Sunday, December 28, 2008

Blog in Review

Since I have lately been ill, AND in the United States with WiFi, I have been pondering the internet lately. I have since being here, joined Facebook, which after a long hour trying to figure out how to upload the limited photos on my mom's computer (because laptop has finally died. I guess G3s aren't invincible like i once thought) I realized that I am the only person on the internet that wasn't on facebook. My mom even had a profile! WTF??? I too, have gone to the dark side. I will be adding my facebook link to my links section if anyone is interested, but seriously, it's just like myspace without all the bands. But you all know that.

I have also been trying to organize my blogs. Since I have been blogging since 2004 thanks to my ole favorite, Planetdan, I have a crapton of blogs before the invention of posting labels. While a labourous journey at first, I find the real reason for doing this is to take some time to review some of my favorite posts (or at least some of the most amusing).

As I was browsing I founds a few of interest:


Read the comments, very concise

let's take a moment to reflect

These posts made me laugh as i now have concrete floors and call myself lucky, not to mention having had a real ant problem. To read the other apartment posts, just type 'apartment' in the "search this blog box"

rock bandana

This just made me laugh to recall my drunken discussion with Greg

what i did at school today

one of the few landscape plans online, but don't worry. this didn't even make it into my portfolio. Just an average day at the office.

i rant, therefore i am
I still believe this

and now for something completely different
i like the discussion this post got

apparently this programmer hates his job
still makes me laugh

class reunion to remember
cause my yearbook photos are hilarious

how many jello shots can i do?
because this made me laugh out loud (about the lip gloss)

i think my car is christine's evil cousin
ahh...when i miss the dart, i read this post

report: sci-fi fantasy movie seen as kid did not withstand the test of time
and of course, Krull

so a few for a read, but really I'm just sitting around being sick. So if you're bored take a look. If you're really bored, just search the for the word 'quiz' on my blogs, and do as many internet pop quizzes as you want. I used to belong to Quizilla.

Holiday Cheer

Povaticia (not bernice's)
Originally uploaded by locomocos
Yummy povaticia, spiral ham, and eggnog. All the things i wish i was eating if i didn't have the friggin flu. I've been sick for the last week and can't seem to beat this thing. Welcome back to the US, i guess. At least I am sick with a flu (that i have since found out most people have been having for 2 weeks) is that I'm at my mom's so she can baby me. I've been drinking orange juice and 7up galore. I felt a little better last night, so my stepdad made me a ginormous steak. I couldn't even eat half of it, but it was good. I'm barely able to talk, as I lost my voice, but my mom turned on the in home intercom so I could summon her whenever I needed. I've been watching Star Trek and Magnum P.I. for the last 4 days. Being sick is even starting to feel normal.
I leave for Nashville tomorrow. Let's hope I don't infect my dad!
I've got some new photos on flickr! Check 'em out!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

We've been avoiding the real issue.....

A slow procession....
At age 3
At age 12

at age 21

Hmm...guess who's turning 31 in less than a month....

Did you say 31? Uhhh....

Thursday, November 13, 2008

It's not much, really!

This is it. The list of all lists. I have been in Paraguay for 1 year, and I am homesick for certain...shall we say...important items.

When I say items, I really mean food.

My mom asked me to put together a list of some food and things I wanted to do when i came home for a couple weeks. Oddly enough, the 'Things to do list' was a lot shorter than the 'Foods I have to Eat' when I get home.

Here are some highlights:

Things I haven't done in a year and would like to:
  • Eat Tillamook Extra Sharp Cheddar (there is NO cheddar chee in PY)
  • Drink good beer
  • Go to the Movies and eat popcorn and hot dogs
  • Go Bowling
  • Take lots of baths
  • Go to the bathroom in the middle of the night without squatting and getting a mosquito bite on my kashi*
  • Get a pedicure (although I'm pretty sure my feet are far beyond help at this point)
  • Get FAT

Food I must eat to accomplish last objective on things to do list:

  • Totinos Pizza
  • Coffee - I've been drinking Nescafe for a year, people!!!
  • Sammiches
  • BBQ - without the sauce. so just grilled meat without chunks of fat and gristle
  • Dunkin Donuts
  • The Feast at the Ameristar Casino
  • a Chinese buffet
  • Pizza Street
  • Nachos

So there you have it folks. Just SOME of the things I've been missing. Trust me, I have lots more, but I only have 3 weeks....

