Living in Unexpected Manners

Today, I provide you with random happenings that you or I might experience while in Paraguay interspersed with pictures of parades and town festivals.

Everyday is full of unexpected events

One second you’re trying to figure out what you’re going to do for that hour before lunch, and the next you are on the most popular community radio station explaining how you ended up in Paraguay. Might I state, that this would never ever happen in the USA, where everything is meticulously planned and scheduled.

Another day, you go visit a fellow volunteer in a nearby community for their founding anniversary celebration, much of which entailed sitting on the sidewalk watching an elaborate parade go by. Except, unlike the States, the first lady is sitting a mere 10 feet away from you, observing as well, no big deal.


There she is, in all of her blue-ish green jacket (for the liberal party) glory.

Sometimes you tell your host father that you love sugar cane while you’re driving by a big field of sugar cane. He stops by the farmer’s house, hollers for the young boy in the front lawn, speaks to him in Guarani, the boy runs off, and then comes back with a perfect rod of sugar cane. I ask my host father how much we should pay him, he looks back at me strangely, and we drive off. And yes, that sugar cane was delicious. You should try some.


If you aren’t too lazy, you might go out for an afternoon jog. Except this time you have unexpected cheerleaders along the way. Everyone you pass has some encouraging words to shout. “You’re a winner!” “Have strength!” It’s like you’re in the Olympics, except you’re on a red dirt road in Paraguay.


Randomly, you might walk into to your host family’s dining room to find your host mom getting her nails done by a manicurist, including an elaborate floral design on each nail. She suggests that you get your nails done as well. You feel cheap, and say “Maybe next time.” Then she tells you it costs 5 mil, which is $1.12. Immediately thereafter, your nails are covered in little flowers with gold and silver accents.

Because you’re lazy you might be sitting at your computer feasting on the one too many blogs you read, and then you hear someone clap outside and out goes a family member to open the gate for them. Then you remember that in Paraguay you don’t use a buzzer or a knock on a door. You clap. You might forget, and knock on a door with no response in return, then you clap and the door immediately opens.


Unfortunately, when your family is deep in sleep in the middle of night no matter how much you clap there is simply no one there to open up the gate for you. And of course, you forgot your cellphone. You consider your options: either sleep on the sidewalk or scale the oh-so-tall gate. You choose the latter, naturally. You get stuck on the top of the fence with spikes stuck on your cute pink skirt and find yourself praying that no car drive by. Fortunately, eventually you make it to other side unscathed with no trip to the local police office. Of course, you tell your family the next day; they laugh incessantly and joke about it for many days to come.


Other times, you prepare a desert thinking you will only be sharing it with your husband because there is no way Paraguayans will eat your strange/foreign concoctions. Then, before you know it, whatever you prepared is gone in a blink of an eye. As in, they devour it, wholehearted devouration. This includes, but is not limited to, chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting, a strawberry trifle with pastry cream, white island chip cookies, chocolate chip cookies, fudgy nutty brownies, and banana bread. I feel like I’ve been cheating all of my beloved readers, because I don’t have a single picture to show for all of this baking madness.

And with that, I leave to you to ponder what your life might be like if you were to live in Paraguay.

P.S.: Trisha and Greg, this final picture is for you guys.  Sugar cane love.  And it’s organic.


5 replies on “Living in Unexpected Manners”

Dear Toni and Nicole, I invite you to come to Paraguay and I’ll have you reenact the gate scene for me. 🙂 Love, Nalena

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