Greetings from Paraguay!
I have so much to say that I have no clue how to start…As you can see I am living in Paraguay. Home of the tranquillo people and Terere! So much has happened here. I live with my host family who literally is my family here. They are great. I have a mama, 3 brothers, one sister and a nephew. Seriously, God is looking out for me. My sister is 22 and works with Americans in the capital so she knows some English vocab so she helps me a lot with my Spanish y Guarani. All my family members do actually. My nephew is the only one who looks at me like “who are you?” “Why are you in my house?” “Why are you so pale?” Although these past couple of days he has been warming up to me. He calls me “Tia Tia!” By the way, in Paraguay my name is Victoria. Caitlin is too hard to say my Paraguayan village amigos...I was Cait and then caity….but sometimes it sounds like Cat-ee which that in Guarani is something to do with odor…So ya.. I changed it although I’m pretty sure all my PCT friends’ casa's know me as the redhead one so it’s no biggie. It’s really pretty here. There are animals all over and pretty friendly people. My house has trees, lots of animals and happy crazy three year old who rides his tricycle screaming “MOTO MOTO”! Vroom Vroom! He is pretty funny. He helps take the pressure of me. Although there typically isn’t any..my family doesn’t do the fishbowl thing..they are an experienced PCT family (I think I am their 3rd). I have had only a couple of awkward moments but nothing really bad. Mi mama is wonderful. She is constantly telling me that she is happy to have me here and that my Spanish will get better day by day. My brothers and sister say this too. I’m pretty close with my sister. When I am around her I feel like I have known her forever. We talk and gossip in Spanish. My PCT friends are pretty great too. In the villate that I live in, there are 9 of us beekeepers (Two guys and the rest girls). In my entire training class there are 3 sectors, Environmental Ed, Ag. Crop extension, Beekeeping extension. I can honestly say that I know all 46 volunteers, 47 including myself. We are a pretty good group. I got to know a lot of them pretty quickly. My good friend Tess (fellow bee) and I were discussing today that we think it’s because all of us took on this intense challenge together and bonded like right away. Which is great since your friends and your host familia is like your rock here. I got extremely lucky. I thank my host placement every time she asks me about my family. I really haven’t had too much of a shock yet in Paraguay. Sure, it’s got its developing country issues and I am not in America but it’s still pretty awesome. I went to an anniversary fiesta for a local futbol team here and it was pretty fun. My sister took me and we met up with other beekeepers families (all of whom I have met). The view of the sunset is fantastic. I will be sure to capture a picture. I know that I am in the honeymoon stage of training...adjustment wise but I am pretty happy. Even though , training is intense...no joke. You are trying to learn 2 languages, a new culture all while trying to fit in to a family, a village and hell a lifestyle and try to get ready to make that end of the tunnel. I think the first day when I was like omgosh...what am I doing was when I wrote an email to dad the other day. That was the first time I even thought about technology or wondered what I was missing at home. Obviously I am missing people but it wasn’t as intense until the other day. I am thankful that training is so busy with idioma, PCT stuff and host family. It allows me to be focused on the task at hand. Let’s just say that I have been in such a Paraguayan mind set...that I forgot that the Bama game was this past Saturday… ya...ya... I know...intense. It has already been a life changing experience and I have only been here for a week…slightly ridiculous sure….but absolutely true. Sorry for the rambling or grammatical errors. Estoy MUY cansada. I love ya’ll and miss ya! Talk to you soon!
Random things I have learned/discovered/admire/find ironic:
--In Paraguay lots of people listen to music from their house so you can hear it when you walk down the road. Well in my house, my brothers really like to listen to music too. Let’s just say when I was coming home from class at my school (two room, tiny school for my village of PCTS) I heard Lady GaGa and some other American pop songs. Bottom line…Gaga is everywhere.
--I have liked every food I have had (starch, meat, fruit..pretty much). I drink café every morning with some pan (bread). Lunch is the biggest meal (coincides with the siesta).
--I love love love Terere. It’s like yerba mate but its ice cold water. It’s a social drink. It’s very crucial to Paraguayan tranquil life.
--I try to journal everyday so I don’t forget what happened during that day.
--They have fireflies here. Like a lot.
--There are motos (motorcycle) everywhere! There is an average of 23-28 moto accidents at day in hospitals. It’s like ridiculous because of the lack of enforced regulation and the cost effectiveness of the moto. It’s pretty dangerous.
-- The harp is a very important instrument in Paraguayan traditional bands. They play it like (as my friend Becca says) they are Jimi Hendrix. They pick it up. Move around with it and even turn it upside down. You would think it’s an electric guitar. They get really into it.
--I say Ciao every single day
-- Everyone has a phone pretty much here. My family has cell phones. My sister texts all the time.
-- There are animals everywhere. Vacas (cows), chickens, cats and especially dogs. Most of the dogs are not something you would choose to get close too.
--The dirt here reminds me of North Carolina.
--My Spanish is getting better all the time.