Long time, no talk...
Back in January, I promised myself and everyone in the blog that I would be a lot better about updating my time here in Paraguay..... I honestly thought I would but now it's April 10th and I haven't posted a single thing to update you on all of the things I have accomplished, lessons learned, and the never ending ups and downs of a Peace Corps Volunteer. So to catch you all up, let's start with what has happened in Paraguay since my trip back to the states.
I just got back in time for a few days in Asuncion with my boyfriend, Francisco, followed by a Paraguayan typical New Years with his family. We had a delicious Paraguayan asado dinner, followed by tons of dancing. At midnight I introduced them to popping bottles of champagne, and to no surprise, Francisco was probably the only one who really liked it. Luckily he has liked almost all American things I have had him try, or he just loves me enough to try it and pretend he likes it, who knows. That night I wasn't exactly back on the Paraguayan time, so we were the first ones to go to bed at four a.m., his parents and grandma were up until six a.m. dancing, they actually probably didn't sleep, just followed up with the usual morning mate. It is amazing how his family knows how to party, I would love to see my parents dancing until 6 a.m., it would be such a great surprise.
I brought beer pong to Paraguay, naturally winning, and being the only one able to hold my beer, Paraguayans are used to drinking a lot, but just not so fast. Ended up using 13 liters of Beer between four people, that night I felt the Gaucho pride.
There was about a month period between January and February where I played on a women's soccer team, amazing I know, I couldn't believe that I was actually playing, I think it was the first time I have fallen since from other human collision since in high school or maybe later. It made me realize that I am way too young to be saying that.. Since then I have been trying to teach myself how to be young again.... which includes many handstands and bridges... Yay to flexibility.
As a birthday present, I bought 6 chicks, they are such a joy, and although I will never stomach myself to kill them, I love having them around to take care of and watch, they are such a hoot, and it can be so relaxing just to sit and watch them interact with each other, they have such great personalities. And luck is on my side, as of the 6 chicks, 5 ended up being girls and I have 1 boy. To Paraguay standards this is perfect, since the Rooster needs about 5 Chickens to keep up with his "stamina", if there were more Roosters, my poor girls would have been in for a beating and a nasty cock fight.
In January/ February, my ZUMBA class exploded, at times I had 30 girls/women, shaking their booties to "Wiggle", and some of the popular Latino songs here in Paraguay. It then slowed down in March due to lent/ Easter preparation. And now I am just so busy with my work in the Colegio, that the idea of starting it back again makes me feel exhausted. Not sure on what I am going to do...
I had a lovely birthday celebration with Francisco, his family and my site mate Pauline. It was something small but sweet. What was even better was on my actual birthday, Francisco and I made an asado dinner paired with Margaritas :) It was his first time drinking it, and naturally loved it :)
One night in February, I had armadillo for dinner, it was delicious, and also dangerous as they can pass Leprosy to humans. Luckily I am alive and healthy.
During the summer vacation, January to March, I had a camera class, Ahecha, where I taught a few girls in my community how to take professional photos. I started out with 6 girls and ended up with 2, always ends up like this, but either way it was totally worth it. They took great shots of my community. You can see their Top 25 photos here.
I have done tons of organic Gardening, it has been a great tool to staying happy, and relieving stress. I suggest that you all start Gardening in the U.S. Although we are in heavy drought, there are many ways that you can recycle water so that it can be used in your Garden, and if space is a problem you can always use container gardening, and always compost. Put those food scraps to good use and start a worm bin. One day these practices will be what end's up saving our lives.
For over year I have been the Communication head for our National environmental camp, Paraguay Verde, my job included organizing our online profile on Facebook, and Youtube. With one of my fellow Volunteers we made a few videos to help promote the camp, and show what the camp is about. I made these videos: the Paraguay Verde which is an overview of past camps, a Thank You video to our donors. During the camp I led the media team, we took hundreds of photos and videos, to make this amazing video to show what Paraguay Verde V was like. And then we ended our work with one final video to show the Paraguay Verde Experience. It was such a blast being a part of this crew, one of my side hobbies includes making videos, before I leave I plan to make a Paraguay Short Video Series so stay tuned.
