Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Red Cross Blog

While helping the trainees locate my facebook profile I stumbled upon the goodbye blog entry the Red Cross posted when I left for the Peace Corps


Aww, thanks guys. I miss you

Monday, June 21, 2010

And It All Comes Full Circle

I just put two trainees from my sister group, G33, back on the bus to their training communities *sad. This weekend was their volunteer visit; and looky there I’m a volunteer, so they came to me. Usually the PC only sends one trainee to each volunteer, so I was curious why I was getting two, a guy and girl, other than being and exemplarily volunteer of course. On Thursday had the epiphany that they must be married couple. Nope. Good try though.

It turns out both of them are doing presentations on the Construye Tus Sueños class I’m teaching. It is a new program so the trainers don’t know anything about it other than what is written in the manual, and I think I’m the only volunteer teaching it, so both Lindsay and Brett had the good fortune of being sent to visit yours truly. It was also lucky for them that I teach my CTS class on Friday nights, so they actually got to see the class in action.

Actually I was a bit mean. The trainees have only been in the country for about 3 weeks, so their Spanish is still developing. I had them do a critical thinking word problem with the class and lead a short discussion about a story involving a boy who wants to sell caramelos. They did very very well. I was most impressed by the fact that they didn’t balk when I suddenly told them they were going to be doing part of the class, oh 2 hours beforehand. If they keep that attitude up, I think they’ll do just fine as volunteers in a few months.

During the weekend I took them to the 2 good restaurants in my town, we visited another volunteer who was about to finish up his service, visited the muni, etc. I was sad that I didn’t get a chance to take them out for a night on the town. Campo 9 is pretty conservative, so there isn’t really a good socialization scene for anyone not in high school. I had planned to take them out for the night to Coronel Oviedo with some other volunteers and their trainees, but a certain someone didn’t call me to tell me when they went to Oviedo. You know who you are. I did feel bad about that because I remember that one of the best parts of my own volunteer visit, behind making pierogies, was going to a birthday party. Oh well, they can party it up another time.

On the third night Rachael, a volunteer who lives near me, came to stay the night because the rain made it difficult to get back to her site. Fortunately I have my big bed, which can hold 2-3 people and a spare 1.5 twin mattress that can hold 2, so everyone got to sleep in a bed.

The last night in particular ended with me in stitches from laughter as we all surfed through awkwardfamilyphotos.com, scary easter bunnies, www.textsfromlastnight.com, failbook.com, and learnfrommyfail.com

This morning we continued the theme with shitmydadsays via twitter, http://crazythingsparentssay.com/, and the best of Katt Williams and Eddie Izzard on youtube. Note to self: remember to ask for a dvd of their performances in the next care package. Oh what a night and morning. There is nothing like laughing at the misfortunes of others to bond volunteers together.

Ah yes, all and all a good few days. I did my best to convey to them all of the wisdom I’ve accumulated over the last year including
1) 1 mil chipa is gross
2) All of the people who work at the terminals on this ruta are effing s%*& heads
3) No, I don’t know what he said either
4) Please don’t be like g29; don’t do anything that threatens our ability to go to the Chaco, Alps, or Palace hotels. You are also responsible for making sure the rest of your g follows this rule
5) Yes there is a lot of gossip in the PC, the frightening thing is a high percentage of it is true
6) I told the trainees some of the crazy stories I had heard. Lesson: If you do something stupid, it will be remembered For-Ev-Er.

Other highlights:
Brett is allergic to rabbits and does a great Australian accent. Lindsay is my new microfinance guru. Both did a slight impression of Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally in the café when they took a nice hot shower in my newly installed shower head.

Yea I’m lucky, I’m definitely got the cool trainees.  Hope to see them around soon.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Wait, I’ve been here for a year! No me digas!

As of May 28thish I have been in Paraguay for 1 year and in Campo 9 for 9 months

I didn’t believe volunteers when they said it passes quickly, but it did. Actually I’d have to say that sometimes the days crawl by, but the weeks and months fly. It feels like I’ve only been here for 4-6 months.

So far 1/3 of my original group has left. We lost another one a week or so, which brings our current group to 12.

Work: I have my microbusiness class, which I’m very happy with. Though I wish I could have accomplished more by no; thus far it is my only notable project.

Living Situation: I lived with host families for 3 months during training and for another 7 months in-site. That is a lot by the way. Most volunteers only spend about 1-3 months in their host family’s house in-site. I’m so happy now that I’m in my own home. It took a while for it to stop feeling like Carly’s house and start feeling like mine, but I’m finally there

I’ve lived through a Paraguayan summer and winter without central air-conditioning or heating. The winter was hard, but only because I was living with a host family and had to get up and go to training at 6:30am every day, rain or shine. The summer was hot, but survivable. I’ve learned to tolerate if not appreciate the Paraguayans aversion to leaving the house during the rain. Unless it is on my micro business day and then I’m pissed because I want to have class.