*Guarani for Hoo-Ha

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What pretty toes you...WHAT IS THAT???

You saw it here first, people. My first scorpion. I think Les Stroud of Survivorman would NOT go hungry in Paraguay. There are mini scorpions a plenty in my HOUSE.

This is just making it all the more imperative that I have a wonderful Christmas vacation. NO SCORPIONS, TARANTULAS or HORN NOSED BEETLES.

Thank you. That is all.
I will post more later when i have more news.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Nashville, USA

Well, looks like my dad will be flying me down to Nashville for New Years this year. Anyone have any idea what a lone gal can do in a city with a Gran Ole Opry for New Years?
I might try to get ahold of a return Peace Corps Paraguay volunteer who told me to give him a call if I was ever visiting, but we'll see if it actually works. That's one of the good things about Peace Corps. You always have a friend, where ever you go. Even if you don't know each other that well!
In any case, I hope to see as many people as possible for Christmas!

Also, this weekend i am getting a PCT! A trainee! Remember about a year ago when I was a trainee and visited my first real volunteer!!! I remember i got a pique! Ew! I wonder what this guy with think about visiting me in my dorm room of a house! hahaha!

So I was reading a PCTimes magazine that had a funny quote from a bookmark!

“Some people see the glass half empty, some people see the glass
half full, a Peace Corps Volunteer sees the glass and says ‘Hey, I
could take a bath in that!’”

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Baloney and rice anyone?

Baloney and rice anyone?
Originally uploaded by locomocos
This is a typical paraguayan lunch. the baloney is not typical. it is a delicacy. New photos on my flickr account!

I'm excited to be working with a couple new women's groups. we made bread the other day (see photo) and these new ladies are a L.A.F.F. Riot! I never realized how naughty a group of Paraguayan women could be! Maybe I'm just finally understanding the language!


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Friggin' Navidad, People!

William L.Doolittle

to me, sneakypie9
show details Sep 13 (7 days ago)


The dates are now: Depart Dec. 16th and return January 5th. The total cost with cancellation insurance is $2,012.25. $670.75 each. I can’t wait to see you.



Wholly crappola! That's a ton of cash, but well worth it! I'll give up Madonna Buenos Aires tickets on my birthday - ANYDAY so i can come home and spend it with my family!!!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Back in the Saddle

Well, after my breif brush with the blues, I'm back into a sustainable development mode, and have barred down, buckled up, and gotten back in the saddle. I'm working with a new women's commite which will hopefully refresh my once stale feelings of motivation.

Every volunteer goes through a tough spell, whether it's at the beginning of service when you're developing relationships, through the middle, when communities no longer think you're a lovable cartoon character, or at the end when all you can see is the light in the tunnel, and have champagne wishes and tilamook cheddar dreams. My September is booked solid with meetings, projects, and new planting times. The month is almost half over, my pocket book is empty and my mom just sent me 6 boxes of Kraft Maccaroni and Cheese. I only have good things to look forward to! My parents are also trying to negotiate buying me a plane ticket to come home for Christmas. If all these things are happening at the speed of ludicrous, then why do I get so down? Not for lack of love for Paraguay.
I'm actually very happy, but sometimes get really frustrated. I mean, why won't Ña Fulana change the way she has been killing pigs for the last 30 year after I've shown her in my limited, childlike Guarani that the CORRECT way is more sanitary for her dirt floor, wooden plank kitchen?

Well, if you put it that way, I guess if you're gonna get frustrated, do so, and move on. So I've taken a hold of my own destiny, AGAIN, and decided to chill out, do what I can while I'm here, and learn some much needed Spanish. Guarani is great and all my community speaks it. If you speak only a FEW WORDS in areas outside of your site, people LOVE it, and love you. They think it's WONDERFUL you are learning their indiginous language. They give you discounts on otherwise "foreigner" prices, and heck, throw in a free empeñada or two! But lo, the most important aspect of the Lilu Blues is that I can't express myself. I need a better grasp of language to do this, and for some reason, spanish just makes sense to me. I'm not giving up my Guarani, or my other language, Pantomime, but I've decided to get a tutor and study study study. Hopefully after another year, I'll be able to tell the joke about the Rabbi, the Priest, and the Minister.

