Saturday, June 6, 2009

First Week in Paraguay!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Soooooooo, I’m in Paraguay! But before I get ahead of myself, let me take you back to Tuesday, May 26th, the first day of staging. I said my goodbyes to my family and boarded the plane from TLH to MIA. And I gotta say that it was harder than I thought it would be. I mean, I had been waiting for this for sooooo long and thought I would just bid my adieu and peace out! Well, not so fast.....tears were shed...that’s right, I actually shed tears in public :0. See, Peace Corps is changing me already! lol. But anyways, I boarded the plane and was on my way, but not without paying $50 for being over the luggage requirements. Arghhhh!

On a totally unrelated sidenote, at the baggage at MIA, I spotted PitBull (the rapper not the dog) with some guy who looked to be his bodyguard.

So I made it to the hotel in one piece and proceeded to registration where I met two other Peace Corps Trainees (we’re not Volunteers yet). As the evening wore on, I met others and they were all very nice. This day was just for registration for those of us arriving early. The real fun starts tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009 and Thursday, May 28, 2009

This was a full day!!! Staging started at 9:00. It consisted of introductions and a general overview of good stuff like safety concerns. We didn’t really talk specifically about any one thing because we only had 4 hours of actually orientation. We mostly discussed our feelings about becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer; stuff like what we hope to accomplish and our anxieties about serving. It was pretty fast paced as we only got 15 minutes to grab a bite for lunch. Most of us were starving because we hadn’t ate breakfast and the hotel did not serve a complimentary breakfast :(. So around 2pm, we were aloud to go to our rooms to get our bags back downstairs to be loaded onto a bus, then we head about 30min. to walk someplace to grab a bite to eat. We got to MIA at 3:15, but our flight did not leave until 8:15pm! We arrived in Sao Paulo, Brazil at 5am, then had a 4hr layover; and then we arrived at Paraguay around 10:30am on Thursday. Yep, we flew all night long.

When we arrived in Paraguay on Thursday, we were instantly greeted by the great Peace Corps staff here and I gotta say that after flying for so long, their enthusiasm was very welcoming (not being sarcastic here). After we left the airport, we went to the Peace Corps training facility for some introductions, some paperwork, then some activities. At around 4pm, we were driven to meet our host families. Now, let me say that this can be VERY awkward, to say the least, but it still wasn’t AS bad as I thought it would be. They line us up on one side, then the host families are on the other side. They call out your name and your host family’s name, then you go and hug your family and everybody claps and are like “Yaaaaay!” So just picture that in your head to get an idea of the awkward factor. The ONLY reason I say it wasn’t that bad is because it goes really, really quickly.

So after that, you grab your luggage and you’re off with your new family! I gotta say that I really really like my family. I feel kinda bad because I was so tired and not my usual self (not that my usual self is so much more energetic, but you get the picture). My host mom is a housewife and she said to call her Mama, then my host dad is an electrician. Also, my Mama’s dad lives in the back of the house. And her two granddaughters also live there. They are the cutest little things; they are both four and are really talkative, which my Mama warned me about. lol. One of them has also appointed herself mi profesora (my teacher) and she points to things and say them in Spanish, since my Spanish is seriously subpar. I think (at least I hope) that it was because I was so tired that a lot of stuff just wasn’t registering with me. But I definitely gotta keep practicing and my Mama said that she is a patient woman so not to worry.

Well, that’s it for now. Tomorrow, we have our first full day of training, so we’ll see how that goes!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Well, it feels like we’ve been here waaaay longer than 10 days! Training is going okay..although I can see why Volunteers say that it’s the hardest part is training. I can already tell these three months are going to be really, really long...

We´re in training from ¨7:45 to 5 every day with a break at 11:30 for lunch with our families. On Saturdays, we have training from 8-11:30, then get the rest of Sat. and all day Sunday off to integrate with our families. At first, I was scared to go home because anytime you just move in with someone (no matter how nice) is gonna be just awkward to the highest degree! Last Saturday, another PC Volunteer who lived with my family last year came to visit. I hated to see her go. I felt like a kid needing a chapperone for my life. But now, strangely enough, I think I actually enjoy spending time with the Fam way more than going to training - even if I get to be with other North Americans.

My family is awesome!!! My mama makes sure I have everything I need. She told me not to mess with any Paraguayan boys because they broke her daughter´s heart and are no evening after school i went to the cyber (pronounced ceaber) and she was soooo worried about me!

And that´s another thing: it is winter here. It´s been really cold since we got here. I´m talking cold, cold. It´s actually about the same as Tallahassee cold except its worst because there is no escaping it. What i mean by that is that the homes here are not insulated so central heat does not exist. the same temp. on the outside, the same on the inside. i´ve had a couple nights where i slept fully dressed including my thick sweater with hood on. I was freezing my nipples off!! And Paraguayans will acknowledge that it´s very cold, but my dad will walk outside and leave the oor open! And everybody will be sitting there like it´s whatever....and i´m thinking ¨for Cristsakes, close the door!¨ But thankfully today is much warmer and actually very nice...

The food: is actually pretty tasty. probably because it´s mostly carbs! they eat bread, and madioca(like casava or yuka) with everything!! And I´m talking everything!!! So today, to combat the carbs, I exercised in the front yard with my little cousins. It was a sight to behold!! My mama was about crying laughing at the little ones(and probably me too) do pushups, squats, situps, and jog.

SOrry if this post is kinda´s probably a reflection on me;)