Friday, April 13, 2012

What does my routine as a PCV look like?

Me in my ridiculous straw hat working with my community contact, Na Merarda, in her garden
Obviously every Peace Corps Volunteer has their own unique experience.  It's why I so often see the #liveyourownservice tag on things.  I think in some ways, not comparing out day-to-day life is what keeps us from getting crushed under the pressure of measuring up to the super-guapo, or realizing that you're at the bottom of the Impressive PCV Meter.  It's all about claiming that you're a balanced person living the best way you can in a very area-specific situation, hahaha.

So here is my routine on days when I don't go to town, which in no way reflects the routine of any other PCV in Paraguay.

7:30 Wake up to chickens usually pooping on my porch right behind my bed.  Plywood does not insulate sound.
8:00 Coffee and cinnamon oatmeal, devotions (2 Kings and Psalms, currently)
9:00 Some days laundry, some days go search for internet
10:00 Occasionally search for terere among the community. On laundry days, still doin' laundry.
11:00 Get fidgety and decide if I'm going to build something/work in the garden. Still doin' laundry on laundry days.
12:00 Decide I don't have the materials I need to build or that it's too close to lunch to start working anywhere.  Start cooking/making peanut butter and jelly.
12:30ish Eat, read, listen to Survivor podcasts
1:00 Do dishes, clean up house, put some clothes away, etc.
2:00 Terere time! Sometimes read, sometimes listen to music or a podcast. Sweat.
3:00 Again, get fidgety and decide if I'm going to build something/work in the garden.  Maybe go for a family visit, sometimes go to internet if I didn't in the morning.  A lot of times I read through manuals or mentally plan charlas that I will do at comite meetings when I can actually speak in Guarani.
3:10 Decide I don't have the materials I need to build or that It's too late to start working anywhere. Text/talk on the phone with other PCVs.  A lot of times I sit and talk with my host-brothers and drink more terere/eat manderin oranges that grow on the tree next to my house.
4:00 Refill water bottles and go see Nora to fill back up on eggs.  I never have enough eggs!
5:00 Shower time! Get water to do dishes with after dinner.
6:00 Decide what I want for dinner and maybe read or play some Angry Birds. It gets dark out early now... what else am I supposed to do?
7:00 Cook (aka make a total mess of my house), eat, do dishes, clean up.
8:00 TV time!
8:30 Coffee
9:00 Popcorn!
10:00 Decide what I'm doing tomorrow, clean up dishes from snacks.
10:30ish Go to bed.

This is obviously for ho-hum days.  If I have scheduled work, comite meetings, or things like that I definitely don't spend as much time reading or listening to music.  But yeah, life for me in a lot of ways is pretty tranquilo.  Once the garden gets going, I'll have weeding and watering on my TTD lists, and getting rabbits will change things for sure in the future.  I also manage my compost pile pretty frequently.

Next weekend I'm heading into Asuncion, because G38 (the newest group of volunteers to come to Paraguay... Health sector, I think?) is swearing in and the volunteers have a big party with live music called Ahendu ("I listen" in Guarani).  Things tend to get a bit crazy, so I'll stay for a little bit, but I'm not staying out all night like some people in my G did when we swore in.  After the party, my G has our reconnect training in Guarambare for the week, and we'll get to live with our original host families!  I'm excited to see them.

I'm doing well.  God has really been working in my heart and helping me to let go of things at home that I have no control over, and to just give into the experience here.  I think I'm realizing with time that after this, I will be able to endure a lot more when I get back to the United States, and that gives me a lot of confidence.  I never doubted for a second that God wanted me here and even when I was thinking of going home, I knew that I couldn't unless He sent me.

There are lots of things for me to learn here still (besides the languages... that's a whole other blog post, haha), and I'm excited about the possibilities.  One of the most important things that I'm learning right now is that I'm not in control at all... which is like the most traumatic thing for a control freak such as myself to learn.  Life is short, but there's a lot of different ways it can go.  Every day we're faced with choices.  Some are important, some are not.  But the important thing is that I surrender what I want to God and just follow the Spirit, doing what I know is right.

I'll write more on this stuff later.  I have to buy all the materials to install my running water and shower near my house (looks like today is a guapo day! yay!), and I only have two hours before the truck leaves me with 120 meters of plastic tubing... that can't happen.  I'm not walking 6 miles with all that.  I'm sure I'll get a few more posts in over the next week or so, and definitely next week!  Enjoy the weekend, friends!

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