So, I'm sitting here at the computer after watching a video about Paraguay with my siblings, and I'm still not quite sure if it has hit me that tomorrow at this time I will be squished onto an airplane, leaving my second home and second family in Paraguay. Originally, seven weeks seemed like a long time, but, as everyone says, Time flies when your having fun. And literally it does. Of course, life always has it's ups and downs, where the downs seem to drag, seconds are minutes, minutes are hours, but then there are the ups where Time just doesn't want to stop and take a breath.
I have learned and experienced so much these past seven weeks. Here are a few:
-always appreciate what you have
-live in the moment
-if you put your mind to it, you can do it
-nothing is ever perfect
-you don't truly realize how lucky and fortunate you are until you see and experience those who have less
-a roller coaster wouldn't be very fun if it didn't have its ups and downs.
-I'm a Paraguayan carnivore and an American vegetarian
-Of course, the list goes on and on....
I know I'm going to miss a lot about Paraguay. The food, the people, the 2 kisses on the cheek, the way that people come up to your car and shake your hand through the window, terere, mandioca, chipa, all the children at Santa Teresita, the crazy traffic at 6:30 am, the street vendors, the fresh juice at lunch, the occasional siesta, speaking spanish, dreaming in spanish, and most of all, my family. I can now say that I have 4 siblings, not one, and 4 parents, not two. I can't express how grateful I am to my family here, who was always loving, enviting, and the best teacher possible. Muchisimas Gracias, mi familia! Nunca me voy a olvidarte!
Okay, and now a quick briefing of what I did today. My dad and sister drove me through lots of different towns such as San Lorenzo, Itaupu, Aregua, and Luque. Each has it's own specialty. Itaupu - nanduti, Luque - plata y oro, y Aregua - pottery. Plus, I got to see some beautiful country side, and a bit more of the less-westernized Paraguay. Yo vi muchas vacas!! :D We stopped in Aregua at the Frutilla Expo (Strawberry Expo), which had about 40 stands filled with strawberry this, and strawberry that. Strawberry torta, helado de frutilla, y strawberry juice. Delicious!!!! Mouth watering!! and yes, their strawberries grow in the winter, not the summer where they would shrivel up and die. :D
In light of what i've learned and experienced, i like to give this analogy about AFS exchanges. Every time you travel some where, whether it be another country or city, maybe just another state, you can imagine what life is like (a daily routine, what's for lunch). After awhile you start to accumulate images, like little light bulbs on an interactive map. But after living in a country for 2 months, you are a part of that culture, you know what life is like, you know what is for lunch. And you just turned on 10 more little light bulbs.
So, to all my family, friends, relatives, and Paraguay, Muchísimas gracias! Mi tiempo acá era muy corto, pero yo aprendi mucho sobre las personas, la cultura, y yo misma. Paraguay siempre está en mi corazón! Un día, yo voy a volver. Hasta luego, Chau!