Wednesday, March 21, 2012

National Geographic: My house

Happy Thursday!
The first thing you do in Peace Corps is what we call "staging." You and all the people with whom you'll be entering country meet up stateside to have the first introduction to what happens next, before taking that international flight.

During these two days we get some general safety and cultural guidelines, but it's also a time to share your concerns and fears. My fears included things like "This is going to be really freaking hard," "Two years is a long freaking time," and "Did you know Paraguay is a developing country?" My friends, however, had something else they all seemed to fear beyond reason.

Me thinking: Bugs, really? That's all you got?
Bugs.

Almost universally, my new friends shared their fears of creepy crawlies indigenous to Paraguay. Spiders, scorpions, and even jaguars we're brought up as potential threats. I disregarded their fears as almost childish.

Now I am ready to admit, they were right.

This is not to say that my fears were unmerited. Two years is a long time, and Paraguay is a developing country.  But some days, I don't want to shower because, as Julia put it, "dealing with that safari sometimes just isn't worth it."

I don't have any more tales of heroics like my previous bug post. I continue to fight the good fight versus the roaches and mosquitos with deet and raid, most assuredly doing damage to my health and the health of any future children. (Although I've been informed direct contact with the bottom of a shoe is the only way to defeat the strong Latin roaches.) However, with many of the other creatures, I have reached a state of co-habitation. The discovery of a frog in the bathroom, only merited a simple "Hey Ginsey, just so you know, there's a frog in the bathroom," to which she responded, "Ok."

I almost expect a frog. This is Peace Corps after all, but some of the things I've been finding lately are just bizarre. It's like an episode of Planet Earth.

Anyone know what that is? Is it a Caterpillar? It hasn't left that spot in my bathroom since I found it. I hope it doesn't metamorphose into an even bigger creature that will reek havoc unexpectedly while I shower, all leading to some embarrassing incident involving me in nothing but a towel. Although, that would make a great blog post.


This, I joyously discovered on my coffee mug one morning. It wasn't large, but it's Jurassic quality is quite striking. Even more striking, is how calm I was, simply wiping it away out a window, without even a yelp. Now that's some Peace Corps personal growth if I ever heard.
This thing, I have no idea. Is it even a bug? It has like fur or feathers. Hard to tell, really. Does it have a face? It looks like the spawn of a bat and cockatoo, who got it's wings got ripped off.

I will admit, this freaked me out, but it happily hung out on my front door until morning without any attempt at home entry, so he's alright in my book.

And finally, this fucker. Ok, I didn't take this photo, so maybe this isn't the exact bug, but I googled "like a cockroach with claws," and photos of this bug returned. Apparently, these suckers like to live in water, and charla paper. I discovered it on my leg and screamed accordingly. Loudly, and in a particularly high pitch. It might have been the scariest thing to happen in Paraguay, way surpassing a month of Martial Law, or any bus ride.

Hopefully, none of you were eating while reading this. I live with this, and am still grossed out. I'm sure I've given the impression that I live in filth, but I promise that's not the case. My house just has multiple holes in it, both intentional and the result of poor craftsmanship.

So my fellow Americans, appreciate your insulated homes, screened windows, and doors that actually touch the ground.

To my G-mates, I'm sorry. You were right. The bugs suck.