Well, lots has happened since I last wrote– I visited home! It was absolutely wonderful.
My friend Estefi said in her blog: “I wanted the comfort of being surrounded by things I knew and understood. I wanted the relaxation of not having to figure out a new culture or new city. I wanted to be surrounded by the familiar faces I love. I wanted to be home.”
And wasn’t that the truth! Wisconsin never looked so beautiful. I got to spend great family time in Waukesha and Cleveland– I saw my grandma and grandpa, ALL of my aunts and uncles on both sides and most of my cousins– a rare occurrence. I got to see great friends in Milwaukee and Madison and headed to St. Paul for the beautiful wedding of a friend from study abroad to her Chilean husband (a romance I got to watch blossom!) Luckily for me, her guest list included old roommates, good friends, and plenty of amazing dancers! (Did I mention that I LOVE wedding dance parties??!)
In Cleveland we celebrated the recent engagement of my cousin Andrea to Andy– who I met for the first time. Yes, Andi & Andy. Could it get any cuter? 🙂 We also watched my cousin Kate kick butt and take names on the Oberlin soccer field– her nose guard mask was enough to scare away most defenders 🙂
Now that I’m back in Paraguay, this is more what my life looks like (hilarious video by a guy in my sister group, watch it!)
Coming back was obviously an adjustment, but with youth who send you text messages like this (regardless of whether they’re chains and 70 other people also received the same thing): “You’re one of those people who with only a smile you erase the sadness and bitterness of life, you transform the bad into something good. You’re a person that shares so much happiness with the people around you and you do all of that without even trying. For that, I will never forget you!” So sweet. Or having a super hardworking youth who’s a finalist for an Ambassadors program through the U.S. Embassy and Fundacion Paraguaya where he would travel to the U.S. for 3 weeks in January! (We find out the results in the next few weeks)
My internet is not cooperating to post pictures in this blog, so I guess it’ll have to be another day!
I close the way I opened, by quoting Estefi’s blog. Here she tells the story of us teaching swing dance to her kids at the school she works in:
“Since I’ve been working with the business high school this year, they suggested I work with one of my classes to do a USA stand at a 2-day event where other schools and other stands would be present. The stand would offer some pictures, an American flag, me, some typical norte food, AND they wanted a traditional dance. Wait…what? I don’t dance. So, we had the pro come in–Molly, the closest volunteer in my group, who knows all about many kinds of dance and loves an excuse to get people dancing! 🙂 In one night she taught them the steps to 3 different songs (cupid shuffle, swing dance, electric slide—those are traditional dances, right?..haha) and had them excited about performing them in front of the rest of Yaguaron.
The first day of the Folklore event and competition was all local and school-based, and the second day was for the dance organizations in and around Yaguaron and even from all over the country, coming in to have a full-day competition. My kids danced the 1st day only, and I was blown away by how well they did!!! 🙂 SO impressed…for Molly coming in for a couple hours one night and then us deserting them for the rest of the week that they had to prep (mid-service training)…they had choreographed an entire dance to a swing song and it was amazing! Well done, 2 BTC. 🙂 Their dance ended the first day of the competition…I went WILD!…I think the rest of the audience was slightly confused..since it was kind of different from the traditional dance we’d been watching up until that point. haha. :)”
I unfortunately was not able to see their performance live, but Estefi captured it on video perfectly. They totally knocked my socks off and went above and beyond what we had taught them! They watched videos online to incorporate fancier steps and Swing tricks and then practiced all week. It would be difficult to make someone who’s never been in Paraguay understand why that’s so impressive, but just believe me when I say it is 🙂 We’ll see if we can’t put the video somewhere you can watch it!
Lots of amor from Paraguay!