Inspiration & Expert Advice on What Matters Most

Posts Tagged ‘Nicaragua’

You Can Read, You Can Help

In Giving Back=Paying It Forward, News on May 21, 2016 at 08:00

I live between Nicaragua and the United States since 2012. When I moved to Nicaragua, one of my goals was to volunteer for locals. That didn’t happen officially, as I got involved with personal causes. Now that I know that in the near future, I will not be in Nicaragua permanently, I feel the urge to volunteer again. This country has given me so much time, space and growth and I want to pay it forward before I leave. I started contacting organizations and that is how I met Ivania.

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Ivania Mena García, 38, is the single mom of two girls. Years ago, she didn’t have a job. Around the same time, her neighbor Darrell Bushnell and other concerned community members met to discuss the possibility of opening the first lending library open to the public in Granada, Nicaragua with the prime objective of bringing the pleasure of reading to the people of Granada. They started a Reading Corner at Hotel con Corazón and they trained Ivania to be in charge of it, from cleaning the space, to helping the children with their homework and reading, to being a librarian, and hosting members, volunteers and visitors.

From the Reading Corner they moved and became Café Chavalos for a couple years, until they started Puedo Leer (I Can Read), with a main focus on promoting reading and a love of reading among children, so that they can become lifelong learners, succeed academically and economically, and ultimately be instrumental in raising standards of education and literacy in Nicaragua.

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Puedo Leer took to the road, delivering books bi-weekly to elementary classrooms. As books made their debut in the public schools, enthusiasm passed from teacher to teacher and from teacher to student. For many of the teachers, holding a children’s book was a new experience. Children began to look forward to stories being read to them, then asked to hold the books themselves. As splashes of color and bold graphics jumped from each page and the ability to read became a reality, a new world began to unfold.

Puedo Leer has mushroomed into a major project with a profound impact on the children of Granada. They are now looking into the possibility of adding more libraries and reading centers in other locations in Granada since it is a neighborhood activity center. They are also adding other activities such as art classes and crafts which provides great experiences for the children here since they do not have much opportunity for hands-on activities. The schools do not have the time or resources and there are few community centers offering activities.

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The verb “to read” is averse to being put in the imperative, an intolerance it shares with certain other verbs, such as “to love” and “to dream”. -Daniel Pennac (French Writer)  (Photo taken at Puedo Leer Library)

 

Even though I have only visited the library a few times, I have witnessed the dedication of the team and the gratitude of the kids. It is beautiful and inspiring to hear Annaelizabeth Blandon and Carol Rea, Executive Director and Operations Manager respectively, share their vision for the library, supported by Ivania, the Board of Directors, and Volunteers.

We can help Puedo Leer Library:

Thanks for reading, and thanks in advance for helping!

With love and gratitude,

Laura

Note: Fragments of text from Puedo Leer’s website appear in this post.

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Do you ever wonder where does your time go?

In Career, En Español, Family, Lifestyle, Relationships on February 11, 2015 at 09:50

I find it always productive to look back and analyze how we spend our days and nights to decide the best way to invest them. Have you tried that? I promise you that efficient planning and productivity are only a few of the multiple benefits of this exercise.

Just like it happened in 2014, MY year started, in February. I even started drafting this post weeks ago, in the form of a list of one-word journal entries, however I just finished it and published it today.

After weeks of indulging in the 3Fs (family, friends, and food!), we welcomed 2015 moonbathing on New Year’s Eve in the waters of the Caribbean Sea. Only days later, we attended our first event of the year: The Jungle-Themed Wedding of a dear couple of friends. Nothing like a wedding to make me smile and cry!

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Us at Johna & Cam’s Jungle-Themed Wedding. Saint-Lucia’s Pitons at the back!

Went home for one last health check up, one last holiday gathering and attend fun-filled events hosted by my brand new clients The Boss Chick Dance Workout and PerForm Studio. Back on a plane again, working up in the air, on materials for another lovely client: Tribal Hotel.

Meanwhile, before I had the chance to write an original post, I reblogged “The 10 most important life lessons to master in your 30s”, a post by Mark Manson that I consider a new classic of this digital era. How did you like it?

