A Birthday Party in Nicaragua

One of our favorite nights in San Juan del Sur was the night that Elizabeth’s family, our landlords, threw a huge celebration for Orlando’s (Elizabeth’s husband) birthday. The day started with us waking up to the glorious smell of food cooking throughout the house. Elizabeth and the lady helpers of the house were up cooking early in the morning and throughout the whole day. JB and I went downstairs to see if they needed any help in the kitchen before the party. They told us that they were almost done and didn’t need any help in the kitchen, but asked us to help with the decorations around the house for the party. We eagerly accepted and started blowing up a couple dozen blue balloons in their school supply store.

When we finished, Elizabeth gave us a large plate of food to share with beans, rice, pasta salad and meatballs. So good. She insisted that they didn’t need anymore help, so we walked upstairs and got ready for the night.

The music started playing downstairs and that was our cue to head down to the party. Locals started arriving in their lovely bright colored outfits with bottles of Flor de Caña rum, Coca-Cola and big hugs. The food was impressively displayed with 6 different delicious dishes that tasted just like mom’s homemade cooking–lots of love put into every one. The large birthday cake was just as impressive with mini bottles of Flor de Caña all over it.

We met Elizabeth and Orlando’s extended family from around town, their local expat friends and even old friends who used to live in their home when they first arrived in Nicaragua (just like us!). From Australia to France to Canada their group of cherished friends stretched around the world. All of them still live in Nicaragua, so we made many new local friends and learned a lot from them that night. We also saw our first friend in Nicaragua, Nina, who turned out to be Orlando’s sister! The night was filled with amazing food, delicious drinks, local music, and special conversation with some of the best people. The party was so much fun.

My favorite part of the whole party, besides meeting great new friends, was the dancing. Our new friends tried to teach both JB and I how to dance like a Nicaraguan. We weren’t very good and were sweating from the heat, but it didn’t seem to matter at all. We were all laughing and having the best time. People of all ages from toddlers to grandparents were dancing together on the dance floor with big smiles on their faces. This was the Nica life.

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