I’ve been getting back into the groove of American life – work, happy hours, dinners with friends. It’s crazy to think that just one week ago I was in Nicaragua with a group of total strangers, building a house brick by brick.

I had the opportunity to travel to Nicaragua with Habitat for Humanity, and I’m forever grateful I went. I had an approaching-30 crisis and ultimately decided to use my spare time doing something helpful and throwing myself completely out of my comfort zone.

So I hopped on a plane to Nicaragua, met up with a group of 16 strangers, and went into the build site with absolutely zero construction experience.

And this may have been the best birthday thus far.

My parents grew up in Korea right after the war, and they lived in conditions very similar to the area we were stationed in (Masachapa). No toilets, dirt floors, and small houses without rooms. I’ve always felt incredibly lucky and grateful to have grown up in the U.S., and to actually see the way my parents and relatives grew up was humbling beyond words.

These strangers turned into incredible friends. In the midst of all the awful violence and hate, there’s something to be said about strangers coming from all parts of the country (and continent! We had two Canadians on our team) to work together towards the same goal: building a house and strengthening a community.

We worked with local masons, and the family who received the house was on site the entire time. In fact, the husband actually worked with us! Neighborhood kids would hang out, help us sift sand, and play fútbol during our downtime. At the end of the week we threw a fiesta to celebrate the build, and the kids played games and smashed open two piñatas.

I absolutely cannot wait to go back to this beautiful country, and to keep doing what I can to love a little harder. Photos below!

Fuel to start each day! Plantains, gallo pinto, fresh fruit, and queso 
Just a little dirty/sweaty 

Animals are walking around all the time. Took all the restraint in the world not to bring one home.
Our lunches came from a local woman’s kitchen. Each meal was absolutely delicious – this was a ropa vieja-ish dish.

Last day on the build site, and Durán took this sick photo without me even asking him to jump.
Volcán Masaya. I stared into the mouth of an active volcano!
Lake Nicaragua
Granada. Gorgeous town, reminded me of Cusco a bit.

They let us go all the way to the belltower in the Catedral, and you get these fantastic views of Granada

Our last meal! 
Our amazing team on the first day…
And our team on the last day! With Ernesto and Maria, the beneficiaries of the house 🙂



2 thoughts on “Nicaragua!

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