On a high note, one of the biggest online companies approached us looking for American couples, in their early to mid-30s, who recently had kids to be featured on an online news story about the pros of delaying marriage/kids. It felt amazing to be considered as a way to connect to our demographic!

When I finally got a few hours for ME, I used them to write. Inspired in Spanish, my first language, my mother tongue, the one that I miss and appreciate more lately. “2015: Año de la Fertilidad” is the post that summarizes my intentions for this year, everything that I will focus on: Physical, Creative, Spiritual, Emotional, and Financial Fertility.

Mid-January I disappeared. Only one reblog in Spanish with smart tips on “Things to do if you are single after 30” and that was it. The 8th Annual Mombacho Cigars Anniversary Month had started. As I have named it before: It’s the most special corporate extravaganza! What does that mean? Husband working non-stop, me on full hostess-tour guide-translator-PR mode, cigar tastings, blending sessions, sightseeing tours, private dinners, and parties among tobacco industry personalities, cigar connoisseurs, family, friends, colleagues and clients in town in honor of their continuous support to Mombacho Cigars.

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Mombacho Cigars at Casa Favilli, Granada, Nicaragua

This year it included the ribbon cutting ceremony in honor of the company’s recent move to their new and expanded location Casa Favilli, one of the most prestigious historic buildings of Granada, Nicaragua and a party for over two-hundred sixty guests at the Old Railway Station of Granada, where they were welcomed with Mombacho cigars, refreshing cocktails, and tasty appetizers that served to transition to the surprise of the night: A live Samba band with dancers and drummers that invited to dance the night away and celebrate with the Mombacho Cigars family for many years to come in the global tobacco industry.

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Dancing with the stars…!

The BEST part: My younger sister was here! It was comforting to have her by our side, showing her the beauty of this country and having her help and support during this busy time!

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With my younger sister…love her!

A week at the beach gave me the opportunity to know more about our visitors. A meteorologist, a school Vice-Principal, a pilot, lawyers, a realtor taking a year off of her career to try the things she always wanted to try such as ballet, sewing classes and yoga, all feeling grateful and inspired to be surrounded by special old and new friends.  One of them is Tammy Faulds, who is a Certified Professional Life Coach & Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator. Check out her website www.innertravelcoaching.com, we will be hearing more from her soon.

Super Bowl Sunday was the last event to enjoy as a group. Expat gathering at our place with Canadians, Americans, one Venezuelan, one Italian, and one Saint-Lucien cheering for the New England Patriots, and one Dominican cheering for the Seattle Seahawks (yes, that was me!).

Last guest left two days later and everything was over. The moment to start working on my goals and work and personal pendings immediately, including getting in touch with you! Here I am!

Now you know where my time went since I’ve been gone. Where did yours go? Tell me below in the comments 😉

Stay tuned for our upcoming post about what we are looking forward to in the following months! First hint? The Oscars!

P.S.: No matter what’s going on, our social networks stay active sharing the best articles we find online. Check them out as we will always thrive to feed you interesting content that will inform you, make you think about the topics that matter most, and put a smile on your face and most importantly, on your heart.

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2014: Midyear Recap

In Career, Family, Lifestyle, News on July 1, 2014 at 09:00
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Looking back…grateful!

The first half of the year is getting close to its end. As we start preparing for a summer filled with fun and activities, I would like to look back and share with you a quick mid-year recap. In some aspects it has been a slow year, valuable work projects have been cancelled or postponed, but I have learned my lessons and made important progress in different areas of my life. Keeping an eye on quality over quantity, it’s been a positive year.

What have I done so far in 2014?

-January:

As I mentioned on “Back for Good”, 2014 started with a contrasting mix of productivity and lethargy. Excited about being devoted to an amazing professional project indeed, even strength training every day. Mid-January, fun came in all different forms: family and friends joined us for a special corporate extravaganza: My husband’s company anniversary and annual beach week. Perfect dose of excitement and exhaustion!

-February:

My “creative” year started in February. After a long break, I started blogging and writing again and through them, found love in  everything around as you can read on “Love Now”.

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Looking back…grateful!

I also went away for a production gig and celebrated my dear Dominican Republic posting our National Poem on February 27th, our Independence Day.

