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....