Filed under: Paraguay
This morning, I went to check the hotel my family will be staying at while visiting me, where there’s a near-by laundro-mat shop that I avoid like the plague. When I first got to Caazapá as a Volunteer, I brought my laundry there to be washed, and was told by the lady that it would cost 20 mil (5 dollars). When I came back to pick up my laundry the next day, it suddenly changed to 50 mil (13 dollars). If there’s anything I hate most from traveling, it’s being manipulated and offered the ‘foreigner’ price. I basically got into a fight with the laundry lady about the discrepancy of the price, and told her it wasn’t fair that because I was ‘the American’ I was subject to more than double the price change. But I paid my bill, and left. I never used the laundro-mat in Caazapá since then.
This morning, and nearly 2 years later, I went to the hotel with my best Paraguayan friend, Denis, to confirm the reservation. Since the landro-mat is the only place in town where you can wash your clothes, I stopped by the shop to find out prices in case my family needed it.
A summary of the conversation that followed (which included sneering, jeering, and name-calling) from the lady at the shop was this: “I know who you are, you’re the bruja (English translation: bitch) who fought last time about the bill. Get out of my shop, I want nothing to do with you.”
Now, I’ve been in the Peace Corps long enough now to know that my elatedness/happiness and frustration/sadness with living in Paraguay is cyclical, though it is independent of time. One day/week/month I’ll be on top of the world, and will feel that my time in Paraguay is the most incredible and formidable experience of my life. I can’t even think about how sad I’ll be the day that I will have to leave Paraguay, a place that’s become my home. The next day/week/month after a series of negative experiences and cultural interactions gone awry, I’ll be totally down in the dumps and shut up like a hermit in my house for a period of time, cursing Caazapá and counting down the days until I can get on a plane and leave this place.
I’m not exaggerating- the range of feelings are that vast, and there’s not much middle ground. While a lot of my first year as a Volunteer has been learning how to deal with this constant roller coaster of emotions, during my second year I’ve started to accept them as inevitable and part of the experience. A lot of the challenge has been learning to deal with those negative experiences completely alone.
So, I could tell this coming week with a few negative experiences (out-of-control English class, unkind indirect comment from the Head of a School about my performance as a Volunteer, controlling neighbors chaining their dog inside their house because he always follows me everywhere, etc.) was going to be one of the low times when I feel really frustrated with Paraguay. The laundro-mat lady treating me as if I was less than a human felt like the tipping point. Ashamed and embarrassed in front of Denis, I was ready to run back to my house and feel super sorry about myself.
While these kinds of experiences happen anywhere in the world, they feel a lot worse when you’re the only foreigner and American who lives alone and depends on other Paraguayans for human interaction. Hearing unkind comments or people who have mal-intent about me when I’m constantly alone and vulnerable can be really hard.
I tried to control how upset I was around Denis and shrug it off, and we went back to his shop to hang out. Denis was in an apparent ‘I’m-going-to-cheer-Brittany-up mode’ and put on happy music, trying to get my mind off of the incident. I half-heartedly laughed at his jokes and plastered on a smile, but I kept blinking back tears.
“You’re not really here, Brittany,” Denis finally told me, giving up. “Are you still upset?”
“Yes,” I said truthfully.
“Do you know metaphysics?”
“Yes,” I repeated glumly.
And Dennis stared out onto the street in a very philosophical way. And suddenly, he said with such clarity and grace, “Well, there are 2 main rules from this that I’ve learned, that I always follow in my life. The first rule is that you should always be in the present moment. So that lady was stupid and treated you badly? Forget about her- that’s already in the past. Focus on what’s happening right now. We’re sitting together and listening to good music, it’s a beautiful Saturday with wonderful weather. Don’t let her ruin your day- stay in the present and appreciate what’s in front of you.”
“Wow,” was all I could say. I was deeply moved by his little speech. Dennis was absolutely right. I was stuck in the past, embarrassed and hurt by what the lady had said to me. But really, continuing to be upset about it wasn’t hurting her- it was only hurting me. And it would be a shame for my day to be ruined because of it.
And moreover, all of the little things that had built up over the past week that made me feel frustrated didn’t ultimately serve me in any way, except to make me feel bad about myself and my place in Caazapá, and Paraguay. It was as if Denis had completely snapped me out of my downward slide into negativity and cynicism. It was amazing how such a simple speech could be so true.
