top three

three good things I read this afternoon:
1) The Yellow Wallpaper (a short story)
2) Spaces We Leave Empty (a poem)
3) an article about how language shapes how we think

three snacks I've been enjoying lately:
1) carrots dipped in crunchy peanut butter
2) graham crackers
3) purple grapes

three songs I listened to on my walk home:
1) I'm not who I was - Brandon Heath
2) Dynamite - Taio Cruz
3) Take off your cool - Norah Jones & Andree 3000

three of my favorite adjectives of the moment:
1) jittery
2) stunning
3) superfluous

three photos I think are swell and make me miss things:
1) Chance
2) Nica
3) Zoe

three material things I currently desire:
1) a new camera
2) an old-fashioned globe, the kind you find in history classrooms
3) a beanbag chair (because I've never had one and they are so comfy)

three non-material things I currently desire:
1) the ability to paint/draw
2) wisdom (in all aspects of life)
3) a more refined sense of humor

three places I hope to visit in the U.S. this year:
1) Portland
2) Nashville
3) Philadelphia

three of my favorite places to write near UVa:
1) Shennondoah Joe's (the one on Preston because they have comfy couches)
2) The Gardens
3) the stacks in Alderman (I'm a freak, but I LOVE the smell and being all cozy-surrounded by ancient, colorful books)

three things always in my purse:
1) an extra hair-tie
2) blush
3) my iPod

three things most people love, but I hate:
1) soccer
2) the smell of roses
3) the color orange (I tolerate it as a UVa student)

three things most people hate, but I love:
1) broccoli
2) felines
3) listening to Akon

a poem (that I wrote at midnight, giving myself 60 minutes and a limit of 30 lines)

If I thought about it long enough, I think
I could image the whole world into compensation -
how I burden the earth with weight from my sneakers
and then the sidewalk earns the right
to say you are a foot, you are a leg.
I can ache for a place that is far away because I am here.
I can leave the door open because it was closed once.
There are several afternoons when I let the wind tell me
that I am a body, when I let it press against my skin and lift
the hair off of my shoulders and suddenly
an invisible thing makes a physical thing feel whole.
I can think that fears are acceptable,
even fears of certain things that won’t ever happen
because they make the impossible things
take on the weight of reality.
Some mornings, I’d rather stay in bed
but sunrises always conquer night times and then
night times conquer sunrises. That is just
the way it goes.
And if I think about it long enough, I think
that I hate every concept of balance.
I hate the metaphors of black and white, hate
that things here must start and end, hate
that gravity is allowed to exist in an abundant universe
and we are contained.
But what is easiest to hate is
loving you:
the sort of thing that exists
with such stubborn realness, meaning it only equates
to holding in breath.

oh my stars....

...I LOVE WEDDING PICTURES. (and it's been awhile since I've posted some, so here are a few particularly adorable, lovey-dovey, wonderful ones. it's an obsession)

(I appreciate that one simply because it makes them both look like book nerds)

oh love. so sweet.

my wall above my pillow says:

a few things that get me excited about life

-My class schedule (yes, I am a nerd and sincerely enjoy learning). This semester I've got ASL, history of literature (the earliest period, so actually I'm not pumped for that one), a poetry workshop, a seminar called Christian Art, and a religious studies class called Israelite Prophecy.

-listening to inappropriate songs with The Joint such as "love the way you lie" by eminem slash rihanna (which I just learned on guitar) and this (which we had a dance party to in the living room today)

-and speaking of The Joint, I get really pumped about how much I love every person who lives here so stinkin' much

-this prayer

-my new cupcake-scented candle

-hand gliding on a dorito (you will not get this unless you are Ginny Stevens, or unless you watch this crazy strange and awesome youtube)

-the anticipation of fall and of finally getting to wear sweaters! yay!

-getting post cards in the mail (thank you, sweet zoella!)

