Saturday, July 2, 2011

June, 2011

So, for those of you who aren´t keeping track, my 2 year anniversary here in Paraguay was at the end of May and my normal service is done in August. I´m staying an extra year as a Volunteer Coordinator, which means I´ll be moving to Asunción, the capital, and work in the office. Here´s how I spent the month of June:

It´s amazing what you can get away with putting in the window of an upscale mall when people don´t speak English. Invierno means winter, and in Paraguay, that means no heat and in my case, no hot water. I spent a good chunk of time in the following: 2 pairs of socks, boots, longjohns, jeans, 4-5 shirts, coat, hat, mittens, scarf (and that was just to sleep). But luckily the cold comes and goes, so good stuff happened between those cold snaps.

I turned 31 on the 19th, so I got myself a little tattoo. It´s a delta for Change and an Infinity, so the idea is Always growing, changing, developing, changing lives forever, this too shall pass, impermanence, etc.

And there was a lot of hanging out in general, taking advantage of my last bit of time with Oviedo friends.

And then there were the Couchsurfers coming through that are always fun.

And we all said goodbye to Jenna, who left a little early before heading to Korea.

But in all this fun, I actually did do some work. The group that I will be Coordinating for was in training, so I helped with that...

And my youth and I were finishing up our project to help a Comedor in need (which is like a soup kitchen for street kids). We got them donations of furniture and food.

So that was June. Stay tuned for July!


Chuchi - this is probably my new most popular word. It means snobby or fancy, but is used in the Peace Corps as anything nicer than dirt roads and shacks, or for a person, anyone who showers with hot water. Living in the city, I am super chuchi for here.

Fuerte - literally means strong, but because the culture is based on talking around everything, it´s when a person says anything they want in a direct way - it means asshole

Puede ser and otro dia - literally means "could be" or "another day", but because noone will directly blow someone off, both of them mean "never" and are the answer to a question of when something will happen

Deseas, en tus sueños, Que Arriba Perra/o and Es lo qué es - these are the terrible translations of American sayings that are not used here and don´t really translate, but we say them anyway. Literally they mean "you wish", "in your dreams", "What´s up bitch/dog?" and "it is what it is"

Qué guapa - this means "what a hard worker" and is used by Paraguayans every time I do ANYTHING manual, including carrying a dish to the sink or sweeping out my room. I don´t think they have high expectations for Americans and work.

Saludos - sending saludos by way of a mutual friend is how people tell each other they have a crush on them. The most serious kinds are given with a pinch on the arm and they mean business.

Thumbs up - this is done everywhere here and is a simple answer to pretty much any question. I will probably have carpal tunel in my thumbs when I leave here because I do this so much.

No se como comer esta - this is how one refuses food in Paraguay. Literally, it´s "I don´t know how to eat this" which creates an internal struggle for me each time it´s said because I want to be a smartass and explain that, just like any other food, you put in in your mouth and chew, but I don´t think that´s acceptable here.

No Más and Un poco - this is said after almost every phrase for no real reason other than to make everything sound like it´s not a big deal, even when it really is. Literally, it´s "No More" and "A Little", so the translations are something like "Sit down no more", "Come here a little", and "Do you want dinner no more?"

Cocido - this is a hot drink mixed by carmellizing sugar with a little yerba, adding just enough water to wet it, and then adding more sugar. It´s served by the thermos-full just before bed.

Mosto - this is to sugar what crack is to cocaine. It´s a "tradional" drink capable of putting even the sweetest tooth into a diabetic coma, and is served continuously at fun gatherings like funerals.

Ch-ch-ch-ch - this is the sound Paraguayans make to get each others´attention - like "Psst" . It´s especially used for catcalling, and they have nothing to follow it with - they just want you to look.