Thoughts on my marriage to a Nicaraguan

Our Wedding Day

Someone asked me what it was like being married to Moya… I really don’t think of it as that much more challenging than other marriages, but it’s also the only marriage I’ve been in, so I really don’t have much to compare it to. I lived in his cultural and understood it, so I think that has helped us a great deal. I already knew what to expect. We talked, and talked, and talked, and talked about so many different things before we ever got married. Cooking, cleaning, company, responsibilities, cultural differences, beliefs.. What would be expected of me. Of him. I think it also helped that I didn’t just know about his cultural, I lived it. I carried buckets of water 150 feet to take a bucket shower every day for months. I lived in adobe houses. I used outhouses for more than a year at the place(s) I was living, not just occasionally. I lived in a champa (grass hut/shack) and dreaded the snakes that would, er, well, could coil around the branches in the roof and poison me while I slept. I ate beans and rice with tortillas every day. I walked two miles to go to the store and carried at least 20 pounds of heavy stuff home every week. I lived in the jungle for a year and had no access to the internet, limited phone service, and had to walk miles to get a coke or buy a phone card. I was staying with his sister once when her house got attacked by fire ants. I don’t know if you have read The Poisonwood Bible, but it was like that scene when the ants attacked the village devouring everything in their path.. It was one of the most frightening things that I have ever witnessed. I didn’t have very much money. At one point I lived in a brick house with a “sin” roof that was so hot it made the beans go bad day after day (they usually last a week if you boil them everytime you take some from the pot).. and I ran out of money and didn’t know how I was going to eat. I felt desperation. I know it could never reach the level of desperation that he has lived through eating grass for meals growing up because there was no food and not having any idea when there would be.. I can relate to him more than someone who has just seen it because I really have lived it (to a degree).. at least more than most gringos have.

Our First HouseHe wasn’t raised in a “normal” Nicaraguan family. His parents split when he was 2ish and his mom left without him & his sister. (Really, really rare that the mom doesn’t take the kids–or at least the boy) His dad was a drunk (he died in 2011 on my birthday) who loved them but wasn’t fit to take them full time. So they went to live with his grandparents. They were around 65ish at the time and his grandma also was looking after several of her other grandkids, so she couldn’t wash his clothes and he had to do things that most boys would never, EVER have to do there. She needed his help to clean and he also had to do the “man chores” like gathering firewood and taking care of the animals with his grandpa. After he finished high school he went to live with his aunt while he studied in Honduras and he did even more chores there for all of his older cousins and also took care of a baby (another thing men would NEVER do).. so because of that he has a really good work ethic and isn’t as opposed to what would normally be considered things that only women do.Palacaguina

The weirdest thing for me is that he will cook typical Nicaraugan food (which I like) but he won’t do it unless I’m standing beside him in the kitchen… even if I’m not doing anything besides watching. It’s like he’s embarrassed to be in the kitchen by himself. He won’t even warm up left-overs in the microwave by himself.. Okay, so maybe he does now.. but after three years of marriage, he is just starting to do this.

He’s good to me though. He washed his own clothes in Nicaragua and helped wash mine & Ali’s. He helped with her so much, but you could tell it’s weird for him when he’s there. Here he’s just amazing. Probably because he has watched my dad with Ali and he knows it’s socially acceptable to be a good dad here in the USA.

Another thing I didn’t think about too much was racism. I’m not naive enough to think that it didn’t exist, but I was surprised to see a lot of people’s reactions to Moya & me here in the states. I’ve also been with him when he was accused of stealing stuff because of his color (& they said that exactly). I was just surprised. I guess being white I haven’t really had to deal with this before. I am part American Indian/Native American but you certainly can’t tell by my coloring. It never really caused problems between us, but it was just something new to figure out how to deal with… but we’re pretty used to it now.

Another awkward thing is people assume that because I married him he was from a really rich Nicaraguan family.. They say insensitive things like “I don’t really believe there are people in the world that are starving” and just ignorant things that just shock me. That’s something that’s hard to deal with too.. How do you explain where he came from without making someone feel totally awkward or think less of him.. It’s really hard.. I don’t know if you really can… But if you don’t they just keep opening their mouths, saying really insensitive things..

It’s been an adventure, and a times truly trying, but God has blessed us with so much. I can’t wait for the next chapter to start. I can’t wait to be back in the adobe house carrying water or waiting for the bus to come by to go to the big super market. I love that life, his life, his culture. I both love and hate being the gringuita. I think gringuita means that I will always be caught in the middle, suspended between two cultures and two colors waiting for the time that I may fully be classified as one or the other… and yet that time will never come.

Wedding Reception

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17 thoughts on “Thoughts on my marriage to a Nicaraguan

  1. Wow, I just read a couple of your blogs and think it is amazing that you have been able to experience life in Central America, so close to your husband’s culture and have gotten to first hand live and understand it!
    It’s also refreshing to see your husband adapting to your American ways too. I live in Miami where there are tons of Central Americans, mostly Hondurans, like my husband, but people from Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala too, and it is not easily accepted that the men become Americanized. I have struggled with it a lot with my husband, their machista ways are tough to break and think you are both so blessed to have been able to blend with each other so well. This truly warmed my heart!

    • Thanks! I really enjoyed my life in Honduras and then later in Nicaragua. It was an experience of a lifetime. Yes, I think my husband has adapted so well to life in Oklahoma City. He surprises me every day, especially in the way that he cares for me when I’m sick and when he takes care of our daughter. I agree, the machista attitudes and customs are so hard to break and can be very frustrating. Did you meet your husband in Miami?

