I never know which one to put first. I was born and raised here in the States and my parents are both Nicaraguan. Growing up, my household was full of everything Spanish from the language, my mommy's cooking, her fabulous parties with dancing until dawn, the music (every single day) and all of the outspoken Latina women she surrounded herself with and their husbands. Once I stepped out of my house, it was everything English.

My parents speak to each other in Spanish. Growing up, they spoke to my sisters and I in Spanish, we answered in English, every time. They did try their best to get us to speak back in Spanish, we just thought it sounded way to weird to do that. Our little secret was we understood everything. When my sister and I visited Nicaragua by ourselves (about seven or eight years old), is when I realized I also speak it. It was either communicate with the kids in the village or not. Now-a-days, I seek out opportunities to speak Spanish. Visiting Nicaragua as a grown-up, the people there are entertained and expressive regarding my American accent, "Mira, ella puede hablar, y tan lindo tambien."

It's a beautiful country with everything you can imagine: volcanoes, rain forests, mountains, beaches, fertile soil, farms, animals, wild horses running on the beach (I swear), the best surfing in San Juan del Sur, art, music, coffee region, nature and the best part of all, real people. It is a third world country so you do have to have an open mind when traveling there. There is poverty and small children will come up and try to sell you fruits, juices and even monkeys (a little boy tried to sell me a monkey once and I almost bought it) at the gas stations.

I am way overdue for a trip. My parents go back and forth all year as they keep a house there. My mother just left a few days ago and my father will join her this weekend. My aunt, uncle and cousin are all there on this trip too. This makes me nostalgic as they are all there together as a family, soaking up warm sun and enjoying a completely different country -- while I am here freezing cold, missing them. That's it, I'm outta here, anyone want to go with me?

Photo: San Juan del Sur from

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