If you know anyone who has been to pretty much any Central or South American country, you’ve probably heard about Latin American time. They’ll tell you “vamos ahorita” (we’re going right now)…and 2 hours later you’re wondering if they’re almost ready. Or they say the fiesta starts at 6, but people wouldn’t even think of arriving before 6:30 at the earliest. Well, it’s the same here in Nicaragua. And I have to confess that it’s actually really nice. I didn’t think I’d be saying that so soon into my experience here considering how ingrained the American go-go-go attitude is (though I do have to confess that I’m generally late by at least 5 minutes for everything…) And the funny thing is, some of the people from the 4 Walls group have even commented about how quickly I’ve adjusted to Nica time and how I seem so relaxed and just “go-with-the-flow”. Martha even mentioned to me that I've started walking slower (and I normally have the pace of a cheetah) and she's noticed that I seem to have become accustomed to Nica time - now she can maintain a comfortable conversation with me as we walk around doing mandados (errands)!
The thing is, the pace of life here is so much more relaxed. You don’t see people always in a hurry, constantly stressed out and letting life pass them by. Here, people take the time to talk with you, ask how you’re doing, and make you feel like you’re worth their time and not like they have an agenda to follow. It’s amazing how quickly the time slips by as you’re conversing with someone during a meal, or sitting out on the porch by the road in the evening, or walking down the street. It’s so refreshing, and I think we “Americans” (though technically they’re Americans too!) have much to learn from them. I mean, seriously, why are we in such a hurry to get through life? We always say (and I include myself in this!) “oh, it’ll be great when I graduate from HS and can go to college”, or “college will be the best time of my life”, or “my life will be better when I get a job/married/have kids”…you get the idea.
Here, people live in the moment. Now, I know it’s partly because of their life situation – living in a developing country essentially forces them to live for today, because that’s all many of them can feasibly think about. But really, it’s a beautiful thing to see people who are grateful for another day and excited to see what the new day brings. When you ask people what they’re going to do this weekend or at any point in the future, they always follow their response with “si Dios quiere”, and when you ask how they are or how their weekend was, they always tack “gracias a Dios” on to the end, which is another beautiful thing to me. It just seems like they are so much more aware of all of the blessings God gives us every day, and they are so thankful for what they have, even if it’s much less than what you or I might be “happy” with. It just gives you something to think about, no?