I think it will go over pretty well by the time I'm ready to make like a tree, and get outta here.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Nobody leaves here without singin the blues...

And so, like Elizabeth Shue in Adventures in Babysitting, I too have sung the blues. Albeit begrudgingly, and with a shrug in my shoulders, I, PCV Cassie Doolittle, have had a bad week.

Da da du dah dant

I was working in Paraguay
Just the other day

Da da du dah dant

I gave a talk on Parasites
And meds to hold them at bay

Da da du dah dant

One of my ladies came to me
With her kid wanting play

Da da du dah dant

Asking for more free meds
Because she had a sister in the neighboring village that had a lot of kids but didn't have time to come to the prevention session, and she promised she would tell her all about sanitary conditions and blah blah blah blah......

Da da du dah dant

when i looked down at her baby's feet
and he had no shoes and a dirty seat

And it's so hard....

Da du dahnt da dahnt da dahnt

Being a PCV in Paraguay

I got the
Da Daaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh
P C V PY blues!!!!

And although I'm feeling better this week and I'm in the city eating ice cream and street meat (I love street food from a sketchy looking cart) I am still frustrated with my work. But the good thing about Peace Corps is that it keeps you on your toes. I figure i need to approach certain challenges with a different view. I'm trying to think outside the box, or at least in Paraguay, think outside the banana field. What's the point of staying frustrated when all you really need is some terere and meat on a stick to think through your issues!!!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Mystical Crystal rock people

I have some new photos on my flickr if you´re interested.

Long Long Fork

It´s been a while since I´ve had time to sit down and blog up something interesting. But really, not much has been going on.

After my trip to Peru, I´m trying to get back into the groove in my site by baking bread. I made my first loaf of bread with my friend, Ña Gladys. It had swiss chard, onion, and garlic from our garden. I gave some of it to my señora as well, and she gave me a funny look when she ate it. She told me pretty bluntly that I didn´t kneed the dough long enough, and it needed more salt.

Screw you critics. I ate the whole thing myself. And Gladys didn´t complain. So boo on you.

I´m in charge of the Peace Corps Paraguay Fun Activities Commitee for Thanksgiving 2008. I´ve decided we're going to do a summer camp theme as long as I get a bullhorn and Camp Director t-shirt. Although I can´t decide if it should be fun 80s summer camp, or scary 80s horror summer camp (see Friday the 13th 1-10???).

There are some people that think since it is THANKSgiving, that possibly costumes with blood all over them would not be appropriate. But I ask you, if you could choose between Meatballs and Sleepaway Camp, which would you choose?

Meatballs with Bill Murray and some weird alien (although i can´t be sure but i think that was meatballs 2) or Sleepaway Camp, one of the best horror movies to date.

I know which way I´m voting. After all, this is important stuff when thinking about sustainable development. Right? RIGHT???

At least it´s keeping me from making naked pancakes and throwing kids over the walls. Even if it is a long time away. So if anyone has any ideas of fun activities, like hot dog eating contests and relay races, let me know. I also need to figure out a clever name for our camp. I´d like for it to be in Guarani, but I´ll take any suggestions. Camp Chippaguazu or Camp Eatalottafood are kinda what I´m looking for.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Frogger in PERU????

Frogger in PERU????
Originally uploaded by locomocos
Hey Everyone! I´ve uploaded my photos onto my flickr account! And anyone who has ever been to the Doolittle Family Reunion on July 4th can recognize this game!!!!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Peru Rawkd

I'll add the rest to my flickr account. But just FYI - it was great and I had a great time with my mom!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Goin to Peru

So I´m in the airport at Lima waiting for my mom. I´ve been here about 5 hours and I ate 2 dunkin donuts, cheesy bread from papa john´s, doritos and a frappachino from Starbucks. I don´t need to visit the states any time soon. This place is magical. I should just hop back on a plane to Paraguay for another 9 months.

On a lighter note - I've uploaded some new photos on Flickr and have a little ditty to relate.

So this is just a hypothetical story, ok?

