The day has finally come. A year and a half in the making (for me to take some pictures, that is), I present to you my house in Paraguay: MTV Cribs Style.
This tour is the real MTV Cribs experience for 3 reasons: 1) because I’m supa-fly, duh! 2) I show you the contents of my fridge, as any self-respecting person on MTV Cribs does, and 3) because my house actually is a pretty crazy awesome pad compared to a lot of other Peace Corps Volunteers around the world. With the combination of Paraguayans giving me free stuff, getting free things from previous Peace Corps Volunteers, and saving up for months on end (aka, eating the equivalent of ramen noodles so that I could afford a stove to cook them on), I’ve hobbled together more than everything I need to live in a comfortable and functional space (except for the tarantulas, but that’s what ‘Mata Todo’ (Kill All) spray is for).
Oh, and I also brought some things back with me from my visit to the States (such as my comforter- after seven months of using my sleeping bag as my covers, I
had a mental breakdown caved in and brought my security blanket back down to Paraguay). And I also am a major decorator/photo hoarder, and have super generous friends that send me snacks from the States. AND I’m also just extremely lucky to live in such a big house for a seriously low price ($80 a month- thanks landlord). Is the crazy mold worth it? Check out the pictures and you decide.
TMI Disclaimer over. LET THE PHOTOS COMMENCE!
The road to my house! Look familiar from this post?
The entrance to my little slice of paradise.
Here’s what my kitchen looked like when I moved in…
And here it is today! Check out my homemade kitchen counter-tops (old wooden tables I got from a super cheap thrift-like store).
My little gas stove that I’m basically in love with. Perfect for one person! I got a great deal on it too.
Volunteers de-stress in different ways. I choose to de-stress by buying little spice jars at my supermarket, painting chalk paint on them, and then labeling them in cool handwriting. Thanks to my grandparents who sent me enough spices to last me 30 years in Paraguay, I have been definitely living the good life down here!
This section of the tour is thanks to my Mom, who has sent me all wonderful care packages full of teas and easy sauces to throw on veggies and/or meat. My fellow Peace Corps Volunteers like to tease that my kitchen looks like a grocery aisle. I’m not OCD, I’m just disorganized-challenged.
The outside of my fridge. I snapped this up at a used store a year ago, saving about $100 extra dollars. The fridge completely shuts down from time to time, but it mostly does it’s job!
Oh yeah, true MTV Cribs Style. This is what’s in my fridge, folks. Tons of water since it’s so hot outside (my mom gave me a water filter when my tap outside was going through a ‘flying unidentifiable green-chunks’ phase. Other than that, got all the essentials: veggies, whole wheat bread, local honey, empanada discs, and milky way midnight bars- because you never know when you need to eat your feelings after a bad day at the cooperative. Thanks to my fellow Peace Corps Volunteer Vicky for bringing me an entire box back from the States!
The other side of my kitchen- my kitchen table!
My basil plant that I was super proud of, since it’s the first thing I ever grew. ‘Was’ being the operative word- it is now dead
One day last year I was having a hard day and going through all of my photos and cards my friends and family have given me over the years… and it turned into a wall project, so that I could see them all of the time!
This side says ‘friendship,’ and features a lot of my friends from high school
Photos and cards from my family
Love, which combines the two.
To give you guys a little perspective, this is my front door. The little donkey door-holder was the one piece of furniture that came with the house.
Another project and de-stressifier I’ve been working on, half-completed!
On to the spare bedroom, right off of my kitchen. This is what the bedroom looked like when I moved in…
And this is what the bedroom looks like now! Originally this was my bedroom, but the mold is pretty bad in this room- so I moved my bed into the other room, and I use this room as a spare guest bedroom (see those mattresses some fellow Peace Corps Volunteers gave me? I’m a city Volunteer so they depend on sleeping at my house if they get rained out and can’t get back to their sites). This is also where I store my clothes!
…Additionally, one Peace Corps Volunteer who visited me thought I went as far as to change the knobs on my dresser to something more ‘fancy.’ Come on guys, I’m not that crazy. I just spend hours painting little jars instead.
This is sort of a shrine to everywhere I’ve been. It was a gift started by my mentor and professor in college, Heidi.
I have different things I hold sacred from different time periods in my life- Thai butter lamps- the Turkish evil eye- even in a little package in the box is my lip ring, which to me defines my youth.