-kittens! (per usual)

hope you are pumped about your tuesday :) much love, amigos.


is the word that has echoed through my head like a haunting melody for the entirety of my summer. In my quiet moments, in my thoughts before I fall asleep, and sometimes even during the noisy chaos of tasks and details, I hear it clearly. It's been constant and sometimes abruptly alarming, like a wave that suddenly knocks you over in an ocean where you think you know what to expect.

After a whirlwind few days of packing, moving in, unpacking, catching up, scuttling all about cville, talking so much with friends that my throat is dying, and trying to consider what life will look like this upcoming semester, I hear it loudly and consistently. Faithful, faithful. As I've sat with it tonight, I'm realizing what it has taught me the past few months.

I have realized that the Lord did not send me to Nicaragua this summer simply because I asked that He would, but that I went because He loves me. How funny to realize that in my desire to be there was the Lord revealing that He is capable of turning our prayers into miracles we cannot begin to fathom.

Since the night I started following Christ in high school, I have prayed almost daily that God would teach me how to love Him better. Here is the miracle: I am walking into this year with a fresh heart that is deeply, deeply in love with God. This was not something I could accomplish on my own and is not who I was.

It's because He was faithful to me.

God has given me what I've needed this summer. In Nicaragua, He taught me how to love Him deeply in ways I had not allowed myself to before. And when I got home, through weeks of feeling wrecked and heart broken and wanting to distance myself because the world hurt my soul too much, I heard Him whispering faithful, faithful, and He kept me close. To my spirit He said, "I am the same today as I was yesterday and as I will be tomorrow. This is me showing you to break for what breaks me, and also to love how I love you. This is me showing you to be faithful to me as I am faithful to you."

The joy of the Lord transforming me is enough to make me weep. In fact, it does sometimes. He keeps His promises. He heard my prayers, even when they seemed unanswered and I seemed unchanged. He was faithfully working as I lifted up what felt like powerless gasps of air. In my words, His faithful gift of love was working magic. It still is.

Tonight, as I process and reflect and gear up for unexpected third-year life, I am simply grateful. I am grateful to my God who loves me and who has revealed to me even small glimpses into His transformation process.

I wonder....if you were to think about it, in what beautiful ways has the Lord been faithful to you?

barista knowledge, in hindsight

I've learned how to make a really stellar dry cappuccino (after wasting gallon after gallon of milk practicing)

I've learned that my caffeine-addicted body now craves at least three cups a day or I will get a nasty headache in the afternoon.

I've learned how to handle myself when middle school boys with guts and Justin Bieber-esque confidence try to schmooze their way into a free milkshake.

I've learned how to not vomit when creepy old men linger too long at the counter and try to flirt with me.

I've learned that it's always creepy old men or middle school boys who like to hit on baristas (or at least this barista), never knights-in-shining-armor. never.

I've learned to appreciate the small details of life - like how genuinely beautiful it is when you add cream to iced coffee, how it falls and makes all sorts of patterns.

I've learned to appreciate the small details of people - how organized or unorganized their wallets are, how teenagers act on a first date, if someone gets a skim latte but then asks for extra whipped cream, what book they're reading, how they phrase their order, etc.

I've learned to anticipate regulars like clock-work. I've learned the specific way the older couple who has a coffee date every other afternoon likes their lattes. I've learned to brew Sumatra for the history professor and his wife because that is their favorite. I've learned about people's families, their sicknesses, their dreams, their vacations. I think I'll actually miss them.

I've learned that every person you never want to see again from high school will show up at some point.

I've learned to find Jesus in serving a cup of coffee, simply because it's what I find myself doing and so I know He's there.

I've learned to turn the silent moments when everything is brewed and cleaned and stocked and I'm alone into moments to spend with the Lord. I've learned to check my pockets before I do laundry, so that I don't wash away the prayers I scribble on the back of receipt paper and then fold up to keep.

I've learned a multitude of silly things to do with the dry ice the milk is delivered with. Top two things: put the dry ice in the big sink and pour hot water over it, and then pretend you are in a rock show as the fog rolls out and envelopes you. And after that, pretend that you are Harry Potter and being chased by dementors. Best. Fun. Ever.

