House Crashers.

September 30, 2012

I have been finding an unending amount of mouse poop in my kitchen (along with a whole host of other uninvited guests), so sticky traps were set up under the sink, where there appears to be the greatest concentration of “chocolate sprinkles.” Several weeks later, no mice have been captured. Poop.

But this afternoon, I noticed something different in the dark corner of the cupboard.

This is what I found:By the way, that cockroach had been stuck there for two weeks and it was STILL moving. Ugh.


I originally planned to teach the kids how to make chili last week in cooking class, but at the last minute, found a much more adaptable recipe for Sloppy Joe’s. Score. As it happens, the workshop ended up being one of those classes that just worked. The ingredients were simple and easily accessible. The technique and equipment were basic. The cook time was minimal and efficient. And the kids behaved themselves. Quadruple score.

Not to mention, my favorite commentary post-cooking class: “I can definitely make this at home” was tossed out repeatedly as big T explained that there is always ground beef at her house. Also, little T, who painstakingly picks out the vegetables any time we make anything with produce, wolfed down the saucy sandwich and to my surprise added, “Bell peppers are my favorite!”

Cheers from Lo’s Kitchen!

The crew sauteeing up some Descuidado Jose’s.

Cooking lessons for all!

A Long Mail Call.

September 30, 2012

A few weeks after I returned to Paraguay in June, my mom sent a package that included several Chinese outfits for the Schell kids. She even paid extra to ensure the timely arrival of the box for Mi Esperanza’s Missions Sunday. Normally, when sent priority, packages reach my post office box approximately ten days from the original postmark. Of course, this time, since we were waiting in haste, the ten days passed with nothing to show for them.

Eventually those ten days turned into several weeks and then one month and then I gave up hope, feeling discouraged every time I left the post office empty-handed again. It wasn’t the first time a package directed to me in Paraguay had gotten lost. After my mom later sent another box of treats that arrived without delay, I truly came to grips with the fact that the original parcel was likely never to be seen.

Then on a routine trip to the post office, the lady at the counter casually mentioned that there was an item that required pick-up in the downtown postal building, where all mail arrives and is then distributed accordingly throughout the city. [Sidenote: Paraguay does not have a national postal system hence the lack of zip codes, etc. on my mailing address. Furthermore, places like the locale where we missionaries keep our post box are individual private businesses. Fun fact for the day.]

After a long and borderline hazardous drive to the mostly nonsensical disarray of downtown Asuncion (label your streets, please!), I found the rundown building, where apparently all mail comes to die. Out of about 35 employees in the area, literally only one looked like they were doing some semblance of work. 20 minutes of wrangling and explaining myself over and over about a mysterious package, the box of Chinese clothes gloriously surfaced and I may have heel-kicked in a fit of excitement and relief.

The end result was so worth the wait:

Sweet baby Cheez-its, is this not one of the cutest things you’ve ever seen?

My honorary Chinese dumplings. <3

Torneo de Futbol 2012.

September 30, 2012

Last year at the Alliance soccer tournament, Mi Esperanza’s girls’ team was the laughingstock of the day with our rag tag group (going into this year’s competition, I still didn’t know the rules of the game…) and borrowed cotton t-shirts. But we mustered up a scrappy second-place finish, and vowed to return the following year for first-place honors in styled veteran savvy.

So in preparation of the arrival of September 29, 2012, we held intense weekly practices complete with an official coach, repetitive drills, scrimmage games, and serious determination. Additionally, S and I drew up plans for jerseys and spent many an afternoon on the phone debating colors, designs, and prices. We conducted extensive fundraising events to help cover costs for those who couldn’t front the money and when those efforts more than paid off, we added matching accessories to our ensemble as well.

Needless to say, we were looking and feeling awesome when we rolled onto the field (except for me; my athletic relationship with playing soccer has not changed one bit). The weather even felt like it was on our side–not like last year when all I can remember was how stinking hot and thirsty and desperately parched I felt all day long.

Unfortunately, despite the ideal conditions, our earnest training, and stunning good looks, we only managed to pull out a fourth-place result (out of five teams). But in the end, fun was had by all and we looked awesome doing so. Those are wins in my book.