Monday, December 31, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
As Will Farrel said in Elf, ¨That´s Shocking¨
So I leave for my site on Tuesday. I am currently in Asuncion staying at a sweet hotel with my other 40 newbies, along with some oldies from our sister G, G-22. My group is actually G-25. G is our sector and my family. There are 3 waves of volunteers that come to Paraguay per year. So as we are swearing into Peace Corps as the newest "G", G-19 is signing out.
Sunday, December 09, 2007
I wish I could have spent it with my family and friends. But we'll have plenty of time to celebrate my next 15 years.
This coming week is going to be crazy. I will be packing all my stuff, going to Santa Barbara and swearing into Peace Corps. I will be a full fledged volunteer when next we speak. I will also have a phone and you all can call me (as I can´t call you - I only get paid $2 a day).
I´d like to take a special moment to thank my Aunt Paula for sending me so much mail. You are making me feel so loved and thought of. I really appreciate it!
Thanks Dad, for the day planner. I loved it and it got here right in time for my b-day!
Everyone, if you want to send a package, Please Change my Title to PCV because of the change within the next week.
I will post my info on the right side of my blog, for all of you to use!
my email is firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com for those of you who want to chat!
I´ll post as soon as I can, before I go to my new place of residence for 2 years. San Antonio was beautiful and the people were wonderful. I can´t wait to get there. I will take tons of photos, as soon as my mom sends my camera.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
I´m pretty excited and here are a few photos of the region.
I´m spending thanksgiving at the CHP which is our language and tech school. I´m spending it with my other fellow trainees, so I won´t be ALL alone this holiday. We are having rotissere chicken, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, fruit salad, green beans, and I HEAR someone found cranberries. Not QUITE what I´m used to (no casserole, pumkin, or croatian potato salad) but I think I´ll make due! haha!
Don´t forget, the BIG 3-0h is coming up in a few days! I will have successfully made it through 3 months in Paraguay and turned 30. That´s right. 30. Everyone else here is turning 23-24. Yep. 30. So this year for 30, my body has given me giardia, more grey hairs and a werid bump on my neck. I´m also going to bed at 9 pm and not drinking anymore. Man, I´m an old woman.
Well - off to get fatter than usual! Happy Holiday!
Sunday, November 18, 2007
For a Glimpse of the future I wanted to know
With high hopes in my head and a rumble in my gut
We drove over 5 hours stopping only for peanut (butter)
I arrived at my new lodging with purpose and steady course
When a man worthy of Joan Wilder galloped up on his horse
I started to sweat, my stomach flipped, and I got weak in the knees
The opposite direction I ran, for I now had the chivivis*
All morning I labored with my host mom and daughter
I did the best I could do, for I felt like bantha fodder
We toured a well managed farm and ate pure sugar cane
Along with a 100 year old house from whence Paraguayans came
My family slaughtered a pig, I ate his head - what a scene!
Not to mention the time I fell into their latrine!
Finally we gave a charla, and it became a big joke
Afterwards with food and drink, a fire we did poke
For one week I worked and spoke in complete Guarani
And in less than 1 month a true volunteer I will be.
*chivivi is the word for explosive diarreah in Guarani
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Well, I was all excited to get custom clothes made for me, when after checking back again and again at the modista (seamstress), she finally told me in a round about way that they weren't done and I should come back later. Yikes. Guess I'll have to try a different approach....
So next week is my Longfield Practice, which is a week in the campo (country) speaking and working at an existing volunteer's site. I'm pretty excited cause right after I get back, I find out my site assignment.
After my return I have a whirlwind of stuff going on in training. I've got multiple presentations to give (in Guarani) and all kinds of preparation and last minute training to cram in. I'm swamped. No more beautiful waterfalls for me. Boo.
Other than that, I am on my way to try out a 'real' pizza place i've heard about. Supposedly it has french fries too. I don't think you know how much you really miss any of these things when you can't get them. They have pizza here, but it's usually a premade crust, stewed tomato and onions, and slices of ham and cheese. Not to mention no such thing as french fries.
