If you had asked me a year ago if I thought I would be teaching at a Spanish speaking Agriculture boarding school I would have looked at you like you were talking to the person behind me but yeah, I wish I could!
Well, I am so lucky to be that teacher! A year ago, my super supportive friends and family back home sent me off with lots of great amazing home cooking, music, dancing and so much more! And now, at this moment I find myself really appreciative for those moments spent together to help me prepare for this journey down south. I have learned through reading all of the manuals, packets, other volunteers blogs that they did not prepare me for the majority of moments that I perceive as “hard.” In reality, they did nothing but make me a big CHICKEN for what was to come. I remember having been so scared to just get on the plane because of what was to come. But, good thing I did because I would have missed out on a lot had I just relied on other people’s stories.
Below is a Hodge podge organized by an adjective that I have felt over the past year (or more like a collection of lessons learned) Enjoy!
The first night staying with my host family I was told by Angel (nephew) that I stink. I was quickly rushed into the shower but forgot my soap. So, I asked Mercedes (Host mom) if she had “sopa” (in my best Spanglish accent) to take my shower. She looked at me kind of funny like GIRLL what you wanna do at this hourrr? So, I asked her again. So she huffing in her most loving voice said ok, but just this one time. An hour later I found her in the kitchen slaving away over a traditional corn bread called SOPA PARAGUAYA. Oh my goodness. I quickly went to look in my dictionary what soap was and for us non-fluent Spanish speakers it is jabon. =) The running joke in the family is “Well at least she is clean and fed!” =)
AWKWARD STUFF – “my poor pants”
So I think only people south of the equator know this one, but I am making it public news now! So one day on October 17th when it was getting unbearably hot outside and I was learning how to walk the hour walk back home from school and was just learning how things tick and tock down here I got real sick. Sick as in Giardia. Mother nature was calling and I was not prepared. All of the fields were gated or enclosed somehow and the two options were the dirt road were motorcycles where wizzing by or to try to hop a rather tall fence with my legs crossed. Me thinking I had enough time, I decided to take the plunge and jump the fence. Well, it was a success! I made it over, but right after I hit the ground It was too late. I did not know if I should be laughing or crying. I decided to just take deep breaths and then focus on cleaning myself with whatever broad leaf I could get a hold of. Then before I knew it a young cowboy comes from around the corner with a herd of cattle asking what I was doing down there. I looked up and (did not know how to communicate at that time) tried laughing and crying all at the same time. I think he got the point by then =)
So, that is only one fish out of the entire deep blue sea of awkward stories but one day when I have really bored and story loving grandchildren I will share it with them cause I could just talk your ear off about those awkward stories. = )
FRIENDSHIP STUFF –
Hands down the best thing I gained coming down here have been my friends.
One of my best friends Mallory short left for Uganda a couple of hours before I had Ieft for Paraguay. I was so excited but at the same time torn because I did not know or will not know the next time I will see her. Well, the Good Lord has in the meantime blessed me with some just amazing friends and ALL brothers and sisters if ya know what I mean Let’s start from the very beginning:
My first friend in Paraguay: Sandra, beautiful girl on the inside and the outside. We met in Immaculada carrying sugar cane back to her house for cow feed.
She loves to just love on other people and asks how they are doing because she really cares. She is notorious for putting a smile on anybody that passes herby. She is a social butterfly and her outgoing personality is 100% contagious.
My Young Life Girls well boys too
There are 7 girl leaders! We are the Seite Solteras!! The Single Seven =)
Nadia, Gladys, Rebecca, Diana, Renata, Patilu and Me!
These girls have been my pillars down here. Not only are they someone to laugh, cry and just be jolly with but also girls that I can pray with and grow with.
I have had the honor to watch these girls change young girls lives down here in Paraguay through Campaigners, Club and just cute ice cream dates to just chat during their contact work. We even have a Friday evening book club on top of our long telephone chats throughout the work week!
Nadia- leader, Strong willed, ambitious, (Dream is to marry an area director =)
Gladys- Giver, good listener, gentle * (dream is to marry an area director =)
Rebecca- Glamorous, organized, passionate
Diana- Artsy, Sentimental, loving
Renata- Smart, ball of energy
Patilu- Athletic, jokester
Between the 7 of us we always seem to have a Great time together let it be walking to church together late because Patilu is a pain to wake up or let it be downtown to the local pub for a live guitar concert!
Paraguayans love to drink juice let it be a vegetable or fruit juice mixed in POUNDS of sugar and water!
Carrot Beet Juice
Beet and Carrot Juice
Orange and Carrot Juice
Baby Apple Juice
Passion Fruit Juice
Lemon/ Lime Juice
LINGUISTIC STUFF- The 2 Languages of Love
Well, the progress is coming along; the studying is just beginning to pay of a year later! I have been mistaken by many bus drivers for speaking Portuguese because hey have NO idea what I am saying either. But that will not stop me from trying more! Just wait year two I hope to have my Spanish and Guarani down pat!
Working and practically living on a farm, one learns to let things go. Nothing can be too clean on the farm. If it were too clean it would not be on a farm! It is a normal day shoveling cow, goat, chicken and pig poop for hours just to lug it to the garden as fertilizer! Some even call it brown gold! Or saving the urine as pesticide or fertilizer! Others call that Yellow gold!
If you had any germ phobic problems you basically had to let go from day one at the airport!
As for my faith BOY has it changed! Faith for me has become what air is to me – my life line and comfort
I was used to in college having cools songs, great big hugs from the people who you have seen watch grow up or me vice versa, big Sunday lunches, family prayer before the meal and yada yada yada.
Coming here almost everyone is Catholic; things are done very orderly and just not what I was used to. I learned to define hope in God with a whole different meaning-
Learning to worship God while someone is praying the rosary is my time to really talk to the Lord, open up and ask questions. I learned that one cannot rely on religion, but more so the relationship!