On February 23, the madness of teaching came back into my life, it was the first day of school and although only 20/80 students showed up, we started the day with traditional Paraguayan music with Ice Breakers, and leadership games.
I got Pique in my toe, its the insect that burrows itself in our skin and lays eggs. It was fun getting it out, sometimes I wish I had it again.
Went to Ahendu, the Peace Corps triannual event where Volunteers get together to play music and get their groove on.
We finished up our Eco-Bancos in the Colegio, they turned out great. I went to a few birthday parties with Francisco, danced so much. Went fishing, I absolutely terrified of touching fish, so it didn't really turn out that productive.
At the end of March, I had the honor of witnessing the union of love, of my fellow Peace Corps Volunteer with her Paraguayan boyfriend (now husband). It was such a lovely celebration and I am so happy for these two, to see where life will take them, and to visit them once we are all State side.
I helped my high school seniors class make Sopa Paraguaya for a fundraiser for a fundraiser. The third batch fell on the ground while it was raining, it was absolutely hilarious, and we had an excuse to eat it.
Francisco and I have Taco night at least once a week, one night we invited some of our friends, they loved it, even the homemade hot sauce. I was impressed, also you all would be impressed by my homemade tortillas, and taco meat made with all natural spices. SO GREAT THAT IT DOESN'T HAVE ANY PRESERVATIVES.
I painted some parts of our Eco-Bancos and Table. Saw some great sunsets. Drank a 4 USD bottle of wine, it was great :)
My favorite Paraguayan dish is So'o Apu'a, Its a cornball with meat, onions, pepper, In the middle of a soup, it is filled with so much flavor, and with hot sauce, is delicious :) I hope to learn how to cook it so that one day I can make it for anyone State side who is interested in trying it.
In my Colegio we built the Peace Corps model of a brick stove and oven, it has a specific design that used wine bottles to help maintain the heat of the stove, without requiring a lot of wood. The stove turned our to be great. We are suppose to wait a week so that the stove will be 100% dry. Well my school didn't want to wait any longer, we were just one day from a week. I suggested a few days more because it had rained a lot, and the weather has been very humid. Disregarding my opinion, I was told my a Profesora (one I don't often work with) and my students, that here in Paraguay we always use it right away, and that I was wrong to suggest waiting longer. It made me so upset, because this is a model for my community, and a tool for the school, they ended up using it, and although it hasn't fallen apart, it may have longer lasting impacts, like it may not work for as long as it could have. My contact, the principal of the school didn't tell the Profesora to listen to my opinion because she doesn't want to cause more problems, and told me that when it breaks, they will be responsible for fixing it. As much as I wish I could just let it roll off, I ended up crying in the Principals office. Not only because of this incident, but also for how disrespectful my students are to me.
This incident happened last Thursday, I felt so hurt and frustrated with my job as a Profesora, that I took the executive decision to not go to class on Friday. I instead went to a friend's birthday party on the other side of Paraguay. It was totally well worth it and now I am taking a true RnR day to prepare for yet another day in the Colegio.
This time I promise to update my blog more, thanks for all of your love and support.
Birthday Tequila Shot
The toys that exist here in Paraguay
A water plant I have outside of my house
My adorable neighbor's daughters
It looks like chicken
The view of my town
Birthday presents from Mom
Mom's Spaghetti down here in Paraguay.
First day of school :)
Pique the bug that lives in your skin
The boys in my group and an amazing hat. Ghana still has my heart.
My freshmen class :)
My loofah plant
Visiting the Virgen of Caacupe.
The soccer team.
My lil peeps
When they used to be cute and sleep in my hands.
His smile, love for his family and all kids, goofiness, so many reasons why I love him.
The cutie pie's sleeping.
Working in the school garden
Group of Friends
Friends in Asuncion
Sunsets after the rain
The beautiful bride.
My students :)
Little kid with a mustache.
Making Sopa Paraguaya
The brick oven.
The Sopa Paraguaya that fell in the rain.
My awesome students.
World Map on the eco-table.
How I open my wine bottles.
So'o Apu'a my favorite meal :)