It's the little things, people. The little things. Wish me luck. I hope i don't end up ordering the pizza with the pig cheek on it. I'm not kidding on this one. I've seen it, smelt it, and ate it.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
Salto Cristal Falls
It took us 30 min just to get there, because we had to CLIMB DOWN A ROCK WALL 100 FT. I'm not kidding. After the decent, we trekked up a fast moving river just to get to the falls. It was nuts. I was not a happy Cassie. UNTIL I beheld this sight. We jumped in and jumped off those rocks right next to the waterfall. It was amazing. I never really felt like I was in a totally different country until I started swimming in this lagoon at the base of a waterfall. It was nuts.
The ascent was not nuts. In fact, I did not like climbing up to get out after I had spent most of my energy getting down and swimming around a lagoon. Today, I am crazy sore, but glad I was able to go.
Next week, I will be finding out where my 2 year site will be. I'm really nervous. And a little scared.
Thanks to everyone who has been writing me. I will write a blog about intitial thoughts and realities like Caffx mentioned next week. I've been writing about in my journal so I'll bring it and take notes this week.
Until next time....
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
They are a little bug that burrows into your foot and lay eggs. It feels like you're walking on a tiny pebble, and it's annoying as hell - and everyone gets them. I tried so hard to only wear tennys and never wear flip flops. I was so scared to touch the ground with my naked foot - for fear of piques.
Last weekend I went to visit a Peace Corps volunteer who lives 2 hours north of Caaguazu in the campo (country) and touched her floor barefoot only twice. Both times to get up to turn her light off before I went to bed. 2ce. And BAM. I got 2 piques. One on each foot. The medical officer will be in the office today, so I'll get her to take them out for me. I will watch how she does it, so I will be able to do it myself from now it. It's just like removing a splinter - so i've heard. Most of my fellow trainees have had one by this time.
Although you remember that story about the girl who was babysitting and thought she had a zit - but it was actually a spider bite that laid eggs and while she was taking a shower the babies burst out of her face? I think that actually happens with pique. But not on your face. One of my fellow trainees let her pique go - and it ended up "bursting". Gross me out.
So after this precious moment on the compu - i'm waiting in line for the doctor. Ugh.
Plus while at the volunteer's site, I was constantly teased about my name. In Spanish, the word "casi" means "almost". So after the tireless jokes (yes - the native people never tired of joking about my name, weight, and my age) I have decided to go by Elizabeth when I become a volunteer. I think it will be alot easier than trying to explain than in English, "casi" isn't a word.
Suerte a mi.
Sunday, October 07, 2007
So PLEASE send me your home addresses (for postcards) and email addresses (by sending it in a quick email) so i can create my new address book. I´ll try to clean up the other account, but at this point - I can´t even login.
email me at
Once again - no large or junk emails. I beg you. I can only check my email and update my blog about once a week, and I´m paying an arm and a leg at this internet cafe. Be kind. Re-no more.
I am having a good time, but today was the first day i started feeling some homesickness. i was crazy excited to check my emails - but to no avail. Thanks for posting hellos for me on this blog. i almost started crying! Unfortunately I don´t have much time left to post anything good - but I Have bought postcards for anyone who sends me their address!!! Yeah!!!
I washed all my clothes yesterday. it took about 3 hours and my knuckles are rubbed raw. That´s right, raw. Meaning I put my clothes in a bucket of water, and started rubbing them together with some soap to get all the dirt out. After my family situated their chairs around me (I have become their new favorite comedy program) they gave me a scrubby brush (after 2 hours of scrubbing) which aliviated some of the loving blood i was putting into the soapy water. hooray! Of course, at about 8:30 pm, right before we were leaving for a sugar cane fiesta in town, it started raining and my clothes were soaked! not to mention the roads became flooded. No fiesta for me. :(
Saturday after training, we all got together with most of the kids in town, and played soccer, frizbee and pique volley - which is a game like volley ball, except you can´t use your hands! The kids down here are CRAZY good at it! Only feet, heads, a volley ball net, and a soccer ball! Loco!