In training, there were many things we were taught about Paraguayan customs and culture. A big session we had was on Paraguayan social customs. For example, here it is acceptable and even supposed to be flattering if men hiss at women. It means they think they´re hot stuff. Another example is if a woman dances with a man too long at a fiesta, it means they are dating. If you leave your window open at night, it is an invitation for ANY man to come in and hop into your bed. And if you send a 'saludos' (by telling a friend or sending a text message that says saludos) to someone, and you recipricate it - it means you´ve accepted an advance from the solicitor. For example: Tell Jose I sent him 'saludos'. Jose sends 'saludos' back. I am now dating Jose.

Another big example is being alone with the opposite sex. Just don´t do it unless they are too young or too old.

This brings up many problems in my line of work. I am supposed to work with farmers. But all the farmers are men. I am a woman. One suggestion is that I take a little kid from the community with me. Another is to become friends with the farmer´s wife - and then it would be understood you were only there for sustainable development.

But what if one of your farmer´s didn´t have a wife, was older, and in no way a threat to you? Home free right?


So hypothetically, a female volunteer was in the field gathering tree seeds with an older Paraguayan farmer. By older, say in his 50s. No wife, no other chaperones. This has happened before, except this time the question comes up:

Innocent Farmer: What are you gonna do with all these tree seeds?

Hilariously Funny hypothetical female volunteer: I´m gonna grow these trees, become a carpenter and make furniture!

Innocent Farmer: Are you going to make cradles for babies?

Hilariously Funny Hypothetical female volunteer: Other peoples babies, but none for me.

Sassy Innocent Farmer: You´re not going to make babies instead?

*Important side note* Paraguayans constantly make dirty jokes. It´s part of the unspoken sexual tension throughout this country. I´m finally understanding the language a little better, and wonder what I have agreed to for the last 6 months. I´m also finally able to hold my own and be sassy right back. Sink or swim, people.

Hilariously funny hypothetical female volunteer: Are you kidding? I don´t want to MAKE babies. I just like practicing! Hahahahahahaha!!!!.

Not so innocent Farmer takes this as in Paraguayan culture dictates: This girl is making advances on me. I´m going to try and kiss her.

Not so funny hypothetica female volunteer: Whoaaaa!!! What the???? I gotta go.

On the way back to the house, awkward silence. What just happened? This guy is as old as my dad! I better come up with some chit chat quick.

Stressed out awkward hypothetical female volunteer: So are you going to the fiesta this weekend?

Confused Farmer: Yes. And you? We should dance at the fiesta.

Hypothetical Female Volunteer trying to run away fast: Yep! We'll dance the polka! See you later!

Now as the hypothetical female volunteer walks away, she realizes that by Paraguayan standards, the farmer did everything he was supposed to do. SHE came onto him. She also realized that by asking him if he was going to the fiesta, she just ASKED HIM OUT!!! Will her foot EVER come out of her MOUTH!!!!! HE is totally innocent and confused by the LOCA Americana!!! She did EVERYTHING she was ever taught NOT to do in training! Could she have MADE any more mistakes??? Other than just taking her top off - I don´t think it could've gotten any worse!

So her solution to this problem, to save her work relationship with her farmer and save a little face - she decides to hide in her house until she leaves for Peru.

The End.

Totally Hypothetical of course.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Sustainable Developement, or is it just Beer Pong?

So I´ve uploaded some new photos on my flickr account.
Here are some highlights of my last couple weeks. I got to visit a field with a Paraguayan farmer who is actually using a rollo cuchillo and siempra directa. 2 of the biggest agricultural practices we push here in Paraguay.

Farmers in Paraguay have been farming the same stretch of land for years. Even generations. The big problem is that instead of adding nutrients back to the soils and leaving the fields to fallow for a season, the farmers continue planting the same things over and over, leaving the soil devoid of any plant food. Artificial fertilizers are bought, but alas, most farmers can´t afford them for their consumable crops, only their commercial crops (if they have any). A smart way to farm this land is to rotate crops, use green manures - such as planting a crop of beans which are filled with Nitrogen which feed the soil. Using mulch is a great way to contain the moisture in the soil, and the less turning over of the soil, the less topsoil your scraping off. Siempra Directa is direct planting. Planting directly in the soil without hoeing. You fertilize by planting an abonos verde over your land to add nutrients. You cut the abonos verdes down with an ox drawn rollo cuchillo - or rolling knife (which is really what it is). Its a round compressor filled with water to make it heavy, and knives sticking out all over it to cut the abonos verdes. You then leave the abonos verdes to become a mulch cover, and then plant your crop seeds directly into the cut, mulched field.

