By Brenna Trollinger
Today, I bought a plant.
Every day on my walk to work I am surrounded by organized chaos. Here in León, Nicaragua, I pass by camionetas overflowing with people, groups of little boys playing “quitball” ( a version of baseball using arms instead of bats), and little old ladies who sell fresh tortillas on street corners. There is a small pulperia that sells various plants in anything that could be used for a container. Coffee cans, milk jugs, and plastic water bottles house the assortment of plants that change daily. Seeing the greenery amid the craziness when I walk past Pulperia Marielos, I can’t help but admire how these plants thrive. As far I can tell, these odd containers of old milk jugs, buckets, and bottles make excellent homes for plants.
On this walk I think to myself, I want to buy one of these plants and be able to see it grow during my time here. In León, there is constant sun and it rains often enough that I would not have to worry about watering it. Despite the cannon that goes off at 7 am every morning, the random fireworks, and constant noisy parades, a plant would just grow. Seeing it outside my room every morning would be a reminder that something from this land belongs to me and will grow alongside me.
Even with the nonstop traffic, and the afternoon heat, I carried my new plant home smiling. It has small round leaves and lives in a recycled soda bottle. This plant is perfect.
This purchase cost only 10 cordobas ($0.33) but it’s worth goes beyond that. I am going to be living here in León for 9 months and this plant is the first personal touch I’ve added to my room. By putting this plant outside my door I have transformed the space into my own, made this home feel like my home. It is also one of the first choices I have made about the life I want to create here. Day by day I am creating that life, going to yoga, going to the beach and reading the books I finally have time for. My new plant is the small green home base that I can build around.
On its own the choice to buy a plant doesn’t hold some great significance, however, I am learning to relish in the little things. It marks one of the many choices I can make in deciding what life I want to create for myself. During my time here I want to travel and see as much of this country as possible, and I can. On every available weekend, I have taken trips to sleep on active volcanoes, swim under waterfalls, and see beautiful sunrises. I am beginning to see myself thrive here in Nicaragua, the oddest container I could have imagined.