I was reading the latest issue of Inc. Magazine, one of my favorite magazines that I can truly read cover to cover, when all of a sudden we heard the doorbell ring. We had been at the Laguna for just a couple of days now and weren’t completely comfortable answering the gate quite yet, so we waited for Vincent or Diego to get it. But then, the doorbell rang 4 or 5 more times in a row, as if there was some emergency to open the door for. Jon ran up and saw Vincent and Diego up there with the same confused reaction. It was about 7:30 at night, which sounds early, but here when the sun goes down its dark and feels much later than it is.
The girl screamed through the gate, “Please help!” They opened the door and she ran through it to safety. She went out onto the road by herself with her bag in the dark to go check out one of the other restaurants down the street. Now, walking around at night in the dark as a girl is something to be careful of anywhere you go in the world. The street of the Laguna was no exception. There were no street lights. It was completely dark. It was a scene set up for a mugging to occur. Luckily, the situation really wasn’t as bad as it could have been. A man came up to her, yelled a phrase over and over again in Spanish as he pointed and shook a shank (sharpened bike spoke on a stick) at her. She immediately handed over her purse to him, then he ran off down the street and she ran the opposite way back to the resort.
She came in extremely shaken up. We gave her a double shot of Ron Plata, which she threw back instantly and asked for another. We all talked and consoled her for about 20 minutes until she calmed down a bit. Diego proposed that we turn what could be one of the worst nights she’d ever had in Nicaragua into one of the best nights. Take this negative situation and turn it into a positive one filled with yummy food, good 7 year Flor de Caña, new friends, music and conversation. We all agreed and headed down to the kitchen area.
I got the music going (in typical fashion, DJ Q in the house!), Diego brought out the large bottle of dark rum, Vincent started cooking and Jon got out the ice and glasses. Before we knew it, we were all talking, drinking, dancing and exchanging stories–forgetting completely about what had just happened 30 minutes ago.
I’ve learned that this is just the way things go here in Nicaragua: you turn what could be a very negative situation around to be a celebration of life. Even funerals are seen as celebrations of life with large groups of people and music.
You take the bad and make it good. Things aren’t ever as bad as they seem. That’s part of what makes this country so beautiful. The spirit of life here is so special. Despite the poverty, there is more celebration in Nicaragua than anywhere I’ve ever been. More reason to because every little thing in life is worth celebrating to the Nicaraguans.
That’s something that will stick with me forever: to celebrate the little things. Truly appreciate them. And when something really bad happens: to drink rum, turn on the music, dance, eat good food and surround myself with good company. Even if I did just met them a couple of hours ago. Celebrate the good in life and there will be no more room for the bad. Salud!
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