Life in Nicaragua, According to Will Rogers

I have several ideas about adjusting to life in Nicaragua and all of the challenges:  adapting to the culture, learning the language, involvement in the ex-pat communities, observing the government and paying attention to our own “homeland” conditions (from time to time), meeting new people and making new friends.  As I started to sort out some of my thoughts, I realized that nearly every situation I have encountered since arriving here (just five months ag0) has already been addressed by one of our own “American cowboys”…and many of those observations were made nearly a century ago.  As I’ve encountered a new experience in my own life, I’ve always found that the American humorist, Will Rogers, has already soundly and humorously addressed the point. Consider these “lessons of life” that we have all encountered during our adventures and explorations in Nicaragua.

  • When meeting friends for coffee in the morning or a beer in the afternoon:  “Never miss a good chance to shut up.” 
  • If you can’t get motivated to work your plan:  “Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” 
  • Think you have got to have that new Mahindra truck or remodel your casa:  “Too many people spend money they buy things they don’t impress people that they don’t like.” 
  • When meeting new folks, remember:  “I never met a man that I didn’t like.”
  • When you wonder why some ex-pats have got to do it their own way:  “There are three kinds of men. The ones that learn by readin’. The few who learn by observation.  The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.” 
  • Wondering if anyone will find out what you’ve been up to:  “Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.” 
  • We can’t take all the glory by ourselves:  “We can’t all be heroes because somebody has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by.” 
  • Getting “down” on where you live?  Nothing going right:  “Do the best you can, and don’t take life too serious.” 
  • Telling a story about another ex-pat:  “Rumor travels faster, but it don’t stay put as long as truth.”
  • Keep looking forward and refrain from living in the past:  “Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today”
  • Think you know better than the other guy?  “Everyone is ignorant, only on different subjects.”
  • We have ALL been there!  “When you find yourself in a hole, quit digging.”
  • Some things NEVER change.  That is definitely true of Congress.  “If pro is the opposite of con, what is the opposite of Congress?” 
  • Yankee ingenuity.  “If stupidity got us in this mess, how come it can’t get us out.”
  • When you stop in at your next watering hole:  “Always drink upstream from the herd.”
  • Damned liberal?  Or “right wing extremist”?  “The more you observe politics, the more you’ve got to admit that each party is worse than the other.” 
  • Stay confident!  “If you want to be successful, it’s just this simple. Know what you are doing. Love what you are doing. And believe in what you are doing.”
  • Thinking about getting rich quick in Nicaragua?  “The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it in your back pocket.”
  • A man is only as good as his word:  “It takes a lifetime to build a good reputation, but you can lose it in a minute.”
  • When you think the government can do no worse, remember that someone is always going to benefit.  “There is no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you.”
  • Don’t worry.  Be happy.  Stay positive.  “Most men are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
  • Think you know it all?  Or someone you know seems to?  “The problem ain’t what people know. It’s what people know that ain’t so that’s the problem.” 
  • Feel like life is catching up to you?  “Some people try to turn back their odometers. Not me, I want people to know “why” I look this way. I’ve traveled a long way and some of the roads weren’t paved.”
  • Every experience counts for some good.  “Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.” 
  • We each our own best agent and advocate.  “I like to hear a man talk about himself because then I never hear anything, but good.” 
  • Think you’ve seen it all or know it all?  “When you’re through learning, you’re through.”
  • Go ahead.  Introduce yourself to someone new.  “I never met a person that I did not want to like.”
  • Sometimes there’s no substitute for hard work.  “Plans get you into things but you’ve got to work your way out.”
  • Remember how is USED TO BE in Nicaragua?  “Things ain’t what they used to be and probably never was.” 
  • We learn a lot more by listening than we do by talking.  “It is better for some one to think you’re a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” 
  • There are MANY smart people here in Nicaragua, ex-pats and Nicaraguans, alike.  “People only learn through two things. One is reading and the other is association with smarter people.”

(Note:  Will Rogers’ quotes are all shown in bold, italicized print.) William Penn Adair “Will” Rogers (November 4, 1879 – August 15, 1935) was an American cowboyvaudeville performer, humorist, social commentator and motion picture actor. He was one of the world’s best-known celebrities in the 1920s and 1930s. Known as “Oklahoma‘s Favorite Son,”  Rogers was born to a prominent Cherokee Nation family in Indian Territory (now part of Oklahoma). He traveled around the world three times, made 71 movies (50 silent films and 21 “talkies“), wrote more than 4,000 nationally-syndicated newspaper columns, and became a world-famous figure. By the mid-1930s, Rogers was adored by the American people. He was the leading political wit of the Progressive Era, and was the top-paid Hollywood movie star at the time. Rogers died in 1935 with aviator Wiley Post, when their small airplane crashed in Alaska. Compiled (with commentary) by Steve Lindsey Image

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