  2. Reblogged this on La Güera Pecosa and commented:
    So many comments and sentiments from this Gringuita are dead-on to my own… and then there are distinct differences in cultural perspective that are simply a pleasure to read! This is one of my favorites of her posts so far. If you haven’t already checked out her blog, please do, and I hope you will enjoy them, too!

    — Güera

  3. Hola Gringuita, thank you for sharing your experience. I admire your interest and great desire to be involved in your husband’s culture. I am married to a Dutch man and I hope someday he will live in my country as well. Understanding your spouse’s cultrure is a great step towards a better and happier relationship. Besos!

    • Thank you! I was honestly immersed in the culture before I even knew my husband, but the fact that I understood his culture has been an enormous help to us in our married life. I think it would be great for your Dutch husband to live in your country as well. I hope that works out someday!

  4. Wow, this was an amazing experience to read about. I never thought about the challenges facing couples from different cultures, as ignorant as that sounds. It must have been amazing to live parts of his life and see exactly what he went through as a child and teen. That would surely strengthen any bond! Thank you so much for sharing.

    • I honestly don’t think it sounds ignorant at all. I never would have imagined that there were so many challenges, even after living in his culture, we have found that there are many challenges for us in the United States that I wasn’t expecting at all. So, I have definitely been surprised by the difficulty of the whole relationship, but we make it work everyday and it’s worth it. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  5. Hola Gringuita :)!
    I hope you and Moya are doing well! I stumbled across your blog and I absolutely fell in love!I was recently in Nica and even though at first it was a challange to adapt to it truely is such a satifying way of life, especially when you are there to preach! One of the reasons why I like your blog is because of your love story… I am in a similar situation and was trying to find if anyone else had or is going through what I am. On my trip down I fell in love with a Nicaraguan …. in hopes to try and make it work…..I have so many questions for you…like how long the two of you lived in nica for and how did the two of you end up in the states? Im sorry if it seems like I may be noisy but I feel like unles you are in the same situations….. not everyone would understand….if youcould get back to me I would really appreviate it!

    • Hey, I don’t update this blog much right now, but feel free to e-mail me any questions you have (torreyinestroza@me.com). I met my husband while I was living in Honduras. We spent almost two years together (dating) before getting married. In that time I lived in Honduras, the US, and Nicaragua. It was almost always a long distance relationship except for the end because even when we were both in Honduras, I was on the other side of the country. We came to the US when he got his finance visa so we could get married here. I desperately wanted to have my wedding there with all of my close friends, but my family insisted on it being here. We ended up staying, but have plans to go back to Honduras after he gets his US citizenship. What part of Nicaragua were you in? How much time did you spend there?

  6. It has been nice to read your blog. I am dating a Nicaraguan Male and are discussing marriage. It scares me becomes it comes with so many changes.

    • Glad you found it interesting. I haven’t much kept up with the blog… Life has been busy! We have two little girls, 18 months and 4 and life is nonstop. Are you in the US or in Nicaragua or another country? Anyway, I wish you the best!

      • I live in the USA and he lives in Nicaragua. I just spent my brithday there and he gave me a mariachi, roses and etc. now we are taking the next step and it is a hassle. Was the fiancé visa easy to do?

      • Can I ask how you met? I’m always curious about others’ stories. How sweet! It was a bit of a hassle for us, but we sent the papers in wrong and it put our process at a standstill. He was living in Honduras so we sent them to Honduras and it took a lot of work to fix that. We also had a big birth certificate fiasco. He had his birth certificate from where he was born and using that he had previously applied for a passport. For the visa process you have to get a certified birth certificate in Managua and his Managua birth certificate said he was born on a different date. We had to fix that, get a new passport, etc all right before the interview. Everything that I’ve heard said it was easier to get the finance visa than to get married in Nicaragua and then get a visa here. The paperwork is ridiculous, but doable. We didn’t use a lawyer or anything. Proof for us was hard because we spent our relationship in Honduras and they don’t give you paper tickets for bus trips etc. there was no physical evidence with both of our names on it besides affidavits from friends and lots of love letters. The Nicaraguan embassy also didn’t like that we weren’t together in Nicaragua. They basically ignored all the evidence from Honduras which was most of it. A lady interviewing next to us had the same problem but she met her fiancé in Belize. I don’t know what her outcome was, our visa was granted. I was there for his interview, so that may have helped in some way.

      • We met a while back 2009 thru my cousin they are best friends. I would see him everytime I would go to Nicaragua and we would just say hi. At the time we didn’t think nothing of each other. I went back this past summer and we had sparks we clicked right away. He joined my cousin and I for drinks and all night we just clicked then he just kissed me. And after that the next day I was avoiding him he went to the house to apologize for kissing me and not think bad about him. But I try to keep my distance I found it strange specially because I was just in vacationing in Nicaragua. But the rest of the vacation I saw him again and it was a beautiful time. When I returned home I said to myself well that was fun I didn’t think anything would develop. He felt the same way. But we found ourselves feeling sad and missing each other? Crazy! He called me and message me everyday. I kept telling myself it was just a fling well 8 months later this man is whom I now call the first person I have fallen in love. It’s been beautiful we have had our ups and down due to long distance but the friendship, communication, the love everything feels perfect. When you file for fiancé visa and get married does he autImatically get to stay here? Or what’s the process I can’t seem to fine that information.

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