiest I've ever traveled. Security was a breeze, we went to a kid's play place during our layover in Miami, everybody was happy and flights were on time. When we arrived we had a bit of a wait to get through customs and getting the rental car was by far the most patience inducing. We arrived at our hotel around 11:15PM and all went out to dinner. Surprisingly the boys were still doing fine! We slept well, swam in the morning and met a man to follow out to the coast to the beach house.
Driving in Nicaragua is a fun experience for the riders. You can take in the mass of traffic, spot the horses and ox among the cars and buses and get a full feel for the chaos without actually having to navigate through it. Stopped at lights, women walk through with fruit on their heads, men hand out water stored in baggies and even a make shift hardware store was there in the case you needed to purchase a saw at a red light. My dad did a great job of making it through a traffic jam where people would just hop curbs to get into lanes heading the opposite direction and didn't flinch when a bus came within 5 inches of our doors as it bumped over the curb in an effort to make any sort of headway. Semi trucks were inching through and amazingly we felt safe. I've been more nervous heading down I70 when there were only 2 other cars next to me. You feel as if this is the way it's supposed to be. After we left the city of Managua and headed through the fields towards the coast you get an appreciation of the amount of work that goes into maintaining these roads. Miles and miles of cobblestone roads make up the highway. Pavers placed individually by hand and we only came across a few potholes, all marked by cones and workers there to pound a new stone back into place.
We saw farm fields being cut by men and machete's, ox pulling loads of sugar cane? we weren't sure. Horse and buggies making their way from one town to another, a thing that took our car about 2 hours to accomplish. Homes that can only be described as shacks with people who sat outside smiling.
Pulling into our neighborhood we found pigs on the side of the road, chickens pecking at the ground and homes not bigger than 20 feet by 20 feet. They are made out of tin sides and roof, holes in the walls and have big water cisterns in the front that we have seen people bathing from. A scene that would cause an uproar in papers across the US is standard living down here, not 50 yards from where I sit. Then you reach our house. Manicured lawn, a half acre of paradise that is worthy of any magazine. Three buildings, two for bedrooms, one for a kitchen. An outside living and dining room with nothing besides a grass top roof and no walls. A tiled patio and small infinity pool overlooking an amazingly clean and open beach.
This house, this place, this way of life that we get to experience down here (without sounding overly dramatic) is food for my soul. There is quite literally nothing to do other than play games, read, swim and drink a pina colada. The house manager tells us we should just have groceries delivered, that they will keep a tally and we can pay on a weekly basis. There is no laundry on site, so we will send it out. Living like this in the backyard of people living like they are can't but help lend a feeling of intrusion. And yet. And yet catering to homes like this provides an employment that pays and a life out of a shack. The groundskeeper and his family live on this little piece of paradise and spend their day similar to ours, though minus the pool while we are here (though their little girl has come swimming with us). They look out at the ocean, sit with their family, and their three year old plays tag on the lawn with her mom. We haven't really ventured into the town yet as we can't help but feel like simple observers with no real way to communicate. We have found one other person who speaks English and none of us speak Spanish though Oliver is great with his "Hola!"'s. It's a strange feeling that I can't seem to wrap my head around. Simplicity is a life I love, yet if I really lived it, would it be something that I actually enjoy? Does the constant stress of success in the US provide purpose or is a life surrounded by family, quality time and not much else provide happiness? I am quite certain that I am seeing the best of worlds. I love that the past two years my parents have provided this month of nothingness. A complete getaway where quite literally there is nothing to do besides talking to one another, watching the boys create games (currently Ollie is sitting in a toaster box and Austin is trying to pull him around on the tile with a jump rope), learn to swim, to duck waves, to chase birds and giggle. After we have had our fill of rest we will rejoin the world of successful companies, education, friendships we love and dream of the next March :)
Coming up: Trips to market, a volcano, bat cave, and an old underground jail that is now operated by Nicaraguan boy scouts.