I've learned to love the hour before we officially open, when I can dance around with my iPod in as I get things ready.

I've learned to love knowing about the lives of everyone I work with, simply because they are all so wonderful and different than me, and I think that is fabulous.

I've learned that grace is important and hard, and it's enough. Grace for yourself when you screw a million things up, and grace for others when they yell at you about their mocha not being hot enough or chocolaty enough, etc.

I've learned to keep a copy of the book I'm reading behind the counter for slow days.

I've learned to love the places God puts me, because they are as wonderful and strange and challenging and beautiful as a coffee shop in Warrenton, Virginia. And who knows where He'll put me next.

go check out this blog:

it's called Color Me Katie.

no, seriously. go.

I'm overwhelmed by how obsessed I am with her bright colors, joy for life, cool projects I want to copy, funny thoughts, adorable cat, awesome photos, and just ridiculousness. I think I want to be this woman when I grow up. Sike, she's only 22. I want to be her now.

I know you'll love this site as much as I do.

just some music-sunshine to brighten your rainy day

"it's magical. it's what art is about"

Street art is fantastic. It can be so creative, gorgeous, intriguing, disturbing, unbelievable, heart-breaking, and hilarious. I love the way it seeks to beautify communities, bringing people together even if only for a second to stand in awe of something truly unique and stunning. I just wish I saw more of it!

Here are a few neat projects/creations I find to be particularly awesome :) enjoy! and happy monday, friends!

-inflatable street monsters by Joshua Allen Harris (New York):

-check out these murals in Chureca (pictures & more info at
Love Light & Melody)

-guerrilla knitting
is pretty sweet. The knit-piece below is called "Tree-Cozy". My friend Maureen created an incredible collection of knit coverings in Charlottesville! Click that link to read a little bit about it.

-The sidewalk chalk guy is absurd. I think my mind would be blown if I were to discover one of these gems while strolling down a city street.

-a gorgeous video about a new mural in D.C. called "Scout":

-the coffee-lover in my thinks this one is phenomenal. They created an image of Mona Lisa using 3,604 coffee cups, all filled with different amounts of coffee and milk to create different color pigments. Click the link for pics.

-Click here for an article and for photos of street art by the quasi-famous, quasi-anonymous English graffiti artist named Banksy.

-I'll close with a little project anyone can be a part of! Check out this site called You Are Beautiful. I love the photos of all the little love-notes of affirmation that are painted all over the world :)


When I was a child, some nights I'd settle in bed in the darkness of my room and imagine what eternity looked like - forever, all stretched out and inevitable and invisible. What did "never-ending" actually mean? The bigness of it felt heavy against me and my fear caused me to rise from bed and crack open the door. I'd only sleep after the hallway light illuminated my own realness, and I could forget the sensation of not having a body or of having an invincible soul.

Tonight I wonder what it would be like to have eternity invade my bedroom. What if I had stopped fighting against forever with the light of a doorway? What if even now it marched right over and I watched it work?

I imagine the hands of every clock in my room would spring to life, dancing in careless circles. All the collaged pieces of art on my walls would embrace a new, unrestrained freedom. They would switch themselves around and become beautiful. I imagine my drawers and the door of my closet flying open. I'd watch as winter coats escaped in the heat of summer, sick of feeling like too much without enough appreciation. I'd watch forgotten dresses shine and waltz across the floor. All the photos strung here and there would fade to nothing. From my bed, I'd see all the people who were captured in them float above my head, like the portraits in Harry Potter, but without the boundary of frames. They'd smile and laugh. I'd watch them seep through the gaps in my blinds and the glass of my window, and then they'd look like fireflies joining the night. I imagine that even my high school yearbooks would soar up from under my bed, seeking redemption. Every embarrassing picture would turn into stunning shine, cliques would dissolve, and each person would be wearing a prom crown. Scribbled personal messages would leap from the pages, able to embrace the reality of things like "friends forever" or "love always." My worn journals would start doing somersaults of celebration and ink would burst from their seams like fireworks. I imagine that I'd see undelivered love poems flee toward the window with purpose and destination. Memories would weep to be present again. Unfinished stories would shed their frustration. Scratched out verses and paragraphs would break free from bondage, shimmering with potential. Prayers would erupt with bright colors against the night. The strings of my guitar would strum on their own, some haunting melody. My mix CD's would tumble from their box in the closet and play like magic, without a stereo. And in the sound of all of this together would be the most precious harmonies.

