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Paraguay Questionnaire of 2011: The Best and Worst of PCPY!
January 7, 2012, 1:23 pm
Filed under: Paraguay

It’s the New Year. What’s better than a survey of 2011 so far! I took these questions from another Volunteer’s journal. At the end of this post, I’m going to tag five of my friends in the Peace Corps to do the survey as well. Here we go!

Moment that made me rethink dairy: When I discovered my giarda caused lactose intolerance- which funnily enough, only lasted about two months. Back to the dairy grind!

What reminded me most that I’m in Paraguay: The generosity of complete strangers. Whether they offer you tereré, carne asado, or adopt you as a member of their family- Paraguayans are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met.

Most surprisingly tasty food: Fatty beef rib- Considering I was pretty much vegan before the Peace Corps, I don’t know why I enjoy this so much, but nothing makes me feel more happily Paraguayan than this type of carne asado.

Favorite thing to find being recycled by other volunteers who have recently returned from The States or had a friend come visit: So far, books!

Most entertaining adventure: After a night of drinking with friends before Thanksgiving, we all decided we were going to kill our own chickens for the feast, rather than buy them dead and ready to be stuffed. In the morning we got it together and decided it was probably better to order the easy dead ones, so we asked a Paraguayan neighbor to get them for us. Of course, they show up with three live chickens. Not only did I learn how to kill, de-feather, and gut a chicken, but I did one of them myself.

Moment that made me realize no bug experience could ever get much worse: Killing 4 GIANT spiders in one day in my house, after they all leapt out of nowhere- followed by a grasshopper, then a cockroach.

Favorite thing to do on vacation: 1) Drink a bloody mary. I don’t know why I have suddenly become so obsessed with this drink (perhaps because it reminds me of both seafood and brunch, both things which are nonexistent in Paraguay) 2) Worship the air conditioner, and 3) Go to Whole Foods and marvel and all of the pre-packaged deliciousness.

Moment that made me stop and say, “Where am I?”: Sitting on a five hour bus ride when it was almost 100 degrees out, jammed to the brim with Paraguayans, with elbows and crotches shoved in my face.

Most shocking information I have given to a Paraguayan: That saying ‘Look how much fatter you’ve gotten!’ after not seeing someone for a few days is in fact, not a compliment in the United States.

Most entertaining question asked by a Paraguayan: The penis sizes of all my ex boyfriends.

Something I would never have done if I were not living here: Have my summer soulmate be Tereré. I swear Tereré is one of the best things that have ever happened to me.

Favorite new culinary technique: My family seems to be extremely impressed with my chopping skills, so I’d say that has improved a bunch. I also made my first Indian curry!

Funniest Guarani word learned: Aiiichijanaga! This means ‘Pobrecito,’ or ‘You Poor Thing.’ Expressive- and also hilarious.

Most uncomfortable charla moment: My first ever class I taught in training, a photography lesson to 9 and 10 year old Paraguayans. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I didn’t have six people in the back evaluating my every move, with my tech trainer and language trainer taking fastidious notes throughout the entire process.

Favorite American topic that Paraguayans like to talk to me about: 9/11 and the effect on America today

Longest running joke in my host-family: My hot water bottle aka ‘boyfriend’, which we have dubbed ‘Enrique Iglesias.’ We all like to joke that he is my boyfriend because he’s hot and sleeps with me at night.

Moment that almost gave me a heart attack: Seeing a largish sized spider on my curtains- raising up a shoe to kill it and missing- and then seeing a second GIANT spider crawl out under the curtains where it had been hiding.

Strangest thing I have seen being sold on a city bus: A sock-feather duster combo package

Hottest day: 101 degrees… but I haven’t even been here for the worst part of the summer yet!

Thing that makes me feel like a lot tougher than I am: Killing giant bugs, taking continuously cold showers, using a machete

Favorite book read in site: ‘Sweetness in the Belly’ by Camilla Gibb

Most unusual injury sustained when considering I am a Peace Corps volunteer: Trekking through the pouring rain with other PCVs in Asuncion after realizing we took the wrong bus- all of us with our backpacks and me with a giant cube full of spices from Thanksgiving- then slipping and sliding onto the ground and almost into incoming traffic. I bruised my knee, but that’s minor compared the injuries everyone else sustained from laughing too hard.

Funniest cultural thing in general: I think there’s too many to even begin with, but I guess what jumps out to my mind is that during training, it was stressed to us to the maximum that Paraguay is an indirect culture and that saying anything directly is very rude. This is true in some parts, but what I find funny is how Paraguayans are SO direct about other things, like asking what you pay in rent every month, whether you gained weight in the past week, why you didn’t bring them a more expensive present from the US, or if you’re going to buy something from their business the next day.

Here’s to more adventures in 2012! I tag my Peace Corps Friends Joanna, Molly, Amy, Richard, and Taylor!


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