Yes, that's right. I will be returning stateside for a visit!
I immediately panicked after the purchase and had to obsessively search to see if I bought the best ticket. I'm already stressed out with how short the visit will be!
How will I have time to see all these new babies my friends will have had? Be in a wedding? Spend time with everyone I love, eat everything in the world(Loads of Mexican and sushi), and take it all in?!
I won't, but now that I have an exact date in mind and a real ticket bought, I'm hoping this will motivate me to start a wonderful project to tell all of you lovely people at home about!
I'm going to try to keep this short and make a real effort to update weekly so I won't have to try to cram seven months worth of information in one blog next time.
Several newsworthy things to share:
1. My house is really feeling like a home now. I wish I could have you all over (separately) because I finally feel comfortable. It has taken a year to discover where to go for what, how to ride my bike while balancing groceries and/or packages at the same time, what cereal is the best, how to cook with different ingredients, wash clothes by hand, and to basically build a new life from scratch. There are times when I still feel painfully lonely and long for everybody back at home, definitely, but I've found some great friends in fellow volunteers and I now have a library and a collection of movies to distract myself.
2. The winter is beginning in the Southern hemisphere, and it's actually the most difficult season to be here. You wouldn't believe it if you didn't feel it; the temperature may say one thing, but the humidity makes the cold chill your bones. It's days like that that I really miss reliable hot showers and insulation. It's difficult because I have to be closed up in my house to stay warmer, and if I want sunlight, I have to tolerate the cold more and deal with open windows(My windows are just wooden shutters, there's no glass involved). Washing clothes and dishes is quite dreadful because it's all done outside, and sometimes I don't feel like dealing with cold water. Needless to say, I sport dreads in the winter, wear dirty jeans, and eat out of my hands.
I can never get used to the reversal of the seasons, either. I keep wanting to play Christmas music and watch Home Alone because the weather tells me the holidays are right around the corner. Such deception.
3. I'm working on making an amazing video to share a little bit of my world with everyone, too!
4. I did have some health problems in the Summer, but I'm healthy now! I suffered from a heat stroke and seizures that were pretty serious. I say that because there is no record of them in our family and they lasted longer than five minutes and when I came to, I couldn't talk and only screamed (I remember this now), and was so frightened and thought I was dreaming. I came to a second time and vaguely remembered certain things, and then finally a third time when I was being escorted to go see a doctor who just looked at me, took my blood pressure, and told me I was fine. I couldn't really walk because my body was so wobbly from having seized for so long and my tongue was all cut up from having bit on it the entire time. I had overworked my body the day before, had not slept enough, and was dehydrated. I had to go to Asuncion where they did cat scans and told me the pictures of my brain did in fact reveal that I was a genius. We had a good laugh and drank scotch to celebrate.
Okay, not the last part. I am still pretty bitter that this happened, it was a pretty terrible and scary experience to have, especially in a foreign country where I felt my boyfriend was my only reliable support nearby. Luckily, I got to stay in Asuncion for a while with a nurse and then my host family, and they took good care of me.
I had been sick several times before that where it was hard to get out of bed to prepare something to eat, etc., and I really missed my mom and support from home, and thought, "Wow, it's so much easier to be sick in the states." I bought a new mattress after all of that because being bed ridden in discomfort is no fun. Needless to say, that was months ago, and I am grateful for my health and hope that all of the weird illnesses I have encountered here have somehow just strengthened my immune system!
5. My favorite thing that I've recently done is teach a photography class! I put my heart into that because it was something I have lots of passion for and think is really important. Unfortunately, the program is designed to lend five digital cameras to volunteers in their respective communities for two months only, so the photography class has ended. We recently did two exhibits and we also participated in a photo exchange with a school from a different country (it's still a mystery where), and thanks to my mom for helping(she printed all the photos I had digitally sent her) we made the deadline. Three of my students won in a national photo contest and get to go to Asuncion in September to see their photos in an exhibit! We also got to take a little trip and got to experience some of Caaguazu's (my Paraguayan home town) beauty. Photo by: Nataly Bento, one of my photo class participants.
I NEED to wrap this up before I lose all my readers...My Dad's words, not mine.
I'm now typing from candle light because the electricity randomly went out, which isn't too common, but not too uncommon, either. Much love to you and thank you for all the support. I really appreciate the letters and support! I can't seem to put my thoughts very well in English now, I keep having to stop myself from completing phrases in Spanish. It sounds cool, but I feel crazy! And this photo is of Juan and his darling sobrino, Mauricio!