I imagine that I, too, would begin to levitate from my mattress, up from my sheets. My body would have the force to push through the ceiling as if it were made of air, and then the roof, and then I'd be out flying in the sky and sparkling with magic. I'd see the world like no one has seen it before, not just this moment happening, but every moment that has happened or will. All of it would be a painting with the most brilliant colors. I'd keep rising until everything that exists became an ocean at my feet, and then a speckled dreamland. Before you knew it, I'd be sitting next to the moon.

The beautiful thing about growing up is when our fears become our longings. How sweet the sound seems to my ears: the gorgeous symphony of so many things singing, aching for Heaven.

patience is a....big frickin' waste of my time

Perhaps you know me only slightly, and consider me to be a calm & composed person, not easily frustrated by the small, imperfect details of life. Or perhaps you know me a little better and have discovered that, while I am (for the most part) a tranquil-soul, I have a mad streak of something that makes me wildly impatient for the silliest reasons.

For example:

I cannot listen to entire songs on my iPod. Literally cannot. Don't ask me why...I'm just in a hurry to make it to the next song, or I've gotten bored listening to the current one. I'm sure (actually, I know for a fact) that it drives the passengers in my car utterly insane.

I fantasize about punching people in the back of their heads when they walk slowly. Even if I'm not in a rush to get to class or a meeting, if there is someone in front of me taking their sweet time, acting like they own the sidewalk, I get pissed. Sometimes I'll aggressively step into the street, pass the annoying slow-walkers, and then cut them off - all while making some big huffing noise and being rude on purpose. I'm not sure that it's what Jesus would do...

Speaking of people being slow, elderly drivers set me off the most. I'm not even a very fast driver...I just hate people who go slower than me. The other day, I was taking an exit ramp off of 66 and this car in front of me was going TWENTY-FIVE MILES A FREAKING HOUR. I had to slam on my breaks, and there was not a single way to get around them. After hastily passing them when we were off the ramp, I looked into the car to see that the driver was an ancient man with thick glasses and one of those net baseball caps old men wear that sit impossibly high on their head. Seriously do those hats work? It's like magic or something. Maybe they sell little lifts that fit inside the hat or something at stores only old men know about just for this purpose.

Maybe the reason I'm a mess at cooking and baking is that I don't have patience for reading recipes or for following them. My philosophy is: glance at the ingredients, throw things in as they make sense to you, cook for however long you like, and maybe something will work out. I mean, baking stuff just takes SO LONG. And preparing stuff to cook...geez la weez. Who wants to do that?

Also, learning things: I want to be good at it right away. I tried teaching myself a new song on guitar yesterday, but I gave up was hard. Oh and because I cut myself somehow on a guitar string and my finger started bleeding? (I'm convinced that only I am capable of doing something like that). I just want instruments to come easily to me, and when they don't, I get frustrated. This type of impatience is something I've slowly learned to get over as the years has passed, though, which gives me some hope that I can start incorporating a greater degree of tolerance in other areas of my life. I mean, if I'd given up every time a song was difficult to me on piano, I would still only be playing the Mexican Jumping Bean Melody over and over again like I did in fifth-grade.

Also, (and I'm ashamed to admit to this one), I loose my patience for books sometimes. It's probably why having a list of stories I want to get to is dangerous for me, because it means that I read approximately 6 books at any given time. I start one, get too excited/impatient to get to the next book, and then start that one...and the cycle continues (although, I will say, it makes for a pretty exciting week when I finish all 6 books around the same time). Dear every author I've ever read - I'm sorry for not giving your piece the attention it deserves. Also, I'm sorry for sometimes getting too excited and reading the last sentence before I've even started the book, just because I'm dying to know what it is.