-March:

Without planning it, March was a great month for reflection.  I started “Learning From Those Younger Than Us” sharing with you the short film  “NICA”  about a mid-20s young man who trades in his dismal 9-5 lifestyle in an urban metropolis for a “simpler life” thousands of miles away. On March 8th, I invited you to celebrate what unites all of us without exception: LIFE with “International Life Day”. And the highlight of the month was the wonderful experience I had working an awards show in my country. I am proud to realize how much we have learned and how eager we are to keep learning!

-April:

I was planning for an uneventful month. No traveling, which occasionally sounds more exciting than the opposite. House hunting got in the way, and there I was visiting, emailing, calling, texting, harassing landlords and real estate agentsjust to move to the first place we saw! But that didn’t happen until June 1st; therefore you need to keep reading! Then the unexpected happened: My husband surprised me with tickets to Little Corn Island! Beautiful piece of land off the coast of Nicaragua in the Caribbean Sea. To arrive, we drove one hour, flew one hour and sailed for one hour but then we were pedestrians for four days! Neither cars nor roads on the island!

Little Corn Island Collage

Looking back…grateful!

Everything was worth it! We had a wonderful getaway, ate delicious food, enjoyed nature, relaxedcan’t wait to go back!

-May:

May was fun! It started with the wedding of one of my best male friends. I can’t recall the last time I had so much fun before that night! What a blast!

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Looking back…grateful!

The middle of the second quarter of the year was also a great opportunity to refocus on what matters most and regain the passion to pursue our goals. I shared my empirical exercise on how I do that on “Six Steps to Achieve Your Goals”. While spending much needed quality time with family and friends, they convinced me to open an Instagram account that you can follow here @Laura.Sgroi.

-June:

On Sunday, June 1st, we moved to our new house.

Our house

Looking back…grateful!

A beautiful colonial residence that feels like home since the first day we stepped in. Here I started P90X for the 90th time, wrote that application for that dream project that I am dying to tell you about, but that I’ll keep a secret until I have the results;), celebrated my husband and my friend Malena’s birthday and started writing again while cheering for the World Cup matches.

This is my 2014 so far. What about yours?

How were the first six months of the year for you?

Hope you are having a great year!

Please share your mid-year recap and stay tuned for our next post about our Plans for the Second Half of 2014!

Thanks for stopping by!

Yours all year round,

Laura

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Learning From Those Younger Than Us

In Career, Finances, Great Articles Found Doing Research, Lifestyle, News, Relationships, Spirituality, Videos on March 3, 2014 at 12:47

One of the things that I enjoy the most in life is to be surrounded by creative people. I like them even more when they are young and they become my favorites when they have a positive attitude and they use their work to spread it.

As a production professional and a strong believer of the message of this piece, I am happy and proud to share with you the short film  “NICA”  about a mid-20’s young man trades in his dismal 9-5 lifestyle in an urban metropolis for a “simpler life” thousands of miles away.

One of my goals in my thirties is to never stop learning, especially from those younger than us!

Enjoy and please let me know your thoughts!

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Back for Good!

In Career, Family, Lifestyle, News, Quotes, Relationships on February 12, 2014 at 07:42

Today is a great day. It feels like New Year’s Day even though it’s already the second week of February. I’ll tell you why.

Blogging more is one of my 2014 resolutions. As I am afraid that you may have noticed, it’s not happening…yet.

2013 ended in good standing. Quiet get-together at home with friends. Bubbles, fireworks, grapes, wishful hugs and kisses.

Us...The Sgrois!

Us…The Sgrois on NYE!

2014 started with the most contrasting mix of productivity and lethargy. Excited about being devoted to an amazing professional project indeed, even strength training every day. On the other hand, not working on “Now That I Am in My Thirties” at all. Not writing, not blogging, not doing research, not reading. Nothing at all. Everything was about work again. There I was, breaking my own rules, not making the effort to look for the sought-after balance that I had promised myself.

Mid-January, fun came in all different forms: family and friends joined us for the most special corporate extravaganza: My husband’s company anniversary and annual beach week. What a blast! Perfect dose of excitement and exhaustion!

