Friday, December 5, 2008

Wow... how things can change...

It's about that time to finally write this blog post. I wont lie, I've been dreading it because I'll sound like I'm throwing myself a pity party no matter what... cause it's sad... but I am doing really well with the support of good family and friends.

First and foremost, I'm moving back to the US. I'll be in St. Louis until at least March if not indefinitely. I could say that it has everything to do with my grandmother recently being put in hospice care or wanting to be with my family but more than anything it has to do with my heart. The day after thanksgiving Rody and I decided to breakup. I wont lie, I'm still a bit angry about how things went down but we are speaking again and have decided to "take a break" and not breakup breakup. Apologies on both side have been made but regardless we have decided to just be friends for now. And in the meantime I realized how much I would have resented him for not being here with my family, especially my father, through this really really difficult time. And I might have resented him for Buenos Aires too, if I had not stepped back and really decided for myself that this is what I want to do. Regardless, the next step involves school, either here in STL or in Buenos Aires, as I'm taking the time to really think about what I want for my future instead of really focusing on the future of someone else. Luckily, he still wants to move forward and think about his future. He is still planing on school in Buenos Aires, and now with a lighter spirit because he's doing it for him not for me. He has not fallen down the rabbit hole as some predicted but instead has grown drastically. I feel luckily that I can and will always consider him at the very least my friend.

I dont really know why but I feel I also need to say a word about his mother. I'm deeply hurt and offended at the attacks she has made on my character and the attempts she continues to make to keep us apart even as just friends. From calling me cheap... to telling me that Rody had cheated... so much so that in moments of rage I've wanted to say horrible things. Sadly I know where it comes from and I feel sorry for her more than anything in the world. I keep praying for her, hoping that some day she too will be happy. And so I'm asking all of you to pray for not just me during this difficult time, but for her too. I cannot imagine what she is going through from already loosing one son to Buenos Aires and soon another, to questions and problems in her own relationship, and then finally the same sort treatment she gives me from not just one woman but many. I wish that she would open her heart to me and know that I've never wanted anything more than the best for her and her family. I may not always be the best person but I try to be the best I can and that's all I can do.

I have no regrets and that's the important thing. I feel blessed every day and not because I'm writing my blog and have to say that but because yesterday I made cupcakes with my father, held my grandmother's hand when she could not breath and was having a panic attack about dying, and tonight I'll be iceskating with my cuz... There is nothing in this world like unconditional love provided by your family, I hope to find one day a man that too loves me as my family loves me. Will Rodrigo be that person? I dont know... I have faith in God that everything will work out as it's meant to be...


Monday, November 24, 2008

Home Again...Happy Thanksgiving

Hey everybody... I made it! Yes, that's right the KTB is in the States. That would be much more exciting if I was able to see everyone I would like to see. Sadly, I'll be in Lou the whole time doing family things but I am thinking of all of you and if you can, write a comment or send an email my way. Luckily, one Elho will be in St. Louis for the holiday and I cannot wait! But mostly I wanted to write a quick note about Thanksgiving and gratitude after reading a really great article about Maya Angelou.

She is quoted as saying, " I'm grateful for being here, for being able to think, for being able to see, for being able to taste, for appreciating love-- for knowing that it exists in a world so rife with vulgarity, with brutality and violence, and yet love exists. I'm grateful to know that it exists."

God gives us what we need, not always what we want. Whenever I find myself wishing things were a bit different, I remind myself of how lucky I am. This year has been tougher than usual with the passing of several people close to me (including one of the children), my rash and brutal decision to move to south america, heartache and now the hospitalization/hospice care of my grandmother. Each event deserves it's reverence and thoughtfulness and some more than others, however I am constantly reminded of how lucky I am in all aspects of my life.