I´m going to Ascuncion this next week for a meeting at the main PC office. I hope to buy a camera and a flash card to upload photos onto a computer without having to load a program. I think I can do it with a usb type adapter, right?
Well, once again, please email me at my new address at firstname.lastname@example.org to talk to me. I miss everyone so much and need your home and email addresses again!
Saturday, September 29, 2007
I don´t have any photos yet, cause I plan on buying a camera next week - but what a whirlwind in getting here!!! What should I have brought? Sheets, Swimsuit and sanity. I am speaking purely spanish with my new host family - and I realize how terrible I am. They don´t speak English AT ALL and my spanish sounds like a 4 year old. not to mention I´m learning the native language, Guarani first - which barely sounds like spanish. Sounds more like Alien crackly language. Tomorrow I spend all Sunday with my host family which consists of my mom (42) dad (47) sister (25) brother in law (28) and their son (2). I live in a "rustico" house with an outhouse and a mosquito net. it´s crazy.
I don´t have much time, but I´m okay, learning to drink the local tea, and dying of heat since i can only wear long sleeves.
I miss you all and I´m okay!
Thursday, September 20, 2007
cd player and cds (no ipod for me!)
12 month supply of tampons and lunapads
swiss army knife from dad
Leatherman A-Ron bought me
(only) 4 pairs of shoes
my loverly stained red hooded sweatshirt
I have decided against my little pillow and have decided to purchase a nice compact travel pillow instead. No use destroying a family favorite.
I'm at the point of return - which means that I could still back out if I wanted to. But really since I got my tooth pulled and a new one installed (thanks to my dad) I figured I past the point of NO return back in July.
Ways to contact Cassie:
1. You can send me letters at
Cassie Doolittle PCT (for trainee - the first 3 months) or PCV (volunteer after I am placed)
Cuerpo de Paz
162 Chaco Boreal c/Mcal. López
Asunción 1580, Paraguay
An estimated 80% of letters arrive which takes 2-3 weeks by airmail.
Please number your letters in case any of them get lost. If I recieve a letter that says #2 and I never got #1, you'll know why I haven't been in contact.
Packages are often opened and items stolen. If you decide to send me something in the mail, make sure it is of little value (like Jiffy Pop). Send nothing worth over $200. A big bonus will be burned CDs. I will constantly be listening to the 10 cds I can bring and will be desiring new music all the time. Remember when we used to make mix tapes and trade them in the mail? Well I can't make you any, but maybe you'll recieve a banana leaf with a magic rock in it or something. PLEASE send me music!
2. Email Me
Most of you have my email address. I will be primarily using my blog for updates, but if you would like to send longer letters my address is
I will check my account as often as I can, but after the first 3 months, I won't be sure if I will be placed in a location with email access
3. Read my blog
I will be posting on my blog as often as I can. It will become my new travel journal. I will be sure to post whenever I get into town, but I would LOVE to see as many comments as possible, even if you just say hi!
I can't promise that I will have the time to read all your blogs. I'm not sure how the internet cafes are set up, and if time is an issue, I hope you all understand why I can't gab it up. I DO, however, appreciate all the support you have given! SEE Quine and Vivavavoom - you guys RAWK! Thank you for remembering me even though I've been MIA!
4. Visit Me
I won't be able to leave the country or recieve guests until after the first 6 months of service. Remember that as Paraguay may not be the most desired area to visit - there are plenty of places in South America that I can easily travel to! I can meet up with anyone - anywhere! I will be visiting Machu Pichu while I'm in the Peace Corps, and HOPEFULLY my mom will allow me to visit Rio de Janerio while there! haha! Not to mention all the other wonderful places like Chile (hint hint vivavavoom!). Let me know if any of you have an interest in visiting and we can set something up!
