So I was sitting under a tree the other day shelling some peanuts when a mango dropped on my head and gave me a big ole thought!
I haven´t been blogging very well lately. My catch phrase of ´Ranting and Raving´just isn´t true these days. I started thinking about how I just post boring stuff like site assignment, what I ate for thanksgiving and how that ox cart came out of nowhere, when the mango awoke the statement, ¨I really haven´t done any top 10 lists in a while¨.
So in true Leeloo (my name here in Paraguay because Cassie also is 'casi' in spanish, which means 'almost' and people get a good laugh at it - hence, I changed it to a GOOD name) Style:
Top 10 Things I´m Glad I Brought to PY
1. Watch (people don´t really use them here....)
2. Travel Pillow (the pillows here remind me of grandma´s log)
3. Sheets (good for moving from house to house)
4. Multitool/pocket knife
5. Hat and Bandana (i´m sweating like sweat was a fashion statement)
7. My Favorite deodorant (i brought lots)
8. My Music (which i could sure use more of....hint hint)
9. Beach Towel (while a pain to wash, it´s better than the hand towels used here for showering)
10. Dental Floss - my dentist will be so proud - but it´s seriously like flossing in Kingpin.
Top 10 Things I Wish I had Brought
1. Smaller Sleeping Bag (uh...mine is normal size but not for hiking - it´s huge and everyone else brought nice Hiker´s bags the size of a coffee can...the jerks)
2. Hobbie Books....lots of them (I want to learn how to tie knots! and juggle!...I have a lot of time.....)
3. Radio/Speakers/Ipod - I need more music and everyone brought theirs with a charger
5. Small Backpack for overnight trips - even though i´m an overpacker, I need a small bag for overnighters and weekend trips
6. Yoga Mat - i want something for the floor in order to stretch
7. Hard copies of Photos
8. Travel Money - for my weeks in Buenos Aires dahhhhling....
9. Harry Potter (all of 'em)
10. Better Clothes*
Top 10 Things I miss in the US
1. Screens on Windows
2. Washing Machine
3. Modern Bathrooms
4. Easy Access to All Things Vegetable
5. Everything Working (from the bus transportation to the $40 American dollar radio I bought, and ended up working 2ce - you just have to get used to nothing working the way it´s supposed to. If you can´t get used to it, you WILL go insane and make pancakes naked**)
6. Air Conditioning
7. My Voice (if ever there was a time in my life when Cassie can´t talk back...)
9. Mobility (i´m going to see a man about a horse...)
10. Flouride in my tap water (they just don´t seem to have it in the well water either - you know, when you pull the bucket up and you have to pick the bugs and leaves out...) my teeth feel permanently fuzzy
Top 10 Things I love about PY
1. Stars - they are FANTASTIC - I can see TONS of them! I want to get a constellations book as well....
2. Natural Food - I actually see what I´m eating, which sometimes makes me less hungry - so I lose weight! I mean, I killed a chicken for Christmas for the love of Pete!
4. Simple Living - and not like the joke magazine for bored housewives - serious simple lifestyles
6. Crazy Buses (like the Knight Bus in Harry Potter - they drive like that here, except they don´t squeaze between 2 double deckers)
8. Siestas - this naptime needs to be instituted into the US
9. Funny English Language Items that don´t make sense***
10. Paraguayan Polka - I WILL master my accordian in order to join a band....
*So I only brought work clothes. I had no idea I should´ve just brought clothes I was comfortable in wearing everyday. Basically I look like a crazy Island Of Dr. Moreau person who doesn´t want sunlight to touch their body. And a slob at that. I feel the need to dress cute AND be an effective volunteer. Hard to do when most of my good clothes were donated to me by my friend Kara who went home early. I bought a pair of jeans and my host dad (and other volunteers by the way) said I looked like I had lost 10 lbs just by clothing adjustments! Note to trainees reading this - bring what you would wear everyday and what you feel comfortable in. Don´t go out and buy hiking gear and think mountaineering is a good look for everyday of the Peace Corps. Bring your favorite stuff! You won´t regret it - just make sure it can hold up to hand washing. Nothing too stretchy - no dryers here to put things back to normal!
** Our program director told us a story about Peace Corps volunteers who went a little off the deep end by not taking personal time and vacations days. He said when PC went to visit the volunteer cause they hadn´t heard from him in a couple months, his community members pointed to where his house was and made the crazy circle motion with their fingers. When PC arrived, the volunteer was making pancakes naked at his house, and nailing them to the walls and ceilings. Moral of the story - If you need a break from site, take a break. Don´t go Loco. That and someone threw a kid over the fence. I thought that was pretty funny. Don´t do that either.
***I read a blog about a chinese guy who thought the same thing in the US about all the chinese characters showing up that didn´t even make sense - like on clothing, cars, and tattoos. Shirts that say, ¨Heart Loves I¨and a notebook that I bought that has a picture of a surfboard and a big word saying ¨SPORTS¨next to it. I love funny english translations.
So there you have my Peace Corps Paraguay Packing Wish List.
I´m pretty happy here. I only have a few weeks left before I move into my own house and things get rolling. I can´t wait to be my own woman again, and not have to climb up mango trees just to get reception on my cell phone. Sorry again for the last post. I don´t know why my phone isn´t working....oh wait. See Item #5 in list 3.