We got to check it out with the farmer and my local counterpart for my department of La Pastora. It was pretty cool. I really hope my farmer gets to check this out when we go to our seminar next week.

After that I headed into town to see Indiana Jones 4. I´m only going to make a couple statements about that movie.


All I can say is WOW.
Apparently not even an atomic bomb can kill Indy - but bad acting surely will.
And DON´T call me Shirley.
Now now, it was Indiana Jones after all. And I really liked the part where it was...Indiana Jones. Waste of time? No. Will I see it again? Yes. Is Temple of Doom better? You bet.

After that I mosied on down to Carapegua to visit a fellow volunteer at his site. It sure is different than mine, and he even has a bathroom with a HOT shower. I´m super jealous. When I spoke to him about peeing in a banana field and bucket bathing, he looked at me like I was from the Looney Bin.

BUT we did get to listen to some great Paraguayan polkas from his community (I think ALL of them showed up) a little bluegrass from us PCVs and heck, even a couple rounds of beer pong. All and all, a good night.

I can´t wait for next week.
Oh yeah, and I´m starting a radio program. It´s all in Guarani! Yikes!!!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Che Shrekicha

Shrek = Cassie: A Case Study

So I was sittin' in my swamp the other day, and I decided to list the reasons as to why I, PCV Paraguay Cassie Doolittle, am just like Shrek. First I'll write up the list, and then we can discuss.

Top 10 Reasons why Shrek is Cassie, and Cassie is Shrek:

1. Shrek and Cassie live in a swamp

2. Shrek and Cassie have layers. Shrek is an onion, Cassie is Parfait.

3. Shrek and Cassie eat bugs (although Shrek does this intentionally, I do it while eating my beans and oatmeal)

4. Shrek has plaid pants with holes. Cassie has ugly pants with holes.

5. Shrek is an Ogre. Cassie feels like an Ogre compared to the average petite Paraguayan.

6. Shrek is a Lone Fairy Creature in a world of men. Cassie is a lone Norte Americana in a world of Paraguayans.

7. Shrek and Cassie have a quirky sidekick. Shrek has Donkey, Cassie has the Virgin of Caacupe

8. Shrek and Cassie have gross teeth (especially after eating barbecue. It's almost impossible to get all the meat out of them with or without floss)

9. Shrek is on a quest for a deed. Cassie is on a quest to DO a good deed.

10. Shrek finds a princess as disgusting as he is. Cassie will someday find a disgusting prince, too...? wait...I might rethink that one....

So there you have it folks. A Case study of Shrek and Cassie. Get Outta MY SWAMP!!!!!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Cassie Loves Mr. Show and Sunsets

So I´ve been watching a lot of Mr. Show on my DVD player out here in PY. Yup. I´m rotting my brain at night instead of reading novels. What can I say? I spend all day speaking 2 languages, working agriculture in a different country, while promoting rural health. I need some down time, and Mr. Show TCB. I mean, who could pass up David Cross with some guest appearances by Ben Stiller, Dave Foley and of course, my boyfriend, Jack Black!

