So now that there are new trainees coming to Paraguay, I can pretend like I know a thing or two and put up a packing list.
A few notes:
I brought one checked bag and one carry on. You are allowed more, but remember that they sell things in Paraguay. Lots of things! Not everything has to be brought.
That said, think of the little things you love and bring a bunch of that. For me it was Chapstick brand chapstick in cherry flavor and Oil of Olay face lotion.
I'm a Community Economic Development Volunteer, so we are encouraged to bring slightly nicer clothes than say an Agriculture Volunteer, and with reason.
But no matter what, you will be washing your clothes by hand and hang drying them. Fabrics get destroyed. Everything will fade in the sun, and sometimes a cow eats your underwear. The red dirt turns anything white into a a nice terracotta color. I brought a lot of camping and outdoorsy clothes. I look way more granola-y than I would ever dress back home, but my stuff dries pretty fast and holds up in the wash.
I'm a girl and my list will reflect thusly.
* Jeans 1 pair
* Khakis 3 pair
* Prana Convertible pant. 1 pair (These are nylon camping pants that go from pants to long shorts but aren't ugly. I LOVE them. Thanks D! Run true to size, but have stretch and a hidden draw string in them.)
* Work out pants: Yoga, running-warm, running-cold. Also serve as pjs, & around the house.
* 2 dresses
* 1 Long skirt (This was my one fancy item. It's nice to have something dressy on hand for swear-in or if you get invited to some sort of event.)
* Shirts: 10-ish (Have a mixture of button ups, t-shirts, work out shirts and thermals for winter. It gets cold in the winter, and super hot in the summer. Layers.)
* 2 cardigans and 1 sweater. (Like I said layers.)
* Underwear 7-ish. (I really recommend ExOficio travel undies. They aren't super cute, but they dry fast even in winter. They run a little big. I wear a medium and am 5'10'' and a size 8)
* Socks: 8-ish (Bring a couple pairs of warm socks. Also, socks get destroyed fairly quickly.)
Some girls swear by leggings. I see the appeal and they are popular in Paraguay, so not un-findable, but not totally my style. Yet.
Some winter things: Sure it never gets below freezing, but you won't have heat in your home so forty all of a sudden gets a lot colder.
* A WARM COAT.- I actually brought a down coat. I wore it sin verguenza, even slept in it one night.
* Rain jacket.
* Hat, gloves, and scarf.
* Trail running shoes. (They serve as my every day shoe. They look like a built up sneaker. Have more support than a regular running shoe, but aren't quite a hiking boot. I run in these too. Plus they're waterproof.)
* Chacos. (I'm in the Peace Corps, right?)
* Flip flops (For shower and around the house. But can be bought here for like 5 mil gs. $1.50)
* Nice flats. (These are my dress shoe for more formal meetings and events.)
This is where I skimped. I brought travel size of almost everything and bought stuff here. With exception:
* My fav Face Lotion
* My fav chapstick
* My basic make up: Concealer, fav eyeshadow, mascara, blush, eye liner. (All can be bought here, but I won't vouch for quality. You probably won't wear much make up.)
* Travel towel (I have the MRS pack towel in XL. It's awesome. Thanks D!)
* Razor and extra blades that are individually sealed. (You won't shave much here, but just in case.)
* Pick up a thing of baby wipes. (Trust me. I bathed with them in addition to their intended use.)
* A couple books to tie you over till you get to the PCV library in the office.
* IPOD- music is critical
* Laptop - I will say that I wish I brought more digital copies of movies, but you can get these from other volunteers.
* External Hard drive and jump drive. (This is how we share music and movies.)
* Sleeping bag and liner. (Sleeping bag is a must.)
* Sleeping pad. (You might have to sleep on the floor of a friend's house.)
* Head lamp (Surprising useful. Sometimes the power goes out.)
* Tent (Not used yet, but I hope to soon.)
* STERI-PEN Water purifier (Recently used for the first time. My neighbors were not very careful in thier home renovations and put a crack in the pipes that then leaked into my plumbing. I don't know if my water was "contaminated" or just had dirt in it, but it was a real comfort to have the purifier on hand.)
* Multi-tool. (Gets used more frequently once you have your own place. A real life saver when used/ needed.)
* A roll of duct tape. (You will find more uses for this than you know.)
* Sporting goods: I rock climb, so I brought my shoes and harness. If you play Ultimate, bring your disk. Other people bring Yoga mats. Whatever is gonna make you happy.
* Water bottles and a thermos.
* Photos of loved ones or special trinkets.
How did I fit that all in one bag?
Remember it's all just stuff. Most of it will not make it back to the states, and you can always get stuff here. Think about what is gonna make you happy and seems like it might be hard to buy in Paraguay. Also acknowledge that you will not look as cute here as you did in America. Unless you're Courtney.