Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fingers crossed!

I might have my very own place in about 10 days. This is provided the owners don't change their mind, up the price, or something goes horrifically wrong.  It's small, dark, and probably over priced but it has it's own bathroom, tile floor and will be mine! So fingers crossed.


This might call for some sort of sacrifice to the apartment gods. Hmmm, anyone got a goat? Small child would work too.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Rock Bottom? Or a New Level of Awesome!

Boxed wine and Chili. Lunch of Champions.
Drinking boxed wine laced with sprite and ice out of a reused yogurt container. Congratulations, you are one step closer to hitting rock bottom.


POW: Getting the stink eye from a stray cow in the yard all day.
WOW: House sitting for my site mate and taking care of her dog.
CHOW: Vegetarian Chili and Iced Wine. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

I'm Submiting This For a VMA

So in Paraguay, life is like almost anywhere else in the world. Some days are good. Some days are not so good. And every once in a while a simple afternoon turns into an awesome video dance party.

As I've told you, the kids love Photo Booth. Well, we discovered the video setting the other day.


video 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Happy Birthday to ME!: A tale of first world problems.

It’s my birthday and many of you have been asking if I have any plans or am doing anything special to celebrate. I can only respond that yes, I am. I am living in Paraguay. This is how I’ve planned to celebrate for a while now.
Birthday present to myself. Now if I could only find Jack Daniels.

I do not believe in New Years resolutions. I firmly believe that if you want to change your life you can start any day of the year. I even remember coming to this realization in my 6th grade Language Arts class with Mrs. Tipps.  Assigned to write down our New Year’s resolutions, it became so clear to my 11 year old self that life need not wait for January. I then turned in a blank page. I swear that I was only half trying to get out of the assignment. Mrs. Tipps then made me write why I felt this way in leu of my resolutions. Stupid, quality teachers, but I digress.

So for the past 15 years I have practiced this belief and defiantly never made resolutions with the exception of this past year. December 31st 2010, I was at a swanky party where the music cranked and booze flowed freely. Everyone was dressed in their NYE finest, and I was wearing a polyester tie. I wasn’t a guest. I was the waiter.  Instead of being surrounded by friends reveling in my youth, I was failing to keep up with orders at the bar and the re-fires of the stuffed mushrooms. What had gone wrong in my life? I, with a University degree in a double major no less, was scraping plates of people I considered intellectually inferior and no one cared. My boss didn’t care how smart I was, so long as I didn’t break any glasses. My co workers didn’t care where I came from so long as I could carry my share of plates. There was no great tragedy here. I wasn’t going through hard times. I was going through normal life. So I found myself at the humbling realization that the world owed me nothing, and that both happiness and success was in fact made, and not found. The highlight of the night was stealing a bottle of champagne with my compatriots and making a midnight toast. Shortly after I looked at my friend and said, “Next year’s gonna be different.”

The next morning I knew what I needed to do. I called my brother and declared that by the time I turn 26, I WILL be living in a Latin American country. Being an expat has been a dream of mine for years, but I always found reasons to stay stateside. It wasn’t going to be like that this time. The commitment was made.

I know that Oliver would let me off the hook, never mentioning my declaration had I failed, if he even remembered, but I wasn’t going to let myself of the hook. Had I celebrated my 26th in Dallas, no matter how great the event, I would have had a sinking feeling in my stomach. Unable to ignore the fact that I had once again made “the safe choice.” There were certainly other cross roads in my journey to Paraguay, but I look back at that night as the turning point.

So here I am at my deadline, and hell, I made it! A  resolution that may appear brash, or made in a moment of depression was exactly what I needed. I am where I need and want to be. I don’t regret taking my sweet time to achieve this dream either. I don’t believe in destiny, but I do not know if I would have been strong enough to get here nor stay here if it had not been for my past experiences. So rather than dwell on the fact that I am now closer to thirty than twenty, I celebrate and give thanks. I am so lucky to even have the option to follow my dreams. I am most thankful for my family, friends and mentors who have all been incredibly supportive. I would not have accomplished anything without you all.

