The truth is, your perception is your reality… that means you literally create your own reality.
August 8, 2014
I had begrudgingly gone to the pueblo earlier this week to buy a handful of fence staples (grampitas) so my community could finish their solar food dryer project. I say begrudgingly because going to the pueblo (largest nearby town that has everything we need) is usually a 6 hour ordeal if I take the bus (2 hours of which are walking) so it’s no small part of my day, especially for such a tiny errand. But I wanted this project DONE — and DONE this week.
When going home from the pueblo, I’ve learned to wait at the gas station instead of the bus terminal because often I can find friends, family and neighbors from my neighboring town heading home in their cars or trucks and they are always happy to give me a ride. On this day, while watching a man herd an errant, very pregnant cow home through the town park on his motorcycle, Ña Patrocinia, who lives across the street from me, joined me at my waiting station. She owns a despensa (convenience store often run from a room in the home) and knows everyone, especially the distributors. So when her friend Jorge came along in the Bimbo truck, she flagged him down and he gave us a ride.
She is the curious and gregarious type and soon they were off in buoyant, rapid-fire conversation as we jostled our way down the bumpy dirt road. As I tried to follow along, eventually oh-so-handsome Jorge turned his attention to me and said,
“What country are you from?”
Me (jokingly): “The United States. Do I not look Paraguayan?”
Him (snickering): “Noooooo. You are much too white. Are you a Peace Corps Volunteer?”
Me: “Yes. Good guess.”
Him: “How long have you been here?”
Me: “Almost 2 years.”
Him: “When do you leave?”
Him (with a grin): “Have you considered staying in Paraguay after December?”
Me (mischievous eyes a-twinkling): “No and, I’m sorry, but I can’t marry you.”
At this my señora friend practically aspirated with laughter and delight. “SIN VERGUENZA, WENDY!!!!!” (you have no shame!) but she was LOVING every minute of it.
Him (amused by my boldness and satisfied that I understood his intentions, he’s ready to play the game): “But why? I’m famous here in Paraguay you know and could give you a good life. And we’d have beautiful children together. I think you should stay.”
The truck filled with voluminous laughter and the conversation continued until we got to our stop.
Ña Patrocinia and I got out, gave a thanks and started the hour-long walk home where she replayed every part of the Bimbo interaction for her own entertainment and asking me if I realized I’d just turned down an opportunity for a husband. With her despensa being the hot spot for “local news exchange” (known in PY as ‘chisme’), I’m sure it won’t take long for that story to travel around my community. I’ll give it about 2 hours.
Early in my service I was a bit indignant over these exchanges with Paraguayan men but have since learned that life is much more fun and fulfilling when you choose the lighter perspective. Laugh, play, be merry and don’t take it personally. As an individual whose personality has historically defaulted to ‘serious’, this is one of my biggest growth edges garnered from my service and I’m so grateful. Paraguayans’ sense of levity has rubbed off on me (they ARE the happiest people in the world, you know). Life is SO MUCH BETTER in the light and NEVER dull in PY!
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