Moving to Nicaragua

Youfre moving from Japan to Nicaragua -- so prepare for an adventure! Few other places in the world will be quite as big of a change as move from Japan to Central America. The weather, the food, the housing and the overall culture are all quite different from what you find in Asia -- but that doesnft have to be a negative. Think of it as a new adventure and a chance to expand your horizons, all while enjoying weather that almost never feels cold.

Housing

One of the first things to consider in any country to which youfll move is housing. In Nicaragua, prepare for your housing to be of the indoor-outdoor variety. Houses are the most common type of housing, but you will also find some apartments available in the capital city of Managua and larger cities like Granada and Leon.

Homes are typically nondescript from the outside, with few -- if any -- decorations or adornments. Once you walk into a colonial home, however, youfll find a host of treasures behind the door. Traditional housing typically centers around a center courtyard, where youfll often find a lovely garden, or sometimes even a swimming pool that provides a welcome retreat from the heat. (In case youfre wondering, temperatures range from about 22 degrees Celsius at night to 30 degrees Celsius during the day -- though temperatures in April and May can be up to 38 degrees!)

Because of fluctuations in the water and power supply, many modern and updated homes are equipped with a water tank and a water pump, as well as a backup electricity system. As youfre checking around for homes, be sure to ask if the house is equipped with these amenities -- as well as a hot water heater for washing dishes and taking warmer showers. Nicaragua operates on a 110-volt electrical system.

Culture

Where the Japanese are refined and reserved, Nicaraguans are decidedly loud and rough around the edges. The warm, tropical climate -- and the open-air houses -- lend themselves to a culture that is full of many sounds, and to people who tend not to hide away from the world. If youfre used to a quiet life tucked away in your own home, donft expect to get that in Nicaragua! On a daily basis, people will come to your door to sell you fruit or to offer their services as house cleaners or tree trimmers. Likewise, the sounds of advertisements being blasted from truck-mounted speakers, the sounds of a passing marching band, and roosters and music galore will greet you every day.

People in Nicaragua love to laugh and have fun and spend time with families -- but theyfll also tend to watch out for their neighbors and wonft be especially reserved when it comes to making your acquaintance. This can be a very good thing, as it means that youfll have someone looking after your home when youfre away, and letting you know if they see anything amiss. Just be sure to make an effort to learn some Spanish before you go, as many Nicaraguans -- especially away from the tourist zones -- wonft speak more than a few words of English, and they certainly wonft speak Japanese! So, moving to Nicaragua is definitely very different from moving to countries in Europe or in North America.

Food

Food in Nicaragua will be a big change as well especially for someone who have moved from Japan. While you will find some international restaurants in the capital city and Granada, for the most part, the fare includes lots of chicken, beans and rice. Restaurants, however, are not where most Nicaraguans eat, so the best way to test out the local cuisine is to get invited to a Nicaraguan friendfs house, where youfll get to taste local treats like nacatamales -- a rice and meat concoction mixed with raisins and spices thatfs wrapped in a banana leaf -- or ropa vieja (known also by other names) a flavorful beef dish. Also be sure to try fritanga -- the local grilled chicken served on street corners nationwide.

The larger cities will also offer a supermarket or two, where youfll find a host of Western food choices, including cereals, fruits, vegetables, pastas, and a meat department. Every town also has its own market where you can pick up fresh produce, beans and other supplies, much like the natives do! If you have a need for specialty Japanese items, bring them along or add extra supplies to your shipping container, as youfll only find a very limited number of Asian food items in the stores.

Now that you have some idea of what youfre in for by moving from Japan to Nicaragua, itfs time to say best of luck on your new adventure! Moving to Central America is certainly more challenging than moving to the United States, Canada or Europe.