Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Depression...Stuff...Life Rhythm

Hello. Enjoy some pictures.

Brennan in his kitchen

My lunch today. I tried to get it at an angle where you could appreciate the mass. That dark stuff on top is almost all meat.

Hmm, let’s see, what else? We went to Asuncion last week to go to the futbol game. Lots of red and white and drums and people puking on the way to the game, oh wait, that’s my friend!
Someone found out that if you try to sneak liquor into the game and get caught, the police will arrest you and take your mug shot with a cell phone camera.
After the game we were at a street party and ended up talking on camera some reporters. Everyone in town was like, I saw you on the news! Apparently they got some footage of Sasha dancing as well.

Speaking of police, I saw a bus driver bribe a cop, so that was cool. I saw the points of a folded bill popping out from underneath his license as he handed it to the officer.
My host sister asked if I wanted to watch “El Senor de los Anillos,” and having no idea what the heck that was, I said sure. So in the past two days we watched both the first and second Lord of the Rings. I understood about as much as the first time I saw them, which is to say not much. It’s like my childlike experience when I watch the telenovelas, and react totally based on body language and inference: “The lady is mad at the man.”
My computer class is going well! I understood a bit more of the joy of teaching when I saw one of my students walk right up to the computer, put her pen drive in and find the photos on it. A week before she had stood there holding the pen drive out like she might break it, not sure what to do.

Tuesday, Oct 14: Depression
Tonight I called home. Friends, some family. Had a great video call with my mom. So close, yet so far away.
One of my friends and I had a depressing conversation though, about the “recession,” possible “depression.”
And I feel depressed.
I actually have to say that one of the Big Reasons for joining the Peace Corps was the fear of the economic fall of America. Once I realized how rich we really are, how precious our place in both time and space is, and how fast things are changing in the world, I felt like I was standing on top of a rumbling tower. I just kept looking down.
With globalization, who knows what the heck is going to happen. Good thing I’m a writer, because the arts are the last thing to go in a financial hard times, right?
So naturally, I wanted to face third-world life.
Now, that’s not exactly what I’m living down here. But there is a living without. Having been here, I know that if things get worse back home, and I have to take the bus and not have air conditioning, I’ll be ok.
But I’m thinking of everyone who’s been affected. Hang in there.

Thursday, Oct 16: I’m so sick of seeing how rich people are.
We get free Newsweeks, to keep up on the happenings of the U.S. and the world. This week I see that Germans are rethinking nuclear energy, Japan is building robots that can play instruments, and...that in jewelry, black is the new gold?
Apparently this is a new section in Newsweek called The Good Life, and I can’t believe this has made into Newsweek, or can I?
When I was little, we had one show, one, that focused on the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Houses, cars, blah blah. Now it’s everywhere. Every channel has a Most Expensive this...The Fabulous life of So-and-So, blah blah.
It’s like a freak show.
I’m looking at the magazine, with each item listed with their prices that I’m sure thousands of people are right now calculating into how many months of their mortgage they could have paid with that money.
I’m sitting her looking at a $2,000 bottle of wine, a $9,400 necklace, and a $250,000 turntable.
I’m so sick of having this stuff thrown in my face, everywhere I look. A photo story in the L.A. Times about a new designer $250,000 ice pick (and the rediculous release party) was one of the finals straws of “I have to get out of here.”
I came here to get away from it, and one of my greatest dissappointments is that Paraguay is already gripped by ads, tv, commericials. They’re being slowly loaded on to the treadmill, surrounded by the scenes of unattainable beauty, impossible wealth, and being told that if they run a little faster, they can get there.
And I want to say, We Americans have been chasing things for 50 years, and we’re just tired and no happier, in fact less happier, then when we started. Does anyone else think that this whole housing thing might have something to do with the greed fed by seeing photo after photo of mansions?
I feel clausterphobic. How far do I have to go to get away from people from all angles telling me that the good life is just another dollar away?
I´m just saying that if we keep looking up, at the tippy-top of the spectrum, we´re going to keep thinking we´re poor. We need to remember where we really sit. In other countries, our things could fill that Good Life section.

Monday, Oct 20: Cue music
Life has fallen into its rhythm. If this were a movie, we’d be to the montage, the soundtrack hitting “Strange” by Built to Spill, my legs walking to the drumbeat through the sunlit grass as I zigzag my way through cows and cow poop mines to the cooperative, toting my bag of Ao Poi supplies.
(This strange plan is random at best)
I’m pinning my needle in my Ao Poi, taut in the embroidery hoop, to free my hand and reach for the terere guampa being handed to me.
(This strange changing atmosphere)
Some creepy uncle is grabbing me by the arm and asking someone what my name is.
(This strange how much more can I take)
I’m watching Brazil’s Next Top model while eating pizza with the sisters.
(Yeah it’s strange but what’s so strange about that)
I’m giving in and wiping my mouth on the tablecloth like everyone else at the long table of a big family asado, looking around like someone’s going to catch me.
(Yeah it’s strange but oh well)
We’re sitting in chairs on the lawn and I'm silent in a conversation of Guarna
(I’m not saying it right)
I’m laying in bed, in a clearing between my laptop, cellphone, books and papers with words of three languages, reading one of those books I’ve always wanted to.
(And it’s strange but what isn't strange.)

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