“And what’s the second rule?” I asked, intrigued.
“And, the second rule is also the first rule.” Dennis improvised.
Dennis then asked me if I believed in elves, and proceeded to tell me with complete seriousness that he saw one running around his backyard last week. I tried to keep a straight face. Then we sang karaoke.
At the end, I felt so much better and happier. Dennis was right.
Enjoy the present moment.
And the apparent elves in Caazapá.
My Wonderful Friend Denis
In honor of turning a quarter-century old, I have created a new blog! Yes, it’s an addiction- once you pop, the fun don’t stop. Or once you blog, the fun don’t… someone finish this rhyme for me.
Remember my bucket list, or the list of things to do before I die? Somewhere on that long index of life-long objectives is:
- Take one photo every day for a year to document my life.
In lieu of turning 25, living as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Paraguay, and plans of many adventures to come after I finish my service, I decided this is the year to do it. I will always want to remember my Peace Corps experience forever- and since I haven’t been doing a great job of documenting it through photos, I thought this could be a great motivator for me to take pictures of my everyday life here that I will look back on with great fondness 50 years from now (or “man, I’m so glad I don’t have to wash my clothes in a bucket anymore.”) It will be the ultimate “I once walked 7 miles to school uphill both ways” yarn I can spin to my grandchildren, and I’ll have photos to prove it.
I actually tried (and spectacularly failed) to do this year-long project leading up to starting the Peace Corps when I was 22- but after 3 months of taking monotonous photos of my life in the United States everyday (I lived at home, jobless, for a few months waiting to start my service), I threw in the towel. This year, in order to keep up the motivation and dedication to the project, I created a photo Tumblr blog where I am posting one picture a day. So far it hasn’t been too boring yet- things in the Peace Corps are always interesting.
So without further ado– check out 365 For Year 25!
Already showcasing my Paraguayan life. I teach dogs how to play piano.
And don’t worry- this little blog won’t be going anywhere!
Filed under: Paraguay
What do people eat in Paraguay? Some of you might wonder.
Well, this post isn’t about that. If I was writing about what Paraguayans eat, I’d make sure to post lots of pictures of meat grilled and/or fried, with loads of mandioca (the staple root vegetable here) and Sopa Paraguaya (a type of Paraguayan cornbread that includes lots and lots of cheese and pig fat).
No, this post is about what the NORTE (me) typically eats in Paraguay in my little house. Today I’m focusing on a dish I make quite often. A dish that would probably make any Paraguayan in Caazapá gag, since it’s loaded with vegetables and doesn’t even have a trace of meat (The word vegetarian does not exist here). It would probably also make them vomit afterwards as well, since it is on the mild form of spicy, and most Paraguayans I know will blanch at the sight of even two shakes of pepper over any dish.
I wanted to share with you guys my vegetable casserole dish because I’ve been out of the United States for so long and have not had access to any type of easy-bake food or dish that has even a hint of flavor other than lard. So, a lot of my experiences with cooking in Paraguay is getting really creative with the spices and sauces I have available to me to make unique dishes. Perhaps I’ve deluded myself into thinking that this is the most creative and uniquely flavorful dish ever, but I think my vegetable casserole is SUPER TASTY. It’s like a religious experience in my mouth. And when you live in a community where sometimes the best vegetable you can find rhymes with ‘funion’ (sadly, they don’t actually sell funions here), it’s like a party over at casa Brittany whenever I get to make this awesome side dish, which usually lasts me for over a week. I often eat this as a side dish with my lunch or dinner (and sometimes I just eat it as is). It’s fantastic.
So since I consider this a creatively awesome dish, there must be an equally creatively awesome name. And I have decided the name will be “Brittany’s Creatively Awesome Vegetable Casserole.” Nice ring to it, right?
Filed under: Paraguay
There are some things you want to remember for always. So I’m going to write them down here, even if they’re more of a free-form jumbled mess than I usually post.
The week leading up to my 25th birthday has been absolutely the best ever.
On the first day of many celebrations, last Monday, my dear friend Vicky took me out to dinner to a Mexican restaurant in the capital for my birthday! We feasted on tortillas, sangria, and I had unbelievable shrimp fajitas- an incredible feat for a landlocked country! Vicky even made me my favorite cake of hers, an olive oil rosemary cake (it’s super delicious), and the waiter came out with a giant firework candle. It certainly didn’t hurt that I had spent the day at the Spa (as a reward for 2 months of assiduous GMAT studying). Thanks so much Vicky for a great night out in the capital.