Although my family is far away from me and I find myself missing them every day more and more, there was a time when I would not have cared. Now I get and send emails, phone calls and packages from thousands of miles away and as corny as it sounds find myself oddly close to my family, more so than in YEARS. It would seem ironic to some people that just as I now finally truly value and respect my family, I am not only far away but in some respects we are in crisis. The glue however abrupt, coarse and in your face funny will be passing and soon. Thanksgiving dinner has long been moved to my aunt's house but for me, this will be the first year without Tootie, my grams. As we prepare ourselves to let go of her, we find ourselves closer than ever. Laughing with aunts I thought I would never truly know... messaging with cousins I always thought way cooler than me. And being honest with a father about everything for the first time. I feel lucky because even if I'm crying or laughing in Paraguay, I share it with my family. I've gotten through some tough times with a call to mom or dad, an email to an uncle, and even a look at some family photos.

So this year, I'd like to take Thanksgiving to Thank God for my family--their support, their love, and their friendships. Hugs and kisses to you all!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Wedding Bells Part Deux

A number of people have suggested that I actually sit my ass down and write a book about my experiences in Paraguay. Some stories are just tooooo funny.... A great example of this would be the actual wedding... Rolando and Nancy (?) I'm pretty sure I could write a book just about that.

The day started off gray and warm meaning rain. I had made a hair appointment in my febil attempt at fitting in. However by midday I felt not just lazy but raindrops so that didnt happen. As usual we were running late. Rodi called his mom and she told him to be at the house, their's, at 6 for the shuttle to pick us up. That it was arriving AT SIX... and were we fighting again, she asked him. Of course we weren't, when was the last time we fought? (a while back) just slow asses.

We get to his house, after six, nearly running because of the rain. And nobody was ready. She had told Rodi 6 but the bus wouldnt be getting there till 7ish. He and I were dressed but drenched... Meaning that great hair do I didnt get but did myself was crap. And furthermore, I had gotten a hair cut on Friday and HATE my hair and how I did it for the wedding. At least his little brother was being pleasant, for once... (He spent the rest of the night calling Rodi a moron, almost getting into a physical fight with him, and moping in his chair... ). Now that he and I have basically no personal relationship what-so-ever (caused by a peeing couch incident and some lies he told his mom) I could already tell the wedding was going to be a blast... I really tried keeping a positive attitude...

What's great about any family are the comments... the your fat... your ugly or your stupid.... All masked in statements like you look like a rooster (to rodi about his hair). Or the dish at me about not ironing his shirt... (do I OWN an iron...NO! does it matter.. DOUBLE NO! hehe). I shrugged and said he looked fine. All these side comments are to be expected and to be honest I've grown to like them. Means that at some level I'm considered family.

What disappointed and frankly hurt my feelings was how I was treated by one of his cousins. Having spent a KICK ASS TIME in encarnacion with Victor last year, I was really excited to see Cindi again. To my dismay, she barely made the effort to say hi and then spent the evening trying to convince Rodrigo that he should dump me. I'm not kidding... in front of me, without respect, and very harshly. The snide looks reminded me of highschool... and what made it worse is that some of the other cousins seemed to jump on board. It became a joke to snap your fingers at Rodrigo (as if he was at my beacon call... those of you who know me or him or us... sigh...). It got so back that Rodri's mom called Cindi a malvata... (bad girl) but did not stop her from gossiping about us with Cindi while we danced. His dad finally yelled at her in the bus. EVERYBODY saw what was going on..... I cant help but relate this to my feelings about Paraguayan women and frankly his family.

Dont get me wrong, I am really lucky in that one of my best friends is Rodi's older brother. But what's sad is sometimes how family just does not get it. We come back from events like these and count the months till we move. And furthermore I think of my family, the men and women alike, who are so excited to meet Rodrigo some day. What I'm told is to ignore it, chalk it up to jealousy... all of it... but is that really an excuse?!?! My dad is jealous of Rodrigo but he would NEVER attack him... or say anything in front of him. What it really is is a lack of PERSONAL respect... and that's sadly not something that one lets go so easily. Luckily I'm not Paraguayan (aka confrontational) so I didnt yell at Cindi... but Rodrigo did... And frankly as my mom would point out, is it worth ruining your relationship with someone because of your own personal issues. (aka your own "issues" about monogamy, marriage and family... ) I'm not gonna lie, the women in the family that have the most problems with our relationship seem to have issues with theirs...