This is my wardrobe! I had it custom-made, and drew the design and specifications for a local carpenter here. I store pretty much all of my stuff here, besides my Peace Corps technical books. This is one of those big purchases (about $100) that took me 8 months to save up for- for nearly the first year of my service, I used to roll all of my clothes up onto my spare mattress! The whole conception for this wardrobe happened because I had so many leftover hangers from when I lived with my homestay family, and I had to buy them because they only had a wardrobe.
I really think the coolest feature is that one of the cubby holes doesn’t have a ‘wall’- so I can just grab my make-up and stand right next to the mirror! All my design I’ll be taking orders from any interested parties…
This is a really powerful piece that my Carpe Diem leader Dan read to our group the first day I ever volunteered. It held such resonance with me that I asked him for a copy to hang up in my house when I left for the Peace Corps, so that I could read it every day to remind myself the importance of service.
This is this strange little ‘nook’ area of my house that I wasn’t sure what to do with…
This is what the nook looks like now, after a paint job and a bunch of hand-me-downs from other Peace Corps Volunteers!
Nothing like hammering a bunch of plain old nails in the wall to hang up your bags.
This little oven is literally the best thing since sliced bread (and it often makes bread, which I then slice!) Thank you so much to Veronica who gave me her oven!
This is what the back door to my backyard looked like right when I moved in… (to the left is my bedroom, to the right is the bathroom)
And this is what it looks like now! Okay, not a whole lot of difference- but as you can see, paint goes a long way. And posters- which can EASILY fit into the bottom of any suitcase while only adding a smidgeon of weight if you’re checking it. Take note, future Peace Corps Volunteers.
This is what my backyard looked like when I moved in. Not much has changed, haha.
Including washing my dishes outside, as my friend Lauren demonstrates while it’s raining!
… those beer bottles came with the house.
This is my bathroom, and I’d say generally the least favorite part of my house. Mostly because I have no hot water and taking showers in the winter is not the most fun experience. The toilet is also as finicky as a baby with the chicken pox. I can’t tell you how many times this thing has utterly exploded…let’s not get into too much detail about that. Deep breaths.
So I tried to girl up the bathroom a little bit with some stylish accessories. I brought this hanging accessory back from the States! It was a staple for me when I lived in the dorms in college.
My bedroom. Where the magic happens. Also known as, the place where I watch movies and eat dinner.
Before I left for the Peace Corps, I had this dream of putting a big world map in my house with a few meaningful pictures from each country I’ve traveled to and lived in. A year and a half later, this is the finished result. 3 years through 30 countries. It gives me something to look at everyday in the Peace Corps- it reminds me of where I’ve been, where I’m going, but most importantly- who I am!
The other half of my bedroom- and on to the BEST PART OF THE HOUSE:
My sofa chair. Don’t ask me how I scored this. Just applaud. Because you guys, this is absolutely the number one best thing about my casa in Paraguay. I snuggle in this chair and read books. I do work on my computer. I chat with you guys on Skype. I eat meals here. I drape my body across both armchairs while singing jazz tunes. It is seriously the. best. Don’t underestimate the sofa chair. Just get one. Even if it means flirting outrageously with a store clerk so that he’ll give you a major discount because you’re the American. I make no apologies in this instance!
The ‘technical’ side of my house- lots of books. Books for studying for the GMAT (Thanks for sending them all down here fo’ FREE Manhattan GMAT!), books gifted by friends, and all of my Peace Corps manuals and materials for classes.
The other view of my bedroom, and another favorite feature of my house, the ‘Write Me A Message of Love’ chalkboard. Every friend that has visited my house- Paraguayan and American alike- has signed it. I don’t remember how I came up with that idea, but it’s been a really cool addition to my room.
An homage to my floor fan, which has literally transformed my entire summer and made me not want to kill myself like every time I woke up with my entire bed covered in sweat. I love you fan. Don’t ever leave me.
Ending my tour with my nightstand- a picture of my g-mates and fellow Peace Corps Volunteers on the back of a bus when we were in training together. A lamp (this was one of my more expensive purchases. And it was totally worth it). And my two books I always keep by my side in case I need a pick me up.
I hope you guys enjoyed the tour of my house in the Peace Corps! But before you all start scoffing ‘Posh Corps,’ I have one more little shot for you…
Yep, I wash my laundry in a bucket.
Conditions of hardship, eh?
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