I realized something the other day. I mention all these peoples’ names, talk about their families, share my good times with them; but you all will likely never meet them. And seeing as they have become such an important part of my life, I have decided to take the time to describe to you some of my closest friends and family in site.
Silvia – easily my bestie in site. 16 years old, but very mature. It took us a while to get beyond the ‘let’s drink terere and have small stalk’ stage, but now I find that it is her that I go to with my stresses, exciting news, and miscellaneous commentaries. We hang out daily. Maybe I am helping her with her English homework, drinking terere, playing pool, cooking up something delicious, attempting to dance zumba along with my workout video, gossiping about boys and our neighbors, going to the town parties, whatever. She is who I most look forward to seeing on a daily basis.
Esperanza – my neighbor, but really my second mom. She gives me advice, puts up with my terrible Guaraní, invites me over for meals weekly, and I know she thinks of me as her daughter. An excellent example of how you don’t need much to be happy, just your family and friends by your side.
|Esperanza, Dulci, Me, Armin, and Mom!|
Sixta – my community work contact and favorite mother to visit. There is always something happening at her house, and I have yet to have a dull moment with her family. She is incredibly hard working, and is always coming up with new ideas of things I can do in the community and ways to help. Every volunteer’s community contact dream!
|You never know what you'll find at Sixta's...|
Fatima – Esperanza’s daughter, and was my first friend my age in site. She was there for me when my dogs died, laughs at me when I butcher my guarani, and respects the work I do in the community. Also, she is superb at painting nails! Oh yea, and most important – she is pregnant and I am going to be the baby’s godmother!!!
Auxi & Erika – These guys were my first friends. They are smart, beautiful, curious, and patient. They come to absolutely everything I plan and have enthusiasm that is contagious.
|Auxi (left) and Erika (right)|
Ña Eli, Dana, Vanesa – These are Silvia’s mom and two sisters. I think the reason I love the whole family so much is because they remind me of my McWilliams cousins. A family full of girls, there is never a dull moment! Every time I go there it turns into a big singing/dancing/laughter fest. We make fun of each other all the time, a sign of true comfort with one another.
|Ña Eli, Silvia, Dana, y Vanesa|
Thiago – Knows English from Dora the Explorer, shouts my name across fields when he sees me, and gives me running hugs. ‘Nuff said. (Oh and he is definitely the best high-fiver in site)
Now, I realize that for a typical 23 year old girl this is not your normal group of friends, but this is my life, and I wouldn't change it. These people, along with many others, make life here in Paraguay worthwhile on a daily basis. I feel so fortunate to be a part of their lives, and am so grateful they have taken me in as one of their own.