Extracurricular Activities:

I’ve started learning the guitar. It is something I’ve always wanted to do, but never got around to. But now I can sing and play my heart out, out of tune, all I want in my little house without worrying about disturbing the people in the apartments around me.

I don’t have a TV and I don’t miss it at all. I have been able to see most of the big movies because I make a point of going to the theater when I’m in Asuncion.

I’ve read an obscene amount of books so far. I’m around 75.

I’ve almost lost all of the weight I gained during training and while living with host families.

I’ve learned how to be a much better cook. I was not bad in the US, but now, yea I can whip up about 5 different tasty meals with just tomatoes, onions, and green peppers.

Language: My Spanish has gotten better and worse. I speak Paraguayan Spanish pretty well, but I think I’d probably sound like an uneducated idiot anywhere else.

Guarani? What is that? Yea, Guarani hasn’t really been happening. I can say little things here and there, but not much.

Pets: Lila is doing awesome. I have no idea what I’ll do with her when I finish my PC service. Sometimes I lean towards taking her back to the US with me; sometimes I think it would be best to leave her with a volunteer.

Post PC: I’m strongly considering extending with the PC for another year, but into a different country. Hopefully with KIVA.

Not only have I been in here for a year, but my sister g (the g that is the same sector, but 1 year apart) arrived earlier this month. Tomorrow I’ll be hosting 2 of the volunteers in training. I can’t wait to meet them!

Haven't Electrocuted Myself...Yet

My shower-head has been a bit wonky for, well since Carly moved in. Of course when Carly lived here it was summer, so having a cooler shower didn’t matter.

However, winter is beginning to set in which left me with the option of taking an off-and-on warm shower or bucket bathing. Lately bucket bathes have been winning.

However I decided to try changing the old electric shower head. I put it off for the longest time because I don’t like playing around with electricity. I was not the kind of kid that needed to stick scissors in a socket to see if I’d really get a shock. I also was hoping to pawn the task off on a visiting volunteer, but that didn’t happen.

A few weeks ago I bought the showerhead, I decided to finally put it in yesterday, but realized I didn’t have anything to cut and strip the wires. So I gave myself a one day reprieve, when to the store, bought some pliers and waited until midday today.

[Yes, the red tape is electrical tape that is holding the wires together. No that is not the safest way to do it, but that is how the old one was set up, so I copied.The green wire is the grounding wire, but I don’t know how to ground it so it is probably just going to stay like that.]

Thus far the shower has been installed and seems to be working. :)

However, I’m still considering taking my g-mate’s advice to shower with my clothes on the first time I tried out the new shower-head. That way if I accidently kill myself at least I wouldn’t be butt-naked when someone finally finds me.

How an Electric Shower Head Works:

The unheated water goes into the shower head through a normal water pipe. The water enters the showerhead where it is heated, almost instantly, by an electrical current.

I turn on the electricity to the shower with a switch on my wall.

I control how hot or cold the water is by how much water I let come through. More water = colder, less water = warmer.

It is pretty cost efficient because I don’t waste tons of money with a hot water heater that runs all day and night when I only need hot water for a few minutes.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


I cut my middle finger with scissors yesterday while reinforcing the bottom of my fence with chicken wire to reduce the number of Lila escapes.

This excuses the sudden increase in typos, but not the fact that I tried to use the word 'astonishedily' in the last post.


We have had a Mother Mary sighting in my town. It is on the second story of a building near my house. They’ve put up a spotlight so that people can see it at night.

I’d take a picture, but for the life of me I really have no idea what everyone is looking at.
Whenever new people come to my house they usually have two reactions.

1) Your house really does look like a shed (per my directions in which I say my garage/front door looks like a shed)

2) Your rabbit is huge! A Paraguayan friend saw Lila for the first time and just started laughing, astonished that my conejita, isn’t really that ‘ita’ at all.

This reaction has been shared by volunteer friends who have had the chance to meet Lila, even those who have had their own pet rabbits.

In my personal opinion, anything smaller than my parents 70ish lb boxer qualifies as a ‘small’ pet. But that’s just me evidently.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Gee Thanks Guys

What’s that you say? A new home security device? I’m going for a new nature themed look at my house?

Nope, just the huge pile of rocks the guys who are cobbling my road dropped right in front of my front gate.

At least my neighbor is a nice guy. He helped move some of the bigger ones so that I could have a small path.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

I miss Bree.