Celebrating my birthday at a Mexican restaurant with Peace Corps friends
On Wednesday as I returned to Caazapá, the group of Volunteers that live close by to me (as we call it in Peace Corps Paraguay, my ‘VAC’) had a meeting in the city. My VAC-mates surprised me with lemon cupcakes and chocolate oatmeal cookies! We then had an epic sleepover with gluten-free pasta (one of my fellow Volunteers is a celiac and graciously shared the pasta from a package from home), salad, and Argentine wine. A new Peace Corps trainee visiting one of my VAC-mates told us her incredible background story and we discussed human rights, activism, and the efficacy of the Peace Corps while getting a little tipsy. We ended the night with cheese popcorn and “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” one of my new favorite movies.
On Friday, my sitemate and one of my closest friends in the Peace Corps, Zoe, came over to my house to ring in my 25th in style. We started with dinner and drinks with our friend Denis at our city’s ‘fanciest’ restaurant (we had burgers, fries, and one too may ‘Sex on the Beaches.’) Hearing that the ‘Circus’ was in town (a once a year event), we walked on over to check it out. By ‘Circus’ in Paraguay, I’m not talking about Cirque du Soleil. I’m talking about an event that was SO terribly bad, it went all the way around to being good again. Definitely the highlight of the show was a man who came on to the stage carrying a torch, pulled out a long handkerchief, and threw it over and over again in the air, tying it into knots, and twisting it this way and that way as if he was performing ‘magic.’ Zoe, Denis, and I could not control ourselves. We were laughing so hard we almost choked on our cotton candy. There was also an 11-year in a tube-top and daisy dukes performing the worst ‘sexy’ dance on stage of all time, and what appeared to be a 9-year-old boy riding a motorcycle inside a circular cage. We truly had a truly fantastic time. As we walked back to my house the clock hit midnight, and we officially rung in my birthday by big bear hugs in the street.
I woke up on the morning of my birthday with a Vanilla milkshake, made by Zoe! We then headed into the center of my town to meet up with our friends Denis and Liz, with a lovely little tree, shovel, and compost from my worm bin. I had decided a little while ago that for my 25th birthday I wanted to plant a tree, and continue the tradition every year onward. The tree I picked out for this year was ‘Corazon de India’ (Heart of India). If that wasn’t a perfect enough name, it grows my favorite fruit in the world- custard apples (known more popularly as ‘buddahead fruit’ in Asia)! It’s a very popular fruit in Thailand, and though I’ve seen it a few times in Paraguay, it’s not nearly as common down here. I loved the idea of Paraguayans being able to seek shade from the summer heat while drinking tereré together and feasting on delicious fruit. So, I decided to plant my tree in the ‘Plaza de los Heroes,’ the biggest plaza in Caazapá!
This was my first time planting a tree (well, I DID do a tree-planting project in Caazapa a year ago with some high schoolers, but they planted the trees while I watched). I was a little nervous, thinking I wouldn’t be able to do it properly- but since Denis is a Scout and has planted plenty of trees, he showed me the entire process. I don’t know why I thought it was complex- it was super easy. We first dug a small hole and loosened up the dirt, put in the compost, watered it a little bit, and then put in the tree, removing the plastic wrap. Then we covered up the hole with dirt and watered the tree. Since the tree is so young, we tied it to a pole to help it grow strong. Meanwhile, Zoe and my other Paraguayan friend Liz took pictures. It was the absolute perfect way to start off my birthday.
Zoe, Me, Denis, and Liz in front of my tree. I love all of you!
But the day wasn’t over yet! I hopped on a bus to Paraguari where my friend Molly lives, to celebrate my 25th with 10 good Peace Corps friends at her house. After a dusty bus ride, I downed my second milkshake of the day in an air-conditioned restaurant, and joined Molly and friends for guacamole. As more and more people arrived, we climbed onto Molly’s roof to watch the sun set, and then went out to dinner at a local restaurant- where yes, Molly gifted me my THIRD milkshake of the day by sticking in a candle! Three milkshakes in one day is definitely the way to go when it’s your birthday. After a Skype chat with some of my best friends from Global College, I joined my friends in the Peace Corps and spent the rest of the night on the roof, drinking beer and telling stories.