I´ve been working a lot in women´s garden´s lately. Oddly enough, people don´t seem to value home gardens as much as they should. In a poor country where people make about $4 a day (farmers that is) you´d think a home garden would be a necessity, and people would have perfected it by now. But just like McDonald´s and Big Gulp back home, people pay for convenience instead of taking time to do it yourself. I can´t get too mad. I constantly come home after a tough day out in the field and wish I could whip up and instant 5 min Chicken Viola or go to a HYPERMART so I could get everything I need in a little time as possible. Although life is slower in the country, it certainly doesn´t mean that there is never enough time in the day. In response to all the other quazillion jobs a woman has to do here in the Paraguayan countryside (ex. feed all the farm animals, take care of kids, hand wash ALL the clothes, clean the house, go to the field and pick the beans and mandioca, prepare all 3.5 meals, serve terere when the men come in for their mid morning break, milk the cows, cut and bring in firewood for the stoves, wash dishes, make the beds, fix misc broken unelectrical items around house) they also are in charge of the gardens. Sure maybe their husbands might contribute and maybe fix the fence so the chickens and pigs don´t get in, but really - women run the roost. So having a lindo garden usually falls to the wayside, and what little money they have can be spent on buying a few crappy veggies the local almacen (little market that sells a handful of staples) can provide.
So my job has been to help create these gardens in a better way - by introducing new techniques (the use of compost, companion planting, mulch, natural pesticides, and new veggies). This goes along with better nutrition in the home, more than just a diet of mandioca, beans, tomato and onions.

So as I´m feeling pretty good the other day, I was terere-ing with one of my women after a hard afternoon in her garden. It wasn´t too hot, but a nice cool down was in order. I feel like I´ve taken her one step closer to better health for her family. She is especially poor in my community, and never has any fresh veggies. She usually never has anything to feed her family of 8 with besides mandioca and beans from the field. Their small parcel of land only yields about 1.5 hectacres of cotton, which is the cheapest selling crop while the most expensive to grow. I feel like I´ve accomplished something. I feel like her and I deserve a little time away from the house, kids, husband, and any other duties. I want to enjoy a fresh pitcher of terere. Her daughter pulls water from their well and places it in the years old, beaten up thermos. There is a small fish swimming in the water. After bringing it to her attention, her young daughter reaches in and plucks the fish out and throws it to the chickens. She smiles as her mother continues to pour the terere for me, and shows me the wet, rotted old tennis ball she also brought up out of the well. As she turns it over in her fingers, I look back at her mother, who nods to her. She throws the ball to her younger brother and they run off. The mother hands me another 'ha' of terere and I sip it looking into the sunset.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

New Blog

So I don't get much time to surf around on the internet anymore, so i have to rely on other people to open up my eyesight for good blogs, jokes, and other quick forms of internet entertainment. My mom sent me a link to this blog, and I really liked this entry:

check it out and the other rantings. i think it may be worthy of going on the blogroll.

Rant on, my friend. Rant on.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Bare Necessities

The Bare Necessities
Originally uploaded by locomocos
New pictures on my flickr account!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

IST, DVD, and Bryan Adams

I´ve been out of my site for the last week at IST (In Service Training) at the ole school in Guarambure. I stayed with my host family in Porvenir, which was by the city of Ita during my first three months of training. It was awesome.

I got in and first thing I did was buy a new pair of jeans. What does a new pair of jeans do for you? Gives you CONFIDENCE. I knew i looked good in my jeans, so I headed off to Porvenir and met with my host family. I was nervous. I was dreading it. I overreacting! It rawked! I had my old room with screens, a bed, hot shower, good food, and most important: I could communicate with my family! My language has improved so that I could actually talk to them, instead of using pantomime! Crazy, right? By the end of the week, my family actually gave ME presents, instead of vice versa. It´s custom here to brings gifts when you visit someone, so I bought them a nice guampa (cup to drink terere) and some toys for my little host nephew. They gave me a bedspread and sheets, since I told them I had neither! How sweet! Plus they really wanted me to come visit for a birthday party in about a month. How cool was that? I felt like a daughter and family member, instead of some scruffy Peace Corps Volunteer.

After my weeklong language class where I got to reconnect with my entire group of new volunteers (we call it our 'G' since our group of volunteers call number is G25) I headed to Asuncion for the weekend of fun, excitement, and shopping. My dad sent me money to buy a portable DVD player (after he MAILED me one from the states and I fried it by plugging it into my outlet without a transformer). I can´t wait to watch the entire first season of Monk! Thanks Dad!!! This means that as of NOW, friends and family can mail me burned dvds if they so desire. PLEASE!!!!

Can it get much better than that?

