After a month of knowing everyone in our little town and not getting a block without a “buenas” from a friend or student passing, after being as surprised as the locals to see an occasional chele (the Nicaraguan word for gringo); Granada seemed overwhelming and disappointingly touristy.
The shop owners here aren’t like our shop owners. Some of our shop owners were so shy they would hide behind their notebooks when asked a question; these shop owners in Granada were grabby and confident in their English skills, and ready to over charge for everything.
We walked around in a grumpy daze, though I was happy for the chocolate shop and hotel with running water (though cold). But kids begged on the streets and I felt terrible and self-righteous at turning them away.
I love connecting with everyone in our little town and I was blue without it in Granada. Wandering around the Parque Central I sauntered from table to table, only half-looking at the objects for sale.
But, suddenly, this pair of earrings, probably reflecting sun at just that moment, pulled me over to a table. They looked like ones that Jonah’s mom makes, with copper from his grandfather’s work room. And suddenly I felt at home, felt this overwhelming desire to talk to the people who made it. And I looked up to see Carlo and Gabriela. Carlo has this sweet way about him that reminds you of everyone you’ve ever liked (for me it was my friend Pete Shungu). I tell him about how Jonah’s mother makes earrings out of copper too, and his eyes light up. To everything his tenor voice replies, “Que bueno!” the Nicaraguan equivalent of “Amen,” and Gabriela smiles beatifically. I ask, and he answers that he started by making jewelery out of seeds with names like “monkey heart” and “cow’s eyes” and put on around my neck, heavy and solid. I carefully choose a couple pairs of earrings and walk away with the seed necklace too.
Jonah and I walk away nearly skipping, happy to have made friends.