As of this moment, we have been living in San Juan Del Sur for 45 days. 64,780 minutes to be precise.
It has been 83 days since I wrote ‘A Month of Rain’.
For those who have followed our story, you will know that our transition from the UK to Nicaragua was not easy. We encountered many emotional and logistical hurdles along the way.
But we are here now, and we have swapped the persistent drizzle of British summertime for 45 days of consecutive sunshine – with just the odd intermittent shower.
You will also appreciate that I am not referring solely to the weather.
We have had some torrential downpours, a few thunderstorms and the odd miserable day in Nicaragua, but on the whole, the last 45 days have been a warm hazy pleasure.
The days are short here. The sun rises at 5.30am and sets around 6pm. The evening brings a warm cool air that creates luminescent flashes of purple across the moonlit sky. Star constellations are so clear they seem almost within reach. Golden flickers of fireflies cast brief embers of light across the silhouette of swaying trees. Cicadas chirp sweetly against the crude calls of Mexican tree frogs. The distant sound of native drums beat mildly in tune with insects fighting for attention. Geckos gallantly forfeit their hiding places to walk boldly where no human can possibly go. A zephyr breeze brings welcome relief as like-minded folks all over Nica raise an ice-cold Toňa to mark the end of another heady day.
With each fresh new morning, a promise beckons. A tangible sense of something wonderful. Opportunity sways in the air. Today, your dreams could, might, just happen. Something amazing is just around the corner. The landscape is changing. Summer is on its way. The promise of dry, scorching days, music, cocktails, BBQ’s, sun-kissed smiles, beaches and waves.
But I shall still miss the rain.
For the wet season nourishes the land with sporadic downpours, washing away the dust of life. When it rains, it rains. No half-hearted attempts. It falls with a purpose. Sheets of indomitable rain with a job to do. Brown murky water turns roads into rivers, sweeping the debris of subsistence into weather-beaten gulleys. Habitual visiting guests, birds and dragonflies, disappear. People hide. The town empties. Lone strangers dash fleetingly from one doorway to another. Thunder explodes above, catching you off guard. Your heart skips a beat. Attention-seeking booms command your attention. You revere its almighty presence and bow to its deafening power. The sky darkens – a sinister veil drapes low and heavy overhead. Threatening. Menacing. Promising.
Then the lightning strikes. Intense, violent, captivating surges of electricity. Flashes of pulsating shockwaves illuminating the dark with a billion joules of new energy.
You breathe in life in that precise moment.
For 45 days, our lives have emulated the weather. As in the Aesop fable ‘The Wind and the Sun’ the storms may be mighty, but the glory of the sun always wins through…
And we have seen more sunshine in these past few weeks than we have seen in a decade.
I don’t mean sunshine in the literal sense. Sunlight comes into our lives in many ways. From a simple kind gesture to a handshake in a crowded bar.
Since arriving in San Juan Del Sur we have been moved by the kindness and generosity of others.
Complete strangers have reached out to us during our proverbial rainy days. Without knowing our names, they held umbrellas over our heads. With warm smiles, they encouraged us with words of wisdom and experience. New friends stood silently with us as clouds loomed overhead. Reassuring us of their impermanence. Lending us strength to wait for brighter days. Bolstering our spirits with cheerful companionship (and an extra shot of vodka if necessary).
These same friends of 45 days, even took us to Playa Marsella this weekend to watch the sunset. Knowing it would invigorate and inspire us. It worked. They were not to know that a simple gesture that day would inspire this blog…
On our arrival, we sought shade under an improvised structure of bamboo wood and palm leaves. Underneath, a large Nicaraguan family sat on driftwood logs sharing stories, around a centre circle, where children played.
The space was small but a lady of ageing beauty looked over at me and smiled. She moved up on her log and invited me to sit down with her family.
In a flash, I was immediately taken back to a rainy day in my hometown in June. It was a Friday. I was wet through having misjudged the weather, again. The bus was late. After climbing aboard the bus and paying the sullen driver I turned to find a seat, water dripping from my face. The windows were steamed up. The air was thick. Nobody talked.
Scanning the bus quickly for a spare seat I was instantly met by a dozen darting eyes. A heavily set woman clutched her bags closer, pretending to look out of an obscured window, inwardly imploring me to walk past her. Others discreetly shuffled shopping bags onto seats to avoid sharing their space with a person who was wet and a little down on her luck. They were hostile strangers in a familiar land.
And yet, here I stood on a beach in a foreign land, surrounded by smiling faces and open hearts. Strangers we were not. Just undiscovered friends yet to know one another. The beautiful lady on the driftwood log symbolises the glorious sunshine that makes Nicaragua so extraordinary. She is the almighty powerful one. Humility will always overcome arrogance.
We have learnt so much over the past 45 days. Not least to embrace the elements. We must weather the storm and ride the waves of uncertainty. We must trust that the rains will do their job and wash away unnecessary debris from our life. We must have faith that the sun will rise and opportunities will come. We must be patient and remember that within every black cloud, pulsating shockwaves of energy hide, waiting for the right time to strike.
Above all, we must nurture ourselves. Give ourselves a break. Everybody gets wet during the rainy season. Transitioning to a new country is not easy. Nor should it be – otherwise it would not be the life-changing momentous achievement we all strive for.
But as certain as the sun will rise tomorrow, we must have faith that the landscape is ever-changing, and easier times will always follow.
If like us, you are a newcomer to Nicaragua, you can be assured of glorious, glorious sunshine – both from the sky and within the people you meet.
That’s what makes this country great!