Good Morning Nicaragua

Good Morning Nicaragua

Good Morning Nicaragua

I haven’t thought much at all about how I’m going to blog about my three month stay in Nicaragua, thus, for this first post I will write it as personal travel diary.

Entering Nicaragua was simple, it lacked the tension of Mexico’s immigration “will they or will they not give me the length of visa I desire”. It did however require ten U.S. dollars, which of course I did not have. Fortunately, there’s a currency exchange in immigration. The cashier seemed baffled that I would have only Mexican pesos, but was helpful and friendly .

My friend picked me up and I felt at home immediately though I had not seen him in 15 years. His car was covered in dust, just like the bocho, and we caught up on each other’s history on two and a half hour drive to Rancho Santana.

I was relieved when we stopped at a couple of artisans shops, where he’s having some things made for the restaurant, that I understood everything that was said.

We had another encounter with the dollar at a local grocery. The register rings up both in Cordova’s and U.S. dollars, but your change comes in Cordovas regardless of how you pay.

This morning is very blustery. Rancho Santana’s location, on the isthmus of Nicaragua, ensures ample breezes. Thus far it feels a lot like home, except that I listened to the ocean as I fell asleep rather than the waves of air pouring down the Cerro Frio.

I Say Possible

La Tigra Gothic

La Tigra Gothic

I want to be a believer. I used to be. I was one of those people that said things like, “everything happens for a reason ,” “there are no coincidences we create our own reality”. But what I learned after moving to Mexico was that it’s much easier to believe such things when life falls into place, for the most part.

But when things fall apart…for years , well, one wonders how there can be reason behind cruelty and deceit , illness, poverty and suffering. Perhaps I was naive to assume that everything happening for a reason meant a “good” reason.

Still, I have an eternally optimistic side, I cultivate a cache of hope —that there is meaning—that life is not a random series of insignificant events.

Sometimes life rewards my tenacity.

Several months ago, I set out for the U.S. in search of a few months of work. I hoped to make enough to publish my book, buy Felipe a chainsaw, and make some much needed repairs to the house. Though I had very nice visit with my mother, and landed my first paid writing gig, I didn’t make any money. Still, because of my battered but prevailing belief system, I felt it was as it should be.

I came home and like a good citizen, I set my resolutions for the New Year: publish my book, finally learn to speak Spanish well, and keep the house from crumbling to rubble. I had no idea how I’d achieve these objectives. I’ve been in Mexico nine years and still have the annoying habit of saying, “en el pasado”, or “en la futura”, rather than learning the eight gazillion verb tenses of Espanol. I couldn’t imagine what might finally cajole me out of my laziness. The other goals required money I didn’t foresee making, and I had a debt to pay and a ticket to the U.S. the buy before May.

Then I received a message from an old friend, Brian Block.

“What would you think about coming down to Nicaragua to do some service and wine training with my staff?”

I replied, “Possible.”

The job is not exactly what I imagined doing in the U.S.  It’s MUCH better. Better money, in a fabulous location doing the most fun restaurant job there is. Obviously, I’ll be required to upgrade my Spanish, and there will be money embark on our projects.


Of course all this amazingness reminded me of a poem.  It is how I feel now.


By Dean Young


How could I not?
Have seen a man walk up to a piano
and both survive.
Have turned the exterminator away.
Seen lipstick on a wine glass not shatter the wine.
Seen rainbows in puddles.
Been recognized by stray dogs.
I believe reality is approximately 65% if.
All rivers are full of sky.
Waterfalls are in the mind.
We all come from slime.
Even alpacas.
I believe we’re surrounded by crystals.
Not just Alexander Vvedensky.
Maybe dysentery, maybe a guard’s bullet did him in.
I believe there are many kingdoms left.
The Declaration of Independence was written with a feather.
A single gem has throbbed in my chest my whole life
even though
even though this is my second heart.
Because the first failed,
such was its opportunity.
Was cut out in pieces and incinerated.
I asked.
And so was denied the chance to regard my own heart
in a jar.
Strange tangled imp.
Wee sleekit in red brambles.
You know what it feels like to hold
a burning piece of paper, maybe even
trying to read it as the flames get close
to your fingers until all you’re holding
is a curl of ash by its white ear tip
yet the words still hover in the air?
That’s how I feel now.


For the next three months VSVEVG will be posted from Rancho Santana, Nicaragua. 






“What Makes You Enthusiastic About Life?”

Bucketing: not my favorite task.

Bucketing: not my favorite task.

My blog buddy, Britt Skrabanek asked me to write a guest post for her Life Enthusiast series. It was my first guest post and I really enjoyed the process. It’s an interesting question to ask yourself, “What makes you enthusiastic about life?” I was quite surprised by my response.  Thank you Britt for including me in your excellent project and for making me think.

Britt’s blog is one of the few I enjoy enough to have delivered directly to my email box. I smile to see it there even before I open it. She spreads joy. What more can we ask for, really?

This is the link to my post at A Physical Perspective, if you’d like to know how I answered her insightful question. While you’re there: This is a one of Britt’s recent posts I really enjoyed.

I also highly recommend her latest book, Nola Fran Evie. It has strong, well developed female characters, it’s a little racy, and you’ll  learn about the All American Girl’s Professional baseball league! It would be a superb beach read if you’re taking a vacation to get out of the cold. But it’s an excellent book for any season.

Write on Britt!





View from Calabera point, Piedra Rahada, Morelos, Mx.

View from Calabera point, Piedra Rahada, Morelos, Mx.

I’ve been in the U.S. for almost two months. During that time I’ve read little and written even less, I’m also behind in my memorization project. It makes sense; I’m visiting, I’m working.

For awhile, I enjoyed searching the internet for content and publishing some posts not related to pigs, or the idiosyncrasies of living in La Tigra. But suddenly nothing interests me, and the posts I prepared for this week sound bland. I don’t have back ups as I always do when I’m at home. I’ve used my stash of poetry videos.

Why the malaise?  I wanted to blame it on laugh tracks and advertising and fake news, cynical expat that I am. Then I read Jamie Lee Wallace’s post on Live to Write, Write to Live, and it made sense. I haven’t been alone for weeks. Alone for me is more than no one else in the house, it’s more like no one within miles. With no time to talk to myself(aloud), bounce ideas off my dog and submerge myself in multiple books, well, I just don’t have much to say.

I think I’ll look at as many interesting things as I can in this last week in the U.S., laugh with my mom and fully immerse myself in foods and wine I don’t usually have access to. I’ll be back when I can manage to memorize another poem, or the mountain air clears my head. Peace to you all. Abby