Mombacho Family in Maderas Beach, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Mombacho Family in Maderas Beach, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua…You get a high five if you find me on this picture!

And then everybody left and I was officially back to work. In the meantime, I never stopped thinking about this blog and about the book. Fighting to convince myself that I was not hiding due to the fact that I have not finished the book. Wondering if you even noticed. Wishing you were not missing me. Fantasizing about how to surprise you the next time.

I didn’t know where to start. I added new quotes to our Inspiration section and posted new articles on our social networks. Without trying, I managed to disable the Live Twitter Feed on the blog and haven’t been able to fix it. I was afraid of making grammar, spelling and technical mistakes. Feeling scared about losing credibility in front of you. I was letting fear take control of my persona, and every day passing, it was just getting worse.

Anyway, you kept visiting, following, liking and commenting on our pages. I can’t thank you enough for that. Thank you for hanging in there. Thanks to YOU I realized it’s not fair to hide and stop sharing our gifts, even though we know they are not perfect. So I thank you.

Now you know why this is my first blog post of the year. How do you like it?

Do you relate to it?

What about you?

How have you been? What have you done lately?

Can’t wait to hear from you! Let’s get in touch!

With gratitude and love,

Laura

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Dear 2013…Thank You!

In Career, Family, Finances, Health, Lifestyle, News, Relationships, Spirituality on December 31, 2013 at 13:21

Dear 2013,

First full year in my 30s!

Today I thank you for:

-Giving us the opportunity to welcome you during  a beautiful vacation with our family in Palermo:

New Year's Eve at The Sgroi House in Palermo, Sicily

New Year’s Eve at The Sgroi House in Palermo, Sicily

-Having the support of my husband on very important aspects of my life all year long.

-Spending a great time with old and new friends during a week at a beautiful house in Maderas Beach:

Maderas Beach, Nicaragua, January 2013

Maderas Beach, Nicaragua, January 2013

-Keeping in touch with my friends and family in Miami, Dominican Republic and around the world.

-Having the opportunity to keep working in successful productions including amazing new projects with wonderful old and new colleagues.

-Being available to join my parents and help them move to their new home and reviving lovely memories while packing.

-Receiving negative results after medical tests.

-Getting back to a healthy routine.

-Being at the wedding of my cousin and confirming the wonderful husband God gave her:

Franchesca & Denijer, March 2013

Franchesca & Denijer, March 2013

-Receiving guidance and advice when I needed it the most.

-For “Just Give Me A Reason” by Pink ft. Nate Ruess

-Having the time and attitude to reconnect with the most special people in my life.

-Gathering most of our Miami friends on June 19th to celebrate my husband’s birthday! Watch video HERE!

-Staying in love and celebrating our 4th wedding anniversary.

-For Christmas in Granada, Nicaragua…All we need is love!

Christmas' Eve 2013, Granada, Nicaragua.

Christmas’ Eve 2013, Granada, Nicaragua.

-Finishing the year debt-free!

-Receiving so much support to this blog and the book project, for the beautiful essays that we received from our contributors,  for the editing company, cover designer, interviews translator, and author assistant that God found for this book, for having the opportunity to work on this worthy and creative project, and for the patience of my family, friends, and readers while I finish this book! As our contributor Osmara would say: “I’m not done writing this book yet because I’m living it!”

-Enjoying unforgettable trips, for the amazing hosts we had, the wonderful landscapes we enjoyed, and for keeping us in touch with our beloved family and friends, celebrating birthdays and good news, in spite of distance and different time zones! Grateful for all the inspiration I felt this year! Looking forward to applying it soon!

Cushion at Chapters Indigo Bookstore in Toronto, Canada, September 2013

Cushion at Chapters Indigo Bookstore in Toronto, Canada, September 2013

2013 is over today because I can’t ask for more!

Here is to 2014!

Wisdom, health, and love to enjoy it all!

Your biggest fan,

Laura

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Now writing from Nicaragua…Just in case you feel that my “accent” changes along the way!

In Uncategorized on October 1, 2012 at 10:06

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Thanks to all our viewers and readers around the world!

In Uncategorized on September 22, 2012 at 13:08

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