In case of emergency:
If there is a critical illness, death, or emergency where I need to be notified ASAP please contact the Peace Corps' Office of Special Services at any time.
800.424.8580 extension 1470
If it is after hours, feel free to call my mom and she will be able to pass the information along to me. Her number is 816.587.6924
Last but not least - be patient with communication, but don't forget me. I've been told repeatedly that I will experience depression, constipation, and homesickness. More often than not, alcoholism - but trust me, if I can't poop (or too MUCH poop) there will be very little drinking!
27 months of Cassie the Nun? Who knew!
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
I have been to Colorado to say goodbye to my urban family, and I have come back to Kansas City to say goodbye to my Croatian family.
I am currently pulling my hair out trying to figure out what to pack.
I have a large duffle and am about to embark on purchasing a framed backpack - as my other one is completely inefficient for my 27 month journey. I never knew how expensive it would be to join the Peace Corps.
These next couple of weeks I'll be packing, and unpacking, and packing again until I get it right. I'll also be painting my mom's new house which she bought a month ago. I'll put pictures up, but I think it fair to say that I don't know the first thing about painting a house. Just another first in the next couple years to come.
Yesterday, although sick, I went to see the Kansas City section of the Tour of Missouri. It was quite exciting, and made me want to someday go to the Tour de France. I think when I get back from Paraguay and my Peace Corps issued mountain bike, I will get more into my cycling and even buy a custom bike. It would be great to get one from Josh's brother, but I have a feeling I won't be able to afford a local celebrity like him!
If you get a chance, check out the tour on the Versus Channel. You might see me cheering away!
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Monday, July 16, 2007
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
I leave the 24th of September! I will be doing crop extension which is to motivate Paraguayan small scale farmers to optimize their use of available human, material, and natural resources in order to raise their standard of living and to improve food security.
That's what the invitation says. Sounds like I'm going to be a farmer in South America and learn to speak the native language of Guarani!
Check it out!
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Cross your fingers everyone. I was just going to post about all the hoops I've been going through lately with my medical clearance. I had to get additional shots, blood work, and a health evaluation ON TOP of my physical - to see if the doctor thought I was physically fit enough to do demanding manual labor.
I also have been trying to get in contact with my placement officer as she was requesting additional information regarding my education, finances, and volunteer work.
I was getting to the point of hysteria as no one was calling me back!
My mom offered to give me a down-payment on a little house in Strawberry Hill (the old Slavic neighborhood in KCK where she grew up) if I wanted to stay here and forgo service!
I was going to cry and scream through the ginormous gap in my teeth when lo!
I received this email:
Attention Cassie Doolittle:
Peace Corps sent you an invitation kit on July 9, 2007. Within 10 days of receiving your kit, please call us regarding your decision to accept or decline our invitation. If we do not hear from you within this period, the assignment may be offered to another applicant.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Monday, July 02, 2007
The next morning I awoke to find I had 7 messages and 2 text messages. All from my friend Ed, in Denver.
As I listened to these while driving home that morning, please note: They started around 10pm and ended around 3am.
Hey sweetie! Just calling to say hi! We’re going out dancing tonight and I was just thinking about you! Talk to you later!
(muffled dance music) Hey Pooks! Just wanted to tell you we wished you were here! (muffled dance music) Talk to ya soon! Bye!
(muffled dance music)Where are you? Why won’t you call me back? (muffled dance music) Call me tomorrow! I really need to talk to you! Love ya! Bye!
(muffled dance music, slight slur, and slight desperation) Okay. I really really need to talk to you. I’m serious. Call me tomorrow!
(sounds of cars and people in the background, slurry, and agitated) Okay. So I really miss you and just want to talk to you. You NEED to call me back tomorrow so we can talk. Love you.
(sounds of I don’t know WHAT in the background, really slurry and higher pitched) SCHWEETIE!!! I am about to cry! I mean it! I am on the verge of tearsh! I jus need you to rally call me back and jus tell me I’ma loved! Call me tumorrow! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE call meh tumorrow!!!