So what does a KTB do when reacting to sadness... she acts like a clown. (yea, I know third person.. deal with it...) So we danced... for hours.... laughing, joking, and having a great time.
And furthermore when we did get home and counted down the months, we found ourselves closer than before with a greater understanding of one another. Not only did he stand up for me but the conflict led to an almost all night discussion about family... his, mine... and what we might want for ours... If anything her plan... TOTALLY BACKFIRED... (that's what you get... explicative... ) That leaves katie laughing maniacally... MWUWUWUWUWUWhahahaWUWhAUha

Friday, November 14, 2008

Wedding Bells...

...had ya scared for a min huh... No NOT MINE... jeje... You can pick yourself off the floor, NOW... jeje. This weekend one of Rodrigo's cousins is getting married and I find the whole thing a bit odd, strange... and rushed...

Rody told me about the wedding in July (preggers?? maybe... ;-) Which, not to spread family gossip on the internet (especially when it's not my fam), is not the only one taking place this year. Or so I've heard from the chismosos (you know who you are). Protection people JEESH! To add a bit of commentary on this front I think that it's a lot more common to marry the baby's daddy here than in the states. At least from my point of view. And honestly I dont think it's always the best decision.

Furthermore the rushed wedding atmosphere has led to some family feuding. OF COURSE! I love large families. I feel like I get the tv novela without having to pay for cable. Bride's side of the family seems a bit... how would you say it... CHEEP in all the wrong places. I cant tell you how long I talked with rodi's mom about the enormous cake etc but when it came down to the seating chart, there just wasnt going to be room for everyone. Having watched several brides struggle with numbers, I understand and sympathize with the suffering. HOWEVER, the entire groom's family was to be left out of the PAAARRTTTYYY. jeje...Luckily things have been financially sorted so I will get to eat my cake... yummy.

But this all brings up some interesting points about not marrying too young or more appropriately too RUSHED. Familia assistance when it comes to the big day is almost a necessity these days with thousands of dollars in a cake alone. And the push and pull that comes with that assistance I feel greatly depends on how much you put up for your own big day. Or that neighbor kid you hate will screech through your vows because your rents are friends with his rents. I'm not quite sure what where or who I would like at my wedding but what I do know is that the save the date card will not be arriving on your doorstep only three months before the big show. Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance (As my mother would shout). The pressure on this couple specifically is quite obvious... I really hope the happy day is happy... and not a dud or dramatic or regretted... When in doubt just sit there, wait a second...

That brings up the other unfortunate yet superficial side to a rushed wedding. If you dont give us, the guests, time to shop we're screwed. In my opinion, in the states, you dont need to wear anything fancy to a wedding. A nice skirt, summer dress, or pants and blouse are COMPLETELY acceptable. But once again, Katie was SHOT DOWN. I was informed recently that I should be wearing a long evening gown type thing (too bad I havent trucked the formal dresses down yet). This all happened while looking at bridal magazines with Rody's aunt and mom. Let's not even get started on the insinuations... So not only do I have to try and find a dress that appropriate (KEY PROBLEM) osea not too short or skanky but in minimal time. I have officially given up on the idea and am going with the cute skirt idea but I hope I'm not judged too harshly.

On a side note can I also point out that large family events in general freak me out. And that's with my OWN family. At least in my own family I know the dynamics... and who to avoid. When navigating a significant other's family it's like dodging land mines. I'm always worried about saying or doing the wrong thing. And what makes that even harder is that this time around I'm almost constantly reminded that I did, wore, said something COMPLETELY inappropriate. I think all would be well if my guide through the jungle wasnt the proverbial black (I dont give a fuck) sheep. They will and do love him anyway... I'm pretty much screwed. at least I asked about open bar so alvino and I will get drunk and be inappropriate together. :-) Just kidding... but I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Erin blowing this pop stand... Part 2 de Election

I've been a little defunct of recent on the emails to friends and family. I even forgot the pop's b-day... how selfish and self involved one has to be to forget important days in the lives of your loved ones. I think the stress of trying to make things work down here and being very uncertain of my future. Luckily I've returned to that point of reaching out and asking for help from friends.

