Sunday, November 18, 2012

It's Finally Here! Vacation Blog 1 - Asuncion

It's time for the long-awaited vacation blog!  My parents were here like two months ago, and I never wrote about it.  But now, my videos are edited together, my pictures have been adequately sized, and I actually have the time to sit down and write about my experiences with my mom and dad.  I'm going to break this all up into parts, because I think it will be a little long.

The day my parents arrived, I went to meet them at the airport.  It's hard for me to explain what I was feeling.  It was almost like I was nervous, I don't know.  The second they walked out from baggage claim it was that bizarre feeling of worlds colliding.  I'd been in Paraguay for nearly a year at that point, and I very specifically remember the last time I saw my parents in person as I rode up the escalator to my gate in Lansing when I flew out to go to Staging in Miami.

It was great to see them though!  They made it, which was a huge relief.  I was worried they would somehow end up stranded in Sao Paulo and not be able to contact me.  All that Portuguese... so many opportunities to get lost and confused!

"Hola! Nosotros necesitamos ir al centro. Cien mil no mas, si?" I tried to impress my parents with my Spanish right off the bat, but we had kind of a tough time locating a cab that would take three people with luggage.  So, I guess that was Paraguay experience #1 for my parents--cramming into the back of a taxi with their bags piled on top of them.  Welcome to my life, eh?

We stayed at the Palace for three nights initially.  I wanted to give my parents some time to adjust before we hit the campo. That night we went to my favorite Asuncion hotspot for dinner-- Bolsi!  Ugh... just thinking about a plate of cheese fries is making me drool.  I want to go to there. NOW.

On the roof terrace of the Palace Hotel in Asuncion
The next day I took them to the Peace Corps Office.  It must have been a holiday or something (labor day?), because the place was totally cleared out.  It gave me the opportunity to show them around though.  They even got to try some terere!  While they enjoyed it, I doubt they'll be sucking it down as much as I am.  I'm drinking ridiculous amounts of it these days.

Sipping tereré in the Peace Corps Office
This stretch of days was pretty hot.  I want to say it was over 100F, which was kind of random.  It cooled way down after they left.  But anyways, the Palace has air conditioning so after the office we went back to the hotel.  I'm thinking my parents could get into the whole asaje thing (siestas from noon to 2:00PM).

That evening we went to Manzana for pizza and enjoyed the nighttime view of the Presidential Palace.  There was also a Paraguayan national futbol game, so it was fun to walk around and have my parents experience some of that national pride.  All the bars had the games on, and even the taxi drivers were huddled around the TVs at their pick-up stations, terere in hand, cheering loudly for Paraguay.  Those are my favorite nights in Asuncion.  It reminds me of football Saturdays in Ann Arbor.

Dad and I outside the Presidential Palace
The Paraguay Nacional game being projected onto the wall at Manzana
The last day before we left to go to my site, I initially wanted to take them to Mercado Cuatro, but it was so hot we decided to go look at the PCV Ahecha exhibit.  I was kind of disappointed in the whole display... It's not that the pictures were bad; it's just that they were just sort of there.  There was hardly any information about the photos, and there was a random registration for a different event going on in the display room.  After that we walked back to the hotel for more AC.  That evening we went to Taberna Espanola for dinner, which is a fancy-ish Spanish restaurant near the hotel.  I had rabbit paella, and my parents got a salmon plate.  It's pricy, but can be fun to go there after spending tons of time being filthy and gross in the campo.  Sometimes it's fun to actually wear nice clothes and go out to eat an expensive meal at a nice restaurant.

The next morning, we took a city bus to the airport (another fun real-Paraguay experiences for my parents) to get the rental car.  And from there, the REAL adventure begins...

More to come!

Video Updates are Back!

Here's a video of when I climbed Cerro San Jose with the aspirante that visited me a few weeks ago:


And this is from my latest trip to Salto Cristal with my friends.  I love this place!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Over the Hill

Tuesday marked my half-way point of being in Paraguay. Hard to believe!  It's all down hill from here.  I also found out that I'm getting a few new Ag volunteers from the new group in the Ybycui area next month, which is really exciting.  I'll get to meet them early next week when they are here for future site visits.  More to come.  One of them is from Ohio though, so that's unfortunate, haha.  jk jk.

I'm sitting here with my Economic Development counterpart, Ken, and we're just hanging out today.  He's moving into his new house, which I'm eager to take advantage of.  He has a toilet!

I have to admit, I haven't been feeling so hard-working lately.  I have so many plans, but I don't want to start anything until after I get back from the United States in January.  I need to track down some blueprints for a pig pen somewhere, and I have some new seeds I need to plant in my demo plot.  I also want to do a couple of charlas for the women's committee that I work with... so many plans, so little action.

Here's a list of  things that I'm pretty into right now:
-My hammock
-the song "Good Time" by Owl City
-Not doing laundry (all my clothes are dirty... oh well)
-Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
-Kumanda yvyra'i.  I planted TONS of it.
-Dreaming about Taco Bell
-Dreaming about McDonalds
-Dreaming about Jets Pizza
-Survivor: Philippines
-Homemade cinnamon chips

So yeah, I realize these last few updates have been weak.  I just need to motivate myself to edit all of my videos together and get them posted.  Hopefully that will happen.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Post Creative Title Here

So friends, it's been like a month since my last update.  Fail.  This is going to be kind of raw update.  No pics or vids, and probably a lot of rambling.  I'm finding hard to focus as of late due to the fact that I'm going home in a month or so for the holidays.

It's hard to decide what to write about.  I'm spending a lot of time trying to avoid the heat.  It's not full-force yet, but every day is at least 85 to 90F so all work has to be done in the morning.  I am working in my two demo-plots and my garden, going to comite meetings and drinking terere with people in my community.  It's a lot of the same every week, so maybe that's why I feel like I don't have that much to say.

Lets see, other than that I'm really into Survivor and Harry Potter right now, but that's nothing new.  Lol, that really hasn't changed since I was like 14.  I find myself rooting for Lisa Whelchel, which is super random (remember those workout videos mom?  It's weird that I remember that), Jonathan Penner, and Denise.  Haha, I'm sure none of you know what I'm talking about.

Oh, here's something interesting.  Last week we had a VAC meeting in Yaguaron (about 1.5 hrs north of Ybycui), and we went to this community theatre event.  It got weird, people.  It was all in Guarani for the most part, but by talking with my fellow PCVs that went, we were able to figure out the plot.  Apparently it was about a poor man that met Death somehow, and managed to scare him up into a tree.  Don't ask me why Death is afraid of heights, but he wouldn't come down from the tree.  So because Death wasn't collecting anyone, no one was dying, so the world was filling up with zombies (sort of).  So St. Peter (who of course is sitting up in heaven drinking terere) has a talk with Death and the Devil (who is a large flambuoyant man covered in glitter and feather boas... huh?), and somehow convinces Death to get out of the tree.  Then the main character climbs the tree to escape Death, because he knows Death is afraid of heights.  It was all very strange and confusing.

From re-reading that last paragraph, I think it's probably better that I end this and just come back when I have something real to write about.  So, with that, have a good weekend!