I would like to attribute my recent blog hiatus to a spate of illness. I have actually been surprisingly healthy over the last two years considering how many environmental factors indicate otherwise why I should have many forms of severe cancer by now (oh, you know, an explosive microwave, cultural customs of extreme sharing, and mold of titanic proportions e-ver-y-where just to name a delightful few). But of course, with less than a month to go, Paraguay had to have its say.

The adventure began with a raging fever, miserable body aches, and a dry, itchy cough. By virtue of timing and a high volume of work, rest was simply not an option. My body exacted violent revenge on this rebellion and my symptoms evolved into an extreme strain of the flu that progressively worsened over the course of a week and a half. I felt like digested bacon.

At the two week-mark, I had a world monopoly on mucus production and if coughs could kill, I could have won wars. Singlethroatedly. Seven giant boxes of tissues later, I still had not turned the tide towards healing. So I finally schlepped myself over to the doctor for my first time in Paraguay. Let us not speak of woozily taking buses and walking about town.

The notoriously conservative doctor known especially for his hesitance to prescribe medication immediately put me on six days of antibiotics and double dosage of codeine cough syrup. My fling with the flu had now blossomed into a “complicated viral infection” with benefits. And not the good kind.

Unfortunately, this was not the beginning of the end either. Day one of meds messed me UP. I spent half the day in bed curled in a fetal position, moaning about my stomach disintegrating and wondering how on earth I’m going to get through childbirth. Later in the evening, I just about coughed both lungs up and then some before S forced a tablespoon of honey (yuck) down my throat to keep the tickle at bay.

Day two has been waiting for Seltz to deliver my 20L filtered water and resorting to consuming tap water. Well, almost. When I saw this come out of my kitchen faucet in blasting fury, everything made so much sense.

IMAG0651Not a cocktail. Not apple cider. Just Paraguayan tap.

Encarnacion: Costanera.

June 15, 2013

Kablooey 144A beach! A veritable beach!

Here are a few facts about Paraguay: it is landlocked. It hugs no deep blue sea, and in fact, around these parts, bodies of water, including that which trickles out of my shower head, tend to be brown and smelly.

Imagine my surprise then when, after some six hours of driving away from Asuncion and toward the southeastern region of Paraguay, we came upon a coastline. A remarkably modern development of tiled boardwalk bordered by a stretch of alarmingly clean sand, itself then also touching a cerulean-colored pane of glass that uncannily resembled water. Say it ain’t so, but we had in fact arrived at the Costanera of Encarnacion and its recently improved section of the Paraná River bank.

Of course, it was juxtaposed between the modern skyline of Formosa, Argentina located just across the river as well as the shambles of primitive housing more reminiscent of the Paraguay I’ve grown accustomed to. Just behind the parking lot were overgrown plots of dry brush and an unsightly cemetery of rusting bleachers, but regardless, I was impressed to see such development in Paraguay at all. Furthermore as a native San Diegan, I was thrilled to be anywhere near a passable beach.

The serenity of staring out into a watery horizon and watching the sun slowly melt into a thousand warm hues will always evoke a sense of home no matter the exact location. While I was actually several thousand miles off from everything I know to be San Diego, reclining in the thatched lifeguard tower (illegally as I was informed much later) felt reassuringly familiar.

Cheers to those moments.

Kablooey 126Kablooey 124Kablooey 129Kablooey 143Kablooey 141Kablooey 146Kablooey 147Kablooey 148Kablooey 149

Ode to a Tuesday.

April 30, 2013

IMAG0483

When I went to change out my 20L water tank as I do each Tuesday, I discovered a liquidy mass grave of dead ants floating in my supposed filtered water source along with a ring of black mold on the spigot. I am not sure what happened in there this week, but suddenly the frequent bathroom trips make so much sense. It is also the end of April and still ninety degrees outside. My pores are displeased.

But. BUT after months of feeling like a complete dunce, I finally hit my stride studying for the GRE today. I made a perfect batch of brownies and a la mode is totally happening tonight. Lil’ Miss Nugget called to remind me yet again that I am her best friend forever always and that she just ate an apple. I’m practicing a “theology of thankfulness,” and I’m feeling good.

OANSA: Water Day 2013.

February 10, 2013

“Hamburger, hot dog. Hamburger, hot dog. Hamburger, hot dog…” I intoned as I split the kids into two teams.

One time at OANSA, I thought that encouraging the children to choose their team names would be a nice break from “Red Team” and “Blue Team.” I also had the hope that it would help foster ownership and therefore inspire them to cheer for their teammates. All was good and swell until one leader ran over to me and inquired why half the children were screaming about moonshine whiskey and Coke. Unbeknownst to me and my not-up-to-par Paraguayan slang, a bunch of seven-year-olds had named themselves after a typical Paraguayan clubbing cocktail.

That was the last time I allowed for such creativity.

So for Water Day 2013, I chose two favorite foods of children everywhere, and the kiddos just thought it was the most hilarious thing ever. The novelty alone ensured that the teams were well supported that day. I am sure our church neighbors also thought we had started a concession stand after an entire morning of hot dog and hamburger chants. But so much better a children’s snack cart than a nightclub bar…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHot dog, hot dog, hot diggily dog.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHot dogs and hamburgers preparing for battle.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABalancing a sliced up (hence: leaky) jug of water.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOh no, impending crisis!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOops! Catch it!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASOAKED.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAProwling like a jaguar to the “jungle fire.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA baby gorilla and baby parrot on their way to put out the flames.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWater balloon relay.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen they had to sit on the globos…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIce bowling with frozen water balloons.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJump roping with full cups of water in hand.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFun times!