I’m still here!

So week 3 in site.

Good news:

  • I’m getting to know more people.
  • I’m starting to embrace the awkwardness (because, let’s face it, it’s just going to be awkward).
  • I’m teaching my host sister how to make friendship bracelets and it’s a success. I’m glad all those summers making bracelets with Misty and Neil paid off! I still know how to make them, I just needed to get some string back in my hands.

  • I met a youth group here in town and they seem like a great bunch of kids/young adults (14-23). I’ve started to go to their meetings on Mondays and I’ll try to help them out with fundraising events.
  • I found a pseudo-Guarani tutor. He’s a teacher in town whose cousin is getting married in France in February and I’m trading French lessons for Guarani lesson. Random, right? He’s really nice, introduces me to people, tells leering, flirtatious men that I already have a serious boyfriend and seems to just look out for me. I appreciate that.
  • I got care packages from my mom and Kyle last week while I was in Asuncion for the flu shot! Awesome contents included: granola, ginger peach tea, kraft’s MAC AND CHEESE!, dried cranberries, RAMEN, Tabasco sauce, ranch dressing mix, MAPLE SYRUP, a book, handmade birthday card/poem, GIRL SCOUT COOKIES (they’re gone already. It was inevitable).
  • I feel more comfortable with my host family.
  • I went to a soccer game this morning
  • I started playing soccer with the 2nd graders at recess and they think it’s hilarious.
  • I helped a neighbor start a garden the other day. We dug up the ground and turned it over and made separate beds and then planted peppers, basil, cucumbers, radishes, parsley, carrots, lettuce, cabbage, celery and swiss chard. We’ll see what works and what doesn’t!

Bad news:

  • I’m still really, really lonely most days. It’s a weird feeling. I go to stuff and I’m with people but (for example at recess with other teachers) I feel excluded from the conversations and like I’m intruding on a clique. Welcome back to high school!
  • I still don’t speak Guarani. In fact, my Guarani tutor has dengue this week and I don’t want to get it so we cancelled class for the week.
  • I still have no idea what I’m doing! Trying to figure it out as I go which is frustrating and it’s hard to explain to the teachers I see every day that I don’t really have a plan until we make one together. It’s Peace Corps way of making sure that we don’t jump into something that our community doesn’t need.

What exactly it is I do on a daily basis: Most days, I wake up eat breakfast and walk to school. Class starts at 7 here! Recess is at 9 and I usually sit with the teachers and either get questioned about stuff in the States or drink tereré with them or mate if it’s cold. More class from 9:30 to 11.

Then, I eat lunch with my host family back home and go back to school at 1. Same thing with recess and all that. At school, I’m sitting in on classes to see how teachers work and how the kids are.

Some interesting observations:

  • 2nd graders using box cutters as pencil sharpeners! What the what?
  • 5th graders running around with hatchets.
  • Kids are only in school here 4 hours a day. Can you teachers back home imagine trying to stuff all those requirements into 4 hours? Minus recess? And minus the time they spend cleaning the school/mowing the lawn (no janitors here – kids clean). It’s a huge challenge for the teachers here. I’m seriously impressed by the ones who accomplish this.

Oh, and this week is the bicentennial celebration. On May 15th, 1811, Paraguay became independent. So everyone is going nuts here celebrating. Decorations are everywhere, there was barely any school this week (and when there was, kids were just making decorations or cleaning) and there are all sorts of parades/exhibits going on. I went to a trompo (top spinning) competition yesterday at the municipality. It was fun to watch. Each school had their own team of top spinners, and they competed against each other seeing whose team could do the best tricks.

There was also a bicentennial themed mass that I went to last night. Ahhh, memories of Catholic church in high school. Lots of standing and sitting and reciting back stuff. It’s all the same, but in Spanish.

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About Nicole FR

Just an old soul in limbo.
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