Tomorrow we all head to Salto Cristal, a beautiful waterfall in Paraguay. I have been wanting to go for a year and a half, and I am so excited to be heading there for the first time with good friends.
It was definitely an incredible birthday to remember, always. Being 25 years old feels great. Some people have pointed out to me that I’m ‘old’ now. I don’t feel old. I’m really glad to be in the heart of my 20′s, and be on wonderful adventures with incredible people halfway around the world. I also felt a lot of love from many Paraguayans today- so many who texted and called to wish me a happy birthday. And many Peace Corps Volunteers as well! I really have built a wonderful life down here in Paraguay. I feel so blessed to be here.
Thank you to all of my wonderful friends, family, and Paraguayans who have made this birthday so wonderful and special. Here’s to the next 25!
Filed under: Paraguay
Today I have a special post in honor of my wonderful Peace Corps friend Molly, who is raising funds to create a cultural center at a historic train station in Paraguarí. Molly’s currently blogging about trains for 30 days on her blog. Today I wrote a guest post! Check it out on Molly’s blog, or read below:
When I look back throughout the span of my 24-year-old life, it’s pretty crazy to realize how much trains have influenced me culturally. Perhaps trains, or just the general form of transportation, inspired me to travel over 4,000 miles across the world to join the Peace Corps in Paraguay, where I met Molly. One thing is for certain though- trains have held a pretty important place in my heart throughout all of my major phases in life. Check some of them out below:
1) Thomas the Tank Engine
When I was a toddler, I remember getting up early every morning with my brother and sister to watch Thomas and Friends, one of our favorite television programs. My parents, obviously getting the hint that trains were our thing, bought us toy trains and tracks to play with- you know, one of those KidCraft build your own train tracks that were so popular in the 90’s. Thomas the Tank Engine, through the TV show and the toys, really taught my siblings and I the importance of sharing- which definitely proved to be key when our family grew to seven!
My brother was even Thomas the Tank Engine for Halloween! But I couldn’t find that picture, so here’s one of my Dad and us enjoying a train ride in New Jersey.
2) The Little Engine that Could
The Little Engine that Could will always remain a classic in my family. When I was a child learning how to read, The Little Engine that Could was one of my favorite books. But what did I really love best? The animated movie! I remember watching that so many times as a kid. The song “I Think I Can” was always my favorite part, and I would watch it over and over again. I believe this song definitely inspired me to never give up on my dreams. I’m sure that resilience proved key in some of my tougher moments as a Peace Corps Volunteer!
Check out the song here. This song always made me feel happy. It’s contagious!
3) Platform 9 ¾
In 1999, At age 11, I started reading Harry Potter. I never stopped until 2007, when the last book came out. I was definitely one of those hardcore fans who stood in lines for hours at every book release. I can’t even begin to describe all of the things that Harry Potter taught me, and how it influenced me growing up. Through Harry I learned leadership, the importance of friendship, and to always do the right thing. Harry Potter also brought my whole family together- each book release and movie was a right of passage. I’m really grateful to have grown up with these books, and with Platform 9 ¾.
Me visiting King’s Cross Station in London, 2009.
4. Atlas Shrugged
As a junior in college, I first read Ayn Rand’s tome Atlas Shrugged while I was in India. I ripped through the 1,000+ page book in three days. It’s a captivating tale about industrialization in the United States, and the protagonist’s attempts to keep her rail line company afloat. It’s a book about justice, honesty, and a novel that turns capitalism on its head. This book really made me think about the world in a completely different way, and changed my perspective on business, government, and philanthropy. While this book has had a lot of critical reception, it’s definitely worth a read. It was a great rite of passage into my adulthood.
5. Molly’s Train Station!
There are so many more little ways that trains have influenced me throughout my life, but I’ll leave you with the most important one: Molly’s train station in Paraguarí. The dedication and hard work that Molly has put into this project to make it happen is truly inspiring, and will have a lasting impact on her community. She inspires me to be a better person and most importantly, a better Volunteer. I feel really blessed to know Molly and see the impact her service is having on her community.
Molly and her sister Carybeth, after painting a beautiful tree in Paraguarí! They also painted on the tree the famous quote, “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” (Greek Proverb)
In Paraguay, children have not had these same cultural influences that I had growing up. By donating to Molly’s campaign, you’ll be giving them the opportunity to have a train station impact their lives. You’re not just investing in a train station- you’re investing in a place where Paraguayan children can come to read and play games, a place that will create local jobs for youth, and a place where a community can gather together to celebrate their cultural heritage.