So yes, patience certainly is a virtue. Maybe someday when it isn't such an annoying inconvenience, I'll learn how to have some.

Dear Stephen (my Saab),

Thanks for being my partner-in-crime, adventure-beckoning, faithful little car. I like the way you look either like a cute, retro car, or a grandma car. Either way, you're adorable. I like that I can open the door and your leather seats smell like crayons. I like how you never complain when I sing badly to every song on the radio. I like that I can say "Hey Stephen!" when I walk out to the driveway, which makes me feel like I am am funny because that is the title of a Taylor Swift song.

I'm sorry for the abuse you've taken the past few years. I'm sorry for that time I went through the car wash with the antenna up and it snapped and you had to ride around with it looking curly and weird until you got your sweet new radio/cd player. I'm sorry for the white scrape of paint on your front bumper from that time that I ran into the house (it came out of nowhere, alright?). I'm sorry for the tiny scrape right behind the driver side door because of the dumb devil Emu that clawed at you when my young life team dragged me against my will to a safari park with terrifying, evil birds. I'm sorry that your backseat has suffered from wet towels I've left there after swims and from Chance jumping all over when he rides with me. I'm sorry that I apparently like to "curb check" according to the man who gave you new tires (what does he know?). I'm sorry that, according to several of my friends, I drive "like a crazy person" who needs to "use the mirrors more often" and stop "breaking so abruptly." Oh, and I'm sorry for the coffee stains on your floor.

Stephen, you know me so well. You've witnessed countless laugh attacks (while driving...actually,that probably scared you more than filled you with joy, seeing as I cannot control myself while in the grips of a giggle-fit. so, sorry about that, too) and hilarious conversations. You've been there when good friends have sat in your passenger seat and we've talked about life and love and real things that matter. You've been there when we've opened the sunroof and let the shine move right in, and blasted the stereo and just been in love with life. You've been a part of cloud-gazing, star-gazing, mountain-gazing, ocean-gazing. You've seen me when I'm a teary mess and won't let anyone else near. You've seen me at my happiest and weirdest. You've listened to me practice club talks, have serious phone conversations, tell bad jokes, rap 50 Cent, pray. You know me so well that your wheels seem to turn automatically as we pass Sheetz on the way to charlottesville every single time, just to get that cup of coffee I really don't need but really want. Caffeine-addiction and all, you put up with me.

All of this is to say - you rule, Stephen. And thank you. Thanks for getting me safely from place to place. Thanks for taking me to cities and beaches and down gorgeous winding roads and to the houses of people I love the most in the universe.

I think you're pretty awesome.

your appreciative (if sometimes terrifying) driver - emily

even better in spanish

I'm glad that I'm not a seal

I'm torn about Shark Week. On one hand, I can't stomach it. It seems that whenever I flip on the Discovery channel during this highly-anticipated week, there is some gory scene with blood and screaming and that deep-voice narrator man saying something like "one second, it was a fun family vacation, and then the waters were colored with blood and ragged bits of bone and flesh." Ew. Also, I enjoy taking leisurely swims in the ocean, and I don't want shark week to make me start thinking about getting my leg chomped off when I do so. That would ruin my relaxed mood. Also, what about those poor baby seals? Shark Week people think it's funny to show us a cute little clip of seals frolicking through the water all happy, and then pan to them being torn to pieces by a meanie shark. It's enough to make a girl cry.

But on the other hand, I love it. Secret-now-not-secret fact about me: I was basically obsessed with sharks senior year of high school. I was in this incredible biology class and we could kind of tailor the class to what we wanted to learn individually. So I went all out over sharks. Most of the year was spent researching them with my friends in my lab group, and then we got to dissect one (Although I'm no "science person", I heart dissections. another strange fact). Their brains are SO COOL. And then we gave a big presentation on them. It was so fun. (Side note: I also had a big appreciation for turtles that year. My teacher, Mr. Murphy, had one named Taco, and I always played with him. When we had to create and conduct an experiment for a class assignment, I conducted one called "What Makes Taco Go Fast." After testing him on snow, a hot surface, and tempting him with lots of food, the answer was - nothing. nothing makes a turtle go fast.)

