18 November, 2007

An exciting time...

I got back from my Long Field Practice on Friday and am finally getting a chance to write about it! It was AWESOME! I stayed with an aguelo and aguela (grandma and grandpa) and just had the best time with them! They were so sweet and the Blanca (the grandma) even cried when we left- and I cried too! It was adorable and I definitely plan on going back to visit!! I got to help with the cows, milking, etc. One time they just stuck a mug under the cow, filled it up and handed it to me and my friend Lauren. We just looked at each other and were like, "Well, who wants to go first?" I also got a chance to visit a farmer and see his fields and the house that he grew up in that is more than 100 years old (as well as all these cool artifacts inside it, it was like stepping straight into Paraguays past!). This is such a beautiful country and I´m finding that more and more as I get the chance to travel around. It is Spring time here so it´s lovely! Sometimes it´s a little hot and other times we have CRAZY storms. Last week while we were gone they had hail so big in Provenir that it tore through roofs and ruined a bunch of crops; unfortunately, the people here don´t have insurance or the kind of financial ability to handle hits like that so we´ll see what happens! We could use your kind thoughts!
I could also use your thoughts for the coming week, it´s going to be wild! Tuesday we are giving our presentation for Dia de Practica and are summarizing the natural pesticide project we have been working on with a local farmer. Then on Wednesday we are taking a day trip to some locations of our choice (guitar shop- that´s where I want to go!) because in the afternoon we receive our PERMANENT SITES! I´m super excited and nervous at the same time! We´ll be traveling there solo next week to check them out too so I will DEFINITELY have a report after that! Then Thursday we are having Thanksgiving at our training spot. I´m really sad I´m not going to be home for that but we have some fun stuff planned (like a pick up game of American football! I´m so excited, I can finally not look like a crazy woman like I do trying to play soccer!) Anyways, there´s a lot coming up and it´s all really exciting but it´s going to go really fast too- before we know it we´ll be swearing in and I´ll be officially starting my service! I hope all is well on the home front and I want you to know that I miss you all very, very, very much! I will be thinking of you ALL on Thanksgiving and I want you to know how EXTREMELY grateful I am to have you in my life!

10 November, 2007

I love my life...

Yesterday morning I was awoken by what sounded like the sky being ripped open. The rain was coming down and I could hear a cool wind whipping around outside. Because I had left my window open, there was a cat just sitting there on the inside window sill! It looked at me and then did that slow blink kind of thing and then we just watched the weather together, it was nice. We´ve been having some crazy weather here where it will be really hot and then go into a downpour with intense lightening and thunder- it´s actually really neat!

I haven´t gotten a chance yet to report on the amazing experience that was my tech. excursion. Our entire croppie group, who I have to say is AWESOME, traveled out to visit Joel- a current volunteer. The whole trip was a great adventure! The drive out was amazing because we got to see totally different Paraguayan scenery than where we are located now. Joel´s site, La Comena, is in a very hilly, heavily forrested area that gave us some great sights! We got to practice making A frames and work alongside a local farmer making curves de nievel for abonos verdes on his hillsides. I´m learning so much here it´s unbelievable.
I´m having other great opportunities. For example, on this excursion we got the chance to visit the infamous Salto Crystal which is basically the largest waterfall I have ever seen. It was beautiful! I´ll get up pictures as soon as possible, but this thing was anywhere from 75-100 ft. high! We climbed down this drop with boulders and vines that was literally verticle. Once we reached the bottom we had to wade, upstream a river to the source where we all went swimming, it was great! I couldn´t help but think to myself, "I am in a waterfall in the middle of South America, how cool is this!" The great thing was we could all appreciate it together too, as a group. Including the getting lost in the middle of a sugar cane plantation, which made the experience all the more enjoyable. We´re so gile! (that´s for you croppies!)

Next week is our Long Field Practice where we will be gone for a week helping a current volunteer with some project they are doing in their site. We´ll be helping a volunteer named Caleb with gardens, but it´s really a chance for us to practice our Guarani and just getting out there. I´m looking forward to it but am also a little nervous, just because the week after that we get our site assigments (yikes!). But Thanksgiving is coming up too so that´s also something to look forward to. We´ll be having an activity at our training center and I think we´re even going to be playing some American football! But alas, no turkeys, chickens will have to suffice!

I miss you all greatly and I hope everything is going amazing! Sending my love from Paraguay! Heartstrings!!!!!!!!

(Might I say, as I write this there is a marching band parading down the street with little old men playing trumpets -that´s for you M.J.- and kids in traditional dress, I love my life!)