Change Yourself…Change The World.


Change Yourself, Change the World?
July 31, 2011, 11:33 pm
Filed under: Paraguay

Since living in Paraguay for the past two months, I’ve noticed two irritable traits about myself that I’ve never realized before. I am not sure whether these are American traits, traits from my family genes or upbringing, or something I’ve developed as a defense mechanism here. But regardless, they have stood out to me in Paraguay.

The first trait I’ve noticed is my urge to control every situation around me. I’ve become aware that I want everything to work around my schedule- when or what I want to eat, when I want to talk or retreat to my room, when I have this time for that specific thing- It’s a lot of “I” and individuality. I’ve observed that Paraguayans don’t work this way. In a nutshell, Paraguayans are totally chill. Most Paraguayans I’ve met spend most of their time sitting in a circle drinking maté or tereré and chatting, with no particular hurry or sudden need. It has been hard for me to just sit with them without thinking about the things I want to do next, or wonder how long this ‘sitting’ session will be. The second trait that I have been struggling with is expectations. I think this is a general rule of thumb as a Peace Corps Volunteer- learning not to have expectations- but it is still prominent in my every day life. Expecting that something will be some way and then being disappointed is just another form of trying to control everything in my life, even the future.

These mannerisms have never stood out to me before coming to Paraguay- I never would’ve labeled myself a control freak- but all of a sudden it feels like I have always been this way my entire life. I think because Paraguay is such a ‘tranquilo’ country, my more individualist habits are standing out to me. Now I’m spending my days thinking back on times where I’ve tried to control situations out of fear or the unknown, or spotting these times in the present.

Being a Peace Corps Volunteer in Paraguay is a two-year long lesson in learning how to go with the flow. Why are five people and forty suitcases crammed in the back of a van when there is obviously a free seat up in the front? Why are we sitting here for two hours doing nothing but laughing over a cell phone ringtone screaming ‘CHIPA BARRERO!’ over and over again? Why do buses from Caazapá to Asunción take a much longer route than necessary? Maybe I’ll never know- but I’m learning to let go and not ask. And I think that this learning and changing can only be a good thing- it is why I chose to be a Peace Corps Volunteer, after all.


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