So after counting all of my blessings by looking back on how trains have influenced my life and looking at my second home in Paraguay, I leave you with one question: How can we help trains impact and inspire theirs?
Donate to Molly’s Train Station Here.
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!
Filed under: Paraguay
Life in the Peace Corps has been crazy busy the past few weeks. Summer time in Paraguay means lots of summer camps- and boy do I have a lot of updates!
But in the meantime, I have other updates from the internetz for ya! First off, I was recently published in Vida de Latinos, a Singapore-based magazine. I wanted to write about some of the really cool cultural legends from Paraguay, so I settled on 5 Bizarre Mythical Creatures from Paraguay. They really are crazy! Check out the article to learn more.
But what was the best part? I teamed up with one of my closest friends from high school and professional artist Chris Knight, who drew this awesome picture of Paraguay’s most famous mythical creature, Pombero.
Love it. Thanks Chris!
And this morning I woke up to an email in my inbox from a sweet Peace Corps Volunteer from Mozambique, Lisa Spencer, who selected me as one of her ‘winners’ of the ’2013 Peace Corps best blog awards.’ Here’s a little excerpt from her about my little corner of the internet:
Thanks Lisa! Wish I had a tiara and sash to give everyone the pageant wave.
Anyway, I’m back in Caazapá after what felt like weeks of traveling. I’ve been celebrating my glorious return to normality by eating a lot of salads, mangos, and running, while catching up on all of my work I’ve let slip by the wayside. Summer is ending soon, which means getting back into teaching entrepreneurship once school starts up again!
Enjoy the rest of the weekend! If you’re wondering what exotic thing I’m doing in Paraguay right now to finish up my Sunday, it’s watching the movie ‘Blue Crush’ on my computer while simultaneously studying for the GMAT. I know guys, super unconventional.
Filed under: Plain Mary Jane
This past month I hit 60,000 site views on brittanygoesglobal. Thanks to everyone who reads about my adventures abroad! Here’s to 60,000 more.
To properly celebrate this rite of passage, I’ve become a foreign correspondent for Pink Pangea, a women’s travel community where I blog about my adventures as a woman in Paraguay. My first post, “Tereré: Paraguayan Culture in a Beverage” was recently published, and I thought it would be fun to share on my little corner of the Internet. So head on over to Pink Pangea and check it out!
No matter where I go or what I do, traveling is always such an awesome adventure. Thanks for tuning in and supporting brittanygoesglobal!
Filed under: Paraguay
When you travel alone in a different country, there’s bound to be certain aspects of the culture that you don’t agree with or can’t understand. Perhaps the way someone says something rubs you the wrong way, or you see an action in public that makes you cringe and think “never would I see that in my home country…” There will always be things that will range from slightly offensive to majorly insulting about certain cultural traits in relation to your own. How have I personally dealt with them? Well, while many times I don’t understand cultural traits while I’m traveling, I try to remember that I’m a visitor to the country, and that I may not understand the context or their value system.
Well, I’ve been living in Paraguay for 20 months now, and I am no visitor anymore. I live and breathe Paraguay every single waking moment of my life, and I’ve given and both received a lot from the country in the year and a half that I’ve been here. I’ve integrated and know my community well and understand so much of the underlying cultural factors that go into living in this society. But perhaps it’s because I’ve integrated so well that I started to think as part of Paraguay as mine, or that I’m really a part of Paraguay. And so after 20 months of living here, I’ve suddenly entered a new territory: I’ve come to the realization that some of the ways that people act here and do things are absolutely not okay with me, and they never will be- nor will I never assimilate into it.
Two months ago I came back from my vacation in the United States to find my neighbor’s dog, Lassi, gone. Lassi held a really special place in my heart- perhaps it’s because I’m a huge dog lover, because he is such a sweet and loving little animal, or because he looks almost exactly like my dog at home- but against my better judgement of getting attached to any animals down in Paraguay, I fell in love with this little guy. Lassi followed me everywhere around Caazapá, nearly every day. He’d sneak into my English classes and surprise the kids, or sit faithfully outside my friend’s shop as we sat and drank tereré in the mornings. My near-by Peace Corps Volunteers liked to say that if I was ever lost all they had to do was look for Lassi.
