Tuesday, August 16, 2011


To my great surprise I ended up staying another night in the hostel in Asuncion. Sometimes I feel like I have a form of post-dramatic stress disorder after big jobs, graduations or AMIGOS because I never really feel like celebrating and can´t relax. I stayed in the hostel and talked to some older dudes, a French guy who told me Europe is over and another dude who was a computational linguist working on Guarani bilingual education activism in Paraguay. The night before we left it was Asuncion´s 400th birthday or something and hotdog and churro vendors lined the streets while fireworks lit up the sky.

In the morning I left with Mattie, Adam, Cara and Andrea for Ciudad del Este. Once we got there we changed buses and headed for Puerto Iguazu. On the way we passed through Brazil, and even from the bus I could feel my heart yearn for that country. We got to Puerto Iguazu by night and checked into a hostel, went out to dinner and had a drink. Argentina is so overwhelming in comparison to Paraguay; there´s so many more varieties of flavor in food, people actually speak Spanish and not Guarani and public services are actually helpful.

Some sort of bad karma finally hit me though, after having the perfect year so far. In the morning I saw that my wallet had been stolen in my sleep as well as the ipod that Caio had given to me. Only me and Andrea got robbed! Why me, always! Nothing makes you feel stupider than getting robbed. After a pointless visit to the police station and some frantic calls to my parents at 3am their time, we headed out to the waterfalls. I don´t have a camera anymore because I was using the AMIGOS camera to take pictures, but believe me when I say it was absolutely incredible. The park was so beautiful and the waterfalls so intense. We spent the whole day wandering around and sat down for a picnic and took swigs of wine from a bottle we snuck in. It was one of the most perfect moments of my life and I wasn´t even thinking about wallets or ipods. I also got to speak some Portuguese with some people from Rio who gave me their phone number and invited me to stay in their house whenever.

Back at the hostel, I finally met my couchsurfing friend, Gaby. He told me I have the MOST Paraguayan accent when I speak in Spanish which is both a little embarrassing and cool that I can actually adjust my speach to local dialects. He told me I could stay here as long as I feel like no charge, now I just have to decide where to go next...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The city of the east

Good morning from maybe the only youth hostel in Asuncion, Black Cat Hostel. I'm using their laptop and they keyboard is all Paraguayan with strange new punctuation marks you've never seen.

So we finally finished up our supervisor duties, somehow cleaned the house in an hour and booked our hostel in the biggest whirlwind of hurry and got the fuck out of Santini. I also became the happy owner of Gs $470.000 for all my hardwork which was too exciting to handle. When we finally got to our hostel we had a victory drink--our first one in 2 months! (AMIGOS Standards of Conduct prohibit pretty much everything I had been doing in Santa Cruz before I left for project.)

After getting embarrassingly tipsy after two beers I took my 400 thousand guaranis and went to look for a beauty salon. I hadn't shaved my legs in two months or really taken care of myself out in the campo. When I came upon the least cheap salon I could find, note, I am wearing jeans and running shoes covered in dirt and am completely sweaty and a disaster from my bus ride, I walked in asked for DEPILACION Y TINTE or waxing and hair color. I'm putting this on maniqui me because for the last 8 weeks I've been googling these two words in Asunción and haven't found anything promising. Thankfully the salon was real, the owner had been trained in Brazil and I walked out of there with a very good RED dye job and completely waxed legs and bikini. The waxing took probably over an hour and I screamed when I was on the table, but it was worth it--and the whole deal cost like $200.000ish guarani, that's only 50 bucks. The ladies at the salon were all really funny too, making fun of my scar of pique on my heel and the fact I am a barbarian who strangely knows Guarani. So if you're trying to get depilacion in Asuncion, go to Calle Chile like 4 blocks up from the hippie market and go to the salon closest to the mall with the supermarket on the bottom.