In short, although I am sometimes tempted to pass out while watching, Shark Week brings me to a nostalgic, happy place. Especially this series they've been showing called Air Jaws, about film crews/photographers who track Great Whites and capture them when they breach the water as they attack. The footage is phenomenal. Check out the video below because it is NUTS and freaking awesome. (This isn't from the series I watched, but was the best footage of sharks jumping out of the water that I could find on youtube....I think it says it's from Planet Earth)

for Ruth

after a season of losing things
came a season of barley.
the way things
grow up from ground
where there was once nothing,
and beautiful how she
was gathering grain,
picking up pieces
like her soul
and rooting deep
and rising.
he loved her before
she said a single word,
but was just a burst of light
in the fields,
and heard of who she was
and who she was being made to be.
and he loved her.
and he loved her the way
a gardener loves the things
that grow,
because he can watch them
throwing their fingers into the
sunshine and because they
are always looking up,
in worship,
and because it was his field
and because it was his heart
where the soil was right
and the timing - perfect.
beautiful is when faith
found her face down on
the threshing floor,
and it's true
that he loved her
before he got to kiss
the crown of her forehead,
his wife,
and then watch redemption:
how it moved and built their home,
settled in.

on getting lost in central america, being carefree, and traveling sensibly

I went to stay with my best bud Maura this past weekend in Fredericksburg. About 1/2 an hour after leaving my house, I got a text from her that said "hey, do you need directions?" to which I thought, "oh yeah, directions. those could be handy." Apparently I thought that just having been to Fredericksburg several times meant that I would magically find my way to the doorstep of her new house without ever being told where it was. Point of that intro is: whenever I travel anywhere, I generally tend to be a little more care-free than is appropriate.

Like the one time when I got lost in Nicaragua.

This memory popped into my head this morning and I started dying laughing when I thought of it. Maybe it won't be as funny translated into a blog post, but I'll still share it because it might bring you a smile :)

So one sunny sunday afternoon in Nicaragua, my friend Sami and I decided to go visit Casa Bernabe (the orphanage I went to over spring break). We were at the Manna house, a little outside of Managua, and needed to go south to Vera Cruz, a tiny little place it seems like no one in Nicaragua, or at least in the Manna house, had ever heard of. But we knew it was south and we knew the kilometer we needed to get off at, so (against the advice of everyone we talked to) we decided just to wing it, hop on a bus, and find our way there instead of taking the expensive route of calling a taxi. Mistake numero uno.

I will say, Sami is one of the best people I could have gone with. She is goofy, hilarious, and a proactive traveler (something you will see from this story, I certainly am not). In fact, we first met when our flight from San Salvador to Nica got cancelled. Here is what happens when your flight gets cancelled in central america: instead of announcing it, the flight crew wheels out boxes of free dinner to distract you and make you not want to yell at them. Worked on me. But Sami, she's the one who had the good sense to ask what was going on, figure out what flight we were going to take (five freaking hours later), call the Manna house and explain the situation, and just generally make sure all was well and we were taken care of. If not for her, I would probably still be in El Salv, munching on chicken and rice and wondering what in the world was going on.

Anyway, on this sunny sunday afternoon, Sami and I hopped on a bus at the entrance of El Planetario and began our trek to Bernabe. The first bus ride went smoothly. Nicaraguan buses are slightly ridiculous and sketchy, but I ended up sitting behind this precious little girl who wouldn't stop staring at me, either because I was one of two white women on the bus, or one of two white women she'd ever seen in her life. It was cute, and added to a feeling of comfort that made me think that nothing was going to go wrong with this trip. Sami and I knew we had to get off at siete sur, a rather busy bus stop we'd been to before. So when we got there, we stepped off....and realized that we had no clue what to do next.

