Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Nicaragua minus pottery

Thanks to the Internet, my summer project has been a hop skip and a jump from a funky  pottery in Prague, to an eco community in the Nicaraguan 'jungle.'  

 Actually, read steamy tropics for  jungle !   Whether  jungle or sweltering tropics, I'm preparing myself for lots of unfamiliar animals, barking dogs, slithery beasties, and lots of torrential, tropical rain. 

  It's going to be an extremely long hop skip and jump from Granada Spain (never made it to Prague) to Granada, Nicaragua.  Then  there'll be a drive into  the sticky unknown.

Previously, anything to do with jungles seriously freaked me. Wasn't attracted.
Outdoor wildlife fine, at a bit of a distance.  Indoor wild life, no thank you.  

 Mosquitoes, scorpions, snakes - love  the  photos, love the films - but I do not love any of the above in my bedroom !  

However, something has mysteriously changed.  I seem to be 100% game to zap this life time phobia !

Every summer, apart from always eagerly learning more Spanish,  I love to immerse myself in some aspect of drawing, painting, ceramics, writing, or leaning a new skill.  Usually this requires being alongside other artists. Always it involves living communally.   Last year  I spent 3 weeks  at and arts center in the Spanish Pyrenees working on my screenplay.  This year it's going to be 3 weeks in Nicaragua, potting.

My first Internet search led me to Prague.  Two weeks of  making and decorating pots in a  funky studio with a talented teacher plus afternoon visits to colorful  local places, home stay or hostel.  Sounded wonderful. 

 Expensive and complicated  to get there from here though.  

No reply to my email.

Next search: a  fab studio near Valencia,  Raku pottery, right up my street.  

No reply to my email.

OK I though, how about combining Spanish  and pottery ?

Immediately  up popped NICARAGUA. 

Learn Spanish 3 days a week, make  and decorate pots with local potters in  indigenous villages 3 days a week  Home stay. Transport, local buses.

'Si señor,' I said out loud.
' Me voy !!'  ( I'm coming)

Yeah!  Love the sound of this. The fact the journey is long, complicated and expensive didn't seem to  come into it.
Sent the email . 

No reply.

So having landed, so to speak in Nicaragua, quickly all sorts of other info arrived about this volcano studded country, I could feel the adrenalin rising. 

La Mariposa Eco School then popped up and it quickly  became a definite possibility.  No pottery though. Never mind. 
 They replied to my email immediately. A good omen I thought. 

Truth be told, my biggest longing  for this summer is to take my Spanish to another level.  A level of competence  where all those  pesky little  words  don't trip me up...... a level of confidence I  need to be able to speak to prison directors in Bolivia, and to people in Latin  American   organisations  related to my  fundraising work.  So I decided to enroll at the Mariposa Eco School ( The Butterfly School).  

I chewed on the decision for days. 
 Real adventure versus  real improvement in my Spanish?

The Eco School  offers interesting field trips  three afternoon  a week, and at weekends . I'll post their website below.  It's at the heart of an eco community set up my an extraordinary English  woman,and  it's s run entirely by local  people.   No  English is spoken. Good.

It's  going  to be awesome I know!  

  Possible challenges may be: getting bitten to death by mosquitoes, catching Dengue fever, getting bitten by a snake, devoured by scorpions, being buried alive by an erupting volcano...

Yes I am  taking sensible precautions.  

The  tropical medicine doc  gave me a great bit of info the other day: 
'Mosquitoes bite at night' he said,  'the ones  who carry the Dengy fever bite you by day.'  

Did you know that ? Double lathering of Deet during the  day then ? How many bottles will I need to take?

Having decided on La Mariposa School, the pottery school replied!  

Oh the decision was so difficult to make....

 La Mariposa came tops.  
 Sound teaching versus a real adventure into the completely unknown?    

 Maybe  week 3 I can venture into one of the  pottery villages? 

Contacts in Nicaragua ( from friends) are arriving daily.  I now have a Buddhist nun to meet;  the owner of a wonderful pizzeria in the capital to chat with; a poet-priest-sculptor to track down, an island to visit.. but  first of all I´m going to spend  3 nights with Irish Gerry in Granada- beside- the- lake, in his  hostal Casa del Agua .  
Looks lovely on the Internet !   A  friend of his will pick me up at the airport.  

So, thanks to emails not being  replied to, I'm off with hand luggage only for the next Latin  American adventure.

I hope to return spouting the subjunctive effortlessly and with a sketch book full of lovely memories. .

Malaria ,scorpions, food poisoning, hurricanes, scams  any  of these might show up.. but hey ho... we live in the moment don't we.. so...  no worrying allowed !!

'The heart has reason the head cannot understand.'

So, once again, I'm following the call,  being drawn by that  same shinning star !



Sunday, 11 August 2013

Venturing into the unknown

When I get a call to go somewhere new....

I usually always respond !!

Because I'm mostly Irish... I am bold... sometimes...

                                                                  and a little crazy sometimes... rash even..