Monday, May 3, 2010

Why I'm Staying Longer

Monday morning. 8:30, alarm clock goes off. I hear rain. I turn off the alarm clock. I go back to sleep until 10:30.

So maybe today is a good day to explain why I'm extending my service. I have asked for, and received, an extension until June of 2011. Nine extra months, a full 3 years of Paraguay fun times.

I think about how hard it was, that first year. How much I didn't know. All the confusion and frustration. Living in Paraguay is just so much better now. I'm good at it.

I know now, for example:
  • Which buses will enter my site and which will leave me 2 km. away, on the routa.
  • That when I ask for vegetables at the store, I have to ask by kilo and not by number, so I don't ask for 2 anymore and get a look like I'm crazy.
  • That when someone says, "And Oscar (or whoever)" They mean "Where's Oscar?"
  • When someone asks me if I know how to eat something, they just mean, Do I like it?
  • When someone says, Moogui reju that means "Where are you coming from?" (and a growing number of other Guarani phrases.)
  • You have to wash your bombilla every time, unless you want a mouthful of ants
There are a million things (at least half of them words) that I know now. Information I have crammed into my head that will be mostly useless as soon as I leave this place. I've worked damn hard, and now I'm coasting down the other side of my efforts.

Then there's the general benefits of Peace Corps:
  • I work whenever I feel like it
  • I do whatever I want to do
  • My podcast is kickin' ass
  • My Guarani is finally coming around
  • I love Yataity
  • I have a pony
  • I don't have to work when it's raining
  • I get my lunch cooked for me every day
  • I get asado every Sunday
  • There's also this boy next door...
  • And, for the first time in a long time, I feel like I finally have a home. Isn't that weird? All the way down here?
It is not all pretty, I can tell you that right now. Some people I work for are real jerkfaces. I'm helping jerkfaces. Who don't appreciate me, at all. I miss my family. I can not wait to have a car again.

But the good outweighs the bad. I'm happy down here. Life is balanced, something it is not in the United States. This is the best thing I've ever done in my whole life. I took a big risk and it paid off. I think, then, that I'll stick around a little while longer.


hisc1ay said...




Anonymous said...

Wow Paulette, you're staying longer. Congratulations! You and Yataity (and Oscar:-) are a good fit. -Rhonda

jeannette said...

Good for you! You got through culture shock -that's what all these adjustments are called! I went through it 3 times, because this (USA) is the 3rd continent I'm living on.
Came from another blog -you write well -keep up the good work, and have a good weekend!

Ken, Christie, Camille, Caroline said...

Excited to read the good news that you're staying on a bit! I'd sure hate for the Guarani lessons to end anytime soon.... I tried to write down all those silly things that mean a ton here but nothing in "other" places, too, like not pulling your buggy through the check-out at the grocery store, and buying by the kilo instead of "three cucumbers, please." It's a great life, huh?