On may first we successfully made the move to Tola. It was a great help that my Brother in law was able to come with his truck and we could pile everything in there so as not to move all our belongings using the chicken bus, which would have been challenging to say the least.
Our apartment in Jinotepe was fully furnished, so one adjustment has been moving into an empty house. We had to get chairs, various appliances, and somehow find a place to store our clothes and other things. We still have our metal grid that snaps together that we got as a wedding gift, so that worked for the clothes. Right now we're working on getting some concrete blocks and planks to make other furniture such as a counter top and a bench/couch. I may post pictures later on, depending how good (or bad) it looks when I'm done. We may also try with palates, although apparently in Nicaragua used palates are not cheap since they are so sought after that no one gives them away for free.
So far we are enjoying our new town. We are close to the street so we have some traffic noise at busy hours but otherwise its a very quiet town. Going in service is amazing, as we have mostly rural territory, and since we are a now in a Spanish congregation we don't need to do search work. This means long walks through the jungle going to farms and plantations, and also witnessing to staff members at beach side restaurants.
Getting internet here was not too difficult either. We tried with CooTel first, which is a new company in Nicaragua. They offered a wireless router with speeds up to 1.5 mbps upload and download unlimited for $20 a month. This is pretty great, since upload is the one that really matters for teaching online. We had a $50 per month deal with Claro in Jinotepe which gave us 3 mbps download, but only 0.3 to 0.5 upload (we were paying for 1 mbs upload which is the fastest they offer). Unfortunately the signal did not reach our house and we had to take it back. I asked very clearly several times and made them confirm that if it didn't work I would get my money back. Imagine my surprise when we took it back and they said they would not offer a refund. So now I am the proud owner of a useless orange box with an antenna on it.
Reluctantly, we went to the Claro office to see about getting a contract for internet, having in mind all the horrible customer service experiences from the past, and the constant, sometimes month long service outages of the Atlantic coast. Happily though, they surprised me this time. Apparently the company is under different management in each department, and the Rivas department of Claro runs a very different kind of business. We filled out the papers in Jean's name (I could have done it in my name, but they wanted a larger deposit for a foreigner than for a local). On the way home we stopped for Ice cream, and then continued walking. We were passed by a small white van with a ladder on top and we started joking that it was Claro on the way to our house to set up the internet. When does a cable company ever come the same day, right?
Within about an hour we were set up with the fastest Internet I have ever had in Nicaragua. We are paying for 4 mbs down and 1.5 mbs up, we get about 5 and 3 mbs, regardless of the time of day. Along with that package we get cable TV... if only we had a TV. So next to our router there is a lovely coil of black cable waiting for a TV to appear so it can fulfill its life purpose.