After that scary adventure, we all played kings cup with actual alcohol. I went to bed where I got attacked by mosquitoes all night which I now deeply regret because everyone went out dancing and found ficantes. Sigh...Ill have to try a little bit harder.

TODAY I am starting a trip to Ciudad del Este, or city of the east, where Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay join in the worlds biggest shithole of duty free shopping and long lines of border traffic. I wont be stopping there, however, and am passing through to get to Puerto Iguazu to relax, look at some agua and hopefully write a Statement of Purpose for a scholarship? South America has got so much heart.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


This isn't about Paraguay, at all. In fact, this post is dedicated to LOS MEJICAS-the best folklorico dance group of all time. Here's a video of me dancing at the Spring Show with the rest of the graduating seniors. I'm in the blue on the left!

La Negra 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I just wrote a beautiful entry that has been erased thanks to Paraguayan internet connection. I'm in the middle of a lot of terrible paperwork, so to cut myself a break I will let these photos do the talking.

My volunteers left today at 5am. I miss them so much! Being a supervisor isn't nearly as fun without them. Today I did two community closeouts and said some final good-byes to some of the world's most wonderful and genuine people. When I came back into town I drank tereré in the plaza and smiled to myself because life is marvelous and I have so much love in my heart.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sweet endings

Today is the Sunday of my final week on route. That means I won't be visiting my little voluntarios anymore in community. The past few days have been exciting and sometimes too exciting. On my walk to Itapevy, my farthest community on Monday I saw a motorcycle accident where a few hundred people were swarming over a dead body face down in the mud. It was very upsetting, and I was surprised by the lack of sympathy I received from one of my favorite host-moms when I finally got to Itapevy. Motorcycle accidents happen a lot here in Paraguay, but this is the first one I saw with my own eyes.

Monday and Tuesday were freezing and cold winds beneath my cot would wake up in the middle of the night. Some of my favorite parts of the day continue to be nighttime maté sessions, huddled around the flame of a brick stove under a thatched roof. We talk about family members, how Paraguay has changed, plan future rendezvous and learn a little Guaraní. Each host-family I visit is different and whenever I think I have chosen my favorite, I realize how much I adore the next one. People here are very tranquil and caring and have made me learn to love it here.

On Thursday I ran into a friend in one of my communities who was on his way to a meeting for Paraguay Rural. Apparently it's a micro-loan organization funded by Germans and Japanese people who are setting up trade relationships with Paraguayan farmers. I showed up late to the meeting to only find four dudes drinking tereré and my farmer friend was taking a piss outside behind the building. It's hard to tell what really happens out here--if people really do have meetings or if they're just drinking tea to pass the time. Paraguayan mysteries..

Another highlight of the week was my usual run-in with a local Peace Corps volunteer named Greg. He's been here 10 months in a community 2 km from my boy volunteers' town. Every week he helps me out so much and even made me a map of Asunción and told me where to find Mexican and Korean food. We drank tereré in one of Santaní's many plazas while we waited for our bus. I'm always so anxious waiting for this bus because the driver makes his own schedule and only comes once a day; so it was nice to be with Greg who has acquired a 6th sense about when and where the bus will stop.

My thoughts are all over the place. Here's some pictures from the last few days.

Playing King's Cup with water for Mattie (far-right)'s 21st!

Two of my volunteers doing paperwork!

Okay this is too good. These are pictures of Delia and Ysa, some of my most intense host-sisters. They stole my camera and took a bunch of pictures with our water bottles and binders pretending to be us--they're way too clever and silly for their own good.

Ysa pretending to be me taking notes. Yes, that's my Hello Kitty pen and notebook.

Delia holding my accordion folder.

Julia and Lauren making stoves!!

Zane and Marco with their finished project--a new playground for the local school. They even got special funding from a grant I applied for.

Me, Zane, Marco

Sube-bajas! "Rise and falls" or of course, a teeter-totter.

Paraguayan ladies kickin it.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


Pretty pissed right now because there's a parasite growing in my foot called "pique" or chigoe flea.