So I was really torn up when I came back and found out my neighbors had suddenly and inexplicably given Lassi away to someone else. When I pressed them about it, the mother of the household Mari, gave me this whole song and dance about how Lassi was always on the streets and it was dangerous, and that if he was run over by a car they would have to pay the owner over $200 in damages. Her daughter Fanny, about my age, told me that her old dog had eaten meat with glass in it and died, and she didn’t want Lassi to suffer the same fate. I understood, but was heartbroken. I kept having dreams about Lassi at night, and I really missed his presence. I kept thinking, ‘if only Mari’s family had told me they were giving him away, I would have taken him.’
Last night my friend Zoe was sleeping over at my house, and I had just been commenting to her about how much I had been having dreams about him and that I probably would never see him again. Then, in the craziest of ‘Homeward-Bound’ events, Zoe went out of my house to go get some ice cream, and there was Lassi! He had returned to my house. Words couldn’t describe how happy I was to see him, and I decided in that moment that I wasn’t going to let Lassi go again. I became so excited at the possibility of taking care of Lassi for the next 6 months of my service- he would be my constant companion, and I would feed him well, wash the fleas and scabies out of his fur, and finally get to pet his entire body and hug him. I couldn’t sleep as I started googling things like “how to house-train a stray,” and envisioning myself fixing up my fence so that he could romp around my yard but not get out into the street.
The next day as I readied myself to go into the town to buy him food and flea powder, I came upon Mari who was sweeping her front porch.
“Mari, Lassi came back last night!” I announced happily. “And I’m going to keep him as my dog and feed him and take care of him!”
Let me back up for a second and give a definition of what I meant earlier when I said that Lassi was my “neighbor’s dog.” By ‘neighbor’s dog,’ I mean that my neighbor’s never once took care of him, never fed him well, kicked him, spat at him, screamed at him that they hated him, and threw their shoes at him at every chance they could get. But now all of a sudden that the American wanted it to be HER dog, Mari, the manipulative drama-queen that she is, decided to take matters into her own hands.
“Did you hear that Miriam?” she shouted to her 5-year old granddaughter in the next room. “Brittany is going to take YOUR dog!” Never mind that up until 5 seconds ago she had no idea that Lassi still even existed.
What then transpired was a screaming fit of unknown proportions that I had never witnessed. Mari literally had pitted me against a 5-year old throwing a HUGE tantrum, screaming and crying to high heavens that it was HER dog.
“Yes you see Brittany,” Mari said sadly, “Miriam was so sad that Lassi was gone that my husband brought her back last night!”
This was an outright, 100% lie.
“Don’t worry Miriam,” Mari and Fanny crooned at her and she wailed and beat her fists on the floor. “Brittany will be bringing you your dog back now!”
So perhaps this is something that doesn’t sound upsetting to you reader, but it is really upsetting to me. It’s upsetting to me that a family that could care less about a dog that they always treated poorly, that was so thin its’ ribs were showing and that had scabies and fleas and was continuously dirty, suddenly ‘wanted’ Lassi because he was just a possession to them- even though they had given him away to someone else and was technically no longer ‘theirs.’ A dog who owed no allegiance to them, who showed up on MY doorstep because I always fed him and cared for him and petted him, was suddenly “theirs” again without regard or care for his actual well-being. And on top of all of the pleading and discussion I had with them about it, they manipulated and lied just to get what they want- a dog that they didn’t even want in the first place.
It’s pathetic. It’s not okay. I don’t accept it. And this is not something where I will just nod my head and chalk it up to cultural differences.
It’s hard to tell what I’m more upset about: that Mari and her family blatantly lied and manipulated me to give them back a dog that they care nothing about. That Lassi will continue to be mistreated and a dog on the street (or even worse, forever chained on a leash). That I’m so disappointed because I was very excited to have him as my companion. Or that I’m just so fed up with the way that people treat others with such disrespect.
I try not to write about these kinds of experiences on my blog, the ones that make me cry or write long pages in my journal about situations I’ve seen where women are treated so inferior in this country, or blatant corruption, or the fragility of any sort of relationship, or severe disappointments from broken promises that people make, or seeing people lying and manipulating whoever they can to get what they want. But that’s the truth, and the Peace Corps and living in a developing country is not all sunshine and rainbows and happy times. It’s hard, and sometimes it is just not okay.