One of those friends happened to open my heart and my mind to not just new ideas and adventures but also brought me back to the reason I'm here. She would never take credit for any of that, nor do I think she even knows the type of impact she makes in people's lives. Sadly she went home on Tuesday but we hope to see her again in January!! I met Erin in my spanish class. She wont mind if I say that initially I wrote her off as one of THOSE people... you know with the bibles and the praying and stuff...hehe. Having the background I do, I tend to stray from believers and find good people of faith few and far between (if your reading this and are of faith and I know you... you're probably good... :-) However, my world is inverted and as I find myself in the "do gooders circle" I find myself SURROUNDED by people of faith, including Erin. Luckily she didnt beat me over the head with a bible but showed her faith through her kindness of spirit and goals. Everyone here should read her blog too (erinbelowzero in blogspot)... I've been luckier this time around with friends. And although they are fewer down south, they are better and stronger and lovely... GOOD LUCK ERIN!! And keep in touch! I'll miss our 10 mil lunches... and spa talks... hehehe

Time with Erin reminded me of the good friends that I made last time. Once again far and few between I cant tell you all how much I miss you. Especially Sierra, Laura, and Lara... all of us were very different and we all learned different and hard lessons but I miss and love you all!! I think of you often, especially when baking or cooking and most definitely when in Nemby. That being said, I am amazed at the strength of friendship over time and through distance. And although I can be quite sucky and self centered... I appreciate each and every one of you. Visiting must be in order and ELHO you'd better make it to the STL for thanksgiving :-) hehe... If life is about learning lessons and about the people that touch your lives, I have been lucky... THANK YOU!!

PS The elections make me a proud American. I feel like once again I can walk around with my head held up high... YAYAY!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Happy Election Day!! Good bye Erin :-(

Hey everybody. As per usual it's been a while since I've written but hey that's pretty usual. I was going to write about running into horrible horrible people at the wrong time, namely after leaving the doctor, and then I was going to write about the jealous almost mother in law... but Victor actually reads my blog, so that's a no... jeje... (I'll tell you some good stories later V). But with my feet hurting and my back sunburned I thought I would talk more about my election day.

First, everyone I've run into knows a WHOLE ton about what's going on in the US. Sometimes I wonder if they know more than some Americans... although propagandas has probably made that impossible... hehehe...

Secondly CNN en Espanol DOES NOT rock my world. Another article about Puerto Rico and why they cannot vote for president, I'm going to throw something at my TV...

And finally... I really hope my emergency write in ballot counts. I honestly will never know. What I do know is how much a joke the whole process was. A sheet of paper and very VERY complicated instructions. A TELEPHONE BOOK of instructions! Erin and I went together to the embassy and frankly... we were more than a bit stumped. Why so confusing?!?! It reminded me of how bureaucratic the US is.... wow....

Oh and my feet hurt because we walked miles looking for another, but cheaper apt. No luck...

Saturday, October 25, 2008


The other day in Spanish class we were talking about moments in our lives, you know those small ones, that have changed who we are and who we want to be. While working at Materno I met a boy who did just that.

I still remember the first time Dan and I talked about Juan. A maniac to the bone, he had colored every one of our coloring book pages YELLOW, as if he was trying to race to the end. After having met him, our encounters usually involved him idolizing Dan and mocking me. I could not help but laugh though and I loved him very much. Sadly, over the year I worked at Materno, he got worse after getting better. Until there came a point that his small 10 year old body couldnt take more chemo... We talked about raising money for Argentina.... we talked about a number of options all of which never happened or couldnt happen. A helplessness that I have felt often here which usually led us, Enrique, Dan and myself, to digging what money we could out of our own pockets.

