Today I feel full, in every sense of the word. I feel full, no make that stuffed with food (and not just any food but delicious, warm, sweet and cinnamon spiced food that can only mean it’s Thanksgiving) and I feel full with life and love and appreciation for people and things and situations in general. It’s a wonderful (check out that pun!) feeling.
First of all, I apologize for the radio silence. It’s been 3 months since we arrived in Paraguay and in that time I have published 1 blog post and sent fewer-than-normal messages home to friends and family. We have been doing/seeing/experiencing SO much but these experiences haven’t been making their way from my mental processing to my keyboard. To be honest, it took me awhile to find my balance here. Not because Paraguay or Asuncion has been difficult per say, it’s just been different (duh…moving to a new country?) but I forgot about the initial difficulty that different presents. Somewhere along the line I remembered and gave myself permission to adopt the ‘tranquilo’ mentality of so many Paraguayns, to gently ease myself in and adjust my expectations. I think I expected Asuncion to instantly feel like home but I forgot that homes take time to build; they’re not structures but spaces.
Today we filled our ‘home’ with loads of goodness. In celebration of Canadian Thanksgiving we invited the ‘Canadians’ over for an afternoon feast. They helped us fill this space with delicious smells, Canadian decor, and a stomach-stretching, mouth-watering meal.
A couple weeks ago we celebrated Spring Break (and a Friday off work) by visiting Iguazu Falls. Yes, I did say Spring Break for all you Northern Hemisphere folks! As you bundle up for fall and sip spiced lattes, I’m watching Paraguayan winter (albeit a warm one) give way to flowering trees and humid thunderstorms. The flip flop of seasons is strange – I’m craving pumpkin soup but it’s so hot that I’m sitting, sweating under a fan, eating…well…eating pumpkin pie. Despite the warm weather I’m still whim to my internal seasonal clock and any excuse for eating pumpkin pie sits well with me…
Back to Iguazu. It was amazing. Like AMAZING amazing. Poor Niagra was the quote of the day. Not that I’m one to compare waterfalls, but…Iguazu could eat Niagra. And while Niagra is vast and powerful, there is something about Iguazu that feels much more wild.
True fact: waterfalls make you happy. According to webmd and lonely planet (solid sources, I know) waterfalls are some of the super generators of negative ions, which in general increase the oxygen flow to your brain resulting in a ‘euphoric’ sensation. So besides being around this incredibly beautiful, powerful feat of nature, your brain is also happily high on excess oxygen. Win win.
Another perk of setting out to Iguazu was transversing across Paraguay and then (semi-legally…) entering Argentina via Brazil. It was a 12 hour road trip there, thanks to a forgotten passport and VERY long border lineups, and only a 6 hour trip home. Along the way we drove through many little Paraguayan towns, each one known for something specific that was being sold along the ‘highway’. Strawberry town, Chipa town, Gourd town, Wooden town…it continues. The road-trip itself, though long at times, was a glimpse at the Paraguay that exists outside of Asuncion. Dill-sented air, cows (and then more cows) red dirt-dusted vehicles and thousands of waist high termite hills were the visuals and smells that stuck.
So, a small (and somewhat disjointed, my apologies) peek into Paraguay life so far. More to come sometime soon.