Tuesday, August 2, 2011

July, 2011

July, my last month in site, my last month as a regular Peace Corps volunteer, was full of ups and downs.

So first there was the 4th of July party at the Embassy... Look how fun these people are. And I get to be their Coordinator!

By mid-month we´re still going strong and we have the Re-connect camp for the youth that went to the first camp in January (see January blog if you don´t know what I´m talking about). My kids Lucero and Fabio presented the Comedor project (See June blog) in the Project Fair. There were lots of games, of course, and they made plans to start a national youth volunteer and leadership organization.

Then shit gets real and all the sudden it´s the last time that I´m doing everything I´m doing. My last Tuesday, my community center Kavichu´i threw me a going-away party. And the thing about Paraguayans is that they cry at emotional times, and how am I supposed to resist that? So I don´t.

Since I´m on a roll, I go straight from there to my last English class where we bake a cake (in English), give certificates, and I have to say goodbye to my very best Paraguayan friends, the Barandas.

And the last day of July, when I´m at my family´s house for Sunday lunch for the last time, my Abuela (grandma) starts talking about how much she loves me, and starts crying, and my mamá had heard her from the kitchen and peeks her head out, crying also, and my sister Ninfa sees this and starts crying, too, and then me and my cousin Liliana go down, and we´re all crying together, and laughing about it.

And the next day I move to Asunción. Stay tuned for August.


  1. It just gets better from here for all the people whose lives you've touched over the last 2 years...these are the people who will never forget you and will live there lives better because of YOU.

    For all the people there are in the world, only a few of them have been able to make the kind of impact you have made.

    How wonderful you are!

    Love you!


  2. Ang, I started to tear up when i read the part about your host family crying during your last dinner w/ them-those are the kind of relationships that make it all worth while! Also, I'm glad I'll be able to keep reading your blog for the next year!



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.