So I am going back into the business of not making resolutions. It feels good to be batting a thousand, and I still believe 100% that you can change your life any day of the week. Let’s just hope I never again need a gig at Maggiano’s to remind me of that.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

You Can't Walk Any Further

If Peace Corps told me today, that I was now only allowed to take one vacation my entire two years of service, I would have no doubt as to where.

Patagonia.

Patagonia Time Lapse Video from Adam Colton on Vimeo.

Perhaps you can see why.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

POW WOW CHOW!

So I learned a game from my Fellow PCV called POW! WOW! CHOW! Its allows share you day quickly with others in a way that's slightly reminiscent of a fight scene from the 1960's Batman series featuring Adam West.

  
POW is something not so good, like a punch in the face from Adam West.
WOW is something AWESOME!
CHOW is something you ate. Good or Bad.

So here goes mine for today:

POW: Still haven't found my own house.
WOW: Exercise class on Monday was awesome, and have a second class today.
CHOW: Soup Stew thing with pork and corn. Again.

I'm gonna try to put this up on a regular basis. I invite you to put your POW WOW CHOW in the comments. Let's see how it goes.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Week's Worth of Nervous Break Downs

While I know you all want to hear about all my awesome, fun, delightful, and pleasant adventures, sometimes the dice just don't land that way. I don't know if anyone mentioned this, but Peace Corps can be hard, even difficult. This is not for the reasons you think. Sure I yelled at my shower out loud the other day, but that was merely a symptom of a week's worth of suckitude. It's not that much went wrong this week. It's that nothing went right.

Last weekend was so incredible! I went rock climbing, and ate awesome food. Basically two of the top three things I love in this world. Then back in site, I wake up with a serious case of the Monday's that lasted all week.  It rained this week, so I didn't do much. I really miss living alone, and the one place available right now has a dirt floor and no windows. The city hall office wants to work with me, but I'm not sure on what. And this week's food has been, well, greasy. The acne on my face should be a good indication of how much fried food I've consumed. My host family is so concerned about my face, they keep asking what bit me or if I'm having an allergic reaction. NO, IT'S A ZIT!
Acne, not bug bites. Now stop pointing them out!

This is all with out mentioning the cultural mine field I found myself in when I admitted to having lived in Boy's-Town during my time in Chicago. Paraguay has a predominately Catholic culture, and you can imagine how homosexuals are received here. It's tricky to not insult my gracious hosts opinions while at the same time showing my support for the LBGT community. FYI: Boy's-Town is what it sounds like. A predominately gay neighborhood in Chicago. SOOO much fun. Great Brunch. Halsted's! WHAT?!

A little cultural aside on the topic of diversity in general: America is by no means a bastion of cultural acceptance and equality. I don't want to address this topic with any level of depth, but there is one thing I have noticed. In general, Americans seem more used to diversity. We are accustomed to walking down the street and seeing multiple walks of life. Even the most redneck Texan (to use my favorite stereotype) probably knows a few words in Spanish and drinks Mexican beer. We are comfortable with difference, even differences we don't like. I'm learning this level of comfort is not universal, and it gets me in a little bit of trouble here. Nonetheless, it is becoming a secret point of pride for me. Perhaps that's all false and I'm romanticizing America. Either way, I'm speaking to my experience.

So there it is. A day in the life. It's not glamorous, nor exciting. I don't know why I'm always surprised at how normal life is everywhere. Some days are boring; people can be frustrating; and I don't do well living with others. This week will be better, and if it's not, we'll shoot for the one after that. American optimism comes in handy, even for this hardened cynic. 

PS: Next time I go climbing I'll take pictures. It's way easier to tell that story with the visual. Plus the area is go gorgeous, I could never do it justice with just my words.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Phun with Photobooth


Anyone who has a mac knows that Photo booth is everyone's favorite program. It is especially popular amongst Paraguayan children. I took some photos with Carlitos, Marley, and Monsey a while ago. Also Ginsey and I went crazy with it one day.  Nonetheless here are some of the pics. Phun with photos!