The Moments that Join Us: Nica Nugget #12

Jorge grew up in Colombia, speaking Spanish. Ashley grew up in the northern suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia, USA, speaking English. And then one day they met. 

Ashley was working odd jobs while she worked on her Interior Design Art degree. 

On this particular day she was working for a perfume company, spraying cologne samples on customer’s wrists, in Macy’s Men’s Department at the Mall. 

Jorge was in Atlanta working on his English and a Master’s degree in International Business. The mall was near his home and he was running errands. While there, he decided to try the cologne. 

Flash forward to today: two kids (Miguel 19, Bella 17), at least two dogs, some chickens, pigs and cows, a home and a store (Bella Home) on this, their 21st Wedding Anniversary. 

My life intersected with theirs two years ago when my husband and I were trying to outfit our newly-bought house. We didn’t, and still do not, have a car here. And we needed everything for our house, from plates to toilet-roll holders to to beds to appliances. We hired a Managuan driver to run us around Managua. We hired another driver, Oscar Danilo Collado Dinarte, to run us around Rivas. And we rented a car for yet another trip to Managua (lamps at Sinsa) and to Masaya (hammocks) and to Masatepe (end tables, a bed). 

We enjoy being hunters and gathers; enjoy how specific towns have specialties. It’s a joy to meet the craftsmen and to see the places where they work. 

In the United States the shopping experience is so impersonal, except for the Saturday Farmers Markets or Summer Art Festivals. But with Malls, WalMarts, Targets and Home Depots, shopping to outfit a new home in the United States may be impersonal but it’s also a ridiculously efficient affair. (And what a reverse culture shock it always is for any US expat to walk down any of their aisles!)

Throw in all of the online stores and a shopper in the States doesn’t even need to get dressed and leave the house. 

I admit that as much as I loved seeing the jungle workshop where our wooden, rustic, bar stools were created, and as much as the lack of commercialization is one of the things I love about living in Nicaragua and San Juan del Sur, somedays I just ached to teleport myself to Target’s kitchen aisle for that needed lime squeezer NOW. 

We also couldn’t find any large art to purchase in town, although we did finally find a few pieces we really love. 

So when I saw a FB post or a Del Sur News announcement (I don’t now recall) that a Home Store was soon to open in town, I started stalking the store, and met Ashley and eyed her merchandise (all high quality and either imported or locally custom made) before she even officially opened her doors. 

We’ve now bought measuring cups, a coffee filter, pot holders, eight decorative pillows, two paintings (one which was custom painted from a photo I took) and custom drapes. 

Ashley’s greatest love, being the interior decorator that she is, is to take a nonfunctional and/or ugly space and make it pretty, and to make her customers happy with their space. 

This Saturday she’s having a Re-Grand Opening Party of Bella Home from 4pm to 8pm with music and drinks. And her daughter, Bella, who the store is named after and who has her own clothing line, Hilo (Thread) will be doing a Hilo pop up store there that night.