Settling In

Ok. So tonight I have more leisure to write. Last night I had two very curious kids watching over my shoulder and asking questions about everything in my luggage. It was too cute.

I´m fortunate to live with a host family that has most amenities including a great hot water shower, massive kitchen (seriously the size of something you´d find in a 1500s castle…we could fit 50 people in there!), washing machine, electricity, and internet! Imagine my surprise! The walls are concrete and floors are brick. Everything here is made of concrete or bricks, which are red from the rust colored soil. None of the houses have central heat or AC and, because they are not insulated, they are also not sound proof in any way.

It has been very windy since I arrived with temps in the high 60s to low 70s and I have worn long sleeves everyday.

Today my host family brought me to a Paraguayan wedding. The bride is my host Mom´s sister (age 82!) and the groom is 85! They have lived together for 60 years and decided it was time to make it official. It was the cutest thing and no expense was spared. In fact it was very much like weddings in the US without dancing and drinking. The live entertainment included a winner from the Paraguayan version of American Idol, 2 harpists, and a Mariachi band. To prepare for the wedding my host family cooked all day yesterday and this morning, creating mountains of food including corn bread (pan de maiz) cooked in a tatakua (outdoor cave-like clay oven) in the barn, lasagnas, rice salads, bean salads, green salads, and more. On the way to the wedding we had to stop for a herd of cattle crossing the road. No rancher was herding them, they were just meandering aimlessly. This, apparently, is common. Once at the wedding, every newcomer greeted me as if I was part of the family, no questions asked. They didn´t even need to know my name to warrant a hug and the traditional double-cheek kiss. However, they were all fascinated with my blue eyes and the ´girl´ from North America quickly becames the topic of conversation and everyone wanted a picture of my eyes! I think many of them had never seen blue eyes before.

My host family is taking good care of me and I feel quite safe here so far, though I haven´t yet had to venture anywhere by myself. My nearest fellow volunteer is just a couple doors down the street.

Will write again soon.

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