Our next step was to somehow figure out how to get on Caratara Masaya, a highway that would take us south. So we (and by we, I mean Sami) asked a nice woman selling yummy looking things I couldn't identify which bus number we needed. It was 117 or something. And then we waited. And waited. And anxiously jumped up when each bus arrived, afraid that the next 117 was going to pass us by. Several long minutes in the hot sun later, 117 pulled up, and it seemed that everyone at siete sur had picked up on our cluelessness. The woman vendor screamed at us and waved us in the direction of the bus. A man next to me literally grabbed my elbow and said "Este bus! Este bus!" and pointed frantically, as if I was too dumb to notice it myself (which, let's face it, I probably was). At least some Nica's had my back.

So Sami and I boarded our second bus, totally and completely unsure as to where we needed to get off. But we were headed in the right direction. I remember saying to Sami, "I'm sure we'll recognize where we need to stop!" (WHAT WAS I THINKING. I am a nut. I can't even maneuver my way around Charlottesville without getting lost, but somehow I was confident in my ability to navigate in a foreign country I had been to ONCE before. And what I thought I would recognize, I have no clue). About 20 minutes into our ride, Sami said to me, "I think we should go ask the driver where our kilometer is, and where we should stop to get to Vera Cruz." My response was, "Nah, we've totally got a lot longer to go. Let's just ask later." Twenty minutes after that, Sami said, "Do you think we should ask him now?" Me: "Nah. We're good." Five minutes after that, Sammi was getting worried. "Alright, I guess we can ask now," I said.

We made our way to the front of the bus and asked where our stop was. All I caught of the driver's answer was "veinte y cinco minutos". I looked at Sami, whose face dropped. "Please tell me he didn't just say what I think he said," I asked her. Yup. We should have gotten off 25 minutes ago. Awesome.

The bus dropped us in this rando Nica neighborhood. And I mean totally rando. I still have no clue what it was called. We wandered around, not knowing what we should do. We didn't want to call the Manna house and admit to our stupidity (aka, MY stupidity), so we decided to ask around for directions. I tried to take initiative, because our situation was entirely my fault. But here's the thing - I knew how to ask the questions we needed to ask in Spanish, but I couldn't understand the answers. This is what many of our interactions went like:

Sami or I: Excuse me, do you know how to get to Vera Cruz or Casa Bernabe from here?
Nica person: (confused look as if they've never heard of either, or maybe we said something wrong in Spanish)
Sami or I: You know, Vera Cruz? V-E-R-A C-R-U-Z?
Nica person: OH, si! blahblahblahblahblahblahblah somethinginreallyrapidspanishwithlotsofhandgesturesandpointing
Sami or I: umm, thanks.

And then we would walk away defeated, and once with a map someone had drawn us which was a square picture of some bar, a circling arrow around it, and a star at the end. Helpful. And also, at this point, I am doubled over with laughter. I am walking around, utterly lost, in a spanish-speaking country, and I think it is hilarious. I'm sure Sami wanted to punch me in the eye.

We realize, after a long time, that we must wave down a taxi if we ever want to get out of here. We were a little nervous, because just the day before someone had told us stories of fake taxi drivers in Nica who mug you at knife point. So we said a little prayer that we wouldn't die, checked the license plate of a taxi driving by and saw that it looked legit, and hopped in. Our driver (of course) didn't seem to understand a word we said. But finally, after a lot more pointing and gesturing, he dropped us off at the gate of Casa Bernabe. I'm still not quite sure how we managed to explain it to him, but boy was it good to see a familiar location (and then to see some familiar faces of some of the best chicos and chicas in the world!) All in all, it took us about two hours more than it should have to get there....mostly due to me being an unprepared idiot. But it was totally worth it, made for a fun story, and I would do it all again. Just maybe next time with directions.

Moral of this (sorry, long) post: don't go somewhere without having a clue where you are headed. and don't ever rely on me for anything. Or, better yet - do both of those things and maybe you'll end up with a funny story.