(No background noise, calm, and non slurring) Hey Pooks! I’m just getting ready to go to bed. Call me tomorrow so we can talk. I’m feeling a little down and wish you were here. Talk to you soon. Love Ya.
Yes. Even in Kansas City, I feel loved. No need to feel left out when I get drunk dials like those! The 2 text messages were more of the same thing about calling him ‘tomorrow’, even though it was evident I really needed to call him ‘right back’. I DID call him the next day after I went through all his messages, and I got his voicemail. He didn’t even call me back! Haha! Probably TOO hung over!
I love you Ed! Call me 7 times in the course of the drunk evening, anytime!
Saturday, June 30, 2007
I am still trying to find the humor in this situation, but alas, I cannot.
I am in the depths of despair, and no matter how many jokes I make about using mini marshmallows and chicklets are going to raise my spirits.
It hasn't even been a week? Ugh.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
That peg tooth I put in your mouth after the tumble at Narcal--that tooth must be replaced, in a moment, I'll render you unconscious and replace that tooth." He opened his hand, stared at something in it. "An exact duplicate, its core shaped most exquisitely like a nerve. It'll escape the usual detectors, even a fast scanning. But if you bite down hard on it, the cover crushes. Then, when you expel your breath sharply, you fill the air around you with a poison gas..."
Cool remoteness spread upward from Leto's jaw, across his cheeks. The shadowy, hall narrowed to a pinpoint with Yueh's purple lips centered in it.
"Remember the tooth!" Yueh hissed. "The tooth!"
As in Dune - I have decided to replace my baby tooth with a cianide capsule. That way, in case I get into a bind, well, you know not to try and kiss me. They even put it into a little box for me after the extraction.
I'm not to get false tooth (grillz) after 2 months. Since I have a permanent tooth directly above the baby - the dentist wants to make sure it won't be dropping down only to be brutally rebuffed by a retainer.
Dentists are a bunch of assholes. If I had known I just needed to get an extraction - I would have done it before I reached 29. The dentist told my mom when I was 14 that I needed to 'be patient' and then get braces - which turns out to be a bunch of bullshit. Imagine the dentist who tried to sell cosmetic dentistry to a single mom of 2, with an income of $20,000 a year!
I must go eat mashed potatoes and practice not smiling for 2 months.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Bureaucratic Bull-Shit - Call Me!
Saturday, June 16, 2007
On a crappy note, I found out from the Peace Corps that I will have to get my baby tooth extracted. No big deal with all the new dental surgery and Grillz, right? Wrong. The dentist said that I would have to live with my newly gapped teeth for two months in order to assess the damage. She said the permanent tooth which is underneath might come down once the baby tooth is gone. If that is the case - no false tooth needed. If not - I'm off to get a gold tooth. Just kidding. A silver one preferably.
I promise to start reading and commenting on blogs ASAP. Sorry I've been so neglectful while hanging with my dad. I'll post my pictures soon, too.
I'll leave you with a good note:
It's always fun to hear about a new movie. Especially a movie of one of your favorite books. Stardust by Neil Gaiman is coming out August 10th. If you get a chance to read this book, I highly recommend it. It has also been made into a graphic novel if you are interested. Don't forget Neil Gaiman wrote Mirror Mask and has a new book out. He really is one of my most favorite authors.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
And when I got to the top:
Please note in the first picture as I ran up the stairs - the guy in the far right of corner in the blue shirt. Alas - I fear I am not the only person who has seen Rocky.
I got to see Sunflowers
And BoschAnd Bosch/Bruegel followers
I saw many more - but was only allowed to take snapshots with my camera. I really wanted to complain as THE LOUVRE lets you take REAL photos! Hmph!!! I tried to get a photo of the Duchamp Urinal and 'Nude Decending a Stairway' - but some security guard told me he would throw me out. The jerk. That was only after he got off his cell phone talking with his 'special lady friend'.
Tomorrow I meet up with Josh in NYC at the top of the Empire State Building.