Today was my last day in Nicaragua, and it was a great one.
This morning started off early with a 7 am television appearance on Channel 2. It was the Nicaraguan version of Better Connecticut! I felt very at home. :)
The folks on the show loved us, and were so nice. It was a really great experience.
Later on in the morning, we gave a master class and lecture at the local music conservatory. Am I qualified for something like that? Absolutely not. But I decided that I'd talk to the kids (they really are kids) anyway.
Here's what I told them, and here's what I'll tell you:
I've been a musician for 15 years. It's been hard, and it's still hard, but it's how I make my living and I love it. Being an artist, being a musician, is a job.
It's a real job, and no one can tell me, or you or anyone else that it's not.
If there are people in your life who don't believe in you, or don't take you seriously - stop listening to them.
Surround yourself with people who believe in you, and never give up, because the world needs more art. It needs more beauty. It needs you.
So there you have it - my college lecture in a nutshell.
After my final lunch of pinto gallo and plantains (amongst other things - I've just really been enjoying them as a staple) our afternoon was spent getting ready for our final concert, which was in Managua, at Casa de Mejia Godoy.
It was remarkable meeting Carlos Mejia Godoy - Nicaragua's troubadour. He's loved. He's beloved. And he's hilarious.
My emotional moment tonight came as we were singing one of his most popular songs, Nicaragua's unofficial national anthem, Nicaragua Nicaraguita.
I was standing next to him, singing his song, and couldn't help but feel this man's love for his country and its people. Of course, I couldn't help but think about how much I have loved these two weeks, and have loved this country and these people. It was a powerful moment.
Zooming in on the video screen shot of us - it's clear that Carlos didn't mind having someone else sing his song. What an honor.
Well, we just toasted to a successful trip over some Nicaraguan rum, but the stories are only just beginning.
I'll have more of a chance to reflect tomorrow during my travels - and of course, stay tuned for the videos to come. This has been an incredible two weeks.