Only wanted to stay a while
Only wanted to play a while
Then you taught me to fly like a bird

Baby - thought I'd died and gone to heaven
Such a night I never had before

Thought I'd died and gone to heaven

Cause what I got there ain't no cure for


Yes. Bryan Adams came to Paraguay. I went to his concert in Asuncion and LOVED IT!!! Did any of you dear readers ever get a mix tape from me back in the late 90s or early 00s? Well, chances are I put some guy yelling my name at the end, beginning, or middle of your tape. It was Bryan Adams singing to me. And last night, he sang again...
And rawked Paraguay!!!

I think I like him even MORE than before after seeing his show. Crazy, right? What has Paraguay DONE to me? Long story short - I had a good week. I even got a package from my mom that included the best meal and my most craved food:

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

That´s a Crock!

So, I was walking to Oviedo this morning with Erin. I had been visiting her site for the weekend, and we got rained in. No buses, and definately no walking into town on the muddy roads. It was a little cold, and i didn´t bring any sensible mud shoes, socks, or clothes. We were talking about fashion and how in Peace Corps, it seems to be non-existent in the campo (country). We thought that the city volunteers when seen at the Peace Corps office in Asuncion always looked so cute and put-together. We had also taken the time while I was visiting Erin to look at the 2 ginormous Vougue magazines her friends who just visited from NYC brought for her.

I thought, well if I lived in the city, I too would look cute. But then I thought, wait- I look cute now! I mean of all the things I wear (and borrow from other volunteers) at least I have not created the biggest setback and or death of fashion. I have never in my whole life worn a birkenstock, and more recently, the revamp and awful fashion faux pas, The Croc.

And no, if you put charms on your Crocs, that doesn´t make it better.

The Croc is a garden clog. I believe my mom owned garden clogs long before crocs were popular, and can I just say, she never wore them to the grocery store - let alone to her work. Socks with your Crocs? Are you kidding? What about a plastic shoes tells people that it´s okay to wear them with socks? I mean, I thought the whole premise for this shoe was comfort, as well and the ability to stick your foot underneath the spicket if you foot got dirty. How can you do that with a sock on? No, no one wears garden clogs around in Paraguay. I´m seriously doubting they wear them around in Paris, London, or even friggin New York City. Think of the Birkenstock of the early 90s, people. This is the same for the early 2000s, and I bet you´re saying you wouldn´t be caught dead in ratty hippie shoes like you once were.

The question of Paraguayan fashion is much different. There really ISN´T any. I know while in Peace Corps, I will most likely NOT ever look cute or attractive to anyone. First, I´m not in a completely tight pair of jeans. Tight jeans are world renown, but what is really popular is a really tight, 2 sizes too small shirt to go with the tight jeans. That and women here really don´t have large chests, which I and many of my PCV girlfriends have been finding out while trying to shop. Why can´t we find a shirt that doesn´t make the state of Delaware actually look like Brazil? Body types alone, it´s tough to look good while at the same time building a latrine or harvesting cotton south of the equator. Let´s put it another way. I came here expecting to work my azz off, but i didn´t expect the need to SHOW the azz off. But like every woman after six months of living in the middle of no where, you want to feel pretty. Even if it´s to impress the mosquitos and occasional ox cart.

On a lighter note, our Easter week went by pretty fast and I just got back from a much needed weekend trip to Asuncion for a NVAC meeting. Every area of PY has a representative come to meetings every couple of months to hear about the goings on in Peace Corps. I had a wonderful time and really felt like I was more connected to other volunteers. I now bring back all my wonderful knowlege to the rest of the volunteers in my area -which consists of me, Erin, and one other volunteer (we had a group of 5, but 2 of them leave in April and aren´t getting replacements). Some groups have as many as 15 people in there region, but I guess we are special.

Here is a picture of me with one of my senoras and her daughter. They made me a special 'Lilu' chipa for the Easter week, which they call Semana Santas (Saint Week). Everywhere I went I was helping hand grind corn to make chipa, a gummy snack bread (made of ground corn and pig fat). Wednesday of Easter week is chipa making day, Thursday is feast day, Good Friday is a fast of only chipa bread and juice, and Saturday is set aside for visiting and church.

I hope everyone had a good easter and ate lots of chocolate bunnies and deviled eggs. In a couple weeks I have a three month re-connect and some language training. I get to stay in my training community for a week and stay with my host family in Porvenir! I´m really excited! Check out my pics I uploaded on my flickr account, and I hope to update more photos as soon as I can!