He passed away last week and I cried... I thank God that he did not suffer as I have seen many others suffer.

The last time I saw him was at a Christian festival two Fridays ago. I went out to San Lorenzo to see him. What met me there was the same old Juan, which almost made it sadder. I knew he was dying but I did not realize how bad it was until only after about 10 minutes he could not stand anymore because his legs hurt so much. What amazed me about him and about many of the kids I have met facing the same situation is their strength and faith. He was not one to preach or push but had that simple kind of faith and a huge smile, as if things are not matter what the situation. We went to the front of the concert all together. He was crying and being carried. My heart just felt sad. I cannot explain. He managed to turn to me and smile probably in a futile attempt to keep me from crying. So that I would think he was ok. And when they asked us to put our hands in the air to feel the presence of God among us, he used what energy he had to raise his hands...

I told his mom today that I would never forget him. And I dont think I will. Raising my hands to God with Juan, praying with his family... I have never felt closer to a higher power. And never more determined!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Peru v Paraguay, Yet another win...

As many of you know game day can be big. You put on the jersey, you count down the hours, you may even listen to the radio commentary. Now take Green Bay and magnify it to an EXTREME... where not only are you wearing green but the entire bus is green filled, the street is lined with flags, and everywhere you turn someone is wearing one of those foam cheese things... except it's all RED. I made plans to watch the Paraguay Peru game about a week ahead of time. It's not a particularly important game in the scheme of things. Peru is dead last in the race to qualify for the world cup and my beloved albirroja is FIRST. At least it didnt seem important until... we ALMOST tied. Yes, that's right... it ALMOST happened, another Bolivia disaster. Luckily in the 37th min (2nd half) a goal was scored by a player I almost actually hate. What I found interesting about the game was not just all the drunken screaming really soaked in sweat fans, but how much I've turned into a rabid fan (I almost threw a sandal at the TV....). I could not tell you who won the super bowl (well maybe I could, stupid New England... but that's Dan's fault...). My point is that throughout my life I've been a fan of sports and yet have never been THIS much of a fan. Watching a whole country come together is refreshing. Not worrying about being robbed cause everyone is inside watching tv, also refreshing. What would have been a great end to a perfect day was dashed by a graceful fall into tree exiting bus with girly scream... (I'm fine, a little scraped but fine...) GO PARAGUAY!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

New Beginnings

Hey everybody, welcome to my blog. I never thought that I would write one of these things but after an inspirational example or two, I decided to give it a try. That and enough people have thought that I should maybe write a book about all the crazy stuff that's happened in Paraguay over the last year.

Anyway, let me get started by reminding y'all why the hell I'm here etc. After almost two years working at a law firm (shout out to the Nash peeps) I decided that the time was right to take a drastic leap. I knew I wanted to learn spanish and that I wanted to leave the country. Paraguay was NOT my first choice. I applied for Ecuador, Honduras, South Africa, Ghana.... several other non spanish speaking countries but sadly most programs were full or even defunct. So Paraguay it was.... for some strange reason they had plenty of openings... hehe

I spent the year with AFS volunteering at a hospital for children and women. My first couple of months were spent doing data entry, learning the language, and trying not to get robbed. I was very lucky and my boss, Jose, and I became good friends. From then on things slowly turned me in a new direction. I was moved to the cancer ward. I was offered a job. I met my boyfriend and made contacts in Buenos Aires. So when I returned to the states in July, I knew what I wanted. I wanted to work and live in South America despite all the crazy things that have happened... despite my acceptance to law school... despite missing my friends and family. I couldn't really put in words how my time in Paraguay had effected me but I knew if I didnt at least try, I would always regret it.

What I'm really trying to accomplish with this blog is three fold: 1) keeping in touch with friends and family 2) sharing some really funny stories and 3) recording my time here. In no WAY SHAPE OR FORM do I know EVERYTHING or am claiming to know everything about Paraguay (I dont even know guarani) but most of you know me well enough to know that I'll write things as I see them. But do please feel free to comment, send me notes... etc....