Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Life in Granada Feels More 'Normal' Than Expected

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Life in Granada Feels More 'Normal' Than Expected

Article excerpt

Byline: AVI RICHMAN

GRANADA, Nicaragua - Nine seconds left in the game. Scobee kicks the ball. It is long enough, it is straight enough, and it is good. Jaguars win! Along with the rest of Jacksonville, I also got to enjoy that moment of Sunday's game, screaming with pleasure in the middle of a typical ex-pat bar that has a satellite feed and great hamburgers.

I then immediately left the bar, David Garrard jersey proudly worn, practically skipping down the streets of Granada, and headed back to my house to continue with my day.

It is amazing how normal life can feel sometimes. After eight weeks onsite, I am enjoying myself in Granada, with all its "normal" American experiences, while learning all I can about Nicaraguan and Granadian culture.

Granada, a big city by Nicaraguan standards, has provided me with an interesting, "atypical" Peace Corps experience during these first months. As I have mentioned previously, Granada is a very touristy city with a healthy community of ex-pats and other foreigners living here. I am able to pass my days speaking English, go sing Sweet Caroline at karaoke night and buy Peter Pan peanut butter at the local supermarket.

Internet cafes are everywhere, and toilets and constant electricity are commonplace. I am having a wonderful time meeting travelers from all over the world, love being able to watch football on cable television, and enjoy many interesting conversations in English.

But this environment, though enjoyable, does create difficulties in my quest to integrate and establish myself in the Granadian community. Many times, I have to go the extra mile to distinguish myself from the traveler or typical foreigner living here. I try to maintain professional dress at almost all times, exaggerate my ever-improving Nicaraguan accent and avoid many touristy places.

I am trying to become known as a good teacher and business adviser first and a foreigner second. …

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