Nicaragua, Manhattan, Ave 5, and an Escape Artist

Here’s an update with what’s happening in our world….

Michael has been in Nicaragua for nearly 3 months. He was in La Paz with a warm loving family. He had lots of classes, lots of supervision and it was all prep for the assignment.  But tomorrow he is moving to his new permanent location on the eastern side of the country, the South Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAS).  This portion of the Nicaragua has been notably separate from the rest of country. Michael described it as “cattle country” and said it looked like scenes from an old western movie – dirt roads in town, saloon, old buildings.  That was when he was on a week-long visit to the new location. The elections are over, Ortega (a Sandinista) is still in power, and so maybe it will stay calm while he is there. It’s VERY possible he will be the only white guy in town, definitely the only American. His Spanish still needs more work, but he’ll get plenty of practice. Most of the people around him on this side of the country do not speak any English. And his original host family found it improper to correct him, so he’s not getting it as fast as he had hoped. That will probably change! I think his biggest lesson might be to learn to not speak up when he sees oppression and political problems. He already told me that in the elections, there were sometimes more votes cast than there actually were people in the town. hmmm. (Michael, shhhhh!)

Katie has been in Manhattan going to acting classes full time.  Her roommate is from England, so that has been interesting for her. She takes special coaching classes now to help her with tightness in her body that she didn’t realize she had. This weekend, she has tickets to see An Evening with Mandy Patinkin and Patty LaPone at the Ethel Barrymore theatre. She will LOVE it!!  And she comes home for Thanksgiving next week. Tickets were half price to fly ON Thanksgiving Day, so she will be breezing in just in time for a 4 PM feast! Poor child has been living on Lean Cuisines and street vendors!

Alyssa is wrapping up Phase 2 of Avenue Five’s Cosmetology program. She has been on the salon floor for 2 out of 5 days per week. Phase 3 moves into 3 of 5 days per week.  She has several aesthetician friends that are graduating (there program is 1/2 as long) and she’s a little sad about that.  But she’s on track for graduation in early May.  She has a 104% attendance rate (she clocks in early in the a.m.’s). This strikes me as funny because I think she had about a 64% attendance rate when she went to Pflugerville High School.  So I’m meeting her for lunch and we’re doing a little shopping at Cavender’s – right across the street from her school. “Mom, it’s a Miss Me Jeans sale!!!”

Ron has been trying out different campgrounds each weekend. But THIS weekend, we’re putting together a greenhouse for the backyard! No more lugging plants into the bath tub with a grow light for the winter! Now they will have their own winter home and that makes me happy!!

I’m trying to spruce up the house for Thanksgiving. Ron’s brother Scott and his wife Pam are coming for dinner.  Alyssa and Josh are going to his parent’s house at 1 p.m. and then back to us at 4 p.m. I might send them to pick up Katie.

Gracie…back inside, comfy on the couch!

*1 more update! Gracie escaped this morning! I heard barking and I thought it was the dogs barking out the front window. But the door wasn’t shut all the way when Alyssa left for class and there was Gracie, sniffing around in the yard. It was sending Buddy around the bend, he knew it was ALLL WRONG!!!  So, one quick, “Hey Dogs! Treats!!” and she was right back inside. As Josh would say, “that’s a trained dog!”


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