June 7th, 2009
We had some brief orientation sessions at the central training site in Guarambaré, and then we had interviews, which they used to determine family placements. I basically told them I just wanted a family that was really nice, talked a lot, liked to have fun, and cooked well.
During the orientation I asked the question of which way we go when going in for the customary two-sided cheek kiss. They said always go left.
Shortly after we drove out to our community, Paso de Oro (Golden Road) to meet our families. This was both an exciting and nerve-racking time. I wasn’t so sure of my family placement because my sheet of paper said I was with a man and woman both in their mid fifties, and a 31 year old son. Other people had small children, teenagers, or even young adults in their family, so I’ll admit I was a bit jealous and wasn’t sure I had received the right placement. I mean, what if the father and mother were old and boring and the son was some weirdo still living with his parents. When we arrived, there was this one particular woman who seemed like the leader of the group. She was very animated and lively. She was cracking jokes and talking in a boisterous manner. She greeted all of us as we walked up to the house. Once we were all together, they called out our names and the family to which we were assigned. They called out my name and then the family name. Sure enough, it was the very animated woman who would be my Paraguayan mother for 3 months. She went ballistic. She was so happy. I navigated my way through the luggage and people to where she was standing in went in for the two-sided cheek kiss. In the midst of all the excitement, I went in the wrong way and caught like half lips, half cheek. It was so awkward for me, but looking back on it, it’s hilarious. She went into this frenzy of excitement in which she strung together Spanish and Guarani so quickly that I couldn’t understand hardly anything, but nevertheless, we were very happy to be together. She told me she knew I was her son the moment I stepped off the van. Whether this is true or not is yet to be determined because other trainees said their mothers said the same thing. Haha.
My house is awesome. We have electricity, an indoor bathroom, running water, hot water for the shower, and even cable television. Wait...is this the Peace Corps? They must be easing me into adjusting to this new lifestyle. Surely it won’t be like this when I get into my permanent site. We have like 50 chickens and ducks behind the house, 3 pigs, a pet bird named Pancho, and a dog name Pequeña.
Check out these pictures of my house.