Mba’éichapa! That is to say, “Hello, how are you?” in Guaraní, the indigenous language of Paraguay.
I have already been in the country for one week but have not been able to access the internet in the small town my training group (G-45) is staying in. The first few days were extremely rainy and cold, which made me question how I was going to survive the winter without indoor heating. Fortunately, the sun has come out and the temperature has warmed up in the last few days. Nonetheless, I am finding that everything exists in a permanent state of dampness no matter how much you sun yourself or your clothes hanging out on the line.
I am staying with a host family that is super guapa (very hardworking) and very generous and kind. Us rubias (blondies) are a constant source of chatter for the town and it has been very fun stumbling back into Spanish while meeting all of the extended family in the area. I am writing down the recetas (recipes) of all the new Paraguayan foods I have encountered and have been helping my host mom in the kitchen, which she clearly loves. So far, it has been an exhausting and enriching week full of cultural exchange and daily fumbles on my part, which makes everyone laugh until they tear up.
I am also attending Peace Corps training classes that go from 8am to 5pm or later. This is exhausting, but is a huge help for language and technical training. My group, G-45, is full of like-minded adventurers and we have all proved to be a great support network for each other.
Time seems to be moving quickly, but my priorities have certainly slowed down. Without the internet and other distractions, I have found that life revolves mostly around Mate (a shared hot drink) and meal times, and the sharing of stories that go along with them. Dare I mention that my 29th birthday is approaching next week?! As I ride the cultural immersion rollercoaster, I remind myself to be thankful for the opportunity to have this experience and truly live an infinite number of possibilities here in Paraguay until the ride comes to an end.
All is well in el sur (the south)! When the Peace Corps training center gets its wifi up and running, I will have pictures for you.
Until then, happy trails.