Wednesday, February 27, 2008


This is my 5th day in Nicaragua so I assume it's time to give my top 5 moments here so far. (By the way, I'm here for my new job helping facilitate meetings between the Texas Public Utility Commission and Nicaragua's State Utility Regulatory Commission (INE).

1. After 2 days in Nicaragua I made the evening news....not bad if you ask me. I had a few of the hotel staff approach saying..."You were on the news last night! You were on the news!" Just one more step in me become a very famous person....probably one of my higher ambitions. I should clarify that I didn't say anything. I just stood next to the President of INE trying to look important and professional. I also translated as the Press asked my Deputy Director questions. Translating is tough in real time.

2. A female member of one of the Texas commissions (62 years old) literally lept over one of the tables at dinner last night to get on the dance floor. She had a near accident as her foot caught on a chair.....but miraculously avoided making my worst nightmare come true...calling MEDEX and evacuating a participant. I like telling the participants that even though I'm 30 and most of them are 40+, I think I know a little about how it must feel to be a parent.

3. I met the former President of the Central Bank of Nicaragua. Funny thing was I recognized him from somewhere else and asked him if we had met before. We had met....a year ago at IR/PS in San Diego when he had come to our campus and my Spanish class. I enjoyed having my colleagues see that I had met the President of Nicaragua's Central Bank previously.

4. One of our participants came up to me the other day and with a very concerned look on his face asked (note - single, mid 40's, male) if I could help him with some Spanish translation. Without cracking a smile, he was very serious, asked "How do you say 'Hello' in Spanish?" and then wanted to know how to say 'You are very pretty.' He walked away, turned around, and said "I'll have more later." Again, I feel a little like a parent.

5. Good food, nice people, impressive volcanoes.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Not the Most Brilliant Idea...

I have a hard time asking for help. I don't know why...stubborn? shy? too independent? My theory is I don't like to impose on other people, but I know if I knew someone who needed help, I'd be happy to offer some assistance. So I don't even really understand why I tick the way I do. One of those life mysteries. Anyway, the whole point of this is I think I made a poor choice the other day....although it was also one of the moments I got a good laugh about my predicament.

So I just moved to DC, and found a basement apartment (completely unfurnished), where I'll be living by myself until I find a semi-normal guy to split rent with. Since I moved out here with my Subaru jam packed and nothing else, I have been slowly using Craigslist as a way to fill space and create a comfortable living environment. The other day I found a listing on Craigslist for a cheap, but decent sleeper sofa that I thought could be a nice addition to the place. So I went over, met the nice, young, Russian couple and bought the sofa. The husband helped me stuff it in my car (with about 1/3 hanging out the back) and tied down the back so it wouldn't come out. I had no problem getting it to my place, but since it was about 10:30pm I was on my own for getting this 200+ lb. monster through my narrow front door, over a gas heater in the hall, etc. This is where I should have called a friend. Instead I spent the next 3 hours wedging the couch between the two walls, climbing over it dozens of time....pulling from one end, and pushing from the other. The bed portion of the couch eventually swung out pinning even tighter in the hall, and leaving at 3 sizable holes in the wall.....oops. Nice Matt...nice.
The bright side is that the holes were close enough to cover with a picture. This should give me a little time to repair the damage before the landlord notices. By the time I had climbed over the sofa so many times, dragged it across the semi-rough carpet, attempted to shove the bed back into the couch, left holes in the wall, and agonized over my situation for about 3 hours, I realized the bed was broken. Once I got it into the living space, I had to hammer portions of the bed to force it back in.

The first picture of the couch is from the bathroom where I was basically stuck for about 30-45 minutes. I couldn't get around the couch because it was stuck. So I started thinking my options were to either sleep in the bathroom or go outside and sleep in my car and get some help the next way. But I perserverd...put some holes in the wall....and now own a couch. Something I'm definitely proud of.

(note: the floral pattern is covered by a nice conversative tan couch cover. no flowers for me)

Moral of the story....don't be too proud to ask for help. Everyone needs help sometimes....and some people need help all the time. I might be the latter.