In Paraguay if you want the cheese to brown in a dish that you are baking you have to run the slices under water before baking.
Yeah, I don’t know either.
It’s been awhile since I last wrote, and I’ve moved into an apartment since then! I was really lucky to find the apartment that I did– a decent price, great location, amazing view– with a balcony! I had high hopes for having my own little Paraguayan house with a garden, fruit trees, and a hammock, but that just wasn’t in the cards for me and Paraguarienses claimed it would be nearly impossible to find. So, I had to let that dream die and most days I’m quite content with my fairly well-constructed, not (visibly) molded over, might I even say ‘North American’ seeming apartment. When I hear stories of volunteers that still have to bathe in streams or haul water from wells I do feel quite guilty.
After trying to get a used fridge from a volunteer in Asuncion (and me almost giving the driver a heart attack as he yelled at me in Guarani to keep watching the fridge tied upright in the back of a pickup with some rope to make sure it didn’t fall down) and it arriving only to not work, I had to bite the bullet and buy a new fridge. But on the upside it is white, clean, beautiful, and does not smell like rotting!
“Bite the bullet” does not translate to Spanish, by the way.
I’ve been trying to make it feel homey by putting lots of pictures up, painting my chairs bright blue (the color of the Liberal party, the political party that is NOT in power in Paraguari, whoops! I’ve already gotten lots of questions about them, I swear they just go well with my pink and yellow table cloth!) and organizing things. What seems like inches of dust accumulate in just a few days time here, so sweeping should become my new hobby.
Tomorrow makes 3 months in-site, which means we’re almost up to 6 months in country, whoa.
I daresay I might have underestimated the difficulty of the task before I set out for Peace Corps. I couldn’t help but feeling like “Been there, done that,” as they talked about the emotional roller coaster of cultural adjustment. I don’t like roller coasters (I prefer Noah’s Ark) and I refused to step foot on the Raging Bull at Six Flags the one time that I was there, but the roller coaster I’m currently on has got to be at least 18x more intense.
Most of us come into contact with at least one person every day who truly love us. And it makes sense, we live in houses, neighborhoods, communities, go to schools, churches, and jobs that help facilitate these encounters, these run-ins with love if you will. The people that love you even though they knew you while you were aged 13-17 and a big jerk.
But what happens if you go days, weeks, months and never run in to love? Not in the street, not at the supermarket, not even at the park on the swings. Signs go up in storefronts: “Fresh out of love, not geographically accessible for 7,536.2 miles.”
You’ll probably be watching The Wire, Season 4, where there’s lots of prison visits, and you’ll find yourself thinking: “That dude’s in prison and he gets to see his friends and family more than I do!”
I’ve definitely found a lot of unexpected and amazing love from other volunteers, and lots of acts of generosity from Paraguayans, but there’s something about love, live and in person, from people that knew you before 180 days ago.
So, I guess all of this was my melodramatic way of saying I am thanking my lucky stars that my younger sister IS COMING TO VISIT RIGHT AFTER CHRISTMAS. Woooooooooo! I couldn’t stop screaming when she called me to tell me she bought her ticket. I miss everyone at home and did I mention that I have a second bedroom at my apartment? And now lots of chairs, that will soon be modpodged with words from Pablo Neruda’s Ode to Chairs.
a chair not
only for the weary body’s
but also for everything,
and for everybody,
to renew lost strength,
and for meditation.