Monday, June 1, 2009

Bruised on the left knee on the Trans-Chaco Highway

I couldn’t do any yoga after my run today because of the bruise I have from falling off the Loma Grandense in a mad rush to catch the Chaqueña on the way back to my site from Villa Florida on Sunday. I fell hard and without control, my green norteamericana backpack and messenger bag not helping me to brace my fall.

Finally the sun was out today, so everyone in my town had the opportunity to wash all of their clothes. I joined in, but only to a certain extent because I was short on time and clothes line to dry the clean articles. The rest of my clothing I took to my surrogate family’s house, thinking that I would have enough time before my first day of my new English class to wash and hang a few loads. Since the señora already had a load in her machine I had to wait, and before I knew it, the hour for class had arrived. She made me leave my three loads there for her to wash. Bless her heart, if it weren’t for women like here I don’t know what I would do in this country. I rely on her more now that I live alone.

I enjoy teaching—when the kids are good! Today I had four seven year olds, three girls and one boy, all from the same second grade class. Their parents want me to teach them English and to reinforce the lessons of their school’s English teacher, who apparently doesn’t teach and doesn’t know English that well. I found various mistakes in her corrections in the students’ notes. It would be better to have more students, to maximize my time and to reach more kids. We’ll hope that I can make it happen.

Speaking of English, I have so many requests to teach people that I could easily fill my days in site just teaching English. People don’t ask me to do anything else besides that. The sad part is that it’s the topic I know best and that I could actually consider myself a professional in, especially considering that I majored in Spanish. But I’m a municipal services development volunteer, not a English as a Second Language volunteer.

It was in the 50s today and I was cold! I’m so used to the Paraguayan heat now that the smallest chill can get to me! Also the houses don’t have insulation nor central heating, so when it’s bitter cold, one has to walk around with multiple layers and sleep in one’s thermal sleeping bag like I do.

I was stupid and returned from Villa Florida early (where the one year in Paraguay party was for the volunteers in my group). I feel like I’m not as close to other volunteers as I should be, but I know that if I spent a lot more time with them either physically with them or just talking to them on the phone, I would feel that I wasn’t “immersing” myself enough with Paraguayans. It’s a constant battle trying to stay connected but at the same time enjoy the tranquilo-ness of the natives. How can I be just one or the other?

Sundays I always feel lonely in my house. Now that it’s winter it gets dark a bit after five, and it is a bit lonely. I try to keep busy so that the knowledge that I am so alone doesn’t get to me. I have a neighbor next door but it’s not the same as before and I don’t know as many people as I did in my first neighborhood. When I was in high school and college I relished alone time, but now I don’t like to be alone much. I prefer to be drinking mate and terere with others and cooking and sharing meals with others. Looking back, I believe that the main reason why I didn’t like high school much was because that I was mostly alone all the time, if not physically, then mentally. For example, at BWHS classmates and teammates always surrounded me, but I didn’t have the luxury of time to spend with them, or maybe I just didn’t want to spend time with them. Thank God for college, more Seattle, and even more Peace Corps, for making me realize how paramount human relationships are, and how they are the basis for happiness and satisfaction in this life. I am so happy here because people know how to relax here and enjoy life no matter what. I have learned the meaning of the saying, “The greatest gift that you can give someone is your time.” I have become quite talented at living in the moment, bringing me a lightness of heart. But what will I do when I go back to the REAL world? Aaaahhh! Ha ha.

So, the Cavs are doing pretty well I hear? CLEVELAND ROCKS, don’t u forget it.

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